News - April 2013

Seeding Funding Applications closed – applications are currently under review

PhD Scholarships round open

Call for Applications - PhD Scholarships Interdisciplinary Air Pollution & Health Research

Closing date: 11th June 2013

The Centre for Air quality and health Research and evaluation (CAR) is based at a network of Universities and research institutes in Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane. The Centre for Research Excellence is funded by the NHMRC for five years to support research training and research translation in the interdisciplinary field of air pollution and health. Fields of research broadly encompass methodological advances in the study of air pollutants, longer and short term health outcomes, the biological basis of adverse human effects and the effects on vulnerable populations.

Applications for research training positions are invited for PhD scholarships.

Scholarships for research towards a higher degree commencing mid 2013 supervised or co-supervised by CAR investigator(s) at the participating institutions. Preference will be given to candidates enrolled, or intending to enrol, in a PhD. Scholarships will be administered through the Scholarships Office of the relevant University. The full award will be issued on the terms and conditions of the current NHMRC postgraduate research scholarship and the stipend will be equivalent. The duration of the scholarship will be for a period of up to 3 years. Applicants must be an Australian citizen, a New Zealand citizen or an Australian permanent resident. Non-permanent residents of Australia may apply, but they must provide evidence to support their ability to pay for the cost of their tuition fees.

Further information about CAR and application forms are available by contacting the Executive Officer at

Applications must be submitted to Dr Joy Tripovich, Executive Officer, Centre for Air quality and health Research and evaluation (CAR) . No late applications will be accepted.

The following are examples of the types of PhD projects on offer (i.e. you are also welcome to suggest your own project):

  1. Ultrafine Particles (UFP) and health: hospital admissions and heart mortality. This would be a retrospective study using the large UFP particle database, which is being currently organised and used for Land Use Regresssion (LUR) model development, as well as hospital data. This would be one of the first of such studies in the world and is based at QUT in Brisbane.
  2. Biomass burning and respiratory/heart health. This would be a retrospective study using the South East Qld monitoring data collected by the government, large International Laboratory for Air Quality and Health (ILAQH) UFP particle database, as well as hospital data. From the database, the biomass burning events would be identified, allowing for analysis of the impact of these events compared to the normal urban background concentrations.
  3. The impact of UFP on heart disease in elderly. This would be a prospective panel study, with participants being: elderly people (nursing homes or adults over 65 years). Data to be collected: air quality (focussing on CPC and nanotracer measurements), respiratory and cardiovascular measures as well as questionnaire and daily activity diaries for each participant. The instrumental set up would be similar to UPTECH.
  4. Association between exposure to airborne particulate matter and Metabolic Dysfunction in aging adults. The burden of type 2 diabetes, obesity and related metabolic abnormalities has been a major public health issue in developed countries and is increasing rapidly in cities of the developing world. Compelling evidence has suggested that exposures to combustion particles, such as those from traffic emissions, may lead to insulin resistance, systemic inflammation, increase body and tissue burden of oxidative stress, and promote the development of metabolic syndrome related problems (e.g., elevated blood pressure, endothelial dysfunction, and increased blood coagulation). However, the scarce literature data on relationships between air pollution and metabolic related outcomes are inconsistent when compared across different studies or between experimental (laboratory) studies and observational (field) studies. Part of the inconsistency in findings is due to the variability in experimental protocols. This project would be part of an international study in Bangkok, Beijing, Brisbane, Hong Kong, Taipei, Los Angeles, and New Brunswick (NJ).
  5. Does genetic susceptibility modify the impact of air pollution on respiratory health?
    There is mounting evidence that specific polymorphisms confer susceptibility to the effects of air pollution. A PhD project is available between the CAR investigators at Universities of Melbourne and Sydney. This work can be conducted within established cohort studies that have already collected substantial data on air pollution, genetic markers and respiratory health. The strength of the project is that it allows investigating the relevant research questions across multiple cohorts and even pooling the results.
  6. Bushfire smoke epidemiology: (1) assessing the impacts of spikes in air pollution from bushfires and planned fires on ambulance call outs and birth outcomes; and (2) contributing to the prospective panel study assessing the effects of smoke in adult volunteers (eg daily symptoms, medication use, lung function, blood pressure, endothelial function, markers of cardiac ischaemia, inflammation and coagulation)
    Collaboration: CAR investigators at Monash, UTAS, UNSW, and USydney offer this PhD project
  7. Long term exposure to air pollution and health effects in older people. This PhD project will focus on the analysis of linked data from the 45 and Up Study cohort. Data on 165,000 people aged 45 years and up and residing in Sydney, Wollongong and Newcastle will be linked to morbidity and mortality data and air pollution exposure data to determine health outcomes associated with long-term air pollution exposures. The project will combine epidemiology and development of air pollution exposure datasets including application of land use regression methodology . It will be based with CAR investigators in Sydney.
  8. Traffic exposure and cardiovascular outcomes in adolescents. This project will explore data from the Childhood Asthma Prevention Study (CAPS) birth cohort of children living in the south and south west of Sydney to investigate the association between traffic related air pollution and cardiovascular outcomes in these adolescents. Follow-up of this cohort at 14 years is currently taking place. The project will require development and assignment of air pollution and traffic exposure data to the cohort. The project will be based with CAR investigators in Sydney.

PhD application form CAR

CAR 2013 Scholarships Information