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Scholarship details

2023 RTP - Development, implementation, and evaluation of an ethics framework for Australian health promotion practitioners

Status: Closed

Applications open: 8/07/2022
Applications close: 18/08/2022

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About this scholarship

The aim of this project is to develop, implement and evaluate a framework to enhance ethical health promotion practice in Australia. Health promotion is the process of enabling people to take control over the determinants of health to improve their health. Social justice and equity are core values underpinning health promotion practice, which involves comprehensive social and political actions to address social, environmental, political, and economic factors influencing health outcomes for individuals and communities. Whilst it is imperative for effective health promotion practice to be underpinned by ethical and evidence-informed decision-making, evidence suggests that many health promotion practitioners and organisations lack access to ethical oversight mechanisms and an adequate understanding of ethical practice more broadly.   

The ethical principles of integrity, justice, beneficence and respect are inherent to health promotion practice. It is recommended that any health promotion work involving human participants (e.g., quality assurance, implementation, evaluation, research) be underpinned by ethical processes and practices. Reflecting on ethical practice and understanding ethical values is not solely for health promotion researchers and theorists; the role of a practitioner entails daily moral justifications when working with communities, in addition to seeking ethical oversight for research, program implementation, and evaluation of programs. 

To further explore and address barriers to ethical health promotion practice, researchers from Curtin University conducted a scoping study in partnership with the Australian Health Promotion Association (AHPA) in 2018-2020. The study explored Australian health promotion stakeholder perspectives about ethical health promotion practice to explore the role of ethical practice within government and community-based organisations; identify barriers to ethical practice; and determine processes and resources to support ethical practice. A range of individual, organisational and structural barriers related to obtaining ethical approvals and working with specific population groups and communities were identified. Enablers included professional development opportunities, access to a specialised human research ethics committee, and better understanding of what is meant by ‘ethical practice’. 

Findings from the scoping study suggested the need for an ethical health promotion practice framework and resources for practitioners and organisations throughout Australia. A framework comprising two pillars was proposed: 1) developing critical practice; and 2) building the evidence-base for health promotion. Critical practice and reflection support practitioners to meet ethical responsibilities and adequately address social determinants of health and inequities. Additionally, a strong evidence-base is required for ethical health promotion practice; however, evidence supporting decision-making and the effectiveness of interventions is limited in the literature. The proposed framework therefore aims to build the critical practice capacity of practitioners via training, resources, and additional supports; and build the evidence-base for health promotion by brokering access to an ethical oversight mechanism that is sensitive to a health promotion context.   

This PhD project will build on the findings of the scoping study and previous projects undertaken by the research team. The project will apply a Participatory Action Research methodology using mixed methods. The PhD scholar will work with AHPA and other key stakeholders nationally and internationally to develop, implement and evaluate a framework for health promotion practitioners and organisations. It is anticipated that project findings will enhance dialogue about the ethical foundations of health promotion, better support the development of ethical practice in the Australian health promotion discipline and profession, and provide an evidence-informed sustainable framework for potential implementation across Australia. 

  • Future Students
  • Faculty of Health Sciences
  • Higher Degree by Research
  • Australian Citizen
  • Australian Permanent Resident
  • New Zealand Citizen
  • Permanent Humanitarian Visa
  • Merit Based

The annual scholarship package (stipend and tuition fees) is approx. $60,000 - $70,000 p.a.


Successful HDR applicants for admission will receive a 100% fee offset for up to 4 years, stipend scholarships, valued at $28,854 p.a. for up to a maximum of 3.5 years, are determined via a competitive selection process. Applicants will be notified of the scholarship outcome in November 2022. 


For detailed information, visit: Research Training Program (RTP) Scholarships | Curtin University, Perth, Australia.

Scholarship Details


All applicable HDR courses

We are looking for an applicant with a strong commitment to social justice, health equity, ethical values and health promotion competencies. Ideally the applicant will have:
• a background in health promotion, public health, social or behavioural sciences; 
• an interest in ethical values and evidence-informed practice;
• strong verbal communication and interpersonal skills;
• excellent written communication skills;
• strong project management skills; 
• ability to work independently and as part of a team; and
• experience or interest in qualitative and mixed methods research. 

Application process

If this project excites you, and your research skills and experience are a good fit for this specific project, you should contact the Project Lead (listed below in the enquires section) via the Expression of Interest (EOI) form. ahead of the closing date.

Enrolment Requirements

Eligible to enrol in a Higher Degree by Research Course at Curtin University by March 2023


To enquire about this project opportunity that includes a scholarship application, contact the Project lead, Dr Krysten Blackford via the EOI form above.

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