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Scholarship details

2024 RTP round - Evidence-based tools for climate change health impact assessments that enable low- and middle-income countries meet the sustainable development agenda

Status: Closed

Applications open: 7/07/2023
Applications close: 25/08/2023

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About this scholarship

Health Impact Assessment (HIA) is an established planning tool for sustainable development with many countries having enshrined the requirement for HIA in national and sub-national legislation. The proposed project will expand the evidence-based tools available for health impact assessment (HIA) in a time of heightened risks from climate change. This study is necessary because the novel threats of rapidly escalating climate change and health crises require new research and assessment methodologies. The aim of this research is to develop and disseminate HIA guidelines that integrate climate change assessments and enable the World Health Organisation Collaborating Centre for Climate Change and HIA at Curtin University to support low- and middle-income countries meet the sustainable development agenda. 

The proposed PhD project aims to:
    • Utilize Health Impact Assessment (HIA) tools to enable policy workers and development agencies choose between environmental degradation activities based on the costs and benefits to health.
    • Support the World Health Organization (WHO) in its role of assisting countries in addressing climate change, the environment, and health through advocacy and offering practical solutions that meet the sustainable development agenda.
    • Work with the WHO Collaborating Centre at Curtin Univerisity to integrate climate change into HIA practice by evolving the methodological toolkit.
    • Incorporate comparative risk assessment and burden of disease analysis into the HIA methodology.
    • Develop and disseminate new guidelines for HIA in consultation with WHO, Member States, and key partners. 

The project has the following objectives, with corresponding methods:
    1. Develop a comprehensive framework for conducting Health Impact Assessments (HIA) that specifically addresses the relationship between environmental degradation and health.  analytical methods for developing environmental health indicators using the WHO’s existing frameworks, conducting literature reviews to create new evidence-based frameworks, conducting scenario-based forecasting, and establishing the enabling public health data infrastructure. 
    2. Collaborate with the World Health Organization (WHO) and relevant stakeholders to undertake an assessment of climate change and health data needs, data analysis capacity and data infrastructure in low- and middle-income countries.
    3. Apply the refined HIA framework to assess the health co-benefits of actions and policies in non-health sectors, with a focus on climate change and environmental initiatives. This will involve conducting HIA studies in selected Member States, collecting relevant data through surveys, interviews, and data analysis, and quantifying the health impacts using appropriate methodologies.
    4. Conduct epidemiological assessments to monitor the emerging health impacts of climate change.
    5. Evaluate the effectiveness of the HIA framework in influencing policy decisions and integrating health considerations into WHO Member States' development agendas. This will be done through policy analysis, stakeholder interviews, and assessment of policy documents to understand the extent to which HIA findings are considered and acted upon. 

The proposed PhD project aligns with the new focus of the Curtin University WHO Collaborating Centre (WHOCC) and Curtin School of Population Health to prioritize climate change, the environment, and health (CCE). This is in alignment with the thematic priority of CCE highlighted in the WHO 2020 white paper “For the future: towards the healthiest and safest Region. A vision for the WHO work with Member States and partners in the Western Pacific”. This not only ensures that the WHOCC's work is in line with this priority but also enables the WHO to receive technical support across all domains of the WHO Strategy. To support this, it is proposed to conduct new research in PhD programs such as this that emphasises addressing the complex interplay between climate change, the environment, and health through health impact assessment tools.

This project may lead to further work or secondment opportunities, and exposure to the WHO network for aspiring global health practitioners

  • Future Students
  • Faculty of Health Sciences
  • Higher Degree by Research
  • Australian Citizen
  • Australian Permanent Resident
  • New Zealand Citizen
  • Permanent Humanitarian Visa
  • International Student
  • 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 at the 2023 RTP rate valued at $32,250 p.a. for up to a maximum of 3 years, with a possible 6 month completion scholarship. Applicants are determined via a competitive selection process and will be notified of the scholarship outcome in November 2023. 

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

Scholarship Details


All applicable HDR courses

We are looking for a PhD candidate experience of living and working in international settings. You should have training in public health and knowledge of environmental health. Expertise in health protection, health system climate resilience and environmental sustainability, and education is desirable. Must be eligible to enrol in PhD programs at Curtin. 

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. Please note you should apply as soon as possible, as once a suitable candidate has been identified this opportunity will no longer be available to receive an EOI.

Enrolment Requirements

Eligible to enrol in a Higher Degree by Research Course at Curtin University by March 2024.

Recipients must complete their milestone 1 within 6 month of enrolment and remain enrolled on a full-time basis for the duration of the scholarship.


To enquire about this project opportunity that includes a scholarship application, contact the Project lead, Dr Ivan Hanigan | Curtin University Staff Profile via the EOI form above.

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