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Green spaces for healthy ageing: An international comparative study (Funded by the QUEX Institute)

   The Graduate School

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  Dr Sara Alidoust  No more applications being accepted  Competition Funded PhD Project (Students Worldwide)

Brisbane Australia Climate Science Environmental Health Environmental Sciences Urban Planning

About the Project

Join a world-leading, cross-continental research team

The University of Exeter and the University of Queensland are seeking exceptional students to join a world-leading, cross-continental research team tackling major challenges facing the world’s population in global sustainability and wellbeing as part of the QUEX Institute. The joint PhD program provides a fantastic opportunity for the most talented doctoral students to work closely with world-class research groups and benefit from the combined expertise and facilities offered at the two institutions, with a lead supervisor within each university. This prestigious programme provides full tuition fees, stipend, travel funds and research training support grants to the successful applicants. The studentship provides funding for up to 42 months (3.5 years).

Eight generous, fully-funded studentships are available for the best applicants, four offered by the University of Exeter and four by the University of Queensland. This select group will spend at least one year at each University and will graduate with a joint degree from the University of Exeter and the University of Queensland.

Project Description

Urban green spaces provide key ecosystem services and promote engagement with nature that is critical to our health, social and civic opportunities in cities. Despite such profound benefits, many urban green spaces are disappearing and under increasing pressure from urbanisation and urban development. In addition, design and delivery of age-friendly public green spaces that promote the health of older people remains an unmet challenge in our rapidly ageing societies. Underpinned by a lack of a close alliance between urban planning and health disciplines, the design and implementation of effective intervention strategies and urban policies centred on the health of older populations have continued to be limited. Planning healthy and age-friendly urban green spaces remains poorly understood and poorly implemented and lacks the required empirical knowledge base to drive smart urban green space strategies. Furthermore, little is known about how long or how frequently older people need to engage with urban green spaces and what characteristics of urban green spaces contribute to their enhanced experience of the environment, leading to best health outcomes.

This research project aims to redress this deficit in knowledge and contributes to planning for healthy living. Project outcomes will provide much needed insights into the role of public green spaces in physical activity, social connectedness and mental health of older populations. The research is significant as it will examine the public green space exposure versus experience in older people and the potential impacts they have on the health of this important population sub-group. The project will be the first international comparative study, of Brisbane (Australia) and Exeter (UK), unpacking the role of public green space exposure and experience in the health of older people in cities. The novel research methods will collect data on both objective characteristics of the urban green space and stated perceptions and lived experiences of older people. The findings will provide much needed critical empirical insights that can better inform planning and health policies about the smartest ways to improve the existing and/or develop new public green spaces in cities that best support the process of healthy ageing.


In addition to the above criteria, this scholarship is open to Australian citizens, permanent residents and International students who are currently in Australia at the time of application. International applicants outside of Australia are able to apply but must onshore at The University of Queensland at the time of their commencement, or if Australia's borders are still closed an Exeter commencement may be considered.

Find out more about the QUEX Joint PhD Scholarship at our website.

The closing date for applications is midnight on 24 May 2021 (BST), with interviews taking place week commencing 12 July 2021.

Funding Notes

This scholarship includes a living stipend of AUD $28,597 (2021) tax free, indexed annually, tuition fees and Overseas Student Health Cover (where applicable). A travel grant of AUD $8,500 per annum, and a training grant of AUD $3,000 are also available over the program.
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