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We always welcome applications from students who wish to study for a PhD (a DPhil in Oxford) in a research area allied to our interests. If you are interested in studying with us, we would like to hear from you.

To apply for a position with us, please send us a copy of your CV, and details of how the studentship will be funded. We would also like to see a proposal describing a project that you would be interested in pursuing. The research proposal should clearly state your:

  • research question
  • background and purposes
  • proposed methods.

The quality of applications will be determined by relevance of the research questions to the Group’s aims and the appropriateness of the methods for answering the research questions. We will usually invite potential students to visit us to discuss their proposed projects if their application is of high quality.

CVs and proposals should be sent to Nick Townsend (


Students interested in studying for a PhD must meet the following general entry requirements:
Candidates must have (or expect to achieve) either a good honours degree (first or high second) from a UK university (or equivalent from a university outside of the UK); or a Masters degree in a relevant area; or several years of experience in a professional role.
Candidates with qualifications from outside the UK or experience rather than qualifications must demonstrate that these can be equated to an honours degree from a UK university (at least), and at what level.

Research areas of interest

The Group is primarily, but not exclusively, interested in the following areas of research:

Evaluating health promotion: Nutrition

The ways consumers are informed about the content of foods and the effects of foods and their components on human health e.g. through food labelling. 
The marketing of foods e.g. through TV advertising and commercial activities in schools.
The nutritional content of foods e.g. through fortification and the development of functional foods.
The availability and price of foods, e.g. through agricultural subsidies and differential taxation.

Evaluating health promotion: Physical activity

Systematic reviews of interventions and correlates of physical activity for children and adults.
The cultural and social determinants of physical activity.
The development of measures between the environment (policy, regulatory, built, natural) and physical activity.
The evaluation of policy and population approaches to promote physical activity and prevent obesity.
The relationship between the environment (policy, regulatory, built, natural) and physical activity.

 Assessing the burden of cardiovascular disease

Barriers and motivation to change in behaviour related to chronic disease risk factors.
Change in chronic disease mortality, morbidity and risk associated with urbanisation of rural environments.
Descriptive research of current burden of non-communicable disease.
Historical trends in mortality from cardiovascular disease.
Modelling the current and future burden of non communicable disease (with a focus on CVD).
The regulatory environment and risk factors for chronic disease.

Evaluating the connections between public health and environmental sustainability

Systematic reviews of the impact of the food system on environmental sustainability.
Systematic reviews of the impact of travel interventions on health and environmental sustainability.
Modelling projects of the health and environmental impact of nutrition and physical activity interventions.