School of Public Health and Community Medicine

Potential Research Topics

The School has a wide range of research expertise in the field of Public Health and Health Services Management. Research candidates seeking to undertake a PhD, Masters by Research or Master of Philosophy can look for potential research topics through the following resources:

Student Thesis Titles

Social Research

Global Health

SPHCM Research Expertise

Infectious Diseases Epidemiology

SPHCM Research Projects

Indigenous Health

Academic Research Profiles

Primary Health Care

SPHCM Biennial Report



Potential PhD Projects for students

NHMRC Postgraduate Scholarships 2019 (PhD or Research Masters)

Screening mammography and over-diagnosis of breast cancer

A well-qualified supervisory team is interested in contacting possible applicants for a NHMRC postgraduate research scholarship on the above subject to commence in 2019.

In Australia (NSW), over-diagnosis of breast cancer associated with screening mammography has been estimated to be 30-42%. However, in other population screening settings, screening-related over-diagnosis of breast cancer appears absent, including in New Zealand. Breast cancer is determined by a pathology finding, and the absence of evidence for breast cancer over-diagnosis in New Zealand may be related to differences in how pathologists classify a lesion as a cancer in Australia compared to New Zealand. Pathologists in Australia and New Zealand belong to the Royal College of Pathologists of Australasia. As part of pathologist continuing medical education, College members regularly partake in testing, and thus it should be possible to ascertain whether test results of pathologists involved in appraising breast tissue differ substantially according to whether they work in New Zealand or Australia. This comparison may explain the strong evidence for over-diagnosis occurring in Australia, but not in New Zealand. The research project involves obtaining past College pathology test results of breast tissue (de-identified except for age, sex, country of residence Australia/New Zealand at the time of the test, and other specified variables), and comparison of rates of classifying test sample lesions as invasive breast cancer between Australian and New Zealand-based pathologists.

How to apply: Please contact Professor Richard Taylor before applying and send in an 1 page CV.


Phd Opportunity - CBRNe Emergency Response Health Systems

Emergency Medical Response system performance and optimisation in high risk, high consequence CBRNe scenarios – Hybrid Modelling in 3D environments

A PhD opportunity is available for an independent and self-motivated Australian domestic postgraduate student with a 1st Class Honours degree in Computing Science or Mathematical and Statistical Sciences. This project is supported by Leidos Australia Pty Ltd, a leading international provider of CBRNe defensive, medical, civilian response and military response systems, the School of Public Health and Community Medicine at UNSW Sydney, and the Faculty of the Built Environment at UNSW Sydney.

Supervisory Team: Associate Professor David Heslop (School of Public Health and Community Medicine), Professor Sisi Zlatanova (Faculty of the Built Environment)

Closing Date: Please send an updated CV and a cover letter explaining your suitability for the role to Assoc Prof David Heslop on or before the 25th April 2018.

pdf  See project details


PhD project using time series analysis

Dr David Muscatello

I am interested in research that answers important public health questions, such as how effective are vaccines at preventing illness and death. Time series analysis is one statistical method that can be applied to these questions. There is a substantial amount of time series data available from national statistical agencies. I would work with you to see if we can develop a project that is suited to your skill level and areas of interest. If you have a connection with a particular country, we may be able to develop a research idea if there is data freely available from your country.

pdf  See project details