Understanding implementation effectiveness of school-based physical activity interventions in Australia and Internationally

There is a major knowledge gap in the evaluation of both intervention effectiveness and implementation in diverse school-based settings.Successful implementation of interventions outside of controlled research conditions is a complex process, often influenced by contextual and setting-specific factors affecting intervention uptake, delivery and sustainability. Understanding how to implement interventions in practice, whilst retaining their effectiveness, is critical to achieving population-level health improvement.

This PhD will use data pooled from school-based physical activity interventions being implemented internationally at scale. The aim is to identify common barriers and facilitators to implementation, as well as the core program elements and delivery systems of these interventions that are effective in different contexts. The policy and environmental contexts from these different states and countries will provide valuable insights into common and unique barriers and facilitators to implementation. This PhD will also provide the opportunity to collect new data and collaborate internationally.

Aim of the project

To identify key factors contributing to implementation effectiveness at scale, using pooled data from Australian and international school-based interventions. Key barriers and facilitators to implementation, as well as adaptations and identification of core program elements related to effectiveness will be compared.


The successful applicant will be working with Dr Harriet Koorts (Primary supervisor), Professor Anna Timperio and Professor Jo Salmon from IPAN.


Applicants must hold a Bachelor’s degree with Honours or a Master’s degree with a substantial research component, or equivalent, in education, population health (including health promotion), implementation science, public health physical activity and/or exercise and sport science. Previous research or practice-based experience in the education system, intervention implementation/evaluation, and/or health policy is desirable but not essential.

Interested students must be eligible for enrolment in a PhD program at Deakin University and eligible to apply for an Australian Postgraduate Award or equivalent. Please refer to the entry pathways to higher degrees by research for further information. We will work with suitably qualified applicants to apply for scholarship funding.

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