PhD opportunities within ASPIRE2025 tobacco-free research collaboration in New Zealand

ASPIRE2025 welcomes applications from potential doctoral students who want to join an outstanding multi-disciplinary group of New Zealand tobacco control researchers, to undertake a PhD in any one of a very wide range of tobacco-related fields.

Current PhD and Masters opportunities can be found on our Otago website.

We are looking for top students who love to research and write, and who would like to study with the University of Otago in Wellington, Christchurch or Dunedin. Supervision is available from researchers with expertise in public health, medicine, public policy, marketing, and Maori Studies. Current evidence of persistant inequalities for Māori and Pacific suggest that the emphasis for research needs to focus on these populations. For that reason ASPIRE2025 are particularly interested to hear from Māori and Pacific researchers.

Successful applicants will join a productive and collegial research team whose work is recognised across the world. We offer excellent support to talented students wishing to work in this important and fulfilling field.

We have active research projects in many aspects of tobacco control research and so it is worth enquiring with us if you have particular ideas for a research project to see if it might be possible to pursue these.

Our current major funded research projects include:

The NZ ITC project (PI = Richard Edwards) which is following a cohort of New Zealand smokers (part of the international ITC project)

The TAKe project which is following a cohort of Maori smokers recruited from Māori providers (PI = Anaru Waa)

The E-cigarette information project, which uses a mixed methods approach to explore uptake of e-cigarettes and the information that would promote uptake among smokers while deterring uptake among non-smokers.

ASPIRE also has major research themes examining the following topic areas and PhD topics are likely to be available in each of these areas:

  • Tobacco supply and retailing. Using mixed methods approaches we have examined stakeholders’ responses to tobacco supply measures, estimated public reactions, evaluated recently introduced measures, and explored changing retail environments as ENDS become more widely available.
  • Smokefree communications. Although investment in mass media programmes to reduce smoking uptake and cue cessation has declined, ASPIRE has called on the government to fund more extensive smokefree campaigns. Our work has examined how different smokefree messages could influence overall behavior and responses from specific sub-groups.
  • Denormalisation. Increasingly progressive policy measures are expected to stimulate and reinforce reductions in smoking prevalence.  However, denormalisation may have unintended consequences, including stigma, loss of self-efficacy, and, ironically, reduced intentions to quit. Our work is probing how NZ’s robust policy environment has affected smokers’ perceptions of smoking and smoking practices.
  • Tobacco products. Although policies have influenced the cost, marketing and availability of tobacco products, few have directly addressed tobacco products themselves. ASPIRE researchers are examining new products, including ENDS, innovations to existing tobacco, such as low nicotine cigarettes, and changing usage patterns, including increasing use of RYO tobacco.

These and our other current or proposed projects provide opportunities for research student projects. Please see our latest Annual Report  for details of existing projects.

Important information to note:

  • There are no specific funded PhD positions at this time, but competitive scholarships are available from the University of Otago, and other sources. The New Zealand Government funds the competitive New Zealand International Doctoral Research Scholarships programme, and invites applications from international students with A or A+ academic backgrounds.
  • Acceptance to the PhD program will depend on the quality of the candidate and the supervisory capacity.
  • Please carefully read and familiarise yourself with the University of Otago’s entry requirements for International Students wishing to complete a PhD  before making contact with your desired supervisor.

Contact us

To make further enquiries please email, including your area of interest if possible, and we will get one of our theme leaders to contact you as soon as possible