“Max Up” Trial – Maximising uptake of lung cancer screening and smoking cessation outcomes

Project opportunity

This Earmarked Scholarship project is aligned with a recently awarded Category 1 research grant. It offers you the opportunity to work with leading researchers and contribute to large projects of national significance.

Lung cancer screening (LCS) is already delivering mortality benefits in the US. Lung cancer screening is poised to become the fourth National cancer screening program in Australia following the highly positive recommendations of Cancer Australia’s 2020 report and Federal budget inclusion 2021/22.

However, important implementation questions remain. Two of the most pressing are:

  1. How do we best reach the target population? People who smoke are at the highest risk of lung cancer and stand to gain the most from screening. However, they are less likely to engage with screening than people who do not smoke, or who formerly smoked. Maximising engagement with the target population is fundamental to LCS success.
  2. How do we best integrate smoking cessation with lung cancer screening? Quitting smoking for seven years has the same lung cancer mortality benefit as screening for three years. Smoking cessation is an important driver of lung cancer screening cost-effectiveness. Screenees who smoke may be more motivated to quit than their general population counterparts, but the most effective way to use this ‘teachable moment’ is unclear. Maximising smoking cessation outcomes is fundamental to LCS success.

Integrating smoking cessation with lung cancer screening has distinct synergies and will yield improved primary prevention and screening outcomes. However, it remains uncertain how best to achieve this and is therefore an area of intense international research focus.

Using an RCT design, our proposed research is novel and to our knowledge, world-first.

Our aims are to investigate the effectiveness and cost-effectiveness of:

  1. recruiting participants to lung cancer screening via Quitline
  2. intensive tailored quit support vs standard care on smoking outcomes amongst lung cancer screening participants.

This work will inform models of care that will impact lung cancer screening and smoking cessation policy in Australia and internationally.

The candidate

The successful candidate, guided by the supervising team, will assist with project management including coordinating trial sites including multiple community lung cancer screening sites and Quitline, ethics applications, participant information forms and consents, protocols and standard operating procedures, assist with Quitline educational materials, organise site visits and monthly meetings with the trial team, manage data quality control and assurance processes, undertake preliminary statistical analysis with a biostatistician, produce an 80,000-word thesis and complete an oral examination. The expectation is for multiple peer-reviewed papers in ranking medical journals and presentations at national and international scientific meetings.

The Team

The MaxUp team has broad multidisciplinary expertise across lung cancer screening, smoking cessation/tobacco control, clinical trials, qualitative and modelling research, translation, policy and advocacy. The team has successfully mentored many research higher degree students from a wide variety of backgrounds.

Scholarship value

As a scholarship recipient, you'll receive: 

  • living stipend of $32,192 per annum tax free (2023 rate), indexed annually
  • tuition fees covered
  • single Overseas Student Health Cover (OSHC)


Associate Professor Henry Marshall

Faculty of Medicine

Email: h.marshall@uq.edu.au

Preferred educational background

Your application will be assessed on a competitive basis.

We take into account your

  • previous academic record
  • publication record
  • honours and awards
  • employment history.

A working knowledge of clinical trials, project management, and database management would be of benefit to someone working on this project.

The applicant will demonstrate academic achievement in the field(s) of medical, nursing, allied health, behavioural or public health science and the potential for scholastic success.

A background or knowledge of smoking cessation/tobacco control is highly desirable.

Latest commencement date

If you are the successful candidate, you must commence by Research Quarter 2, 2024. You should apply at least 3 months prior to the research quarter commencement date.

If you are an international applicant, you may need to apply much earlier for visa requirements.

How to apply

You apply for this project as part of your PhD program application.

View application process