A practice change for patients with severe chronic, clinically unexplained gastrointestinal symptoms: A randomised, controlled intervention to assess efficacy and cost-effectiveness

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.

Many people who suffer with unexplained gastrointestinal symptoms end up under the care of a Gastroenterologist at a hospital who sees the patient under the traditional face to face model of care. Recent advances with the emergence of the COVID-19 pandemic have shown that it is possible for clinicians to deliver an integrated care approach (medical, diet, psychological and exercise physiology) using technology such as telehealth. This research project aims to test whether these modifications of care delivery are effective. Patients  with chronic unexplained gastrointestinal symptoms will initially be assessed in Phase 1 for wheat intolerance and if identified as non celiac wheat sensitive can be offered a standardised treatment. Patients who continue to experience symptoms after Phase 1 (assessment of gluten) will then be randomised to a phase 2 pre-consultation intervention including  a) standardised dietician supervised intervention, b) exercise intervention, c) internet delivered cognitive behavior therapy or d) standard care. Patients who continue to experience symptoms after Phase 2  will then be randomized to one of two interventions in Phase 3 including (a) consultant-led outpatient clinic or b) a comprehensive integrated care clinic. Patients who are randomized to the consultant-led outpatient clinic will be offered to attend the comprehensive integrated care clinic after a period of 3 months.

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)


Professor Gerald Holtmann

Faculty of Medicine

Email: g.holtmann@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 multidisciplinary treatments for functional gastrointestinal disorders would be of benefit to someone working on this project.

The applicant will demonstrate academic achievement in the field(s) of exercise physiology and the potential for scholastic success.

A background or knowledge of exercise interventions and gastrointestinal symptoms is highly desirable.

Latest commencement date

If you are the successful candidate, you must commence by Research Quarter 1, 2023. 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