Evidence for action on cold, damp and mould in Australian homes

Project Details

NHMRC Ideas Grant funded from 2021-2024. It is an unstated truth that the stock-standard housing that the majority of Australians occupy is not designed to withstand extremes of temperature. The normalisation of the poor quality of our housing means that problems such as unhealthy indoor temperatures, mould and damp in homes during wintertime are, to-date, under recognised. However, as much as one quarter of Australia households are estimated to have damp and mould in their homes, and emerging research confirms that there is likely also a high prevalence of cold housing across the temperate climates. Such addressable housing related problems make an unquantified but potentially sizeable contribution to the burden of poor health in Australia in terms of respiratory and cardiovascular disease. People with underlying health conditions, elderly people and socio-economically disadvantaged people, are the hardest ‘hit’ by inadequate housing conditions. Yet we do not know if the burden of health arising from this set of circumstances is high enough to warrant a wide-scale intervention. It seems likely however, and if so, housing remediation could make savings to the health budget and substantially improve the quality of life of many Australians. We will identify gaps in evidence on the causal relationships between cold, damp and mould, and respiratory and cardiovascular conditions in Australia. We will use this information to parameterise simulation models (drawing of Global Burden of Disease methods) to estimate the health burden. We will use these models to estimate the effect of known interventions to reduce cold, damp and mould.

Research Opportunity - PhD Scholarship

Primary supervisor:  
Professor Rebecca Bentley

An exciting opportunity for a PhD candidate to undertake a project solving the critical public health problem of mould in Australian homes and its impact on health.

The study will involve a review of the relationship between mould and health, primary research on the measurement and prevalence of mould, and developing an empirical model to estimate the benefit to population health of minimum standards that eliminate mould in rental housing in Australia.

This PhD scholarship sits within the experienced Centre for Research Excellence in Healthy Housing team, in the Melbourne School of Population and Global Health. See an example of our recent article published in The Conversation.

Expression of Interest form

Expressions of Interest close on 30 June 2022

Please forward your EOI form to Rebecca Bentley: brj@unimelb.edu.au


Research Group

Healthy Housing

Key Contact

For further information about this research, please contact the research group leader.

Department / Centre

Centre for Health Policy

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