DR Irja Haapala-Biggs

DR Irja Haapala-Biggs


  • Educational science and teacher training (sustainability, curriculum, home economics, nutrition)
  • Interactive and mobile technologies in health promotion (mobile, computer, weight loss)
  • Intergenerational relations (ageing, workforce development, youth)
  • Nutrition epidemiology (food, nutrition, health, surveillance, survey)
  • Public health nutrition (epidemiology, ageing)



  • Senior Research Fellow on the Dementia in the Public Domain – NHMRC project linked with Cognitive Decline Partnership Centre.

    Irja has worked as a Senior Lecturer in Nutrition in the School of Educational Science and Teacher Education, University of Eastern Finland prior to joining the University of Melbourne, School of Social Policy and Political Science as a Senior Research Fellow on an NHMRC Project: Dementia in the Public Domain.
    Irja completed her first degree, MSc in Clinical Nutrition, at the University of Eastern Finland (Kuopio) in 1992, Teacher’s Diploma in 1995 at the University of Applied Sciences in Jyväskylä, Finland, and her PhD in Nutrition at the Pennsylvania State University, USA in 2001. Through her work, research publications and training in the field of Public Health Nutrition, she is recognised as a Registered Public Health Nutritionist, in the UK since 2004 & Australia since 2013; a Registered Clinical Nutritionist in Finland since 1992, and Registered Occupational Health Care Expert, Finland, since 2008. 

    Irja’s teaching has centred on Nutrition and Public Health Nutrition related topics at several universities across the globe. She has extensive international work experience having worked as a project manager and researcher on several European projects at the Karolinska Institute, Stockholm; a researcher and lecturer at King’s College London; teaching and learning advisor at the Higher Education Academy (HEA) Health Sciences and Practice Subject Centre, London; and senior lecturer at the Swinburne University of Technology in Melbourne. She has worked on academic and non-academic projects in most of the European countries, USA, China and Russia. She continues to work on her research at the University of Eastern Finland and holds and honorary position at the National Ageing Research Institute, Melbourne. 

    Irja’s research publications have focuse   


Member of

  • Australian Nutrition Society. Registered Public Health Nutritionist 2012 -
  • Association for Nutrition, UK. Registered Public Health Nutritionist 2010 -
  • Finnish Institute of Occupational Health. Registered Occupational Health Care Expert 2008 -
  • World Public Health Nutrition Association, Australia. Public Health Nutritionist 2006 -
  • UK Nutrition Society. Registered Nutritionist 2002 -
  • The Association of Clinical and Public Health Nutritionists in Finland. Registered Clinical Nutritionist 1992 -


Selected publications


Education and training

  • PhD Nutr, Pennsylvania State University 2001
  • Teacher Cert, Jyväskylä University of Applied Sciences 1995
  • MSc Clin Nutr, University of Kuopio 1992
  • Secretary, International Business College (El Paso, Texas) 1983