Higher Degree Research Office Newsletter
Macquarie University
HDR Support & Development
Fostering critical, reflexive practice in research training
Presenting...You & Your Research
Message from the Dean, HDR - Prof. Nick Mansfield

As researchers, we're driven by passion to discover new things or solve problems. What we forget is that research transforms us not only by extending our skills but also enriching our sense of who we are and what we can do. When presenting your research, you are not only educating people about your topic, but showcasing your own capabilities. Often because we're so focussed on the research itself, we are't aware of the skills it has taught us. It is this broad transformation that makes HDR graduates ideal employees in workplaces looking for creative and ground-breaking thinking. The aim of this issue is to show you how others have communicated their research and presented themselves to different audiences. We hope to give you ideas about how to both communicate your research while projecting your own unique qualities and strengths.

3MT Finals

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Uche Ngwaba, Faculty of Arts, 2015 Macquarie University 3MT Runner Up 

Join us this September for one of Macquarie's most anticipated annual HDR events: the Three Minute Thesis (3MT) Competition. 3MT is an international competition that celebrates the exciting research conducted by PhD candidates all around the world.

As the title suggests, contestants have to communicate their research to a non-specialist audience in three brief minutes using just one slide. Not easy!

At Macquarie's 3MT competition this year, you will hear and learn about a breathtaking range of research endeavours across 5 faculties: Science and Engineering, Arts, Human Sciences, Medicine and Health Sciences, and Business and Economics.

All contestants have practised very, very hard to quality for the Macquarie University Finals. They have spent weeks, even months, drafting, distilling, reworking and rehearsing their three minute pitch to anyone who would listen to them. Their time to shine is now just round the corner!

The winner of the Macquarie University 3MT Finals will go on to compete in the prestigious Asia-Pacific 3MT Competition, held at the University of Queensland.

We invite you to come watch and support our brightest and bravest PhD researchers showcase their innovative research to the wider community. You can make your vote count too by participating in the People's Choice ballot!

MQ 3MT Finals

Date: Monday 17 September
Time: 1:30-3pm
venue: Macquarie Theatre

Registrations are essential

RSVP: September 10

The Mindful Researcher

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One of the hardest parts of doing a research degree is giving your attention to the thesis each day. While students may face many kinds of obstacles, it is the ordinary experience of being with one’s work and oneself that often presents the greatest challenge.

This four-part workshop series focuses on the role that awareness and our states of mind play in the research experience. It looks closely at the mind states – both positive and challenging – that students commonly report, and explores how these relate to experiences of self, research practice and the wider university culture.

The workshops are open to any MRes and PhD candidates interested in building a more balanced and sustainable research practice and improving the quality of their attention.

To register: https://myRDC.mq.edu.au

Enquiries: [email protected]
Which Wall Will Fall Next?

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Michael Eze, a first-year PhD student, will represent Macquarie University at the Falling Walls Lab Australia challenge in Canberra this month.

The Falling Walls Lab is an international forum that promotes and connects early career scientists and entrepreneurs from all fields by asking “Which walls will fall next?”. At the Australian event, hosted by the Australian Academy of Science, I will be competing against 19 other participants, from around the country, for the chance to represent Australia at the Falling Walls Lab Finale in Berlin. I will have 3 minutes to convey how my research uses a combination of plants and microbes to “Break through the wall of hydrocarbon remediation”. I’m excited that I have the opportunity present my research to a wide audience, which includes academics, industry representatives and the public. In preparing for this competition I am grateful that I attended the Conference Presentation for Science and Medicine Course which helped me summon confidence and hone my presentation skills. I am grateful for the ongoing support of my supervisor, Prof. Simon George without which this exciting opportunity would not be possible.
Reflections: Newly confirmed Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander HDR student Dr Liesa Clague 

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Newly confirmed Indigenous HDR student Dr Liesa Clague (centre of photo) reflects on her Macquarie University research journey and offers some advice for indigenous undergrads contemplating a research pathway.

What’s your name and who’s your mob? My name is Liesa Clague I am a descendant of the Yaegl peoples on my mother’s side from North Coast, New South Wales and a descendant of Celtic, Manx on my father’s side from Isle of Man.

My motivations were my (Ngarraa) family, my grandfather who had always encouraged me to discover new understanding and develop my knowledge, and who encouraged me to be “me” by building a trust in my own ability. My Mum (Joyce) for her cultural foundation and connectedness to learning, inquiry, critical thinking and Gan’na and my daughters inspiring me with their resilience through the tough and joyous times.

My research project entitled: Gan’na: Listening to the Perspectives of Primary School Students on their School-Based Gardens -  examined the significance of school-based gardens in primary schools.

What were your key findings? The research provided valuable insights for a range of needs, addressing a sense of well-being, perceiving the garden  as a safe-haven, developing deeper connections to a cultural way of learning, and family connections for students.

The research methodology was based on Aboriginal principle of ‘Gan’na’, a lifelong skill that develops. Where all participants had to opportunity to contribute and give voice to and acknowledge what their School Based Gardens (SBGs) meant to them by giving respect and depth to how I as a researcher could engage in the process of research.

What was your research journey like at Macquarie? There were times in the research journey where I found myself having to be assertive when it got rough and making a choice about changing supervisors. I had to take ownership of the research, because it was designed and created from my knowledge, I had to make choices to move forward. The team of supervisors of Associate Professor Neil Harrison, Dr Katherine Stewart and Dr Caroline ‘Carlie’ Atkinson (Jiman -Bundjalung) my country woman, living on country, who inspired me to develop and grow in knowledge and understanding. THANK YOU!!!

I would like to acknowledge my family of PhD students who made the experience of doing Higher Degree Research at Macquarie University enjoyable, Dr Khyiah Angel, Dr Michael Stevenson, Dr Erin Mackenzie, Mark Gronow and Christine Young who were very supportive, encouraging, we cultivated a great rapport and clear understanding of our experiences.

I would like to pay special tribute to the principals of each of the schools, teachers, the Aboriginal Education Officers (AEOs), and students, community members and the AEOs, in Western Sydney who connected me with the South West Sydney AEOs so that I could do the research.

Any words of advice for indigenous researchers just starting on their HDR journey? Make sure you have support networks, whether they are (Ngarraa) family and extended family who make it manageable, other PhD students, close friends who I played hockey with and family friends who knew me as a young adult and knew my daughters.

Hackathon Profiles - Presenting to Industry

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This month we spoke to two MQ PhD students, Seyed Mohssen Ghafari and Shahpar Yakhchi, who won Challenge 2 in the MQ Big Data Society Hackathon in July about their experience in participating in this event.

Seyed and Shahpar, originally from Iran, are completing their PhD studies in the Department of Computing and are also the Social Media Director and the Female Ambassador respectively in the MQ Big Data Society Society founder Amin Beheshti, who also happens to be their PhD supervisor, encouraged them to take part in the event and they both agreed that the Hackathon gave them an opportunity to be exposed to industry with Microsoft, Yellowfin, SAS and Engenisis as event sponsors.

In addition to building relationships with industry during the event other benefits listed included; practicing solving real world problems, using workplace software tools provided by sponsors and building team work skills and accountability. Attending industry sponsor led workshops on discipline related topics, both Seyed and Shahpar highly recommend other students to get involved in such events, especially the next hackathon in late September on Blockchain.

Having previously worked in industry, Seyed and Shahpar said they find these events helpful for considering their future workplace options and building upon their professional networks.

HDR Supervision Enhancement

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Dr Wu Yi Zheng (Postdoctoral Research Fellow – Centre for Health Systems and Safety Research),  Dr Reidar Lystad (Postdoctoral Research Fellow – Centre for Health Care Resilence and Implementation Science), Dr Lucinda McRobb (Postdoctoral Research Fellow – Neurosciences), Dr Rae-Anne Hardie (Postdoctoral Research Fellow – Centre for Health Systems and Safety Research), Dr Emily Don (Lecturer – Biomedical Operations and Teaching)

Macquarie University has introduced a new HDR Supervision Fellowship Program (SFP) to support professional, early career researchers and academic staff with student support and/or supervisory roles. The first Associate Fellow cohort have now completed their training and are working towards submitting their claims for fellowship status.

Training has included: Supervision Policy and Procedures, HDR supervision and training support in the Digital Age, Candidature Management, Research Ethics and Integrity, HDR Career Development Learning & Employability and Building Evidence of Good Practice.

Expressions of interest are now open from colleagues who wish to learn more (including Departments and Faculties presentations) and/or enrol in our 2019 program:

Email: [email protected]

For more information about the new HDR SFP and HDR Supervision Policy and Procedures follow the links provided below:

HDR Supervision Fellowship Program

HDR Supervision Policy and Procedures

HDR Mentors
MRes Y2 Panel session

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Although research can be a lonely journey, research candidates need to know that there is a support network around them. This network includes supervisors, MRes advisors, Learning and Teaching Services, and your peers. Don't forget that your peers - from across the university - can give you strength and some much needed energy to get you over the finishing line. 

On 24 August, HDR Mentors held their annual MRes Year 2 Panel session for MRes candidates submitting their thesis this year. Chaired by Livia Gerber, the panel members Anh Ton-Nu (FHS), Phuong Le (FBE), Dragana Stosic (FoA) and Sourav (Rony) Das (FSE), shared their experiences and reflections on various critical aspects relating to their personal MRes thesis submission. This experience sharing aimed to normalise the research experience with its highs and lows. The panel also discussed what life after thesis submission looked like for them, and - given the pressure of achieving high marks to continue on the research pathway - they offered advice on various aspects of the journey ahead. 

Furthermore, the session current MRes Y2 candidates the opportunity to ask burning questions, demystify some myths, and exchange some know-how around submission challenges.

HDR Mentors would like to take this opportunity to say thank you all the attendees, and to wish all our MRes candidates best of luck on their research thesis submission. Never forget that the research community is here to help and support you along your research voyage.
Important Notices
An Introduction to the Slow Academia Movement

Academic life is increasingly defined by speed, productivity and measurement. This culture of speed expresses the business-like aspect of the university, which focusses on increasing output and quantifying success. But is it commensurate with the sense of time and space needed to pursue research? Does it support the well-being of staff and students within the university? Researchers in the Slow Academia Movement argue that the ‘time crunch’ is both a personal and institutional issue and advocate nothing less than a revolution to address it – a revolution in the way we think and write, and talk and teach.

HDR Learning Skills is collaborating with the Faculty of Arts HDR Admin to host a seminar on the Slow Academia Movement. Three Macquarie academics will debate the merits of slowness and discuss the challenges that HDR students, ECRs and untenured academics face in adopting it as part of their academic practice.

This opportune discussion will take place on Tues 4th of Sept, 9.30-11am in 12SW 226. For more information and to register for this event please click here.
HDR Mentors present HDR Café - Meet your HDR Mentors

HDR Café for the month of September is under the motto "Meet your HDR Mentors" where new HDR candidates can come mingle with our HDR Mentors. This is an opportunity for HDR candidates to make new connections & to find new friends. We have received some burning questions on various aspects of HDR life from new HDR candidates and we hope that through this event, HDR Mentors from different disciplines will be able to offer their insights on these topics. 

If you are a new HDR candidate or know of one, do come and join this event. You don't need to have a question or an issue - come as you are! We look forward to meeting you!

Research Development Calendar

We are excited to announce that from Monday 27 August the University's Researcher Development Calendar (RDC) became available to all Higher Degree Research candidates.

What’s new?
The RDC …
  • Is a central calendar for all researchers at Macquarie, from Masters of Research through to academic staff;
  • Replaces the current HDR workshops system but, being based on the HDR workshops system, retains many of the same features;
  • From now on you will be able to view researcher development events for all Macquarie researchers and will use the search filters to find events for HDRs.
  • Enables researchers to see the majority of researcher development events in one place (rather than needing to search across several websites).
  • Enables researchers to manage their registrations through the RDC registration function.
Why change?
Macquarie is moving toward a more coordinated approach to the planning and delivery of researcher development. Under the PVC Research Integrity and Development a project team has developed the RDC as the first phase in this approach. Other areas of the university will be provided with access to the RDC in a staged approach to ensure stability of the platform.

How does it work?
The RDC is accessible via the URL myrdc.mq.edu.au
Find online resources at goto.mq/myrdc

R U OK Day

Thursday September 13 is R U OK?Day.

R U OK? Day is a national day of action dedicated to reminding everyone that any day is the day to ask, “Are you ok?” and support those struggling with life. 

Taking part can be as simple as learning R U OK?’s four steps so you can have a conversation that could change a life

Train Station Closure

The Macquarie University Train Station will be closing on September 30, 2018.

• Closure is expected to be between six and seven months
• This shutdown will affect all staff, students and visitors to and from the University - 
Macquarie University Train Station Closure
Pitch Palace - Macquarie University Incubator

Entries are now open for [email protected] Australia 2.0, an exciting initiative which gives entrepreneurs the opportunity to meet the people who can help make their business dreams become a reality.

This November, [email protected] Australia 2.0 will see the best entrepreneurs from Victoria, Queensland, New South Wales, Western Australia and South Australia, come together to battle it out in a ‘pitch off’.

Founded in 2014 by Prince Andrew, the Duke of York, [email protected] guides, helps and connects entrepreneurs and early-stage businesses with potential supporters, including CEOs, influencers, mentors and business partners.

For a behind-the-scenes look at what’s involved in the process, take a look at Crewmojo's Blog from last year. 

HDR:Behind the Scenes
Frank SongHDR Academic Communication Specialist 

Frank is part of the HDR Support & Development team and is located in the Faculty of Business and Economics 

What do you like most about your role at MQ?
My job focuses on facilitating academic literacy development of HDR students. I find it very motivating because it allows me to work together with students on crafting their research ideas. And I build up experience from this job which I think can benefit many other students.

What inspires you?
I get inspirations from my travelling experiences, conversations with my family, friends or colleagues and many other things happening in my life. I find going to a new place or country and meeting new people often give me new angles to re-look at what I think I know already. And I appreciate such different perspectives through which I may understand things better.

If you could choose anyone, who would you pick as a mentor?
I believe people all have their strengths and experience which are worth learning from. If we learn a little bit from people around us, we will be learning from more ‘mentors’ than a particular one.
Find all HDR Workshops Here
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Preparing CVs/Resumes and Job Applications
Friday 7 September 2018, 11.00am-1.00pm

Creating effective CVs/resumes and job applications requires focus, preparation and time. This workshop will assist participants to develop an understanding of what is needed in a job application in order to make a positive impact. There will be a brief overview of practical aspects of CV/resume formats including layout, fonts, headings and language used.

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Meet Your HDR Mentors
Friday 7 September 2018, 3.00pm-4.30pm

This event gives new HDR candidates the opportunity to meet our mentors with an aim of sharing and normalising research experiences and challenges. It will allow you to make new connections & to find new friends. We hope that by meeting lots of different mentors from different disciplines, you will see that there is more than just one mentor out there for you. Your whole HDR community is here for you!

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Build your Research Networks Now
Wednesday 12 Sept 2018, 12.30-2.00pm
This workshop aims to demonstrate to HDR students, the benefit of building their networks and contacts with external organisations now. It will start with the rationale for this, in the new research funding environment, and then provide realistic ways of initiating contacts and practical suggestions for how to build relationships with external organisations and partners.

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Survey Design Using Qualtrics
Tuesday 18 September 2018, 10.00am -1.00pm
This 3-hour workshop is designed to give participants an introduction to the practice of designing and implementing a survey for research purposes.
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Thesis Formatting (Mac)
Friday 21 September 2018, 9.15am-4.00pm

Formatting long documents with Microsoft Word can sometimes be challenging. This course will give you the right tools to handle large, multi-page documents, such as your thesis.

Register here

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Effective Job Interview Skills
Tuesday 25 September 2018, 10.00am-12.00pm

Using a narrative model, this workshop aims to assist participants with identification of their strengths, interests, values and skills in relation to the position for which they will be interviewed.

Register here

HDR Dynamic Duos
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Liesa Clague

How did you come to know each other?

I was wanting to have an Aboriginal Adjunct supervisor from the beginning of my PhD.

I thought contacting Dr Judy Atkinson would be a good option and talking to her I was disappointed that she was unable to supervise me, I was so upset, that Judy said she would ring me back in 5. Dr Judy Atkinson rang back to ask me if I would consider her daughter Caroline aka Carlie to step in. I was so excited that I was getting someone from home, and on Country, because I was embedding an Aboriginal philosophy and practice into my research which I did with Gan’na.* So, having Carlie on Country connected and grounded me in my research.

What do you appreciate most about each other?

Ditto, agree with Carlie I appreciated her sound discussions. I loved a good laugh and we did share many. It was overwhelming at times but Carlie’s generosity of time and work ethic that kept me going added to that of Neil Harrison and Katherine Stewart.

What are your shared interests?

As Carlie has stated we were very in tune with our ideas, sharing many common interests and the the PhD.  We were both clearly focused on family first, our cultural backgrounds were aligned and our desire to embed and share cultural ways of knowing, being and doing within research inquiry and methodology proved to be a connection that I hope we will continue to share in the future.

What have you gained through your collaboration?

I needed the sounding board of Carlie’s clear thinking and I know she spoke to her Mum on occasions and this just felt that there was a lot of integrity of how my research was supervised. There was experience of key people throughout the process even though I had not physically met Carlie or Judy Atkinson I felt their energy and positive guidance.

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Dr Caroline ‘Carlie’ Atkinson

How did you come to know each other?

I first met Liesa at the end of 2014 via phone and e-mail when she was trying to secure a cultural supervisor for her PhD.  We did not meet in person until her graduation in 2018 however the relationship we built via phone was so solid and genuine that I felt I had already met her in person!

What do you appreciate most about each other?

There is so much that I appreciate about Liesa that I would need to write a book! However the two things that stick out to me are her incredible sense of humour and her unwavering integrity – two beautiful qualities which has made the PhD journey with her a joy.

What are your shared interests?

From the moment I talked with Liesa it was clear that we shared many common interests inside and outside the PhD.  We were both clearly focused on family first, our cultural backgrounds were aligned and our desire to embed and share cultural ways of knowing, being and doing within research inquiry and methodology proved to be a connection that I hope we will continue to share in the future.

What have you gained through your collaboration?
For me personally, my journey with Liesa through her PhD has reminded me of just how important it is for our Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students to have really solid cultural supervision, something that I did not receive when I was doing my own PhD and would have benefited from enormously.  I have also gained an insight into the cultural relevance of Photovoice, a technique I was not familiar with before I commenced supervision.  Working with the principle of Gan’na – hearing, listening, feeling, thinking and understanding - deep listening, Photovoice provided a gentle, respectful mechanism for allowing Liesa to capture the voices of her research participants by allowing them to make authentic connections through their meaning making that honours an Indigenous research methodology.  This was a beautiful process that was an honour to see in action.
Interested in being featured in HDR Dynamic Duo?

The HDR Support & Development team is seeking contributions to the HDR Dynamic Duos section of our newsletter. The people featured might be… HDR candidate & supervisor, HDR Mentor & HDR Mentee, HDR Candidate and Industry placement supervisor.

If this is of interest to you, please head to our website for further information on how to contribute.

Researcher Support Blogs

Canada & USA

Cheeky Scientist (Isaiah Hankel) - http://cheekyscientist.com/ Cheeky Scientist is a training platform for academics who want to transition into non-academic careers. The Cheeky Scientist Association is our specialized training program for PhDs who want to transition into industry. 

From PhD to Life (Jennifer Polk) - http:/fromphdtolife.com helping graduate students and PhDs achieve their career and life goals launching meaningful-to-them careers

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