Higher Degree Research Office Newsletter
Macquarie University
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HDR Support & Development
Fostering critical, reflexive practice in research training
Feeling a part of MQ's HDR Community
Message from the Dean, HDR - Prof. Nick Mansfield
A university like Macquarie is a good-size town with about 50,000 citizens. Yet, because they are coming and going and preoccupied with their work, there are many challenges in making Macquarie's citizens feel connected to one another. This is especially true for HDR candidates, who are busy with their projects, under time pressure and have many professional and personal responsibilities. The aim of this issue of the Newsletter is to let you know more about how HDR candidates can connect with the university and one another, in ways that will help them progress academically and have a positive and healthy personal experience.
HDR Mentors Community

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I have often heard from the HDR Mentors about the joyful feelings that they have experienced while walking around MQ - every ten feet, they meet someone that knows them. The people that they meet could be from another faculty or even a different department!

The HDR Mentors always highlight to me, how wonderful it is to connect with HDR peers and to know the outstanding individuals behind the amazing research conducted at MQ. They find it meaningful to share their research experiences; through lending an ear and providing support to peers, they provide a sense of belonging to the HDR candidates, linking them to the greater research community. To connect with the HDR Mentor community email; [email protected]
Kim Tan, HDR Mentors, HDR Support & Development 
HDR Research Writing Groups

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Research writing groups are a great way for HDR candidates to improve their writing and communication skills through giving and receiving constructive peer-feedback. Since forming a group in May, FSE MRES student Sara Godinez and PHD students Annachiara Codello, Sayantani Chatterje, and Russel Vincent are already experiencing the benefits of participating in a research writing group. Most notably, after receiving peer-feedback on her poster, Sara was awarded the best poster prize at the Department of Biological Sciences HDR Conference. “Research writing groups are a place of learning, support, and friendship,” says Sara. Her fellow group member, Annachiara, adds “this is a group of people who I feel comfortable with sharing my writing”.

For more info or to join a research writing group, email [email protected], providing your name and your department.

HDR Writing Retreat

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Peer pleasure

Thesis writing is a solitary activity, but it doesn’t have to be done alone. In fact, some of the best, most productive writing times can be achieved in the presence of others.

Last month, HDR Learning Skills ran its Winter HDR Writing Retreat, at which 25 PhD and MRes candidates committed three full days to writing their theses together. Although most of the retreat was spent in quiet writing, participants appreciated the collegial atmosphere and just knowing that everyone else was there to get lots of writing done. In the words of some of the attendees:

  • Extremely valuable and productive. It was a great environment to encourage focus and productivity. (Ella, PhD Candidate, Cognitive Science)
  • I am so glad that I went on this [retreat]. It would usually have taken me a couple of weeks to get this amount of writing done. (Andrew, MRes candidate, Psychology)
  • I find these retreats really useful. They provide an imperative to work hard and not be so distracted. I meet other students with interesting projects and eat too many biscuits. The presentations are really useful as I haven't had a lot of writing training. Three days is perfect, I have achieved heaps and the consultation and peer editing sessions were really useful. (Lorraine, PhD candidate, Biological Sciences).
Getting Involved in the HDR Community
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Three Minute Thesis 3MT

Interested in presenting your research to the MQ HDR community and beyond?

Come and find out what the three minute thesis (3MT) competition is all about, how to prepare & present an engaging presentation, what makes a winning entry, and why it's worth your while entering (whether you win or not!).

The session is on Friday, 6 July. 

To find out more, check out the MQ 3MT website or register for the information session here

NOTE: For anyone off-campus, this session will also be livestreamed via the HDR Learning Skills ilearn unit ECHO block. Please register yourself below, and write in the "Special needs" section that you will be logging in remotely, so we can send you the instructions.
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Future STEMM Leaders Commencement

Future STEMM Leaders is a new student-led researcher development program building upon the existing Higher Degree Research (HDR) development programs across Macquarie University and faculty level support for HDR students. Future STEMM Leaders is the brainchild of PhD candidate, Hossai Gul within the Make your Mark on Macquarie - Lead a Project for Change initiative within the Research Enrichment Program (REP). Hossai is supported by REP and the HDR Professional Skills Program.

Applications were invited for the  Future STEMM Leaders program and sixteen candidates were chosen from the FSE, FHS and FMHS. The first session was held on Wednesday 27th July. We look forward to following the progress of the program and encourage other HDR candidates to seek assistance from HDR Support & Development to build connections with others, creating opportunities for themselves and their cohort.
Presenting: HDR Industry Engagement & Placements Manager - Catherine Ennis

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We would like to welcome Catherine Ennis to the team in the newly established role of Higher Degree Research Industry Engagement and Placements Manager.

Catherine has previously worked for the last 4 years in the Faculty of Science and Engineering PACE team as Faculty PACE Manager. Catherine brings her valuable experience and background to this role where she will be working with all relevant stakeholders including staff, students, partners and host organisations in industry and community focused on establishing placements and other industry engagement opportunities for Macquarie University HDR candidates.

One of the 4 key objectives of the MQ Research Development Framework (2015) is to prepare work-ready higher degree research candidates and this new role in the Office of the Dean HDR will assist in the achievement of this goal. This involves broadening and building recognition of the value of Macquarie University HDR candidates and graduates across a range of industry sectors. It is a growing area of interest since the 2016 ACOLA review which also recommended that candidates are provided with opportunities for career-enhancing exposure to industry and the community.

Catherine can be contacted on [email protected] if you have any questions about the role and opportunities you may like to discuss. She is looking forward to hearing from you!

ACHI Fellowship by Training Program delivers real world experience


Five Macquarie University PhD candidates are currently enrolled in the Australasian College of Health informatics Fellowship by Training Program which includes a paid work placement component. Health informatics research PhD candidates, at any stage of their PhD, from any Australasian university, may apply to join.

Current candidates, Mohamed Khalifa, Toby Hodgson, Georgie Kennedy and David Lyell are enrolled in the Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences. Mina Ghaffari is enrolled in the Faculty of Science and Engineering. All are specialising in health informatics. 

Toby is currently completing his first six month paid work placement, a requirement of the program, at the Australian Digital Health Agency. Toby says ‘Obtaining real world experience in a health informatics environment is a valuable part of this program’. Georgie, who is in her second year of the PhD says, ‘The program provides an opportunity to collaborate with other candidates in our areas of research’.

The next intake of candidates will be December 2018. If you are interested in learning more about the program, please contact the Fellowship by Training Program Manager Leanne Bamford Barnes [email protected]

HDR Supervision Enhancement

MQ HDR Supervisor Training and HDR30 records

The 2018 HDR Supervision Orientation Program (HDR30) is offered via one iLearn site for all MQ staff seeking to supervise HDR candidates at MQ:
  • If you were previously on the MQSR, or have completed HDR01, HDR03 or HDR20 you will automatically be granted HDR30 (valid for 4 years) and will be added to the “find my supervisor” website (when available) .
  • All new HDR supervisors must complete a mandatory HDR Supervision Orientation HDR30 (valid for 4 years) before you are added to the “find my supervisor” website (when available). To complete HDR30 you must register via HROnline and self-enrol in iLearn “HDR Supervision Orientation (2018)”
  • All new adjunct supervisors will complete two tasks in the mandatory HDR Supervision Orientation.
  • The time you take to complete the orientation program is up to you, so long as it is completed before mid-December 2018.
For further information the Office of the Dean HDR has produced guidance via its  Q&A about HDR Supervision @ MQ blog site:
I am an established MQ HDR Supervisor
I am new to MQ HDR Supervision

If you have any questions or would like to know more about HDR Supervision Enhancement or our new HDR Supervision Fellowship Program, please email: [email protected].edu.au.
ZOOM Sessions

We are very aware that many HDR candidates are located elsewhere, are rarely able to attend events on campus or may even prefer the online experience. We are working toward providing a range of options for HDR candidates to access HDR Support & Development  offerings and to provide an opportunity engage with each other to share knowledge and experiences, hopefully building a stronger sense of belonging.

We are trialling Zoom as a platform to deliver interactive webinars built around content of our current workshops and we are keen to hear from the HDR cohort about other ideas, platforms or initiatives that would help them engage and learn from the HDR community.

Next scheduled Zoom sessions are  ....

27th July from 11 am to 12 pm:Build your Community/Network via LinkedIn Register here
31st Aug from 2 pm to 3 pm Preparing Effective Job Applications Register here
How to Prepare for a Fellowship Post PhD
Track record building during your PhD

Under the auspices of the HDR Professional Skills Program, Research Services are holding a workshop on Wednesday 18 July 2018 from 12:30 to 2:00 pm in 14SCO 100 Theatrette. The workshop is targeted at current PhD candidates and will provide information and advice on how to apply for an ARC Discovery Early Career Researcher Award and a NHMRC Investigator Grant. Scheme objectives, selection criteria, eligibility, application process and past success rates will be presented for both schemes, as well as guidance on what type of track record applicants will need to be competitive. This workshop is a great information platform to start planning your career post PhD. Register here

Important Notices
Dean's Welcome - Event for new HDR Candidates at MQ

New to MQ HDR? 

The Dean's Welcome is for new HDR Candidates to the MQ Community, and will provide an opportunity to network, meet Faculty HDR staff and learn about the support and development opportunities across campus. Invitations and further information for HDR candidates who commenced at MQ from March 2018 were issued this week (week commencing July 2, 2018).

If you have any questions concerning the event please email [email protected].


Additional workshops can be accessed here
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How to Prepare for a Fellowship post-PhD - track record building your PhD
Wednesday 18 July 2018, 12.30-2.00pm
Research Development Consultants, Courtney Bendall & Ross Hill will present on the ARC Discovery Early Career Research Award scheme and the NHMRC Early Career Fellowship scheme.
Both schemes will be presented including the limits (time and number of times you can apply) and guidance on what type of track record applicants will need to be competitive.

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PGRF Grant Writing Workshop (Round 1, 2019)
Tuesday 24 July 2018 10.00am - 12.00pm

Macquarie University Higher Degree Research candidates are able to apply for funding from the Postgraduate Research Fund (PGRF). Candidates may apply for up to $5000 for activities that add value to their research project. Examples of such activities include a trip to make a conference presentation or visit to a laboratory or archive.

This workshop is for HDR candidates applying for the MQ Postgraduate Research Fund (PGRF) Round 1, 2019 (covering activities between 1/1/19 and 30/06/19). It provides guidance in preparing a grant application that is informative, readable and persuasive.

Information on the PGRF, funding rules and application forms can be downloaded from the HDRO Financial Support page.

Register here. 

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Peer Writing Assistant (PWA) Sessions
Monday & Tuesday 16 & 17 July 2018 12.00-1.00pm
The Peer Writing Assistance Program is designed to support MRES and HDR candidates in managing thesis writing and research-related concerns. All peer writing assistants have undergone training for their role and are current PhD candidates at Macquarie.

Peer Writing Assistants function as a ‘friendly audience’ or ‘fresh pair of eyes’ to help you gain new perspective on your writing or research ideas. They facilitate 30 minute one-on-one consultations and can assist with the following:
  • brainstorm research ideas,
  • work on an existing outline or chapter draft,
  • develop effective academic/research skills,
  • help you refine and strengthen written expression and communication of ideas,
  • explore strategies around study-related issues such as time/project management and writer's block

Click on the time to register for a session

Monday July 16 12.00pm or 12.30pm

Tuesday July 17 12.00pm or 12.30pm

HDR Dynamic Duos
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Md Mohasinul (Mo) Haque
How did you come to know one another?
My research journey started with Linda in 2014, and from the very first day, she started calling me ‘Mo’ and which now has become my official preferred name!

What do you bring to the professional relationship?
Mutual respect, trust, assurance and freedom 

What have you learnt from each other that has helped you grow?

The most important take on for me is ‘self-confidence’! She has always encouraged me to become an independent thinker and researcher! Linda always encourages us to help and learn from each other (lab mates) and grow up as a community! “Together we can”

What have you gained through your collaboration ?
Linda has great managerial capacity. I have learnt from her how to build up and manage a project and follow up on the timeline which immensely helped me in finishing my tasks in due time.
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Dr. Linda Beaumont
How did you come to know one another?
Mo was my first MRes year 2 student. We were thrown in the deep end, and didn’t sink!

What do you bring to the professional relationship?
Encouragement, perspective, and (some) knowledge.

What have you learnt from each other that has helped you grow?
Mo has reminded me of what it is like to be a PhD student. As a supervisor, I think it is incredibly important to remember how steep the learning curve can be, and how comments or criticisms that I take as being part of every-day research can be quite destructive to someone not used to having their work peer-reviewed.

What have you gained through your collaboration?
Inspiration, academic learning, witnessing the transformation of an ECR from someone who had trouble finding his feet to a confident, talented researcher … with a regular pint of good beer and not-so-great pizza along the way.
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.

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