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

The theme of this week's issue is 'Learning from Experience.' One common experience for HDR candidates is that they might feel they're wasting their time if an experiment doesn't work, some literature proves to be poor quality, or a seminar proves irrelevant. This can cause stress if you feel it's wasting precious candidature time. Researchers need to develop skills in identifying quickly what activities are of value and what are not, and to have the courage to drop something that's not productive. But they also need the skill of taking a lesson, however small, from every research experience, including those of your peers, supervisors and wider research community. Even things that don't work out help you understand what your own interests and emphases are, and even how not to do things.

Research might be highly abstract, but what you gain from it is more than just the discovery of new facts and ideas. It also teaches you how to do things and not to do them, and important things about yourself.

Valuable lessons from the 3MT experience

3MT 2018 Finalists 540x260.jpg

2018 Macquarie University Three Minute Thesis (3MT) Competitors, Judges and Master of Ceremony 

So, you’re a PhD candidate and are starting to plan which training courses and events you’re going to invest your precious time in next year. Entering the Three Minute Thesis (3MT) competition is probably the furthest thing on your mind or way down your list. After all, it’s going to suck up a lot of time, it will contribute zero to your thesis or research skills, and publications are the only thing that gets you noticed in academia, right?

Well, according to this year’s 3MT Finalists, that’s not quite true. Taking that brave step to sign up to the 3MT taught them a lot – and these lessons have in fact fast-tracked their learning as emerging researchers. So, what were some of the things our finalist learnt through their 3MT 2018 experience?

For Wai Kuen Chow (3rd place, Medicine and Health Sciences Faculty Heats), preparing for the 3MT this year helped her to refocus: “I got quite lost when I got to the technical side of my [PhD] study. By doing the Three Minute Thesis, I had to take a step back and personalise the reason for doing this research. I’m doing this research not because it’s my study; it’s actually for patients’ better quality of life.”

Julien Millasseau (3rd place in both the Human Sciences Faculty Heats and University Finals) developed a great technique for tailoring his specialist research to suit a lay audience, which he says is “really the point”:
"Every time I did this exercise, I’d say to myself: Okay, you’re telling your grandmother about what you are doing. How would your grandmother feel if you talk about crazy cochlear implants and speech analysis? She would probably fall asleep! But if you can put your work in lay terms, she will definitely understand what you mean."

Dedi Siddiq (Winner, Business and Economics Faculty Heats) learnt how important it is to make his PhD research meaningful for non-specialists: “People can relate to your research if it responds to current societal issues or their own concerns.” Dedi and Lara McGirr (Winner, Arts Faculty Heats and Runner Up, University Finals) both commented that they gained confidence and performance techniques to explain their complex research in a concise and interesting manner to wider audiences.

So, think again. The 3MT is not just for natural orators or stand-up comedians: any PhD candidate can do it! Your thesis will be more contextualised and persuasive, and you’ll learn more than you expect from the experience - and that makes all of you winners!

Juliet Lum
Head, HDR Learning Skills
HDR Mentors: Learn from your peers to 'Submit your Thesis with Confidence'

HDR Mentors540x250px.png

Clueless about how to go about planning your thesis? Wondering how to format your thesis? Confused about the examiners nominations process? Uncertain about what to expect in the final stages of your PhD?

To provide insights into these questions, the HDR Mentors invite you to participate in the discussion forum: Submitting your Thesis with Confidence on 19 October, from 2pm-3:30pm.

We have a panel of experienced PhD HDR Mentors, from a variety of faculties, who recently submitted their theses, and are ready to address these questions and any other doubts you might have.The forum is designed with the objective of sharing and learning from the thesis submission experiences of the panellists at Macquarie University with fellow HDR students.

This is a great opportunity to engage and meet other fellow HDR students and Macquarie’s early stage research community!
IMNIS - Learning from those who have gone before you

Imnis Logo 2 (002).png

We are delighted to advise that 22 PhD candidates from Macquarie University will be taking part in the Industry Mentoring Network in STEM (IMNIS) program over the next 12 months. IMNIS is an award-winning industry-led initiative of the Australian Academy of Technology and Engineering. IMNIS connects motivated PhD students (mentees) in mainly science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) with outstanding high level industry leaders (mentors) in a one year industry mentoring program.

We would like to extend our thanks again to Dr Brad Walsh and Dr Mohamed Khalifa who presented at an information session for interested applicants. Dr Walsh, CEO of Minomic International Ltd, a current IMNIS mentor and Dr Khalifa, PhD Candidate from the Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences, a former IMNIS mentee, shared their experiences and insights with the lucky attendees.

Also a big thank you to the HDR Associate Deans and their faculty staff who promoted it to their students and helped produce this great cohort.

Mentees will now go through a matching process with IMNIS to find a suitable mentor.

Wellbeing: Flexibility and learning from experience

wellbeing october 540x250.jpg

Imagine you are in the air force in WWII.
The budget is tight. Your data team collects information from planes in battle to help decide where to put extra armour. From the data below, what would you do?

Plane Section
Bullet Holes 
per Square Metre
Engine 10
Fuselage 17
Fuel System 15
Rest of Plane 18

The air force wanted to reinforce where planes were hit most. However, Abraham Wald, head of the Statistical Research Group, answered “The armour doesn’t go where the bullet holes are. It goes where the bullet holes aren’t: on the engines.” As good researchers, you may appreciate this answer.

Likewise, improving our mental health often involves being flexible to different interpretations of the data of our lives or going out and capturing new data.
Happy Mental Health Week!

Campus Wellbeing
Level 2, C8A
16 Wally's Walk
Macquarie University, NSW 2109, Australia
T: +61 2 9850 7497 | F: +61 2 9475 1037 | https://students.mq.edu.au/support/wellbeing/counselling-services
HDR Supervision Enhancement

HDR SEP October.png

Expressions of interest February 2019 HDR Supervision Fellowship Program - Associate Fellowship (Training Pathway) (max 20 registrants).

Ideally suited for early career researches, newly appointed academic staff and early career professional staff.

Enquires may be addressed to [email protected]

Aims of the Fellowship Framework
The Macquarie University (MQ) Higher Degree Research (HDR) Supervision Fellowship Framework:

1. Supports the initial and continuing professional development of staff engaged in HDR supervision and support.

2. Supports MQ’s strategic aspiration to provide HDR students with outstanding supervisory expertise and mentoring.

3. Demonstrates to students and other stakeholders the professionalism that MQ staff bring to HDR supervision and support for research training.

4. Recognises the variety and quality of support, training and professional practice which underpins HDR supervision.

5. Facilitates and fosters critically reflective practice in research training.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.
Crowdfund with Ignite

Ignite 540x260.jpg
Struggling to find funds for your passion project? Well there is good news! Thanks to an initiative from the Office of Advancement, staff and students have an opportunity to raise – and contribute – funds for University-based projects, with the launch of Macquarie’s very own crowdfunding platform, Ignite.

Just go to the Ignite website for step by step information on how to submit a project for funding. The Office of Advancement are eager to hear from HDR students who would like to submit a project for crowdfunding.Ideally suited for early career researches, newly appointed academic staff and early career professional staff.

For additional information, please contact: 
Courtney Sullivan
Individual Giving Specialist
Office of Advancement
T: +61 2 9850 1357 
Important Notices

Congratulations to our 3MT Competitors

Congratulations to our 13 competitors in the 2018 Macquarie University Three Minute Thesis (3MT) Finals, held Monday September 17. We are deeply appreciative and impressed by the powerful, engaging and polished three minute synopses of your research. 

Our winners on the day included:

1st Place: Selene Petit, Faculty of Human Sciences

Runner Up: Lara McGirr, Faculty of Arts

3rd Place: Julien Millasseau, Faculty of Human Sciences, and Peiyao Li, Faculty of Business and Economics

People's Choice: Peiyao Li, Faculty of Business and Economics

Selene Petit represented Macquarie University in the 2018 3MT Asia-Pacific Final, on Thursday September 27. We are incredibly proud to say that she placed Runner Up - Congratulations Selene, a tremendous effort!

We would also like to thank our judges for the Macquarie University 3MT Final: Prof. Sakkie Pretorious (DVC-R); Prof. Nick Mansfield (Dean, HDR) and Anna Grocholsky (Director, Commercialisation & Innovation).

We hope all involved - competitors, judges, special guests and audience - enjoyed the display and celebration of Macquarie University's researchers!

From the Macquarie University 3MT Organising Committee


Have your say! Higher Degree Research Students Annual Survey 2018

Past research student feedback has resulted in greater transparency in research student funding allocations; more targeted support for research candidates and greater clarity in the roles and expectations of supervisors, among other things.

Feedback on your research experiences this year is important to us. So, have your say! The survey should take no more than 15 minutes.

The survey has been sent to all HDR candidates. Please check your mailbox to participate in it.

Mental Health Week

The 2018 Mental Health Week is from Monday 7 October through to Sunday 13 October.

Your mental health is just as important as your physical health. Mental Health Week is an annual, national event that aims to improve community awareness and interest in mental health and wellbeing. 

Keep an eye out for activities across campus this week!

World Mental Health day is 10 October.


HDR Mentors: Bake Sale to raise funds for the Buy A Bale campaign

Help support the Buy a Bale fund for drought relief by enjoying a tasty treat!

When: Tuesday, October 9 from 11am to 2pm

Where: Wally's Walk in front of MUSE building.

Contact HDR Mentors for additional information.

PWA Sessions - Available until November

Peer Writing Assistant sessions will be running until mid-November. Make the most of the opportunity to discuss your academic writing with a trained PWA and book in for a session time directly, clicking on the session time next to the date that you would like to attend.  

October Sessions
Tuesday 16 October 12:00pm or 12:30pm

Thursday 18 October 12:00pm or  12:30pm

Tuesday 30 October 12:00pm or 12:30pm

November Sessions
Thursday 1 November 12:00pm or 12:30pm

Tuesday 13 November 12:00pm or 12:30pm

Thursday 15 November 12:00pm or 12:30pm
HDR:Behind the Scenes
Megan Brewer - HDR Learning Advisor (Science)

Brewer_Megan_Behind the Scenes 540x250.jpgMegan is part of the HDR Support & Development team and is located in the Faculty of Science & Engineering and the Faculty of Medicine & Health Sciences.

What do you like most about your role at MQ?
What I like most in my role is meeting the HDR students, hearing about their research and seeing their enthusiasm for their project.

Before working at MQ, what was the most unusual or interesting job you’ve ever had?
The most unusual job I’ve had was being a Santa Photographer. It was a lot of fun watching the kids interact with Santa and capturing these childhood moments.

What do you work toward in your free time?
Usually whatever arts or crafts project has taken my fancy – at the moment I’m learning to crochet. I am also choreographing a musical.

What did you want to be when you grew up?
Growing up, I wanted to be a teacher. Coming from a family of teachers (parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins) it is perhaps not that surprising that, in a round-about way, I’ve become a teacher.
Find all HDR Workshops Here
Calendar icon
The Mindful Researcher, Part 3: Attention and Distraction in the Research Process
Monday 8 October 2018, 10:30am - 12:00pm

 The third workshop addresses the issue of concentration. What is the quality of your attention when you work? How well do you deal with distractions? Together, we explore some of the internal challenges of being a writer, including procrastination, perfectionism and writer’s block.

Calendar icon
EndNote Workshop
Monday 15 October 2018, 6:00 - 7:00pm
This workshop covers the basics of using EndNote and examines how it can facilitate your work by storing your references, attaching PDFs, and allowing you to cite and create bibliographies with ease. 
Calendar icon
Effective Job Interview Skills
Friday 26 October 2018, 11.00am-1.00pm

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
Elizabeth_Hagan_Oct DD.jpg

Elizabeth Hagan - MRES701 PACE Intern

How did you come to know each other?

After inquiring into the opportunity to undertake an internship in Medical Sciences, Dr Sarah White came highly recommended to me as a researcher and collaborator from Dr Aaron Denham in the Macquarie University Department of Anthropology, so I was immediately excited to have the opportunity to work with her.

What do you appreciate most about each other?

When I first met Sarah I immediately thought she was someone I would love to work with, she also made me feel very welcome as a new member of her research team. Sarah is incredibly smart, hard-working, down-to-earth and professional, always making me feel open to ask (sometimes silly) questions. Dr White is great at helping me get my head around the complex field of Conversation Analysis, and doing so with a good sense of humour that has helped me ease into learning a new research area and methodology.

What have you learnt so far through your experience as an intern/host supervisor in the PACE for Research unit?

I have learned that when beginning to learn a whole new field, the methodologies, the debates, the history and the innovations are both challenging and rewarding. Since I began this internship, I have discovered ways to apply the methods I have learned in my internship to my own Master's research project in Anthropology, so I look forward to having the chance to utilise the skills I have learned from this experience that I believe will give project my empirical rigour. This internship has also taught me the value of interdisciplinary collaboration in bringing differently trained minds together and bringing multiple perspectives to interpreting and understanding research and data analysis. I am very grateful to have Sarah's confidence in having someone from Anthropology come to join her team; I very much hope the collaboration continues!


Dr Sarah White - MRES701 PACE Supervisor

How did you come to know Elizabeth?

I was looking for a Masters PACE student, preferably from anthropology or linguistics, to work on setting up a new project using existing data to revisit an analysis on openings in surgical consultations. I am wanting to learn more about anthropology as it can provide a different and interesting perspective to conversation analytic research. Elizabeth sent through an enthusiastic and compelling application to work with me on the project, so I offered her the placement.

What do you appreciate most about her?

Elizabeth is a great communicator – she is never worried about asking questions and her questions challenge me to consider how I am approaching the project specifically or how I work with conversation analysis more broadly. The anthropology lens that she brings to the project has been of great value to shaping the project thus far. Elizabeth has made me appreciate the value of an enthusiastic and committed learner within research.

What have you learnt so far through your experience as a host supervisor in the PACE for Research unit? 

I am a novice HDR supervisor – I have supervised undergraduate PACE and research students, as well as research technicians and assistants, but have not supervised a postgraduate research student. Supervising Elizabeth has not only helped me learn about anthropology, but has pushed me to modify my supervision style to suit a more experienced researcher at a different point in their research training.
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.

Facebook icon  Be part of our story on Facebook     Twitter icon  Stay informed on Twitter 
Soundcloud icon  Discover something new on our podcast  Instagram icon  Be inspired on Instagram
Macquarie University NSW 2109 Australia
T: +61 2 9850 7111 / F: +61 2 9850 7433
Unsubscribe from this list | View this email in your browser
Disclaimer: Information given is correct at the time of distribution but is subject to change without notice. The University has the right to alter the content or impose terms and conditions at any time.
Macquarie University | ABN 90 952 801 237 | CRICOS Provider 00002J