Research Retreat reveals top tips

PhD candidates who participated in the Faculty’s One-Day Research Retreat on Monday 12 December 2022 were treated to a terrific program, including tips and takeaways from BL PhD Alumni, members of the Research Services team and the Library, fellow candidates, and new Early Career Researchers (ECRs) in the Faculty.

Faculty HDR Director, Associate Professor Nichola Robertson developed the program together with the BL Research Services team and facilitated the engaging presentations and discussions throughout the day.  

Opening the program, BL PhD Alumni – Dr Argho Bandyopadhyay, Dr Vivian Mai, and Dr Trang Tran – shared their experiences and advice on the PhD journey and the job market process in both academia and industry.  Joining us online due to their work commitments and locations, we were given great advice, which included that received from supervisors, the value of undertaking an in-candidature internship to gain industry experience, and the need to include evidence of teaching and service experiences, as well as one’s own research program in job applications.

Our Research Technical Coordinator, Matthew Wong, gave a great overview of the Faculty’s technical infrastructure supporting researchers in Business and Law, ranging from the new Behavioural Lab, to subscribed research databases, and High Performance Computing available for remote use.

The Faculty’s Research Funding and Development Coordinator, Dr Stef Johnstone, and Research Funding and Partnerships Coordinator, Dr Maks Sipowicz, provided an overview of the Australian research funding landscape and postdoctoral opportunities for PhD graduates, and top tips and takeaways for successful research funding applications. 

We welcomed Library Partner, Craig Patterson and Scholarly Services Librarians, Michelle Bendall and Sharon Chua, for an overview of the Library’s support for researchers and plans for refreshed researcher development programs to be offered in 2023 – with details to be shared in the new year.

A panel of PhD candidates at various stages of candidature, reflected on the milestone moments throughout their PhD so far, and their experiences and recommendations for their fellow candidates, addressing everything from confirmation to conferences, and internships to thesis submission and examination.

Finally, a panel of academic staff recently appointed to roles in the Faculty shared their perspectives on the academic job placement process, and the transition from PhD to ECR. Guest speakers, Dr Sneha Ashish Chrispal (Dept of Management), Dr Pallavi Shukla (Dept of Economics), Dr Xikai Chen (Dept of Accounting) and Dr Jay Zenkic (Dept of Marketing), each provided invaluable insights into their own job placement journey and choices, and generously gave our audience their recommendations for success – aptly described as “Gold”.  They went on to elaborate on life as newly minted researchers and academics, experiences in finding and working with co-investigators, and identifying fruitful new research directions.  


In closing, Associate Professor Robertson reflected on the enormous value of the day’s program and the generous contributions of the presenters, and showed her appreciation to those who attended and participated.  Thanks were also expressed to Jen O’Connor and Vilia Dukas who made the arrangements for the day, including an enjoyable sit-down lunch for all participants, with time to chat and catch up on news.  To inform future planning, feedback on the program will be invited – please do take the time to send us your views. 

It was also noted that the two-day (academic and non-academic) job placement workshop to be conducted by Professor Inger Mewburn (The Thesis Whisperer) which had to be postponed due to illness, would be rescheduled in the new year. Further to this, now that Deakin’s campuses are again fully open, the Faculty’s expectation is that from 2023, PhD candidates will attend campus more frequently, and participate fully in the Faculty’s researcher development program.  We therefore look forward to seeing you all at future Faculty HDR events! 


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