25 July, 2010

Supporting Research Students at NCV

Currently New College Village is home to many students undertaking either PhD degrees or Masters degrees by research.  Additionally, many other students who are undertaking coursework programs complete a minor or major thesis as part of their program.  To support these students, NCV runs a monthly Research Student Group.

The aims of the Research Student Group are:
  • to encourage the researchers to socialize with other people having similar experiences; 
  • to hear about different students’ research; and 
  • be equipped for a career in research.  
Each meeting includes a short time for having a drink and some nibbles, followed by a research presentation from one of our residents and a “skills” presentation by a relevant expert.  The meetings are typically attended by 20-30 students.

So far this year we have had a number of seminars aimed at giving our residents a helping hand on the road to a career in academe.   At one meeting, a panel of upper year PhD students shared their wisdom on “Surviving the First Year of a PhD”.  The panel was made up of students studying in different areas - Naadir Junaid (Faculty of Arts), Laura Sharpe (Faculty of Science) and James Lam (Faculty of Engineering) - and so there were a wide range of perspectives presented.

Other presentations have included:

Ms Janice Besch (Director of the UNSW Grants Management Office), delivered a presentation entitled “An Overview of the Australian Research Grants System”.  Ms Besch’s presentation included some invaluable tips for anyone embarking on a research career.

The Dean of Residents at NCV Dr John Quinn drew on his earlier experience in intellectual property to present on “Protecting Your Inventions: Inside the Patent Process”.

Associate Professor Sue Starfield from the UNSW Learning Centre gave our residents some invaluable advice on “What Thesis Examiner’s Look For”.  Sue’s presentation was full of helpful tips for those facing the daunting task of writing a thesis.

An exciting lineup of speakers have been arranged for coming meetings. A/Prof. Sebastien Perrier from the University of Sydney will provide the students with some tips on getting a high impact publication, Prof. Christine Alexander from UNSW’s Faculty of Arts will share some insights for those setting out on a a career in academia and alumnus Dr Ben Waterhouse will speak about setting up your own consultancy after completing postgraduate research.

To finish off the year the Master of New College, Professor Trevor Cairney will draw on his extensive experience as a supervisor of postgraduate research to advise on how best to get along with your PhD supervisor. A presentation not to be missed!

Additionally, we have also heard a wonderful series of presentations by our own students on their varied and exciting research.  Students at NCV are currently undertaking research on topics as diverse as housing issues in Malaysia through to cancer mechanisms, Bengali political cinema and data structures. We look forward to an interesting semester as we support and encourage our students undertaking research degrees.