Tuesday, 19 September 2017

My year as President of the LIMS Fellows Society (Rohan Lowe)

Image courtesy of Kha Phan (LIMS Fellows Society)
An interesting thing happened to me in the winter of 2016. Our institutional postdoc society decided it was time to get organised and elect a president.

A distinct lack of volunteers was apparent. I was nominated by another member and, emboldened by their vote of confidence, I agreed I would stand for president.

No other nominations were made, and I quickly became the president of the LIMS Fellows Society.

I’m not a career politician. I may have enjoyed watching House of Cards and loved a good political power move on Survivor, but my election to president of the LIMS Fellows was not in my career plan.

I don’t like to turn down opportunities, however, so this blog post is about my year as president of the LIMS Fellows Society.

Tuesday, 12 September 2017

Creating a website for your research (Jane Kelley)

Liver fluke is endemic in Australian dairy cattle and has detrimental impacts on milk production, weight gain and fertility.

Our aim is to develop techniques to identify the true extent of the issues associated with liver fluke infections within Victorian dairy herds, with the aim of improving the profitability through the implementation of a liver fluke control program.

A key component of our grant is communication with our stakeholders to create awareness, provide access to information, build understanding within the community, provide opportunities where stakeholders can provide feedback, and make research findings available.

We decided our primary point of contact would be a website, as it would be accessible to both our primary (dairy farmers), and secondary audiences (service providers, dairy organisations, research community) and serve as repository for all project related information.

Tuesday, 5 September 2017

How I became Career Ready (Nicholas Anthony)

There comes a stage where every graduate researcher comes to the earth-shattering realisation that their La Trobe research will not last forever and that, one day in the not too distant future, they will need to find a job.

This shouldn’t come as a surprise. I mean, you do only sign up for three years but, somehow, it does.

Following this shouldn't-be-so-shocking realisation, the thoughts start to flood in:

Photo by Mounzer Awad on Unsplash
What do I want to do?
Where do I want to do it?
How does one actually get a job?
Why hasn’t anyone prepared me for this?!

Unfortunately, at this stage, you’re well and truly an adult and it’s your job to prepare yourself.

Fortunately, however, La Trobe knows we need a little help, and has a service known as “Career Ready”.

Now, I know that a name like that sounds like standard university spin targeted at undergrads to look good on posters, and put bums on seats. In reality, though, it’s not spin, and it's for researchers, too!

Even better, as the name suggests, it is a service to get you career ready!

Why am I telling you about all of this? Because I went through the all of the above and - SPOILER ALERT - I went to a Career Ready consultation and loved it!

Tuesday, 29 August 2017

Learning to do interdisciplinary research (Helen Young)

Image by Bre Prettis www.flickr.com/photos/bre/ 
Creative Commons license
The Australian Research Council supports interdisciplinary research, which it describes as:

"research that traverses or transcends disciplinary boundaries and which synthesise or integrate methods and knowledge from multiple disciplinary domains."

But, given that most PhDs are completed in one discipline, how do researchers learn to cross those borders?

And why would they?

The short answer is that we live in a complex world and no discipline can find all the answers to the challenges it reveals.

Working epistemologically and methodologically in only one discipline is necessarily limiting because so are disciplines.

Limits aren't inherently bad, but they are, well, limits.

Research can sometimes feel like a jigsaw puzzle and, sometimes, half the pieces are under the couch or in another box.

Tuesday, 22 August 2017

The finals are coming! (Tseen Khoo)

Researchers at La Trobe's Judith Lumley Centre (Franklin Streeet) 
watching their colleague Catina Adams' presentation (at Bundoora)
Photo courtesy of Lisa Amir
Yeah, nah, I'm not talking about the footy grand finals! It's much more important than that.

The finals I'm talking about involve much shorter performances, fewer meat pies, and appropriate hand gestures.

Yes, it's that time of year again: La Trobe's 3MT grand finals!

As with last year, the university finals will take place within Research Week and it's always a great event. Not only do you get to see our fabulous emerging researchers take to the stage with their powerful, finely honed talks, you also have a chance to vote in the People's Choice Award (which is always a highlight for me - gotta love having a say, right?).

The university 3MT finals have it all: good company, intellectual stimulation, and collegial competition! Make sure you register to attend for 30 August!

I've just attended both the ASSC and SHE College finals in the last fortnight, and livetweeted my way through the presentations and awards. If you have a look over the #LTU3MT hashtag on Twitter, you'll see some of the action that took place.

Tuesday, 15 August 2017

Practical preparation for collaborative writing (Helen Young)

Photo by Helloquence on Unsplash
In many disciplines co-authored papers are the norm, but collaborative writing is not always an easy process.

Sometimes, one person is mainly responsible for the writing itself, with others contributing ideas in planning and development.

In other cases, multiple people need to be very active in putting words on the page. Negotiating changes, editing, structure, and the direction of the argument can be complicated.

This post provides some practical tips for making the collaborative writing process easier.

It's a good idea to get these things planned and in place before you start writing so that you don’t have to retrofit your collaboration!

Tuesday, 8 August 2017

The 3rd LTU Early Career Researcher (ECR) Network Conference CFP

Save the Date & Call for Papers

Monday 25th September 2017 


Life as an ECR can be demanding and stressful as you find your feet as an independent researcher. Being plugged into an active research community can be vital to sustaining momentum, keeping up-to-date with information, and building your network of potential collaborators. 

This one-day conference has been designed by ECRs for ECRs with the aim of providing opportunities for networking, learning, and building a community of support for ECRs at La Trobe University.

What's on for this year’s conference?

Tuesday, 1 August 2017

What’s your handle? (Tseen Khoo)

Sourced from www.publicdomainpictures.net
On social media platforms such as Instagram or Twitter, one of the first things you'll have to set up is your username or 'handle'.

This can cause massive angst for researchers when they're grappling with developing their online identities.

Often, it's because people don't know where to start, or they may not have clarity about why they're building an online identity in the first place.

More often still, it’s because they don’t want to get it wrong. I would like to say that there's no way you can get it wrong because it's ultimately your choice what you want to call yourself, etc, but you can get it wrong, in professional terms.

Tuesday, 25 July 2017

The benefits of working ‘outside’ (Madeleine Kendrick)

Photo by Madeleine Kendrick
I need to start this post with a small disclaimer: I live in Perth, Western Australia.

It's a place that's often described as ‘relentlessly sunny’. The sunny days of mild weather and gorgeous sparkling water vastly outnumber the rainy days, and even the rainy days have their own noir-style charm.

Ever since I moved to Perth to live with my husband, I've been tempted time and again to work ‘outside’ despite growing up indoors, tethered to a desktop PC.

As an academic student, my definition of ‘outside’ is not quite as stark as, say, a fitness instructor. I still require some form of table, electrical outlet, and wi-fi to conduct my work, which limits me mostly to cafes (I’m not complaining at all).

Thankfully, Perth has these by the handful!

Tuesday, 18 July 2017

An insider's view of pitching a project in a competition (Ismael Maclennan)

AMP pitch night participants, image courtesy of AMP Amplify
It was just another day for me, like many of the other days that passed before and perhaps no different from the days that were about to come.

Every day that comes and goes brings you closer to the end of your PhD journey, and during those final days you realise that you devote most of your time to perform one task: writing and writing and writing...

This day, however, was special.

Apart from receiving my usual weekly dose of spam calls, I noticed that someone had left a voicemail.

I was very excited to hear that my application for the AMP Amplify Ignite PhD competition was successful, and I was shortlisted for a phone interview with Jessica Chalker, the event organiser.