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.

Tuesday, 11 July 2017

Should I have a website? (Tseen Khoo)

Photo by chrysics | www.flickr.com/photos/chrysics
Most people who know me at La Trobe realise I'm a zealot when it comes to social media and making research accessible.

There are many, many good reasons to give it a go - some people take to it, others don't. Still others like some aspects of social media but will run a mile from others.

And that's all good, as long as researchers keep an open mind about the channels and platforms that are available, and genuinely think them through for their own needs.

One of the common questions I get asked, and have fielded recently many times, is from early career researchers and PhD students: "Should I have a website?"

Most of the time, after having a quick chat, the answer is that it's worth setting one up.

WHY would I want a website? 

The driver to set up a website is usually a combination of these reasons:

1. Developing a profile for the researcher, a particular project, or research issue.
2. Being on - or almost on - the job market and wanting to present a good digital face.
3. Wanting a space to engage with non-academic partners and collaborators.
4. Anticipating recruiting for a research project (and building a base for it)

One of the most important things for emerging researchers is being able to present the strongest face possible to potential employers, funders, and collaborators. It can be hard to do this, for example, when your digital profile is split across several universities where you tutor and all you have on those staff pages is 'Casual tutor' or 'Sessional staff'. That's not the identity that most researchers want on the front foot, and having your own website means that you control that career story!

Tuesday, 4 July 2017

Industry mentoring? What's that about? (Marguerite Evans-Galea and Lara Bereza-Malcolm)

During Careers Month in May, we had the privilege of having Marguerite Evans-Galea (Executive Director, IMNIS) and Lara Bereza-Malcolm (La Trobe PhD researcher, Environmental Microbiology) as our guest speakers during a session focused on industry mentoring and graduate researchers' experiences of it.

The huge push across the higher education sector for industry collaboration means that these initiatives are more important than ever!

We interviewed Marguerite and Lara separately about their perspectives on the IMNIS industry mentoring scheme and the broader project of bringing academia and industry closer together to collaborate and learn more from each other.

Establishing these connections will also enhance opportunities for highly qualified professionals, with a PhD, in different industry sectors.