Advisor Networks

Supporting our Supervisors

Five community of practice groups will be convened each year between 12:00 - 1:00pm on a week day. Attendance is possible face to face in Townsville, Cairns and via Zoom. An email invitation is issued to advisors via the Graduate Research School. Current advisors are encouraged to offer topics, present and participate. Topics are intended to allow sharing of practice and open discussion to help advisors navigate their research environment successfully.

Register for SoS.

Facilitator: Dr Michelle Redman-MacLaren, Associate Dean Research Education, College of Medicine & Dentistry

  • Dr Karen Yates, Associate Dean Research Education, College of Healthcare Sciences
  • Dr Ruth Barker, College of Healthcare Sciences
  • Damian Palmer, Graduate Research School

View the video recording here

Useful Resources:

How to apply – including admission eligibility criteria, application form and much more for HDR candidates.

Scholarship information – scoring procedure, application process and much more for HDR candidates

Becoming an Advisor – Registration procedure and professional development requirements for current and potential HDR Advisors

Supporting satisfactory progress – Strategies for candidates behind on milestones

Meet the (research) supervisor’s friend - No-one is alone

Dr Geof Hill, host of the (research) supervisor’s friend blog, joined SOS to discuss collaborative advisor models and consider the role they can play in supporting our supervisors. To stimulate discussion Geof created a post on the blog on this topic.

Giving feedback on written work

Participants in this session shared their experiences and challenges in supporting candidates’ writing skills development.

Some key points raised:

  • Provide and discuss feedback on writing that the candidate can reflect on later
  • Balance positive feedback with honest constructive criticisms
  • Agree on a timeline for providing feedback and getting revised drafts
  • Use peer groups to provide initial editing and review of written work, provide a chance for students to set standards for the quality of work submitted to you
  • When giving critical feedback consider raising it in person rather than in writing
  • Keep track of feedback with the student so you can follow up on how they have responded
  • Ask the candidate to comment on areas of concerns – check they understand the feedback offered
  • Plan or priorities to resolve writing style issues
  • Provide a detailed annotation for one paragraph or section to highlight key writing concerns, the candidate can then review and revise the whole draft
  • Use track changes to compare what has been asked for and what has been done, and discuss if changes are too superficial
  • Be alert for writing issues that speak to other concerns   (e.g. conceptual weakness, lack of academic argument, English language)
  • Suggest workshops or online resources and resources that the student should access to address identified areas of concerns (e.g., GRS workshops, iThenticate, Library Guides etc.)
Additional Resources:
  • UNSW Arts and Social Sciences Supervisor Feedback Process
  • Cadman, Kate and Cargill, Margaret. Providing Quality Advice on Candidates' Writing [online]. In: Denholm, Carey (Editor); Evans, Terry (Editor). Supervising Doctorates Downunder: Keys to Effective Supervision in Australia and New Zealand. Camberwell, Vic.: ACER Press, 2007: 182-191. Availability:  ISBN: 9780864314307. [cited 17 Dec 19]. PDF (Written Feedback Cargill)

Supervisory practices of an Award Winner

Professor David Bellwood spoke about how the Bellwood lab supports student success.

Some key points raised:

  • Select students who are capable, with similar working styles and a passion for their topic.  He uses others in the lab to select the right new students.
  • Help the student frame a topic that makes use of their skills
  • The supervisory relationship involves acknowledging the whole person
  • Select co-supervisors you can work with and who can complement your supervisory style
  • Use students to support each other and encourage each other, collaborative and cooperative, their future networks
  • Be truthful, state expectations and be honest if they are not adequately met
  • Teach students to network, send them to conferences
  • Require students to publish and aim for high quality publications and be ready to celebrate failure as well as success
  • Take pleasure in the research and network to build opportunities
  • Supervision ends when the graduate has a job, the networking never ends
Additional Resources:

The Bellwood lab website

Supporting Women Advisors’ Network

An opportunity to meet an exceptional Woman advisor, researcher and leader and learn from her experience. A provocation will be raised to encourage you to work together to identify and realise your goals as a research advisor. Access via zoom for all JCU staff from all campuses.

Please join us for the first SWAN of 2020. Our invited exceptional woman for the inaugural SWAN is Dr Sandy Hirsh who will join us via zoom from San Jose State University. The School of Information at SJSU offers all of its programs 100% online, including a PhD Gateway program.  Sandy has recently been promoted to the role of Associate Dean for Academics, College of Professional and Global Education at San Jose State University.  In her presentation she will talk of her experience as a leader and of her pivotal role in the development of the unique PhD Gateway program.  As advisors looking to increasingly support candidates online, in response to the COVID-19 emergency, her expertise and knowledge of building an online research education culture has much to offer us.

Register for SWAN.

Early Career Researcher Network

Early career researchers (ECRs) are academic staff who have completed doctoral studies in the last five years (periods of maternity, career or extended leave will be deducted when assessing eligibility) on any JCU campus and in any discipline.

We invite ECRs who are members of JCU’s academic staff to participate in our ECR training program. We provide a range of opportunities, listed below.

Information on the sessions on offer is provided below. You can only do the face-to-face session OR the online program.

Research careers are sought-after and increasingly competitive. It has never been more important for Early Career Researchers to be strategic about career moves, develop effective networks and master the right skills to get into their careers of choice.

This 1-day intensive workshop is for you if you want to be proactive about your job prospects, are looking for practical ways to structure your progress and to succeed in your preferred career - in academia or beyond.

This 1-day workshop delivers:

  • Tools to help you develop a career plan tailored to your strengths and preferences;
  • A personal roadmap for the career path that will work best for you;
  • Analysis of your current network of contacts and how to expand it to benefit your career;
  • Practical advice on marketing yourself and your skills;
  • Strategies for developing transferrable skills suited to a career in, or outside, academia.

About the presenter: Dr Kerstin Fritsches, Managing Director, PostdocTraining

Kerstin is a former research fellow who spent the majority of her 12-year research career on grant funding, with first-hand experience of the challenges facing early career researchers and a strong track record in postdoc affairs and career development. A lack of effective career training for PhDs led Kerstin to found PostdocTraining in 2011, to bridge a gap in professional development by delivering support tailored specifically for PhD candidates and postdocs. PostdocTraining delivers career development support and mentoring for researchers worldwide and Kerstin has become a sought-after workshop facilitator on topics such as career planning and research leadership both in Europe and Australia.

Eligibility and expressions of interest

Early career researchers (i.e., academic staff who completed doctoral studies in the last five years, periods of maternity, career or extended leave will be deducted when assessing eligibility) on any JCU campus and in any discipline, who are members of JCU’s academic staff are invited to apply.

This workshop will be held in both Townsville and Cairns in the second half of 2020. Invitations to participate will be issued via email to all eligible staff.

JCU Cairns: TBC

JCU Townsville: TBC

Interested researchers not located at either of these campuses should speak to their local area to determine if suitable travel arrangements can be facilitated. Attendance of the workshop is free for those who secure a space, however there is no central funds available to support travel to the event.

For any workshop enquiries, please contact the Graduate Research School on

Career training program for early career research staff to start in November 2019

Postdoc Career Success is a program for early career researchers in all disciplines, offering training in skills and tools that postdocs can apply right away in their daily work.

The core material of 15 online modules is spread over seven months. The web-based modules combine with live webinars and one-to-one advice and mentoring, to keep the benefits of personal contact while offering flexibility for participants.

The course, delivered by Queensland-based specialists PostdocTraining, is designed to help researchers pursue detailed career plans, increase their own efficiency and effectiveness, and accelerate their progress.

The program tackles career planning and pathways, and addresses essential transferable skills including managing time, people and projects; publishing strategies; attracting funding; and building partnerships and networks.

Who should apply, and how?

JCU academic staff members up to five years post-PhD excluding career breaks are welcome to apply. Places will be funded centrally on condition that participants are prepared to give post-course feedback.

The program will be offered in the second half of 2020. Invitations to participate will be issued via email to all eligible staff.