Key initiatives

Faculties, Graduate Schools and University support services use feedback from the Melbourne Research Experience Survey (MRES) to improve the graduate research student experience and enhance support programs.

  • The Faculty of Arts

    Increased access to travel funding for Arts students by introducing a competitive Top-Up Scholarship;

    • Is increasing the depth of career advice and industry exposure through events and lectures and has begun investigation into establishment of an internship component as part of the PhD;
    • Is offering dedicated Arts enrichment activities for graduate researchers, such as the Arts Write Weekend and Research Speed Dating, to enhance student experience within our graduate research courses;
    • Has revamped the graduate research induction program to increase student cognizance of study options and to allow students to hit the ground running;
    • Is reviewing its successful PhD Coursework component, leading to improvements such as increased disciplinary depth in the PhD electives and the intensive delivery of the second semester of the Research Workshop to better prepare students for confirmation; and
    • Is facilitating research in collaboration with its government partners creating more opportunities for graduate researchers to contribute to the public policy agenda though the Melbourne School of Government Doctoral Academy.
  • The Faculty of Architecture, Building and Planning

    Increased access to travel funding for Arts students by introducing a competitive Top-Up Scholarship;

    • Increased graduate researcher office space over two floors with the relocation to the new * Melbourne School of Design. Graduate researchers are enjoying new office supplies, an exclusive lounge and renewed connectedness to the Faculty;
    • Supported our graduate researchers' academic and professional skills by expanding the depth and breadth of the content of our research methods workshops;
    • Continued to support graduate research career development through facilitating opportunities to present at both domestic and international conferences;
    • Continued to support graduate research thesis outcomes through facilitation of research field work in national or international locations;
    • Commenced a program of twice-yearly forums with the faculty's graduate research supervisors to seek improvements, share ideas and provide additional training and mentorship for the benefit of our PhD and MPhil cohort;
    • Continued to support exciting new student-led initiatives such as the new twice yearly graduate researcher forum, social functions and the publication of the annual Oculus e-book; and
    • Continued our focus on high-quality support services and improved the availability of administrative and pastoral advice for students through the recruitment of an additional staff member in the Graduate Research team.
  • The Faculty of Business and Economics
    • Supported candidates’ career development by providing opportunities for teaching experience through discipline-based Graduate Teaching Fellowships;
    • Launched FBE-GRATS to fund travel for fieldwork and conference support;
    • Established annual PhD academic skills workshops supported by the Faculty in conjunction with the University’s Academic Skills Unit;
    • Funded the creation of the Faculty’s first PhD Students Society to create an enhanced cohort experience across all levels and disciplines (formally launching 13 August 2015);
    • Is currently reviewing Faculty processes and policies to improve supervisor training and the supervisor-candidate relationship;
    • Is investigating online modules, workshops and programs to support our candidates’ wellbeing and mental health;
    • Is investigating improved use of social media to stay in touch with our candidates and alumni (LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook); and
    • Successfully petitioned the University to revise the policy on Confirmation to recognise the demands of the FBE coursework load and to ensure equity for our probationary candidates by providing adequate time for preparation for this critical milestone.
  • The Melbourne Graduate School of Education
    • Refined the graduate researcher support policy, enabling students to apply for financial assistance for presenting research conference papers, fieldwork, data analysis software and business cards and gain advice on the process for requesting postgraduate workstations;
    • Supported the establishment of the Melbourne Education Research Institute (MERI) Student Committee, a representative committee for graduate researchers that provides a formal voice and representation for all graduate researchers, as well as enrichment and professional development through involvement and the organisation of student events;
    • Established an LMS site for all graduate researchers and supervisors to provide resources and support for graduate researchers and supervisors across the student lifecycle;
    • Implemented a mid-year student research conference in addition to the one held at the end of the year; and introduced confirmation and completion streams at these conferences;
    • Implemented bi-monthly group meetings with graduate researchers and the Associate Dean, Research Training;
    • Established the ‘Lunch with the Professor’ series which gives graduate researchers and staff the opportunity to spend time with professors in MGSE and talk with them about their work;
    • Introduced a case management system so that graduate researchers have a single support officer for the duration of their candidature;
    • Is working with the Student Committee to organise space and promote weekend study groups as well as supporting the group with coffee vouchers;
    • Introduced the Supervisor/Student informal welcome event in 2015;
    • Made available an on-site librarian within the MGSE once a week;
    • Established the Melbourne Education Research Institute Facebook page which promotes upcoming Confirmation Seminars, Completion Seminars and other research events; and
    • Established the Graduate Student email bulletin and MGSE Events Calendar.
  • The Faculty of Engineering
    • Worked closely with the departments and student representatives to identify areas of concern and means of improvement;
    • Conducted departmental sessions to provide an overview and quick reference guides to changes to policies and procedures governing graduate researchers;
    • Reviewed student facilities and locations;
    • Proposed changes to the extension period for the MPhil; and
    • Offered a range of social events to bring together candidates from across the disciplines and year levels.
  • The Faculty of Medicine, Dentistry and Health Science
    • Actively promoted funding and award opportunities to graduate researchers through the fortnightly Research Notices Bulletin;
    • Devolved the Melbourne Abroad Travel Scheme funding to academic units to support local travel support schemes; and
    • Streamlined administrative support structures in graduate schools to provide consistent services and support for graduate researchers and their supervisors.
  • The Faculty of Veterinary and Agricultural Sciences
    • The newly formed Faculty of Veterinary and Agricultural Sciences is holding ongoing discussions with students to hear their concerns and address their needs;
    • Ensured that basic infrastructure (eg a sole-use desk and desktop computer that is supported and backed up by ITS) is available to each student based at the university;
    • Developed an enhanced induction kit for students; and
    • Established faculty guidelines to ensure the advisory committee is in place within three months of the commencement of candidature, and that the advisory committee chair is a neutral party with no conflicts of interest.
  • The Faculty of the VCA & MCM
    • Consolidated the Research Office to deliver more consistent services to students at Parkville and Southbank;
    • Improved WiFi in the Graduate Centre and MCM buildings at Parkville;
    • Continued opportunities for students to present work at a public symposium held each year; and
    • Will consolidate Music at the Melbourne Conservatorium of Music from 2016 offering more opportunities for collaboration across all music disciplines.
  • The Melbourne Law School
    • * Implemented 6-month meetings for graduate researchers with their supervisors and Advisory Committee Chair to ensure they are well supported and making timely preparation for their confirmation;
    • Implemented an additional compulsory annual research event ‘Milestone Presentation Day’ in addition to the two annual Research Colloquia to reflect the cohort intake confirmation period of early March;
    • Conducted a faculty-specific supervisor training session to ensure all Law supervisors are registered and trained;
    • Ensured that guidance on the key issues of Copyright/IP/Authorship was included in one of the Research Support Program sessions and also in the Orientation Kit for all newly commenced graduate researchers; and
    • Implemented a Law Research Weekly email bulletin targeted at both academic staff and graduate researchers to encourage collegiality and sharing of research information and support.