Induction and orientation

Making a good start and having a clear understanding of expectations is critical for HDR candidates. Although the Graduate School and the Enrolling Academic Organisational Unit (Enrolling AOU) have an important role in Induction and Orientation, it is the interaction with a candidate’s advisory team that remains the pivotal relationship in the program. 

Setting expectations

The HDR Candidate Charter sets out the expectations of candidates and also describes what they can expect from the University, their AOU and their Advisors. It is important that you discuss the responsibilities outlined in the charter with your candidate. A good starting point is to discuss and agree on mutual expectations around various topics. This should include communication, managing the research project and graduate researcher development. 

To facilitate this, it may be useful for both you and your student to complete the Supervisory Expectations Questionnaire and compare your answers, as a starting point for productive discussion, and ensure you are both in agreement on roles and responsibilities, the induction tool can expand upon this further. 

Also ensure your candidate attends the HDR orientation for their research quarter start date, which provides them with information on UQ HDR requirements and their responsibilities. Your AOU should also run a local induction, refer your candidate to your HDR Liaison Officer. 

The research project

This is the area that supervisors and candidates most want to discuss but, again, it is important that mutual expectations are established. There are a number of house-keeping tasks, specific to the research project, which you must ensure are completed when your HDR student commences their candidature. These include (but are not limited to) discussing what needs to be done to ensure that the candidate is prepared for confirmation in a year's time, OHS training endorsements, including, in some disciplines, support for the completion of risk assessments, a discussion around specific training required in the use of equipment and analytical tools etc, the need for ethics and other regulatory approvals as well as the provision of information regarding which approvals are already in place for the project and considerations around IP and how that may impact the reporting of findings to the wider research community. These can also be recorded in the Expectations Questionnaire.

In addition to introducing your new HDR candidate to your research team and colleagues, and making them aware of team meetings and broader group activities, it will also be important to introduce them to UQ research tools, such as the UQ Research Data Manager can help your HDR candidate manage their data. It is strongly recommended that your candidate make use of this system to ensure that data are stored and are retrievable. Having an ORCID researcher identifier is an essential requisite for researchers. HDR candidates are expected to have an ORCID by the time they reach the confirmation milestone, so this is a good time to talk to them about signing up.  

UQ takes Responsible Conduct of Research seriously and HDR candidates as developing early career researchers need to ensure that they have an understanding of the responsible conduct of research. All candidates must have competed the online Research Integrity module prior to confirmation. Although it’s not mandatory you might also wish think about doing the module or perhaps looking at the concise version for academic staff (not available to candidates).

Training and development

Contemporary expectations (ACOLA Research Training Implementation Plan Summary) that HDR training should prepare a candidate for a variety of careers and these are reflected in the HDR Graduate Attributes. UQ offers a HDR candidates the opportunity to develop valuable research, transferable and professional skills via the Career Development Framework (CDF). Please discuss these opportunities with your student. The experience of HDR candidates varies considerably and so it is useful for them to complete an Individual Development Plan (IDP) since this will help you identify areas where they can develop. 

At UQ it is expected that a PhD candidate should submit within 3.5 years but there is provision for submission within 4 years provided the PhD candidate has engaged with the CDF in a substantial way. The expectations are set out in the Career Development Scholarship Extension (CDSE) guidelines. In addition to modules included within the CDF, candidates are also expected to undertake extended activities, such as an industry placement or training in entrepreneurship. Opportunities are available to extend the candidates scholarship based on engagement with career development activities. It’s important for the HDR candidate to plan their career development and discuss this during candidature at the same time as they discuss progression of their research.

Some Schools and Institutes include the expectation that formal coursework is undertaken at the beginning of candidature. This activity is not included in the CDF or CDSE.  Developing disciplinary knowledge and research capability remains a core element of HDR candidate development. In many cases this will be discussed in terms of expectations of attendance and participation in research group meetings or other forums. Induction at the AOU level often provides information about seminar programmes and other local activities but it is also a good idea to ensure that HDR candidates are aware of external societies and professional bodies with which they can engage.