Familiarisation Program

Reports from previous years:

2016 report

2015 report

Inaugural Program

29 September - 1 October, 2015

Focussed on creating academic pathways for the next generation of Indigenous leadership, the concept of the Familiarisation Program was to help work towards the Poche Centre’s vision for achieving 20 new Indigenous PhD enrolments by the year 2020.

Thirteen prospective PhD students participated in the Program. Of these, six are based in Melbourne and the remaining seven are from interstate. Participants were identified through an Expression of Interest process, as being at a stage in their academic and/or work career that a research higher degree is achievable for them in the next five years.

The Familiarisation Dinner: an opportunity for prospective candidates to meet professional, academic and research leaders.
Meeting the other delegates gave me a sense of purpose, belonging, community, and hope. Student participant
The attendees of the 2015 Familiarisation Program Dinner.


The Familiarisation Program used engaging and interactive workshops to stimulate thinking and discussion around each of the participants’ interest in a research higher degree. Workshops were able to present a broad range of information for participants, whilst still being able to focus specifically on each individual’s topic.

Workshops included:

  • What’s your research idea? (Exploration of each participant’s individual research)
  • Not for the money – what are you doing a PhD for? (What are the motivations and goals for undertaking a PhD, and how it can assist in building a career)
  • What’s standing in your way? (Barriers, distractions and challenges of undertaking a PhD)
  • The University of Melbourne’s PhD+ Program (Extra elements to a PhD program that will support Indigenous PhD students through to graduation)
  • Enrolment and admissions (Administrative guidance as to the enrolment process)
  • Why do I need a supervisor? A guiding light, a partner, a mentor or something else? (The role of a PhD supervisor, what traits exist in a good one)
  • Getting started: Comprehensive library research (Structuring successful research strategies)
  • Moving from the political to a PhD (Narrowing a research agenda into an achievable PhD topic)