The Indigenous PhD Familiarisation Program is back

Over three days in early May, we hosted six prospective PhD students in Narrm/Melbourne, helping them through all their interests in a research higher degree.

It's inspiring to hear from other participants, their research ideas and work/study backgrounds.

- 2023 program participant

Participants came from across Australia and are all at stages in their careers where a PhD is important to their professional growth. We were thrilled to offer participants Indigenous facilitators to run nearly all the workshops, creating culturally safe spaces for participants to raise concerns, share ideas and collectively plan for their research journeys.

Was great to discuss the importance of community being elevated in research spaces. I thought the research leadership was fantastic.

- 2023 program participant

2023 cohort sitting at a table with Professor Barry Judd Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Indigenous)

2023 cohort sitting with Professor Barry Judd, Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Indigenous), The University of Melbourne

Building networks

It is well known that PhD journeys can be very isolating and individual pursuits. Yet through the information shared by the facilitators and networks formed amongst participants, we hope that those embarking on a research degree are now better informed about the expectations of the degree, the supports available and the ability to connect with others throughout the journey.

I was very impressed by the student focused ways of being. Shared knowledge is key.

- 2023 program participant

2023 cohort standing with Associate Professor Michelle KennedyExecutive Manager, Research and Knowledge Translation, Lowitja Insitute, in front of a Melbourne Poche banner

2023 cohort standing with Associate Professor Michelle Kennedy, Executive Manager, Research and Knowledge Translation, Lowitja Institute and Assistant Dean Indigenous Strategy & Leadership, The University of Newcastle

A flagship program

The Indigenous PhD Familiarisation Program is the Melbourne Poche Centre’s flagship program for academic pathways and provides a small, cohort-based model of workshops enabling prospective students to better understand what a PhD might mean for them.

We plan to run the PhD Familiarisation Program annually, and welcome expressions of interest for future programs at any time of the year.

OMG, so good. Really good practical advice.

- 2023 program participant

Informed by research

The first since the COVID-19 pandemic, the Indigenous PhD Familiarisation program is informed by research. In this paper, Enabling higher degree pathways for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students, we build on the evidence base and highlight the need for

  • tailored, Indigenous-led pre-doctoral support programs for Indigenous students
  • the value of cohort experiences, and
  • the importance of Universities that value Indigenous people and their knowledge systems.

The paper contributes to the emerging literature on factors that have an influence on why Indigenous people choose to undertake PhD programs and the effectiveness of initiatives to support their pathway to higher degree research.

Learn more

This article was written by Warwick Padgham, Manager of Indigenous Student Programs.

Email Warwick to learn more about the program.