The Australian National University


Research Digest


June edition

Welcome note

May is, for me at least, a month of celebrations, with the double whammy of Mother’s Day and my birthday. Having enjoyed a surfeit of cake and good cheer, I am reminded of the importance of celebrating ongoing as well as final achievements on any journey. Nowhere is this more important, than when embarked on a long project like the MPhil or PhD, so whether you bake a cake or find other delightful ways to reward yourself, don’t forget to acknowledge your mini-successes along the way.

Other people’s achievements are also inspirational. I very much enjoyed introducing the presentations at the University’s Super Scholarships evening last week and listening to the success stories of students and colleagues. I was intrigued by one piece of advice about preparing a personal statement for a scholarship, and that was to perfect your own ‘hairdresser sentence’ (thanks to PhD candidate Alex Schumann-Gillett for that) which conveys a snappy picture of what you and your project are all about in simple terms. I feel that if I could nail a hairdresser sentence about the current piece of work I’m wrestling with, I would have already delivered a long-overdue chapter, and be celebrating with more cake.

While I struggle on with that, I’m happy to announce our successful Fox Fellow recipient for 2017. Please join me in congratulating Caroline Compton on this fantastic and exciting achievement.  Caroline, who is in the  College of Law,  will get to spend the 2017-18 northern hemisphere academic year in Yale! I am delighted that we will also host a student from Yale later this year as part of the same Fox Fellowship scheme - Luis Eugenio García-Huidobro. Other exciting news is that of a successful bid by colleagues in Berlin (for an International Research Training Group in the area of Malaria Parasite Biology). Biology PhD students who enrol in the joint ANU- Humboldt University Berlin dual PhD program have the opportunity to divide their time between Canberra and Berlin, with at least a year spent in each city.

Locally there has been some long-overdue work on the HDR exams and thesis submission process (as part of the HDR Administration Support project). The ambitious but realisable aim of producing an efficient and effective process for managing thesis submission and examination,  reducing examination times and improved tracking and reporting. Watch this space.



Professor Imelda Whelehan

Professor Imelda Whelehan

Dean, Higher Degree Research

Professor Imelda Whelehan's Rich Chocolate Almond
Birthday Cake Recipe

melted butter, for greasing tin
250g dark chocolate, chopped
210g butter
250g caster sugar
5 free-range eggs, beaten
75g ground almonds

For the chocolate glaze:
200g dark chocolate, chopped
50ml milk
75g butter
whisky, to taste

See the full recipe instructions on the BBC website.

Rich chocolate almond cake with iced Jaffa cakes on top

Baked by Peter Francis
Photo by Inger Mewburn

Upcoming programs



Career Doctor free experts day.

Are you eager to start sharing your research but don't know where to start?
Join the @thesiswhisperer to learn how to use social media to further your research career.



29 May –
2 June

ANU Online: Building inclusive education with Universal Design for Learning


Shut Up and Write Nights


Library: Endnote Introduction Workshop


Shut Up and Write-a-thon June


Shut Up and Write-a-thon June (New Day Added)

17 Thesis Boot Camp Veterans' Day


ANUT TTO: Lean Startup Workshops. Apply Lean Startup methodology to your research projects


#ANUTBC Thesis Boot Camp, thanks to PARSA



4 Shut Up and Write Nights


Shut Up and Write-a-thon July

12 Shut Up and Write-a-thon July (New Days Added)
15 Thesis Boot Camp Veterans' Day


Official Welcome to the research community for HDR students


Thesis Whisperer: How to survive your PhD






Academic Skills & Learning Centre
Want to learn more about writing up your research for publication or thesis submission? Take a look at the Academic Skills and Learning Centre Research Writing website. There you will find a range of self-help resources to help you communicate your research.

Do you ever struggle to get your message across clearly in your writing? Sometimes it’s hard to work out how to improve your use of language, expression and clarity. The Academic Skills and Learning Centre can help. Book an appointment with a Learning Adviser and they will review your writing and give individualised feedback.

Thinking about running a program of writing for your students or colleagues? Did you know that the Academic Skills and Learning Centre has a comprehensive writing program for research writing that can be tailored for disciplines and cohorts? Get in touch with us to find out more and book a workshop.

Centre for Higher Education, Learning & Teaching
Are you interested in gaining new skills to improve your effectiveness as a tutor/demonstrator? Principles of Tutoring and Demonstrating (PTD) is an intensive 10 module program, designed to help you develop teaching strategies, apply effective lesson planning principles, offer practical help with marking and examples of how to give feedback to your students. This program is offered during O Week to PhD students who have some tutoring experience.

Registrations essential at (On the webpage click top right – Register Now button).

The Council for the Humanities, Arts and Social Sciences
Applications are now open for the CHASS Australia Prizes. To nominate someone for one of the four awards, submit an application. For more information, visit the CHASS website.

Can’t find that book? ANU postgraduate students and staff can now request books online from other BONUS+ participating Australian and New Zealand university libraries and pick them up from one of our branches. Visit the ANU Library website for more information on using BONUS+.

Library training has concluded for the semester, however resources are available on the Library website, and urgent assistance can be arranged via email or by calling 6125 8886.  Need formatting or reference help? We can help you!

Book a research consultation. Subject contacts are available for personalised, one-to-one research consultations. Book in now and get the subject specific advice you're after.

Brush up on your Digital Literacy Skills – including Access, Excel, OneNote, Outlook, PowerPoint, Project, Visio and Word – with ANU Pulse online learning modules.

The Statistical Consulting Centre
The Statistical Consulting Centre is in the John Dedman Building (27). The four academic statisticians here can give you free stats advice for your PhD, Masterate or Honours project. We also provide stats support and collaboration for academic staff. If you would like to make an appointment, go to our website for more information. One of the statisticians will then contact you to organise a suitable time. If you are a postgrad, for your first appointment it is good to come with your supervisor. Useful to you too if you can see one of us at the start of your project for stats design advice, rather than waiting until after you have collected your data.



News & links



Academic Skills & Learning Centre

The Academic Skills and Learning Centre offers a range of services to research students to assist with the development of writing and communication skills.  We have expert learning advisers who offer one-to-one and group teaching. Whether you are just starting out, nearly finished; international or domestic; studying science or the humanities; we can help..


ANU Online Wattle, Turnitin & Echo360 training

If you are teaching now or in the near future, ANU Online offers training on Wattle (Moodle), Turnitin, Echo360, and using technology for teaching and learning. You can come to one of the face-to-face sessions, get personal assistance at a drop-in session, learn at your own pace with Wattle Basics online train ing, or join the conversation about education technology with a coffee course.

All are welcome to attend. For more information on Wattle or training, contact us at


ANU Qualitative Research Network

QRN Forum: Qualitative research at the margins: case studies of innovative methods


Centre for Higher Education, Learning &Teaching

Are you a PhD student who has tutored at ANU? Learn about new ideas and practices


Counselling Centre

Group Programs and Workshops for Semester One


Ethics training

Twice monthly Human Ethics Training sessions



New to ANU? The Library can help get you oriented through branch tours or information sessions. A full schedule is available on the Library website.

New ANU Press titles: Histories of Raphael Samuel by Sophie Scott-Brown.

Latest exhibition First Impressions: Elizabeth Durack, an artist in Papua and New Guinea, 1968 is open from Friday 19 May until August. The collection of 410 original drawings of the women of PNG has been digitised and made available online. A selection of unpublished works from this collection will be displayed for the first time in Menzies Library Foyer.

Chifley Library Level 3 is now open 24/7 and has been refreshed with BYO device spaces and an extra 50 seats, providing flexible access to a safe and comfortable study area on campus.

ANU alumni now have access to selected full text journal articles in JSTOR, a digital archive that contains more than 2,300 academic journals in a broad range of subject areas, and with particular focus on social sciences, humanities and sciences.

An extensive project undertaken by ANU Press and the ANU Digitisation Team has seen over 500 scholarly works, originally published by The Australian National University between 1965–1991, made available to a global audience under its open-access policy. The collection is now available through the Open Research repository.


Postgraduate & Research Students' Association (PARSA)

PARSA Survival Guide and more


Statistical Consulting Centre

Appointments for statistical consulting



From the Thesis Whisperer



Inger's picks from the web

The new report by Burning Glass 'The quant crunch: How the Demand for Data Science Skills is Disrupting the Job Market' is an interesting read for those considering a post PhD career outside of academic that pays very well! You can request a free copy on the Burning Glass website.

I'm already halfway through the new Helen Sword book on writing 'Air and light and time and space: How Successful Academics Write', which is providing a fascinating read - we are all much more different than you may think.

Great post on the dodgy practice of self-citation by proxy from Pat Thomson.


The latest from the Thesis Whisperer Blog

PhD Depression (or just the blues?)
New Book!
PhD Career Capital


Doctor Inger Mewburn

Associate Professor
Inger Mewburn

Director of Research Training
Thesis Whisperer



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