The Australian National University


Research Digest


November edition

Welcome note

I love the diversity of talks and events that are happening every day on campus. Recently, I attended the launch of the College of Law’s ‘unrequired reading’ list. The concept of unrequired reading is self-explanatory, perhaps – and emphasises that our education is not just shaped by our disciplinary demands, and in that in the course of our research, serendipitous encounters might change the way we think as profoundly as a text or process deemed essential to our field. I recommend you browse this list – which extends beyond literature into fine art and the spoken word – and I wonder what an unrequired reading list for higher degree researchers might look like. Popular fiction features researchers with attractive-sounding jobs, such as Dan Brown’s Robert Langdon, a Professor of Symbology at Harvard University who features in a series of novels including the infamous Da Vinci Code (2003); from films we have action-hero Professor of Archaeology, Indiana Jones (1981, 1984,189, 2008). In the realms of literary fiction, novelist sisters Margaret Drabble and A.S. Byatt feature young scholars at the heart of The Millstone (1965) and Possession (1990) respectively.

My favourite ‘unrequired’ reading – though not light-weight, would be George Eliot’s Middlemarch (1872) whose character Mr Casaubon’s scholarly ambitions to write the ‘Key to all Mythologies’ is doomed to failure. That the thesis cannot embrace everything that is needed to be said on one’s topic was probably the hardest thing for me to accept as a PhD student: whatever your summer ‘unrequired’ reading, I hope it’s a productive time of year for you.

Later on this month, the Centre for Aboriginal Economic Policy Research is holding an Indigenous Policy Conference for HDR scholars on the 14th and 15th November. The theme of the conference is: Indigenous Research Policy Matters: Considering Audience, Translation and Impact, and you can find the draft program is on the CAEPR website.  Registration is open to ANU HDR scholars, and invited academics and policy makers who have an interest in Indigenous policy issues.

Finally, I’m pleased to announce that we have just signed a collaborative agreement setting up a scholarship arrangement to facilitate Colombian HDR and postgraduate students coming to ANU.



Professor Imelda Whelehan

Professor Imelda Whelehan

Dean, Higher Degree Research


Upcoming programs



Xmas SUAW + Trivia

Shut Up & Write Christmas edition is here! Come join us for a day of writing, food, and trivia!



2 Shut Up & Write-a-thon
2 ANU Online: Echo360 ALP Information Sessions
2 Shut Up & Write Night
6 Official Welcome to HDR Students
6 ANU Online: Echo360 ALP Information Sessions
7 Shut Up & Write-a-thon
7 Shut Up & Write Night
8 ANU Online: Echo360 ALP Hands-On Training Session
9 HDR Thesis Submission Soiree
9 ANU Online: Echo360 ALP Hands-On Training Session
9 Shut Up & Write Night
13-15 ANU Online: Coffee Course: Build your researcher profile
14-15 CAEPR: Indigenous Policy Conference: Indigenous Research Policy Matters
14 Library: Data management workshop
14 ANU Online: Echo360 ALP Hands-On Training Session
14 Shut Up & Write Night
15 Shut Up & Write-a-thon
15 Library: EndNote workshop
15 ANU Online: Echo360 ALP Hands-On Training Session
16 Shut Up & Write Night
18 Thesis Boot Camp Veterans' Day
21 Library: Work with data in Excel
21 Shut Up & Write Night
22 Thesis Whisperer: What do examiners really want?


RSD: Defence Export Controls Awareness and Training Seminar


Shut Up & Write Night


Shut Up & Write-a-thon


Shut Up & Write Night

30 Shut Up & Write Night




NECTAR: Early Career Symposium - Collaboration across Boundaries


Christmas Shut Up & Write-a-thon (+ Trivia)


Christmas Shut Up & Write-a-thon (+ Trivia)


Christmas Shut Up & Write-a-thon (+ Trivia)

15 Christmas Shut Up & Write-a-thon (+ Trivia)
16 Thesis Boot Camp Veterans' Day






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.

Counselling Centre

Mindfulness Community of Practice, For ANU Staff and Postgraduate Students only

Come along to a facilitated mindfulness practice. Runs weekly and is open on a drop-in basis.
For more information and to subscribe, go to Mindfulness@ANU:

Register with ORCiD and share your identifier with ANU Open Research to aggregate your publications and manage your professional research profile in one place. Find out more about ORCiD.

Contribute your research publications, including conference papers, to the ANU Open Research Repository at any time.

Check out Navigating the sea of scholarly communication, an open access course designed to build the capabilities researchers need to navigate the scholarly communications and publishing world.

Research skills and digital literacy training available – register via the online training calendar.

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.


Present in the first Cross-Discipline Exhibition of ANU’s Early Career Academic Network (NECTAR) - Thursday 7 December 2017

Collaborations that span disciplines are believed to be the future of planet saving solutions. Funding schemes are now looking for such teams led by EMCRs, such as the ANU Grand Challenges scheme 2018. But how can Early Career Academics form the relationships needed to lead such schemes? This exhibition presents an opportunity for you to present your research interests to the broader community. You can present a research poster, art work, film, digital poster or other medium. Queries to Save the date and subscribe to NECTAR’s newsletter for more info.



News & links



Academic Skills & Learning Centre

The Academic Skills and Learning Centre has launched a new Research writing website. This site has self-paced resources to help students from across disciplines with writing their thesis and disseminating their research.


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 are very welcome to attend our face-to-face training, receive personal assistance at a drop-in session, learn at your own pace with Wattle Basics online training and Turnitin online training, or join the conversation about education technology with a coffee course.

All are welcome to attend. For more information on Wattle or training, please contact Karlene Dickens.


HDR Administration Support Project

The University is committed to identifying improvements for administration and support functions that affect the HDR student experience. Under the direction of the Deputy Vice Chancellor (Research) the ANU Service Improvement Group has a project in progress aiming to identify effective ways of delivering significantly improved HDR Administrative Support outcomes. 

To read the most recent news from the project, click through to the update. For more information on the HDR Administrative Support Project please visit the web site or contact the Project Managers: Kailee Fisher (PM for the Admissions component) and Megan Easton (PM for the broader body of HDR work).



New ANU Press title: Learning from Fukushima: Nuclear power in East Asia edited by Peter Van Ness and Mel Gurtov 

ANU Press is hosting a free public lecture on Monday 20 November at 12:30pm presented by Dr Frances Pinter, founder and executive director of not-for-profit company Knowledge Unlatched. Dr Printer will present her thoughts on innovations in scholarly open-access publishing. Register online.

Meet SPARC's Heather Joseph @ ANU on  Wednesday 1 November 2017, from 12 noon to 1pm – a free public lecture, in the McDonald Room, Menzies Library. Heather Joseph, Executive Director, SPARC (the Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resources Coalition), a recognised leader in the advocacy and promotion of openness – open access to information, to education, to research, will talk on open access including institutional advocacy and the development of useful resources. Register online



HDR candidates are invited to join NECTAR – ANU’s Early Career Academic Network. All are welcome but you may find this is only relevant if you are in the final stages of your PhD. Subscribe to the NECTAR newsletter, join us at our NECTAR events, or contact the NECTAR Coordinator to find out more.


Postgraduate & Research Students' Association (PARSA)

PARSA Survival Guide and more



From the Thesis Whisperer



Inger's picks from the web

Writing better won’t cure your academic woes

Thinking about a career in the Australian public service? This article has an interesting analysis of people with PhDs at various levels

And some more data on post-PhD employment from the US (but still interesting)


The latest from the Thesis Whisperer Blog

Explainer: preparing to be professionally edited

How successful academics write

How doing an internship saved my PhD


Doctor Inger Mewburn

Associate Professor
Inger Mewburn

Director of Research Training
Thesis Whisperer



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