The ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies aims to build human capacity and expertise in coral reef science worldwide. To achieve this, we have created an exciting and multi-disciplinary intellectual environment, with a major focus on training and mentoring the next generation of coral reef researchers, enhancing Australia’s research capability, human capital and global reputation.
The ARC Centre of Excellence is the world’s largest provider of graduate training for coral reef research. During 2016, the Centre supported 206 research students across our four nodes. Almost 80% of the Centre’s graduate students are enrolled in PhD research, with the remainder pursuing Honours or Masters degrees. The Centre also supports 28 Early Career Researchers (ECRs), who are within 5 years of their PhD. In 2016, 149 international students came from 43 countries. More than 80% of ECRs in the ARC Centre of Excellence also come from overseas.
You can find out more about the many outstanding mentoring and training opportunities we provide to research students and ECRs under the Activities tab.
Research student and ECR committees
The ARC Centre of Excellence sponsors two committees in support of research students and ECRs. They are allocated a budget to support training, mentoring and leadership activities during the year. Links to the profiles of current members of the research student and postdoctoral committees are available under the People tab.
Mentoring is a critical tool that advances the professional and personal development of researchers at all career stages. Students and researchers at the ARC Centre are mentored by their advisors and Program Leaders. In addition to these mentoring relationships, the ARC Centre supports two mentoring programmes: peer mentoring and the Early Career Researchers (ECRs) performance development programme.
Peer mentoring is a form of mentorship that takes place between a person who has lived through a specific experience (peer mentor) and a person who is new to that experience (peer mentee). Peer mentoring is an excellent opportunity for both mentors and mentees as it builds meaningful and mutually supportive relationships and fosters professional and personal growth. The research student and ECR committees of the ARC Centre facilitate a peer mentoring programme for students and ECRs across all four nodes.
A list of peer mentors and their contact information is available here [insert link to pdf]. Peer mentee’s are encouraged to contact mentors directly to arrange a time to meet in person or over the phone or Skype. Please remember that due to time restrictions and prior commitments, peer mentors may not always be available. The research student committee provides 2-4-1 Juliette’s coffee vouchers on the James Cook University campus for mentor-mentee meetings, contact Chloë Boote for more information: firstname.lastname@example.org
Do you feel like you’ve got valuable fieldwork experience and knowledge that would benefit others? Have you been able to successfully navigate the steep learning curve associated with starting a PhD or job at a new university? Are you an ECR who is keen to share their experiences in seeking employment with PhD students? To join the programme as a peer mentor, please fill in your details including a short description of your experience here or contact Chloë Boote: email@example.com
ECR performance development programme
Early Career Researchers (ECRs) benefit from career development at the ARC Centre via workplace performance development programmes. This one-on-one process is forward-looking, discussing progress and setting targets for the research activities in the coming year. These include manuscript submissions, student supervision, conferences, collaborations, grant and award applications and research impact. The Centre provides mentoring to ECRs in grant writing, and with applications for ARC’s highly competitive Fellowship schemes, enhancing their careers and building Australia’s capacity in coral reef research.
The ARC Centre’s annual symposium (Canberra 2017, Hobart 2015, Canberra 2014), attracts >150 delegates from universities, the private sector, State and Commonwealth governments and management agencies. The symposium is an opportunity for ARC Centre members and partner investigators to showcase their latest research. The associated public forum on topical reef issues attracts a large audience. The 2017 public forum at the Shine Dome, Canberra was hosted by Dr Karl Kruszelnicki, popular Australian science communicator, broadcaster extraordinaire, and author. Videos of presentations from both events are posted on the Centre’s website and You Tube account, attracting high traffic internationally.
Research student and ECR retreats
An important focus of the research student and ECR committees is the design and implementation of the student and postdoctoral fellow retreats, held the day before the ARC Centre of Excellence annual symposium. The theme of the 2017 student retreat was Beyond the thesis – wellness and balance in postgraduate study and included presentations on mindfulness, meditation and mental health. The postdoc retreat featured speakers from the Australian Research Council who discussed their new emphasis on research impact.
Martin Taylor (World Wildlife Fund) at the 2017 student retreat.
The Centre provides extensive mentoring and training to research students and ECRs on a range of generic and specific topics. Key among these is training in grant and fellowship applications, publication strategy, research presentation and writing skills, statistics and media. Links to past and future training courses are available under Workshops.
To ensure student and staff compliance with the Australian Code for the Responsible Conduct of Research, the Centre provides mentoring and training in the ethical conduct of research, including the appropriate management of research data and materials. We also send one female researcher annually to external workshops and courses to enhance their leadership skills.
National Student Mentoring Day
As part of its goal to train outstanding coral reef researchers and scientists, the ARC Centre of Excellence offers a range of mentoring activities to all graduate students (Honours, Masters and PhD) attending the annual Australian Coral Reef Society Conference. There are no registration fees for students attending the National Student Mentoring Day and we contribute funds towards accommodation associated with attendance through a reduced conference registration.
The theme of the 2017 National Student Mentoring Day was Careers and communication. Students were offered opportunities to discuss and learn from each other as well as from experts in coral reef research and management, photography and film. More than 30 students attended the event, which included speakers from the Australian Institute of Marine Science (AIMS), CSIRO, Port of Townsville, Queensland Museum, Cinematic Science, and the ARC Centre of Excellence.
Ian McLeod (Cinematic Science) at the 2017 National Student Mentoring Day.
Weekly multi-nodal seminar series
The ARC Centre of Excellence hosts a weekly seminar series to share the latest research of Centre members and students. The seminar series also provides an opportunity for students, ECRs and members to interact with leading researchers and managers from across the globe. The 2017 seminar series has included guest speakers from the University of Lancaster (UK), University of Tennessee in Knoxville (USA), Carleton University (Canada), University of Rhode Island (USA), KAUST (Saudi Arabia), and the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority (Australia).
Seminars are video-conferenced to the Centre’s four nodes and advertised through Facebook, Twitter and our website. Videos of presentations are posted on the Centre’s You Tube account. The seminar series is coordinated by two ECRs to provide professional development opportunities in service.
The ARC Centre of Excellence has developed a highly successful strategy for the communication of our research findings to a diverse audience. We provide media training and one-to-one coaching to Centre members, including ECRs and research students. Communications Manager, Catherine Naum, coordinates media training and supports the outreach activities of ECRs, research students and more senior researchers across the Centre’s nodes.