Friday, November 29, 2013

PSA Conference Travel Award Report

Sports Medicine Australia: Asics Conference for Science and Medicine in Sport
Phuket, Thailand, October 22-25th 2013

Sports Medicine Australia has a tradition of selecting a ‘boutique’ conference venue every two years. With the Hilton Arcadia in Phuket selected as this year’s venue, everyone attending could not have asked for a more beautiful location with white sandy beaches accompanied by crystal clear waters. This year’s conference was attended by 480 international attendees, which translated into over 150 oral and 50 poster presentations. As per expected, the amount of high quality research was evident. Clearly this piled up the pressure on myself to deliver a presentation of the same calibre. Fortunately, my presentation session was on the first day and when my time came, all things went as planned, leading to a productive discussion in the subsequent Q&A.

Although a huge sigh of relief was lifted after my presentation, I soon realised that this was when all the ‘actual’ work started. I found myself running between sessions in order to listen to specific presentations that were relevant to my field. Personally, the best part of the conference was listening to the opinions of other researchers, thus allowing myself to learn more about the different experimental designs that others have adopted to explore similar variables. Most importantly, I was fortunate enough to engage in discussions with researchers from Universities in Japan and the East Coast of Australia. Current signs appear promising, and I hope to be collaborating with them in a future study.

Another highlight of the trip was the series of workshops that were made available to attendees. I registered for one titled: ‘Publishing your work’. This workshop was an excellent resource and will come in extremely handy in the subsequent months, as I am about to complete my thesis. Clearly, the opportunity to sit down with the Editor in Chief and three Associate Editors of a highly ranked Sports Science Journal does not come by often. The Editors provided tips on what they call: ‘getting past the first hurdle’. They highlighted the importance of a sound abstract, a well-constructed hypothesis and a conclusion that accurately reflects the results, and most importantly answers the hypothesis.

In summary, the opportunity to attend this conference will play a huge role in my development. It has provided me with networking opportunities and information that will come in very handy in the near future. I strongly advise anyone who is considering attending an international conference to do it. Sometimes as a PhD student, we are ‘stuck in a bubble’ and there is so much more that can be gained by meeting fellow researchers.

Marc Sim

Monday, October 21, 2013

What is an AGM and Why should I attend?

The PSA Annual General Meeting (AGM) will be taking place on the 31st of October at 4.30pm, in Law Lecture Theatre 1.

The PSA AGM has three main purposes:

   1)      The PSA President and Treasurer give reports.
Want to know what the PSA has been doing for you all year? Want to know how we have spent out budget? Now is your chance to hear all about it, and ask some questions.

   2)      Vote and discuss any big issues in regards to postgrads and the PSA.
Most issues the PSA Committee and executive can deal with on their own, but occasionally we want input from the rest of you! This year we will be making some *minor* changes to the Constitution (the big ones went through at the SGM- but we made some typos that need to be corrected).
We would also like to ask you all what YOU want out of your PSA. What should we be doing for you in 2014 and beyond?

   3)      Elect the 2014 PSA Committee.
Usually nominations will run before the AGM. Those that nominate for positions will then be elected at the AGM. This year we only had singular nominations for 2014 PSA Committee positions so many positions are already filled. However, there are many positions that received no nominations and have therefore not been filled. At the AGM we are allowed to take nominations from the floor to fill position on the 2014 PSA Committee.
Positions that we still have open are:      Media Officer,
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Officer, Events Officer,
Off Campus Officer,
Arts Faculty Representative
Education Faculty Representative
ALVA Faculty Representative
Law Faculty Representative
MDHS Faculty Representative
Ordinary Committee Members (two)

Need a little incentive to come to the AGM? We will have providing free pizza at the AGM!

AND the November Connect will be shifted to be AFTER the AGM on October 31st.  The kicker- if you want to come to the Connect, you have to attend the AGM first- we will be ticking off names, and giving out arm bands to enforce this. 

2014 PSA Committee Nominations

As you would all know by now nominations for the 2014 PSA Committee closed at 5pm 17/10/2013.

Several nominations were received- however they were all received for different positions. In light of this none of the nominations received have been contested. According to our election regulations:

‘Subject to Regulation 8.1, where the number of nominees is less than, or equal to, the number of persons to be elected to an Elected Office-Bearer position, the:
(a) Retuning Officers shall not conduct a ballot; and
(b) nominees shall be deemed to be elected’

This means that the people who have nominated for positions (prior to 5pm yesterday) are now elected to the positions that they nominated for.

The positions that have now been filled on the 2014 PSA Committee are as follows:




Congratulations to the new 2014 PSA Committee Members!

The positions that did not receive nominations during the nomination period will remain unfilled until the AGM. At the PSA AGM (31st of October 4.30pm mark off/ registration, 5pm start, Law Lecture Theatre 1) nominations will be taken from the floor for open positions, as per our election regulations and constitution.

The positions that did not receive nominations at this time are as follows:

Office Bearers:
Faculty Representatives:

If you are interested in filling any of these positions I highly recommend that you attend the PSA AGM to make your nomination from the floor.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Postgraduate Students and Guild Elections

Postgraduate Students and Guild Elections

All UWA students (this includes postgrads!) are automatically members of the Student Guild. It doesn't cost you anything, but you do need to activate your membership. You can do this by going to the Guild Reception (ground floor of the Guild Village) and showing them your student card.  

The Guild is the primary body for student representation on campus, and student representatives from the Guild sit on almost all of the University Committees, form the Senate down. Guild Council is the Guild’s governing body and is made up of 20 voting Councillors, who are actively involved in all aspects of managing the organisation and setting Guild policy. Guild Departments are represented, but as non-voting members.

Among the benefits of Guild Membership, you get to have a say in who represents you on the Student Guild (The Postgraduate Students’ Association, as a Guild Department, has a non-voting position on Guild Council. Who represents you and what their interests are has an impact on how effectively the PSA can work for you). The Council is an elected organisation, chosen from the University student body. Guild elections are held annually and this year’s Guild elections will be held from Monday September 23rd to Thursday September 26th at a variety of locations across campus. Information about Guild Elections, including booth location, dates and times, can be found here:

Nominations for positions on Guild Council closed in August, but you can find out more about the various candidates and read their statements in the UWA Student Guild 2013 Election Broadsheet (You can find the Broadsheet on the elections page listed above). Be warned: it’s a 70 page document and some of the candidates don’t seem to take themselves very seriously. It’ll certainly give you a sense of how well (or not!) postgraduate issues are being tackled, and allows you to vote for the people that you think represents your interests the best!

And there’s some food for thought for next year: if you don’t think that postgraduate concerns are being adequately addressed or represented, consider nominating for Guild Council. PSA has a voice on Council, but not a vote. As an elected Guild Councillor, you could put some political weight behind that voice.

Friday, September 13, 2013

PSA Conference Travel Award Report

PSA Conference Travel Report
Randika Anjalie Jayasinghe (20828908)
School of Environmental Systems Engineering

The PSA conference travel award was used to attend the ninth annual Engineering, Social Justice, and Peace Conference, held at the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in Troy, New York, from the 14th to 16th August 2013.
Attending this conference provided a professionally rewarding experience. It gave me an opportunity to network with researchers from other universities who are working in diverse research areas within the engineering and social justice space. My paper titled “The assumptions, diverse realities and promises: Understanding the power relations in waste management in Sri Lanka” received valuable feedback and comments from the participants. In addition, I got the opportunity to listen to other presentations and to converse with researchers. Most importantly, presenters can also publish their conference papers in the Journal of Engineering, Social Justice, and Peace.
My research is focused on developing poverty reducing solutions for marginalised people working in waste management in Sri Lanka. Hence, this conference was a good learning experience and improved my understanding of how I can use social justice dialogues in the Sri Lankan context. I was able to develop networks with many of the international experts and scholars in the social justice field. There was opportunity to contribute to discussions and brainstorm ideas on new topics such as social justice, ethics, diversity, and sustainability, which added great value to my research experience.
The conference included presentations by international experts in the field, workshops, panel discussions, and a theatre performance providing an opportunity to engage in actual activities with other participants and sharing their input. The discussions enabled to share the social justice related research carried out at UWA and to learn new socially just community development concepts used in other parts of the world. The knowledge obtained through the conference and group-led discussions around concepts of engineering and development will add to conversations with UWA engineering students.
I thank the PSA for awarding this travel grant to cover part of my travel expenses to attend this important conference. I will acknowledge this contribution in my journal publication.

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

What Are We Changing at the SGM and Why?

What Are We Changing and Why?

The proposed Election Regulations and changes to the Constitution have been created in order to facilitate the changes that the PSA is aiming to achieve in terms of better representation for postgraduates by the PSA itself as well as through the Guild.

Election Regulations:

The proposed election regulations have been crafted based on Blackstone’s (The Law Faculty Society) election regulations, while incorporating what rules already existed in the Constitution. The election regulations have formalised the way in which nominees can promote themselves to the wider postgraduate committee (meaning no mean political campaigning or lecture bashing). They have also formalised an electronic version of in-absentee voting for external students, postgraduates that can’t make it to the main campus, or people that are unable to attend on the day of the AGM. The election regulations also state more clearly what the role of the returning officer is, and how the votes will be dealt with. All of these rules are intended to make our elections more transparent, fair and equitable for all postgraduate students - so that you can vote where ever you are, as all students can promote themselves equally before the election. Please go to our website here: to see a full version of the proposed election regulations.

By having a more transparent election process the Guild is more open to altering their Regulations to allow the PSA President to have a vote on Guild Council, and to participate in the Finance and Planning Committee.

The Constitution:

The changes to our constitution are in response to the wider changes in the University, as well as altering the PSA internally so that we are more equipped to represent all postgraduates. Some of the Constitution has been reformatted, the grammar fixed, sentences reworded to be simpler but to have the same meaning. As this was an ongoing project tracking changes, was tracking the changes on the changes, on the changes made to the Constitution. This overall made for a very messy document. In light of that the main changes have been highlighted in the documents.

The main changes to the constitution are as follows:

Additional Objects have been included- On the recommendation of the Guild’s Statutes Committee additional objects of the PSA have been included to position the PSA appropriately if we ever wish to apply for tax exemption status or to be considered a not for profit organisation.

The Calling of Annual General Meetings - Here we have included a mention of ‘relevant social media’ to include the advertisement of these events on Facebook, Twitter, the PSA Blog or any other media that arises in the future that the PSA will utilise.

Special General Meetings- We have also altered the amount of ordinary members required to request a Special General Meeting from 7 to 10 to be in line with the Guild Regulations. We have also included a minimum notice requirement for a Special General Meeting of 7 days as there previously was none.

The creation of a VP Coursework and VP Research- In our current Constitution we have one Vice-President- who can be either a Coursework or Research Postgraduate and the position of Coursework Officer. We have removed the position of Coursework Officer to combine this with a Vice-President Position, and created a research specific Vice-President. With the introduction of New Courses 2012, and the subsequent discussion at the 2012 AGM where it was decided that the PSA wanted to remain the peak body for both research and coursework students the PSA has restructured to have an equal focus on both Coursework and Research Postgraduates. Placing these positions within the executive of the PSA also highlights and ensures a strong focus on educational representation within the PSA.

Require the Treasurer to provide a monthly report to the Committee- The Committee should be aware of the ongoing finances of the PSA. Placing a requirement on the Treasurer places greater accountability on the Executive to how they are spending the PSA budget.

Added being an Editor of Postscript to the Secretary’s Portfolio- Currently only the Media Officer has to take responsibility for the creation of Postscript. We are required to produce Postscript as per the Service Level Agreement that the University has with the Guild.  Giving an Executive Committee member some responsibility over the creation of the Magazine will ensure that it is produced to a consistently high standard.

Creation of an Off-Campus Officer- There are many postgraduates at UWA who do not study on the main campus. Some of these students are external students, while others are situated in Centres and Schools that are located in Nedlands, Albany and other areas. At the moment there is no one person within the PSA that has a responsibility for ensuring that these students are represented by the PSA. By creating the Off-Campus Officer, these students will have a set point of contact and hopefully be better catered for in the future.

Creation of an Events Officer- The current responsibility for the organisation of events lies with the President or another committee volunteer. This position has been created In order to free up the President to focus on national, Guild and University educational and advocacy issues. The Events Officer would be in charge of ensuring the organisation, of events such as the Quiz Night, Family Day Picnic, the Cocktail Party and any other events that arise.

Changed the Name of the Indigenous Officer to the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Officer- NIPAAC, the national Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Postgraduate Association have stated that ‘Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander’ is their preferred term of reference.

The Creation of an Executive Sub-Committee- Every year the PSA’s Executive has worked differently and had different relationships with each other. However, the Executive of the PSA is ultimately responsible for the finances and actions of the committee and for the success of the PSA in that particular year. To increase communication and co-operation of the Executive they are now considered a ‘Sub-Committee’ within the Constitution that is required to meet regularly.

Creation of the Awards and Grants Sub-Committee- The PSA gives out several different kinds of awards and grants over three rounds through-out the year. Each year the PSA has organised how they assess these awards, who is eligible, and their own ethical practices anew with the new committee. In order to make the practice in relation to the distribution of money as equitable, consistent, and transparent as possible, we have created this Sub-committee and some rules surrounding the practices of this Sub-committee.

Changes to Faculty Representatives- This year we have been trying to facilitate a greater level of co-operation and collaboration between PSA Faculty representatives, the Guild, and Faculty Societies so that they can work together on educational issues. The PSA is currently working with the Guild Statutes Committee to change the Guild regulations so that PSA Faculty representatives are full members of Education Council. At the moment changes are occurring so that they will be standing invitees in the meantime. Being a part of the Education Council will give PSA Faculty Representatives greater support on education issues.  These changes have occurred to reduce the burden of committee requirement on the Faculty Representatives so that they have more time to focus on their specialised role as education representatives.

Inviting Guild Councillors to PSA Committee Meeting- Again to further collaboration and communication between the Guild Council and the PSA Committee we have stated that any Guild Councillor who is a postgraduate can attend PSA Committee meetings as an ex-offico member.

Changed Quorum for a PSA Committee Meeting- We have changes quorum of a PSA Committee meeting from 5 Committee Members to 2 Members of the Executive and 3 other Committee Members. With the introduction of a second Vice-President there are now 5 Executive members of the PSA. This change has been made to ensure that general Committee members as well as the Executive must be present at PSA Committee Meetings.

Changes to how Finances can be drawn upon- Previously two members of the executive with one of them being either the President or the Treasurer had to sign off on invoices, receipts etc. This has resulted in the delay of payment of some invoices, due to the busy schedule of the executive. Now the President can sign off on invoices on their own. The Treasurer will still be aware of these transactions due to his monthly reports.

Election Requirements- The Constitution has been altered to referred to the now written Election Regulations.

Changes to the Constitution- Notice has been changes to be in line with the calling of an AGM or SGM. We have also added that the Constitution needs to be passed by a two thirds majority rather than a simple majority to make sure that the changes have adequate support. We have also altered objections so that 7 people must object during a notice period, as opposed to one so that it is in line with the number of Ordinary Members that can call a Special General Meeting.

The Upcoming PSA SGM- What is it, why are we having it, how does it work, and should I care?

The Upcoming PSA SGM- What is it, why are we having it, how does it work, and should I care?

When: 11am, Monday 16th September
Where: Sue Boyd Room (see map below)
Who: All members of the PSA are entitled to attend, speak, and vote (i.e. all enrolled Postgrads).

I just thought I would take the time to explain the Special General Meeting, why we are having it and how it will work for you all. I understand that for many of you this may seem a little out of the blue, but this is something the Committee has  been working on for a large chunk of the year!

At the beginning of the year the PSA reviewed our current constitution in order to ascertain whether it was arranged so that the PSA Committee could represent postgraduates to the best of their ability. We also reviewed how the PSA sat within the Guild, and whether the Guild was adequately representing postgraduates. What we found was that there was room for improvement.

A Little Bit of Context for the Year.

At the end of last year the PSA’s budget for this year was approved at $100, 000 which would have been back to the level it was at in 2005 before the introduction of VSU. Due to changes in the proportion of SSAF that the Guild receives at the beginning of this year from the University, the Guild Finance and Planning Committee then reviewed this figure and told the PSA that they would be receiving $70, 000, and insisted on the PSA justifying all of our budget items, from the money we spent on awards and grants, to our Connects and professional development sessions. We were also asked why we did not at least break even, or turn a profit at events and workshops by charging Postgraduates.   After negotiations which took some time, we were required to cut the amount of money that we spent on social events where alcohol was served. The biggest event that had its funding reduced was the Cocktail party. Our budget was confirmed at $70, 000 with another $10,000 mid-year.

As some of you may know the PSA is currently considered a department of the Guild. As Department the PSA President is a standing invitee to Guild Council and Education Council. This means that we are allowed to propose issues and speak on issues at these meetings- but we are not allowed to vote. In the past the PSA has tried to gain a vote on Guild Council; however they have been rejected to a variety of reasons ranging from out lack of formal election regulations, to the fact that we are considered a ‘minority group’.  This year the Guild has been more open to the idea of the PSA gaining a vote on Council as well as having wider representation on more Guild Committees.

Throughout the course of the year, the PSA has endeavoured to continue to improve our relationship with the Guild so that they can better understand Postgraduates position, and hopefully end up fairly representing  all students. This year the PSA has asked for the PSA President to have a vote on Guild Council, for the PSA President to be on the Guild Finance and Planning Committee, for our Faculty Reps to have at least standing invitee status (and ideally a vote) on Education Council, and ideally for the PSA to no longer be considered a Department within the Guild, but to be an Association affiliated with the Guild.

What is a SGM and how does it work?

An SGM is a Special General Meeting. They are called and held when the PSA Committee has some urgent business that needs to be approved. In this case we need general members of the PSA (aka all enrolled postgraduates) to vote on our proposed changes to the Constitution and the proposed Election Regulations. We could not put this to you at the AGM as we need them to be approved before the AGM for these to apply to the election of next year’s committee. 

Every enrolled postgraduate is a voting member of the PSA at General Meetings. On the day we will have a list of enrolled postgraduates. What we ask of you is to bring your student card as ID and that we can mark you off as a voting member of the PSA. Each member of the PSA will have one vote on the issue. Unless a secret ballot is requested and the motion passed by the majority of attendees, voting will take place by a show of hands. Observers to the meeting are welcome (ie staff, undergraduates, post-docs, etc.) however they do not have speaking rights unless granted by a vote at the General Meeting. Motions are passed by a simple majority. This means that we need half of those attending, plus one, to pass a motion.

At the meeting the President of the PSA (i.e me) is the Chair of the meeting. This means that I will present each agenda item to the meeting, ask for votes on the agenda items, and if need be tell people off if they are getting rowdy/rude/discriminatory. The Chair also has the power to eject people from the meeting for unacceptable behaviour or breeching meeting rules.

The meeting is a place to have a conversation about the proposed changes, let everyone know the committee thinking, get feedback from the general postgrad population on our hard work. It is not a venue for people to get angry or accusatory (however we will have cake, I doubt anyone can get angry while eating cake). The PSA Secretary will also be there taking minutes of the meeting that we can display on the website a few days after the meeting letting people know what happened and what the outcome of the meeting will be.

I will be asking attendees to flag the changes that they wish to discuss at the beginning of the meeting so that we can talk through the changes is an ordered manner.

At this meeting we will be voting on two items: Whether we are accepting the changes to the Constitution , and whether we are accepting the proposed Election Regulations.  The changes to the Constitution will be considered as one motion (i.e. we will vote once to accept all of the changes, or to reject all of the changes). The election regulations will also be considered in their entirety.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

A Message from the Library about the Scholars Centre

Dear Postgraduate Students

As you may know Information Services is planning some upcoming changes to the Reid Library for implementation in February 2014.

The refurbishments are part of an overall plan to transform the Reid Library to better meet the needs of students.  The first stage of this transformation (in 2012) was the creation of the collaborative study zone on the ground floor and the provision of 24 hour access.  The next stage is the creation of a new postgraduate area on the first floor of the Reid Library.  This new area will significantly expand the facilities available to postgraduate research students.  Access will be via UWA student card based on enrolment type with two distinct areas within the facility; for silent study and collaborative work.  The silent area which will be totally sound-proofed will include 153 ergonomically designed desks and chairs with power available at each desk.  The second area will include 30 informal spaces, student lockers, printing and computing facilities and a dedicated bookable meeting room with technologies for collaborative student work.   The new location will be adjacent to the main help area on the first floor with convenient access to student IT assistance and subject librarian and research support.

When the new area opens (anticipated February 2014) the current Scholars’ Centre on the second floor will close.  Desks in the new facility will be available to all postgraduate research students and the current desk and carrel allocation system will cease.  This will provide more equitable and flexible access to all postgraduate research students across UWA, and will alleviate the unmet demand for what is currently limited available desk space in the Scholars' Centre.   Lockers will be available for storing books and other belongings in the new facility.  Consultation via the Postgraduate Student Association, including student meetings with the Architect responsible for design, have already occurred and it is expected that these will continue as more detailed decisions are made (eg. design and partitioning of desks, size and number of lockers, and the style of furniture).

Information Services will work with the Graduate Research School and faculties to transition the current students using the Scholars’ Centre to the new space and more information about the transition will be provided soon.

For further information or to view the plans for the new space please contact Roz Howard, Assistant Director (Arts, Business, Law), Information Services –

Many thanks


Jill Benn | Associate Director (Research and Learning Support)
Information Services
The University of Western Australia M209
35 Stirling Highway CRAWLEY WA 6009
Ph: +61 8 6488 2341   

Achieve International Excellence
CRICOS Provider Code 00126G

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Changes to the Scholars Centre

Dear Postgraduate Students,

There have been several rumours circulating about changes to the Scholars Centre in the Reid Library. The following information is what has been told to the PSA from the Library Executive.

During the current renovation and relocation of the Scholars Centre in the Reid Library the current plan is to no longer offer permanent desk space to honours and postgraduate students. The Library have noted that it is not the responsibility or a requirement for the Library to provide permanent desk space for postgraduate students as this responsibility lies with the Faculties. In the new refurbishment there will be up to double the desk space provided for postgraduate and honours students in the Scholars Centre, with the inclusion of group working areas. However, none of this desk space will be assigned. Lockers will be provided in the scholars centre for students wishing to leave books, laptops, etc there.

The library has assured the PSA that they are currently consulting with the Faculty of Arts and other Faculties on the issue of desk allocation. The Library have guaranteed us that they will be flagging this change with the Faculties to warn them of the increased pressures that will be placed on existing desk space.
I realise that this is not news that postgraduates in the Scholars Centre will want to hear. The library has told me that they will be informing all of the affected individuals of what is happening as soon as the plans are finalised. For more information or up to date information I encourage affect postgraduates to contact the library.

As the PSA is informed of more information we will update the postgraduate community.

Thank you,

Gemma Bothe

2013 PSA President. 

Friday, July 26, 2013

PSA Travel Award Report- Nathalie Collins

AMS-WMC 2013: Melbourne

The Australian Marketing Science Academy World Marketing Congress was held in Melbourne in 2013. With the support of the PSA I was able to attend and give two papers which I had authored and had been accepted. One paper was on authenticity in marketing; the other was on consumer religiosity (when people treat a the consumption of a product like a religion). 

The conference was held in the centre of Melbourne in a hotel that was so expensive ($240/night conference rate) I could never have afforded it. So I stayed in St Kilda, a tram ride away for about $100/night on average. However this meant that I needed to wake up extra early, because (that's right folks) BOTH my papers were on first thing in the morning!

I was able to re-encounter academics from around Australia who I had seen at other conferences. I noted their names so that I could run them past my supervisor as potential examiners. One lady from South Australia had been to three of my talks over the last 4 years! I was impressed. I was also able to intro duce myself to other early career researchers and some very established names in the field.

The outcomes (besides gaining a kilo or two from all the mini-cupcakes they served for morning and afternoon tea):

- I am in discussions with an American academic who is editing a series of short, business oriented marketing books about authoring one on authenticity;
- My head of department was there and attended one of my talks (and seemed to like it) so I was able to engage him in my research;
- A session on industry engagement with academia was very interesting, and demonstrated methods and roadblocks to companies and universities working together from a variety of perspectives. Although this was not immediately useful to me, I did earmark the information for future use.

Thank you PSA for helping me out. It made a BIG difference.

Nathalie Collins

Monday, July 22, 2013

PSA Travel Award Report

PSA  Travel Award Report

Marina Borges Osorio, PhD student – School of Plant Biology

With combined funding from the PSA Conference Travel Award and the GRS Travel Award, I attended the BIONUT Summer School held in Gargnano (Italy) last June. The event is part of the Marie Curie Initial Training Network, an initiative involving nine renowned European research centres, such as Rothamsted Research and the John Innes Centre in the UK, and the Max Planck Institute for Molecular Plant Physiology in Germany.

During the Summer School I learned about different aspects of plant mineral nutrition in a challenging and stimulating atmosphere. The scientific program was spread over three full days and included lectures from twenty first-class experts on plant nutrition, followed by short presentations from sixteen selected students with free-flowing discussion periods after each talk. I was among a group of eight guest students who had been selected to speak. The other eight student speakers were from the BIONUT network. In total, about seventy postgraduate students took part of the school.

In my talk I explored the connections between plant nutrition and pathogen defence in plants. This topic is a central aspect of my PhD research that focuses on how phosphite protects plants against Phytophthora, the pathogen that causes dieback and is devastating native ecosystems across southern Australia, including the internationally recognized biodiversity hotspot in southwestern Australia. My talk was a great opportunity to showcase the research carried out at UWA and discuss with the European community an issue that not only affects Australia, but which is also relevant worldwide.

Most of the participants were hosted at Palazzo Feltrinelli, a beautiful venue for the summer school and also the place we gathered for meals. The meals were in fact an added attraction, firstly for giving us a taste of the best Italian cuisine and secondly for being a great opportunity to network with experts and students in a very casual and friendly environment.

Overall, the knowledge gained, the connections made and the venue visited made this event a memorable experience that greatly contributed to my professional and personal growth. 

Students ready for the last dinner of the Summer School

View from Palazzo Feltrinelli, Gargnano

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Need Some Help Researching? The Library Can Help

Here is an outline of services that Business School PGs can access. Some of these services are available through the Reid Libary- so anyone can access them!

Monday, June 10, 2013

PSA Conference Travel Award Report

PSA Conference Travel Award Report

Last March 2013, I was awarded a PSA Conference Travel Award to attend the ‘National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute Mitochondrial Biology Symposium 2013’, in Washington DC, USA and present my work on RNA Processing in Human Mitochondria. As a PhD student in the last year of this graduate journey, this was a fantastic opportunity and I am grateful to the PSA for contributing towards my travel expenses. Attending the conference opened my eyes to a world of research in my field that I could have never encountered in local or national conferences, as the mitochondrial research field is still in its early stages in Australia. I was able to chat with some of the world experts in my area of research and I even felt confident enough to question some of the results presented. The presentations I attended were of great quality and also provided me with some ideas for experiments for my own project. Finally, I had the opportunity to visit Washington DC, which I found surprisingly clean, multicultural and interesting, with a multitude of museums and art galleries. Tulips were blossoming all around the city, welcoming spring and although I had a vague sense of being constantly watched, as security is obviously tight all around the city, I would recommend a trip to anyone.

Thanks PSA for making my trip possible!

- Maria Lopez Sanchez 

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Jenny Tung's Must Knows for International Students' Switching from a Coursework to Research Degree

Jenny Tung's Must Knows for International Students' when applying for admission to UWA Masters Research and currently enrolled in UWA Coursework Masters

International students – What you need to know about enrolling in a Masters by Research when you are currently enrolled in a Master by Coursework 

1.      You need to complete your first year of master acquiring certain prerequisite grades (usually above 70%).
2.      Choose a research topic and identify supervisors in the field. The topic of research is decided on and refined by both the student and supervisor, so ensure that you have discussed with your supervisors before you decide to switch.
3.      VISA! When you switch from Coursework to Research, you will need to apply for a new Student Visa (this is because research degree falls into a different visa subclass – higher education vs. postgraduate research) and buy a new OSHC (e.g. your existing OSHC expires in March 2014, but your new visa valid until Nov 2014, you will need to buy another 8 months of OSHC).
Ø  It may be helpful in the decision making process to factor in these fees before you decide on switching.
4.      Lodge an application with the International Student Application Form, the Supplementary Form and a Research Outline.
5.      If you are applying for International Postgraduate Research Scholarships (IPRS), Scholarships for International Research Fees (SIRF) and UWA China Scholarships you should complete the online application form on the Scholarships website.
6.      Allow for up to 3 months of processing your application.
Ø   Your application is handled mainly by the International Centre, as well as the Student Administration and Graduate Research School (GRS).
Ø   It is better to hand in your application personally, to the International Centre. Documents can get lost, which is why you should keep a copy of your application yourself, and (or) a copy with your school/centre.
Ø   Know the staff that handles your application to keep track of the progress.
7.      Prepare for the worst – if your application is not yet approved when uni starts:
Ø   Your originally enrolled course will be discontinued.  Consequently à
Ø   Your library account may be disabled.
Ø   Your Transperth SmartRider may cut your full-time student discount.
Ø   You may not be able to access your laboratory, or school with your student card.
Ø   You may need to chase around between the International Centre, Student Admin and GRS, to see where or why your application got stuck.

Nonetheless, undertaking a research degree offers you a rewarding and exciting learning experience.
l   Explore an issue in real depth independently, and enjoy the challenges that come with it.
l   Develop generic or transferable skills – project and personal management skills; ability to think independently and critically; effective problem solving and communication skills.
l   Graduates from higher degree by research programs are highly employable, across all fields of study.

Monday, April 22, 2013

Life as a parent and PhD candidate

Life as a parent and PhD candidate by Trish Dowsett:

In May 2011 my mum handed me a column from The Weekend Australian which I pinned to the board above my desk and it is still there today. It’s called, ‘Giving birth or delivering a doctorate, they’re both labours of love’ by Emma Jane. Mum gave it to me because I had just started my PhD and my youngest child had just turned 1.
Emma Jane’s column draws two main conclusions: that studying, like parenthood, is at times, exhilarating and exhausting, and that education is ‘aerobics for the brain’ - while it hurts at the time it produces long-term benefits to intellectual and mental health. I hope so.
The same PhD challenges exist for candidates who are parents as for those who are not it is just that the balancing of time and commitments involves people who are dependant. Children and their needs are always the first priority and the combination of postgrad study and parenthood brings sacrifices which are not always pretty! My son is usually late to kindy, sometimes he hasn’t always got what he’s supposed to have (‘He had to bring his favourite toy? I thought that was next week!’), and I wear make-up a lot less often than I used to.
Time is at a premium and I have turned into one of those nerdy mature age students I resented as an undergraduate who started their assignments more than two days before they were due. But I get it now. I’m too tired to cram and can no longer pull an all-nighter if I’m behind. I also never know if I’ll find any more time to complete a task. As an example, do I watch tonight’s episode of My Kitchen Rules or do I make myself do some reading just in case a family crisis arises that will consume some of the time I had set aside for my study? You can see the dilemma.
When people ask me where I find the time to study, I usually say, ‘in the evenings when the kids are in bed’, but that’s not always true. Sometimes I am just too tired so the work just doesn’t get done, and sometimes, if do manage to grab an hour here and there, it is tricky getting into the headspace of my work as quickly as I need to, so I waste a lot of time too. I suspect this is a challenge for all PhD candidates.
I once had a conversation with two fellow PhD candidates I didn’t know very well. One was remarking on the fact that another PhD student he knew was managing a newborn baby and a research proposal – ‘that’s pretty amazing don’t you think?’ I nodded and smiled agreeing wholeheartedly but the other student snapped, ‘Not really. There are lots of postgrads who are parents.’ While I immediately thought her attitude a little abrasive it wasn’t long before I realised that this was good for me to hear. The more I think I’m doing something ‘special’, just because plenty of parents of young children are not studying, the more I’m distracted from getting on with my thesis. Plenty of parents work, and so do I. The challenge is that studying relies on a lot of self-motivation, on an obsession with one narrow area of research and with the need to be able to express yourself quickly and clearly in the limited awake time you have spare to write that chapter.
I return to Emma Jane who concludes the merits of studying for a PhD: ‘Will it leave you time to take a shower, do something fancy with your hair or interact with other actual grown-up humans? No, it will not. But, like making babies, it does make the world a far richer and more complicated place.’ Again, I hope so.

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Newsletter 18th of April

Happy Post-Prosh Day!

I hope you all enjoyed laughing at the undergraduates in their bizarre costumes, reminiscing about the days where you dressed up better (I painted myself green one year- that is real dedication- none of that ‘Oh I’ll just wear a fluro vest, that’s a costume’ stuff), and perused the Prosh paper.  I know, I know- its atrocious, the jokes aren’t even funny, and it makes fun of everyone- but it is for charity, and every year my grandma asks me for a copy and chuckles away at it- so I guess it can’t be too bad. That said if you have a complaint about Prosh- as I am sure many of you do- email

So onto PSA things…. We currently have four (yes 4) nominees for the position of PSA Science Rep. In light of this, as I said last week, we are holding a by-election. Each of the nominees will be submitting this week a brief bio about themselves which will go up on the webpage: Our nominees are; Natasha  Hulse, Benjamin Philip Goodall, Thomas Ansell and Hammad Khan. Voting will remain open until 5pm Wednesday the 24th of April. To vote for one of these people to be Science Rep please email Vanessa Caparas (our returning officer) at with the subject line UWA PSA ELECTION, and the name of who you are voting for in the body of the email.

Shoaib Memon has nominated to be the PSA Secretary. If you have any comments or issues on this position please email before the 24th of April.

Postscript (the PSA Postgraduate magazine) is coming around again.  We are currently looking for contributions for 2013. For more details on submissions check out here:

As always- there are important notices below….check them out please…..


PSA News!
 PSA Committee:

The Following people have nominated to be the PSA Science Rep:

Natasha Hulse,
Benjamin Philip Goodall,
Thomas Ansell
Hammad Khan.

To vote for one of these people to be Science Rep please email Vanessa Caparas (our returning officer) at with the subject line UWA PSA ELECTION, and the name of who you are voting for in the body of the email.

Voting will remain open until 5pm Wednesday the 24th of April

Shoaib Memon has nominated to be the PSA Secretary. If you have any comments or issues on this position please email before the 24th of April.

The PSA is still looking for people to fill the following positions:
Education Faculty Representative
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Officer

For more information on these positions and what the rest of the PSA committee does check out:

Please let us know at if you are interested


Hey Postgrads. Do you love prizes? Are you a smartie? Well, bring it to the Tav on May 23rd for the PSA Quiz night!

WHERE: The Tav at UWA
WHEN: Thursday, 23rd May 2013, 7-10.30 pm
HOW MUCH: $15 per person or $100 for a full table of 8 (buy a wad of raffle
tickets for a change to WIN MORE PRIZES!)
TICKETS: Tickets are now available for purchase from the PSA Office (room 1.03 Guild South Wing) 1-4pm Monday, Tuesday or Wednesday. To purchase tickets outside of this time please email

We have almost $1000 worth of prizes for the night!

Head on to the PSA blog at, Facebook page at, @UWAPSA on Twitter or email for more info.

Get your friends together for a table!


ACSPRI Winter Program : ACSPRI winter program is coming to UWA in July
ACSPRI is coming UWA this July and course bookings are now open! The Australian Consortium for Social and Political Research Inc (ACSPRI) is a not-for-profit organisation that has offered short courses in research methods, predominantly for staff and HDR students at its member institutions, for twenty-seven years. These courses are a valuable learning experience and networking opportunity for a wide range of researchers; from areas including social sciences and humanities, health sciences, nursing, epidemiology, medicine, law, marketing, geography and beyond.
Eight of the most popular five-day ACSPRI courses will be held at UWA from 15th – 19th July as part of the 2013 ACSPRI Winter Program. As a long-time ACSPRI member organisation, all UWA staff and students are eligible for significant discounts on course bookings. Further early bird discounts are available for bookings that are completed and paid for by 8th May, 2013. Up until this day, full time post graduate students pay only $1000 per course and other students and staff pay $1560, compared with the full rate of $3130. Program information, a list of courses, prices, FAQs and the on-line booking system are available at
Program Coordinator, Marty Lynch on
Location Faculty of Arts Computer Labs (03 8456 6520)
Start Mon, 15 Jul 2013 - End Fri, 19 Jul 2013

New Unit on Drugs, Policy and Public Health – presented by the National Drug Research Institute.
A one-week intensive unit gives postgraduate students the historical and epidemiological background to alcohol and other drug use and policy in Australia  The aim is to provide participants with a framework to improve integration of research into drug policy formulation at local, state, national and international levels.

DATE: Monday 22 - Friday 26 July 2013
TIME: 9am - 4.45pm
VENUE: National Drug Research Institute, Curtin University Health Research Campus, Shenton Park
Enrolment and further information:

Participants required!

Advance science in your spare time!!
Nobel laureate Prof. Barry Marshall is seeking healthy volunteers for a clinical trial investigating the use of Helicobacter bacteria as an edible transport system for vaccines and other agents. Remuneration will be provided. For more information please see the attached poster, or contact Jim (Clinical Trial Co-ordinator) on 0488 159 419 or

Would you like to take part in a study examining male fertility?
The School of Animal Biology are currently recruiting both couples and men for two PhD studies investigating male fertility.
ñ You must be a heterosexual, Caucasian male or couple aged between 18 and 35 years old.
ñ You will attend a one-off visit to Animal Biology to complete some questionnaires and receive instructions.
ñ You will provide a semen sample in the comfort of your own home.
ñ All data is completely confidential.
ñ A contribution of $10 (men) or $20 (couples) will be made towards expenses incurred by you.
ñ Find out important information about your semen quality free of charge!
For further information, please email Samantha Leivers at: This research has full approval from the UWA Human Ethics Research Committee (Project number: RA/ 4/1/5012).
Participant Recruitment to research the lived experiences of PhD students in Australia
Wanted: a diverse cohort of PhD students – domestic and international, different stage of PhD, varying age groups, gender and research discipline - to explore ‘what the lived experience’ of a PhD student in present day Australia actually is.
Participation takes approximately 1 hour per month
Anyone interested in participating can contact me directly on:
Angele Jones, or 0409 833688


IAS Talks:

The History of Education and the Values of Cultural Heritage by Ian Reid, Adjunct Professor,  English and Cultural Studies UWA
16 April, 6pm, Webb Lecture Theatre UWA, Free, but RSVP essential.
Bookings: or RSVP  or 6488 1340

Probation worker responses to turbulent conditions by Anne Worrall, Professor of Criminology, Keele University, UK, Honorary Professorial Fellow, Law School, UWA.
17 April, 6pm, Social Sciences Lecture Theatre UWA, Free, but RSVP essential.
Blue Forests for Climate Change Mitigation and Adaptation by Nuria Marba, Spanish National Research Council (CSIC), Institut Mediterrani d'Estudis Avancats (UIB-CSIC) and 2013 Gledden Visiting Fellow at UWA
18 April, 6pm, Social Sciences Lecture Theatre UWA, Free, but RSVP essential.


The latest version of the citation management software EndNote (X6) is now available for UWA staff and students to download. To learn more and download the program, visit:

Questions? Please ask us.

Caroline Clark
Workshops and Seminars!

Research and Academic Writing:
Online registration for Research Skills and Academic Writing workshops for Masters by Research and PhD students is now open at
Research skills workshops topics: Kickstart your Research; Writing your Research Proposal; Managing and Reviewing the Literature
Academic Writing topics: Write a Better Thesis; Principles of Academic Writing; Academic Writing in Practice.

Limina Conference 2013

Exclusivity: Boundaries of Difference

To celebrate the launch of volume 19 of LIMINA: A Journal of Historical and Cultural Studies the Collective is pleased to announce that:

The Limina Conference will be held on Friday June 14, 2013 at the University of Western Australia. This conference will explore notions of exclusivity with Professor Jane Lydon, Future Fellow at the University of Western Australia, as keynote speaker. The conference aims to foster a supportive environment in which current post-graduates and early career researchers can present their own research whilst investigating the complexities of exclusion.
For more information please visit our website or contact us at The final submission date for abstracts has been extended to April 30, 2013.

Teaching and Learning Research Colloquium 2013
Date: Thursday 6th June 2013 Time: 8:45-12:00. Venue: University Club, Seminar Rooms 1 and 2
You are invited to disseminate your research in Teaching and Learning at UWA. We are calling for expressions of interest from anyone who is actively engaged with the scholarship of teaching and learning at UWA and would like to share their research with others in a presentation to your colleagues.Please submit an Expression of Interest in the form of an abstract by Monday 8th April 2013 to
Any questions please do not hesitate to contact Rashmi Watson

Employment Law Australia Masterclass

28 May 2013. Sydney, Australia
30 May 2013, Perth, Australia
Register by 8th Mar 2013 to enjoy 200 AUD off


Employment law is constantly evolving and it is a challenge to keep up with the changes. This Masterclass looks at the current hot topics which those involved in HR face on a daily basis


UWA Student Guild - Co-Op Textbook Grants for Students

There are Guild Textbook Grants in the form of Co-Op Textbook vouchers of up to $250 for students who are finding it difficult to purchase essential textbooks.

For further information please see the following link - or feel free to contact either of us; Emmaline Turley or Jessica Toon

News from IT!

Student IT Support in 2013
Need IT help? Use askUWA or go to your subject library.


Check your student email!! Your student email is where the university communicates with you.

Check that and Student Connect at least once a week to ensure that you don’t have any outstanding fines, fees, milestones which might lead to an encumbrance – this would prevent the automatic re-enrolment of research students! Bad times for everyone.

Do you want to put a notice in the newsletter? You should email me! I’ll plug most things related to postgrads, professional development, and activities. Newsletter day is currently Wednesday, so email two sentences and any links to  by 9am on Wednesday to be included!
Twitter: @UWAPSA
Internal Mail: M300
Phone: (08) 6488 3194
Office: Guild South Wing, First Floor, Office 1.03
Lounge: Guild South Wing, First Floor, Room 1.05