Opening the doors for Indigenous research students

Tuesday, 21 March 2017
Warwick Padgham

Indigenous academic achievement has been steadily growing but there is still a need for Australian universities to enable the success of Indigenous graduate research students. The increased success of Indigenous students in coursework programs has created a growing number of potential Indigenous PhD students. 

The fundamental goal of the Melbourne Poche Centre for Indigenous Health is to support the development of the next generation of Indigenous researchers. A central strategy towards achieving this goal is the Indigenous PhD Familiarisation Program, which has enabled future Indigenous researchers to better understand the complexities of a PhD and support their enrolment through workshops with a capacity building focus. The workshops supported participants in their preparedness for graduate research study, challenged them to develop their research ideas and explored strategies to overcome apprehensions around research.

The presentation will discuss why this Indigenous-led program has demonstrated success through engagement of Indigenous and non-Indigenous academic and professional staff, and discuss implications for future development of support programs for Indigenous PhD students. Implications include the program’s potential to influence policy for Indigenous admissions and support by highlighting possible PhD pathways, and to effect change for student support by generating a better understanding of Indigenous researchers’ needs.