Equipping PhD students with enterprise skills to succeed in careers both inside and outside of academia is the focus of UniSA researcher Dr Judy Ford’s Endeavour Executive Fellowship, which will take her to Hong Kong early next year.
Dr Ford (pictured right) is one of three University staff to secure the prestigious Endeavour Fellowships, which are part of a federal government initiative giving Australian researchers the chance to further their work overseas. Dr Janet Sluggett and Dr Hannah Soong will also travel abroad as fellows next year.
A Lecturer in Research Education, Dr Ford says the fellowship will inform her role in UniSA’s Learning and Teaching Unit, where she supports PhD students to develop the transferable skills required to become successful and independent professionals.
“Enterprise skills are a diverse range of competencies that underpin long-term success. Although they are useful in any career, they are essential in non-academic careers,” she says.
“They include but are not restricted to entrepreneurship, leadership, innovation, understanding intellectual property, branding, marketing, quality systems and control, customer service and financial management.
“These enterprise skills are especially important for PhD students because while the PhD qualification results in high-level, subject-specific expertise and great thinking, planning and communication skills, PhD students are sometimes not ready for industry or business-based employment at a level that matches their intellectual training.”
Dr Ford will spend three months at the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology (HKUST) working with Professor Christopher Chao, who was integral in developing a specific Enterprise Skills course for PhD students in Engineering at HKUST.
Meanwhile the School of Education’s Dr Soong (pictured right) will travel to Singapore, where she will work with both the National University of Singapore and the Nanyang Technological University as an Endeavour Australia Cheung Kong Research Fellow. She will be investigating the growth of student mobility through education.
According to Dr Soong, more than four million people worldwide are currently studying for a tertiary qualification outside of their home country, and that education is increasingly used as a stepping stone to more permanent migration.
As Singapore, like Australia, has a large international student population, Dr Soong says the country is an ideal base to better understand the impact of global student migration.
“The increase in the number of students migrating internationally has vital global, national, regional, and temporal implications for both host and home countries,” she says.
“Singapore is setting itself up as a regional international hub, and I want to understand how lessons learned through Singapore’s experience can be translated back to Australia, and therefore help deepen Australia’s understanding of the needs and experiences of student migrants.”
Dr Sluggett (pictured right), from the Quality Use of Medicines and Pharmacy Research Centre at the UniSA Sansom Institute for Health Research, will travel further afield to San Diego for her Endeavour Research Fellowship. She will be based at the Surgical Outcomes and Analysis Division of Kaiser Permanente, the largest not-for-profit health care provider in the United States.
Dr Sluggett says she will use the fellowship to learn more about electronic health records and medical device registries, and how they can be used to both monitor and improve care and health outcomes for patients.
“I plan to conduct research using electronic health records for patients enrolled in the cardiac device register – I will examine the use of cardiovascular medicines and health outcomes for patients who receive a cardiac device,” she says.
“The Endeavour Fellowship will allow me to develop experience working with alternative data sources, which is particularly important given the move towards e-Health systems in Australia.
“There is an increasing need to monitor the use and safety of medical devices in Australia, and the program will provide the opportunity to work alongside world-leading experts in medical device surveillance and develop skills in this area.”
In addition to three UniSA staff, UniSA graduate Dr Maria Sinche-Gonzalez – who completed her PhD at the Ian Wark Research Institute last year – also received an Endeavour Research Fellowship. She will travel to Lulea University of Technology in Sweden.
As part of the federal government’s Endeavour Scholarships and Fellowships program, UniSA will also receive thirteen international fellows and scholars next year.