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‘Scaling New Heights: PhD Opportunities Showcase’ Wrap-Up

Research Showcases
2pm Wednesday 23 August, 2017
Charles Perkins Centre, University of Sydney
Sydney Catalyst

The 'Scaling New Heights: PhD Opportunities Showcase' came together at Charles Perkins Centre on Wednesday 23 August, 2017, providing a really unique opportunity for the current and prospective PhD students who attended.  A string of informative presentations from current PhD students Dr Nicky Lawrence and Ashleigh Morgan, and recent graduates Dr Kate Mahon and Dr Mbathio Dieng, gave students some great tips on what to expect from a PhD. From how to choose a supervisor, through to financial considerations, making the most of collaborative opportunities and future research plans, these valuable insights afforded those in attendance a glimpse into their potential short- and medium-term futures if undertaking a PhD in translational cancer research. One thing was clear from all the presenters; good supervisors and supportive professional and personal networks are essential.

The Showcase also included presentations from two Senior Researchers Professor Madeleine King (Cancer Australia Chair in Cancer Quality of Life, USYD) and Professor Mathew Vadas (Executive Director, Centenary Institute). They generously shared their significant experience and advice openly and warmly, before all presenters a number of other Sydney Catalyst members answered questions as part of a panel discussion on the topic of 'What do you need to know to succeed in cancer research?'. Top tips included the importance of developing and fostering good relationships to enhance collaboration, including reaching out proactively to potential supervisors and mentors, and making the most of the quarantined team and focus that a PhD affords. One of the best insights of the day came from Professor Philip Hogg, who noted with enviable enthusiasm, that medical research, and in particular cancer research, 'gives you the opportunity to lead on a world stage. There are not many jobs that can give you that and really is quite extraordinary'.  In our opinion the fact that you get that opportunity while also helping to improve outcomes for people affected by cancer makes a very compelling case for those considering a PhD in translational cancer research specifically.

This event was the first of its kind in the Sydney Catalyst education program and judging by its success, we'll be planning similar events over the coming years. We'd also like to take the time to thank the many Sydney Catalyst members who took time out of their busy days to share their amazing insights. Your commitment to your own research is already impressive, but your willingness to share so openly with others is truly remarkable.

A big thank you also to Dr Claudia Rutherford and Dr Nicky Lawrence who led the program and the event for us!