Record number of research students to graduate

Friday, 10 January 2014

The University of Adelaide has achieved its highest level of completions by PhD and research Masters students in the University's 140-year history.

A total of 328 higher degree by research students completed their studies in 2013, including 282 PhDs and 46 Masters by research students. This is an 8.6% increase on last year.

"Attracting a large number of quality research students is not only a win-win situation for the University and the students, but also has benefits for society in general," says the University's Acting Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research), Professor Robert Saint.

"As the leading research institution in the State, and one of the nation's top research universities, we attract brilliant minds to work on some of the key issues affecting our world, in fields as diverse as health, engineering, agriculture, physics, history and the environment," Professor Saint says.

A Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) is the basic qualification for a research career. It involves two to four years of study and makes a significant original contribution to knowledge in the students' chosen area.

"The exceptional standard of research being conducted by students at our University reflects well on the quality of their research training, under supervisors who are world leaders in their fields. These students are of a high calibre. Through an intense process of discovery, they achieve at a personal level, but they also make a major contribution to the broader community," Professor Saint says.

"PhD students in particular are key players in our University research engine room. They are major economic assets in a national workforce that needs individuals with highly developed research skills and critical abilities who can drive innovation. Growth in quality researchers of the future can only be good for Australia."

Among the 328 higher degree by research students who completed their studies at the University last year were:

Dr Kathleen Pishas - a PhD graduate who has gone on to become a postdoctoral researcher in the University's Centre for Personalised Cancer Medicine. Dr Pishas, who won the Florey Clinical Cancer Research Fellowship, is focusing on personalised treatment strategies for patients diagnosed with sarcoma (bone and soft tissue cancer).

Dr Natasha Speight - a PhD graduate who is working as an associate lecturer and researcher in the University's School of Animal and Veterinary Sciences. Dr Speight's research has gained new insights into the cause of a potentially fatal kidney disease affecting koalas in the Adelaide Hills.

"These are just two examples of outstanding researchers who are now building on the expertise gained during their PhD studies. Their ongoing contributions to research will have direct application to the real world," Professor Saint says.


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