Becoming a competitive academic candidate – A workshop for doctoral candidates and early career researchers

Dr Catherine Gomes1, A/Prof Shanton Chang2

1RMIT, Melbourne, Australia, 2University of Melbourne, Melbourne, Australia

The academic job market in Australia and New Zealand, as it is in the rest of the world, is incredibly competitive as it is confusing.  In 2015 alone, Australian institutions graduated over 8000 PhDs with this number set to increase over the years (Department of Education and Training 2016) while news of institutional restructuring leading to job losses dominate higher education.  Adding to this, the academic workforce is increasingly made up of people on casual, fixed-term contracts, or in teaching-only positions, who have limited job security, employment benefits, and/or prospects for advancement.  What is valued however are research track records which include funding successes in competitive grant schemes and high impact publications.  For doctoral candidates and early career researchers, achieving a good track record is challenging due to limited yet declining funding avenues.  A lack of funding makes conducting valued research and their ensuring publications difficult and sometimes impossible.  What can doctoral candidates and early career researchers do in order to stand out in this environment?  In this interactive workshop we discuss the ways doctoral candidates and early career researchers can build their profile to become competitive candidates for different types of academic employment.  Here we map the research funding and publication strategies necessary for participants to become competitive candidates for academic positions.


Catherine Gomes is a Senior Lecturer in the School of Media and Communication where she teaches Asian Studies.  She is leader of the Migration and Digital Media Research Lab.  Catherine was also an Australian Research Council DECRA Fellow (2013-2016) and a Visiting Research Fellow at the Singapore Management University.  Catherine has worked extensively on the themes of of identity, migration, ethnicity, memory, multiculturalism and transnationalism in Australia and Singapore as well as on the information-seeking behaviour of international students in Australia.

Shanton Chang is Associate Professor and lectures in Change Management and the Social Impacts of Information Systems at the Department of Computing and Information Systems, University of Melbourne. His current primary areas of research include the Social Aspects of Online Technology, Online Behaviour, the Use of Social Media in Businesses, Education and Health, Information Needs and the Relationship between Cultures and Information Technology. He is particularly interested in how broadband technologies and Web 2.0 has impacted on education and health. Shanton consults on online behaviour of young people, online education and interaction across cultures. He is Assistant Dean (Exchange) at the Melbourne School of Engineering, overseeing the Exchange and Study Abroad Program for Engineering and IT students.


The Australian and New Zealand Student Services Association Inc. (ANZSSA) is a professional association for people with an interest in the role of support services in post secondary education.

For more information, please visit ANZSSA website by


ISANA International Education Association is the representative body for professionals in Australia and New Zealand who work in international student services, advocacy, teaching and policy development in international education.

For more information, please visit the ISANA website at

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