Training Needs Analysis

The Training Needs Analysis is a tool for managing, reflecting on and helping to promote Higher Degree by Research skills development.

The University of Sydney is committed to attracting and training the very best research students from around Australia and the world. Our aim is to help students produce not only high quality theses but for them to become high quality researchers - well rounded intellectually and effective communicators about their research and disciplines to their peers and the broader public.

While recognising the extraordinary variety of skills, perspectives and goals that students and staff bring to their research collaborations, the University has agreed that there are a number of attributes that should be common to all recipients of a postgraduate degree from the University of Sydney, attributes that directly address the commitments listed above.

Our aim is that all research candidates will, on graduation, have demonstrated general competency in:

  • The ability to communicate, both orally and in writing, at the level required for the effective presentation of their research to their disciplinary peers;
  • The ability to communicate, both orally and in writing, specialist material to a non-expert audience;
  • The issues of professional conduct as they relate to their field. This will include issues of research integrity, professional responsibility, project management and the sharing of knowledge. It will also include aspects of professional conduct specific to each discipline – eg. ethical use of surveys, animal experimentation and fieldwork;
  • Sufficient aspects of the social history of their discipline such that they can provide an informed and reflective answer to the question, what is the value of this discipline and how does it relate to the work of other disciplines and fields of research?

Students should also have had the opportunity during their candidature to engage in career-development activities – including networking with peers and industry partners, as well as receive training around issues to do with commercialisation, intellectual property, research leadership and professional development more generally.

Beyond these general competencies, it is expected disciplines will define their own requirements in terms of essential skills, knowledge and experience. With regard to these areas, the aim will be to identify:

  • the set of skills, knowledge and experience regarded as essential for all candidates, including not only the general competencies outlined above, but those related to the particular discipline(s) in which they are located;
  • the training requirements to develop these skills and attributes;
  • whether the training requirements identified are currently available within the School or Faculty, or will be delivered through other means (ie. through coursework available in other Faculties or units such as ITL,Careers or Learning Centre, etc.) See the appendix to the form for a list of training opportunities. Your faculty may offer others as well.

Compulsory on-line modules

The University of Sydney expects all Higher Degree by Research students to be aware of policies and procedures regarding important issues in conducting research work. To help students with these issues, we are currently developing introductory online modules on a variety of topics, such as Responsible Research Practice and Workplace Health & Safety issues. You may have seen reference to these modules on your Training Needs Analysis forms. When these modules are available, we will communicate directly with all currently enrolled HDR students via your University email address with easy instructions about how to complete these training modules.

Responsible Research Practice

The University of Sydney provides an online course on Responsible Research Practice for all researchers, including staff and higher degree by research students. As of 2014, all higher degree by research students are required by the Dean of their Faculty to complete this short online course as part of their degree and as preparation for a career as a professional researcher. Incoming students will be contact by email in April and September each year with their login details, and will be given four weeks to complete the online course.

The course comprises three parts: Manual, Tutorial, and Test. Completion of the Manual is optional; however you must complete the Tutorial and pass the Test in order to successfully complete the course. The Manual is provided as reference material, while the Tutorial Questions are scenario-based to assist you to understand the key messages of the training.

1. The Manual section is optional. You should have an understanding of the contents of the Manual before attempting the Tutorial and Test questions.
2. The Tutorial questions help you to understand the key requirements of your training through scenario-based questions. If you need help answering a question, click the Tutorial Help button – available on each screen – to display the relevant section of the Manual.
3. You must successfully complete the Test questions in order to complete the course. The Pass mark is 80%. Should you fail to achieve the required pass mark, you will be required to re-sit the Test again.

How long will it take?

The course takes on average 30 to 45 minutes to complete. Note that if you leave the window open for 30 minutes without activity you will be logged out of your session. You can resume when ready though.

How do I log in?

All students who are required to complete the module will be sent an email with login information.

Workplace Health & Safety

This module is under development. When this module is available, we will communicate directly with all currently enrolled HDR students via your University email address with easy instructions about how to complete this training module.