All the right connections

20 June 2008

RSC is the first of its kind in Australia," A/Professor Brett Hambly says. "It really is a very big step forward for connecting research students with potential supervisors.

With competition for talented postgraduate students at an all-time high, the University has launched an important new resource: the Research Supervisor Connect (RSC) database. Associate Professor Brett Hambly told Elizabeth Heath how it works.

What is RSC?

Research Supervisor Connect is a web-based tool for the recruitment of research higher degree students, principally PhD and Research by Masters students. It includes enquiry management capability, and will make it easier for prospective postgraduate research students to find projects at the University.

How is it easier?

Previously, if you wanted to find a project at the University, you had to work through many websites. So you would go to the faculty website, then the department, and then find what projects were available in that department. If you were interested in melanoma for example, to find all the projects you would've had to visit pathology, Centenary Institute, Millennium Institute and the Anzac Institute, to name just a few.

Why is there a need for RSC?

Students said if they didn't find what they were looking for straight away at Sydney, then they were likely to start searching at another university. With RSC, the chances of us attracting that student increase proportionately, because we're showing them all the possible projects and so hopefully increasing our yield of students.

How does it work?

If a student is thinking of coming to the University to do a PhD or a Masters, they can go to RSC and search all the available projects by potential supervisor or research area. So it's a one-stop shop to access all the potential projects. There are two major levels of information: a reasonably detailed description of the project, and another level that supplies information about the supervisor, their long-term vision, funding and where they are at the moment. If a student finds a project they are interested in and generates an enquiry, that student will receive a response from the University within a day or so.

There are also a lot of links within RSC to find scholarships and that sort of ancillary information as well.

Where did the idea come from?

RSC grew out of a pilot program we developed last year, 2008 PhD Opportunities in Health and Biomedicine, which was limited to the health field. That pilot project ran really, really well, so consequently, it was decided to fund expansion of the project to the whole of the University.

What sort of feedback have you had so far?

Students like it because it's easy and straightforward, and the academic staff are very impressed by it because it generates a lot of enquiries and it saves time. Importantly, the software is designed to update the faculty or department website as well. It means that the RSC is always as current as it possibly can be.

So this is an important development?

RSC is the first of its kind in Australia. It really is a very big step forward for connecting research students with potential supervisors.

There is a link to the RSC website from the University home page.

Contact: Michaela James

Phone: (02) 9351 7379 or 0402 000 691

Email: 5c4f5f001d4a17121e1d0b056f0233034b2b3f