Postgraduate Research - Guides

A postgrad’s guide to making connections in the school and getting out and about

Handy hints from other postgrad students, for students starting in 2013.

The committee’s website is a good source of information. Many of the things on this page have been posted by postgrad students, so take the time to follow some of the links. If you want something posted on the website that you think other postgrads might find useful or entertaining email it to Elizabeth Lowe.

Head of School

Professor Robyn Overall

Manager, School Administration

Ms Niki Flame

Settling in to Biological Sciences

Following are some things to get to grips with in the first couple of weeks to help you settle in.

Getting to know people in the School

Overwhelmed by all the people around that you do not know? If you want to put a name to a face or vice versa you can check out the pictures of staff members on the Biological Sciences (SoBS) website or on the photo boards in each of the buildings. These are in the foyer next to the Science road arch for A12, on the wall in front of the DT Andersen Lecture theatre in A08 and on the wall in the foyer in A11.

Booking Car/Room use and keys:

SoBS provide cars for research purposes, be it going in to the field or picking up goods from a shop. You will need to email Michael Joseph first with your unikey (e.g. for john smith, jsmi1234) to allow you to access the booking site. The car keys are located in a locked box in the foyer opposite the tea room in A12. Most tech staff in A12 (room 137) will have the key to access this box; else you can see Michael Joseph (A08) for a key. Don’t forget which car you have booked when you go to collect the keys. Users must read the School handout and the policy in the glove box prior to using any School vehicles. It will be assumed that they have done so. Once you have set this up it will also allow you to book rooms for research use e.g. if you want to practice a talk for a conference or are doing research up at the School’s research station on the Central Coast.

For bookings go to the School’s website Resource Bookings System:

Setting up computers, uni accounts and passwords, joining email lists and access to intranet:

For initial Unikey accounts contact Susan Thomas at Science Road Cottage, A10 ext: 12848. Hand in the pink form to Susan Thomas in this welcome pack and you will be half way there. For any other computer problems or issues contact ICT Helpdesk: ext: 16000 or go to their Self Service Portal: (requires Unikey access)

Safety Officers for each building are:

A08/A10 Michael Joseph (ext 14098)
A11 Craig Myers (ext 15252)
A12 Malcolm Ricketts (ext 14097)
F07 Claudio Muhlrad (ext 12954)

Areas of Expertise

For anyone involved in scientific research, advice and expertise in the following areas are available from colleagues of the Biological Sciences as listed [[/research/||here]. Please arrange an appointment by email.

Transport to Sydney University

The closest train station to Sydney Uni is Redfern. Sydney uni provides a safety bus to Redfern train station, beginning at 4.30pm and running through to 9.30pm, Monday to Friday. Details of stops and times can be found at security bus service site. If you are walking across campus outside normal business hours, there are also recommended pedestrian routes for your safety. Details are available at bus routes.

Services For Your Research

Package/mail delivery:

When you order items for your research you should get it delivered to the communal mail rooms. For A08, packages are delivered to Room 227 (the tea room); for help see Michael Joseph. For A12, packages are delivered to room 137; for help contact the Tech Staff, ext 14481. For A11 packages are delivered to the office in the foyer.


This is a series of free workshops run by the Learning Centre that can help you develop your skills in presentations, writing up your thesis, literature reviews, etc. Many of the courses are specifically tailored to cater for Postgrad students (with some having a specific science perspective). They also offer courses to help those students who have English as a Second Language (ESL) develop their writing skills. Details are at

Badham Library:

This is the Biological Sciences Library. It is opposite the Holme Building on Science Rd. Crystal Choi is the Biological Sciences Librarian, Ph: 9351 9486 Email: Crystal Choi and is available to assist in research, as well as running the Endnote and Advanced Database searching courses. You can access most e-journals and databases from home via the library website.

Faculty of Science office:

Is in Carslaw Building on ground level. They have an answering machine but they get back to you promptly, ext 13021. Clare Woodley is the Acting Postgraduate Student Adviser ext 13136. Be warned that they have specific desk opening times, which you tend to learn the hard way.

Mon - Thurs 10:00am - 4:00pm,
Fri 10:00am -1:00 pm.

Scholarships Office and the Animal care and Ethics Committee:

These are in the same office and level located in the Jane Foss Russell Building, G02, Level 6. For general scholarship enquiries contact: Phone: 8627 8112. For Ethics call Gail Briody, Phone: 8627 8175.

SUPRA (Sydney University Postgraduate Representative Association):

For personal advice on topics ranging from negotiating your supervision to how to write a thesis. Also courses run regularly on important postgrad issues, and through their publications, you can access information about scholarships, jobs, and conferences. Ext 13715. Get on their egrad mailing list by emailing:

Petty cash, equipment orders and finances:

Ms Semra Yetke, School office A10 ext 12435

Technical Services:

Basil Panayatakos ext 12029 (to have things fixed or made)

Diving Officer (part time, 2.5 days per week, variable):

Heather Sowden, ext, 12275 e-mail:

Photography/film/poster printing/image printing:

Malcolm Ricketts, A12 ground floor, ext 14097 or write a note on his white board.

The Electron Microscope Unit:

For SEM, TEM, confocal and image analysis facilities and training courses, ext 13178.

Volunteers and Keys:

Contact Michael Joseph, A08, Ext 14098. Organises keys and can advise on other security-type matters, and arranges permission for volunteers to do field work.

On Campus Services For Daily Life

University of Sydney Publications & Cheap Tix Outlets

"Contact": Provides general student info about what's on around the campus and people to tell you how to get there. See the Daily Bull photocopy sheet in the box between Contact and the Chemist for clubs activities, competitions, cheap food deals and free entertainment around campus,

"Access": This place is on Level 1 Manning House, Manning Road.This is where you buy concession tix mentioned in the Daily Bull, and obtain your access card for student discounts. They also sell cheap IMAX and Hoyts tix, as well as various plays, operas and theatre shows.

Health Service: There are two centres on campus. In the Holme Building Foyer - appointments by booking ext. 14095. The Wentworth Health centre has many more doctors (many females) and specialists such as physiotherapists (there is a physio and massage therapist at the Arena Sports Centre). The Centre also has walk in appointments where you usually wait half an hour. Ext 13484. There are chemists nearby in both Holme and Wentworth buildings.

Campus food outlets: The Courtyard Café in The Holme is good for choose your own filling sandwiches and also has fresh salads. The Footbridge Station (next to A11) has sandwiches, convenience foods, stationary and coffee. The Arena Sports Centre has an outlet (Ralph’s Café) where you can get cheap focaccias, milkshakes, sandwiches, falafel rolls, fresh juices and coffee. The Manning building also houses a variety of foods, ranging from sushi, noodles to sandwiches, focaccias, wraps, salads, fresh juices, Mexican tacos, more coffee and cakes. Upstairs there is a uni bar and stage. The Manning Bar often has cutting edge bands playing there.

Lastly and least well known is the Grandstand. For some strange reason only academics and postgrads turn up here, probably because it's far away from lecture theatres and teaching labs. It's the best place to get a cheap good hot lunch. Examples are vegie lasagna and chips and salad, or the specials of the day, which may be Cajun chicken and noodles or grilled fish and Greek salad. There's also a bar for drinks. Great for lab lunches. It's open late on Fridays, but only for drinks. It's on the far side of the second oval away from the bottom of Science Road.

The Wentworth possesses the more traditional “uni caf” with a few different food outlets in a large room with tables. Further afield there is the Sports and Aquatic Centre which houses an Olympic size heated pool, basketball courts, gym, squash courts and outside tennis courts. The complex also sells food.

Off Campus Services

Photocopying: note: you may have access to some copying (paid from your grant) in the School, otherwise, Officeworks, on Parramatta Rd is cheap.

Printing: SUPRA offers printing services for thesis production and also Kinkos for 24hr printing service.

Shopping: Broadway Shopping Centre is located at the junction of Parramatta Rd (Broadway) and City Rd (5 minutes walk down past the tennis courts). It has 24 hour Coles and BiLo, a Kmart, Target, Tandy and Retravision (for those broken electrical bits) and a huge Hoyts Movie Complex (cheap tix available from Access).

Refreshments (of the alcoholic type): “The Flodge” (aka the Forrest Lodge on Arundel St) and the Nag's Head and Roxbury Hotel on St John's Road. The Lansdowne Hotel on the corner of City Rd and Parramatta Rd do awesome $6 meals. No doubt you will be introduced to them by colleagues or other postgrads.

Caffeine: The Coffee Roaster has good coffee and is a useful place for meetings of any kind, including with your supervisor. It is tucked in next to the “Flodge” (Forest Lodge Hotel). Closer to home, the Holme Courtyard Cafe or the Arena Sports Centre shop can give you the kick needed to keep you awake - ask for strong or an extra shot and you'll know all about it.

Great Thai food: On Tuesday each week we have a postgrad lunch. This lunch is held at Thai La-Ong Newtown or we get it delivered and eat it on the Botany Lawns, all for the bargain price of $6. Some weeks we have Sushi at the restaurant on Parramatta Road. A reminder email with details is usually sent on Tuesday morning. We meet outside Heydon Laurence building to walk to lunch. If unsure about the location of any places please call or email a postgrad committee member.

Student Funding For Research

Postgraduate Research Support Scheme:

The PRSS is a research grant to cover costs which fall into specific categories, such as conference expenses, specialist books, field expenses, etc. but eligibility rules do apply and the rules can change from year to year. Applications are called for in May, when application forms and guidelines will be available on the School web site, in the postgraduate resources section. The amounts that can be applied for by eligible students are a minimum $200 up to a maximum of $1,200 (or up to $2,000 for presentations at overseas conferences). If your funding application is approved, you will need to supply receipts to claim your money.


Grants-in-aid are available to provide students with travel grants to support short-term periods of research overseas; applicants must be citizens or permanent residents of Australia; most grants are open only to full-time students enrolled in a research degree. Individual grants vary in value and purpose with most approximately $1,500. Details are available on the research website:

School payment to supervisor for research:

Your supervisor also has money paid into their account by the School to cover some of your research costs (this money is paid to the university by the Federal Government due to your enrolment). The amount is $2000/yr for 3.5 years for all full-time students (pro-rata for part time students). This funding will probably not cover all your research costs, and so it must be supplemented by other grants, either to your supervisor or to you.

Small Research Grants:

Several scientific societies make small research grants ($100 - $5000) available to students to cover their research costs. These include the Linnaean Society of NSW, the Zoological Society, the Australian Federation of University Women, the NSW branch of AMSA, and many others. See the postgraduate notice boards, check the Scholarships office website, or check with the society relevant to your field for details. Applications usually close early in the year.

Research office: sends out a weekly list of grants available by email. You can join the mailing list by going to: or go to the Research Office website and click Funding Opportunities>Subscribe (under the title Research bulletin)