The traditional career path for PhD graduates is changing. Approximately 60% of PhD graduates now enter industry-based professions. This change has highlighted some deficiencies in the traditional PhD training approach and many graduates, while experts in their field, do not have the transferrable generic skills that industry is seeking. The Balanced Researcher Program creates multi skilled, industry ready graduates that can enter employment on graduation and actively contribute to the research and operational goals of their chosen workplace.
The program is based around a model with five primary attributes considered essential for students to gain skills that are crucial to being able to operate effectively in the workplace as well as in the community as a whole. Students are required to undertake 80 days of additional training during their PhD tenure. This additional training consists of a combination of annual training camps were core skills are taught as well as targeted individual training to assist students in both their research projects and intended career paths post PhD. One essential part of this 80 days training is that student complete at least 20 days of industry-based placement in a location that will enhance the skills needed for their research project or their intended career path post-graduation.
The objective of the Balanced Researcher Program is to prepare PhD candidates for entry into the workforce and allow them to be active contributors to that workforce from day one. Students will be trained in business acumen, leadership, team building skills as well as specific training to enable them to complete their research thesis and fulfil future career goals. Students will also undertake a placement within an industry body to gain experience,
Two PhD students commenced work on their CISS-supported projects in 2018, another is scheduled to commence sometime in March 2019 with the fourth is intended to in May 2019. Further students commence later in 2019.
With less students than envisaged being involved, CISS is making the program available to other research organisations and university research groups to have their PhD students, post-docs and other early career researchers participate in the on a cost recovery basis. Rather than the student numbers being a setback, the broader participation will ensure an even greater level of participant diversity to strengthen the value of biosecurity-related networking and collaboration.