PVC HDRTP Notifications

PVC HDRTP Notifications

Professor Simon Handley

Pro Vice Chancellor, Higher Degree Research Training and Partnerships

Simon Handley is an accomplished academic whose passion for psychology has seen him teaching and supervising in universities for the past 26 years. He currently sits as the Pro Vice-Chancellor, Higher Degree Research Training and Partnerships, which is part of the Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research) portfolio at Macquarie University; also served as Dean of the Faculty of Human Sciences from 2015 to 2020.

While Simon holds a PhD in Psychology from Cardiff University, his academic career in psychology was fostered and developed during his 22-year tenure at the University of Plymouth, moving from a psychology lecturer to the Head of Psychology and Dean of the Faculty of Science and Technology in that time.

Simon remains an active researcher with a focus on human reasoning. His work primarily looks at the impact of knowledge and beliefs on thinking in children and adults and the psychological processes underpinning rational thought. Simon has authored almost 100 peer reviewed research publications, been awarded more than $3m in grant funding, and has supervised 17 PhD students to completion.

His portfolio incorporates the Office of Higher Degree Research and Training (OHDRTP) which oversees research training at Macquarie University, working in collaboration with faculties and the University’s broader research community to deliver an exceptional experience for Higher Degree Research (HDR) candidates.

The OHDRTP is responsible for:

  • Providing academic and strategic leadership of the University’s HDR programs
  • Developing the policy framework for research training
  • Developing tailored support and development programs to ensure candidates are world-ready and highly employable
  • Providing opportunities for career-enhancing exposure to industry and the community
  • Developing programs to build outstanding supervisory expertise and mentorship
  • Providing operational management of the candidate lifecycle, including recruitment, admission, progression, and completion
  • Overseeing scholarship investment to attract high potential candidates in areas of research strengths and developing relationships with external funding agencies
  • Building and maintaining research training partnerships, including Australia’s largest cotutelle, joint PhD and Master of Research exchange program

Website https://www.mq.edu.au/research/research-expertise/meet-the-team/contact-us

Impact of COVID-19 on HDR Candidates

Dear HDR candidates and supervisors,

As you may be aware on 28th August an open letter was submitted to my office, signed by 371 HDR students and MQ staff members that included a series of requests regarding the provision of additional support for HDR candidates in light of COVID-19. Subsequently I have met with HDR representatives from across the four faculties to discuss the University response to COVID-19 and the support that we have put in place for HDR students.

I have also met with a self-organised group of HDR candidates who have been advocating on behalf of fellow students. During these meetings, I made a commitment to provide a formal response to the open letter and this response is available in video and written form through the following links:

Written response

Open letter 28 August, 2020

In addition I will be shortly hosting a webinar for all candidates at which I will present the results of a recent survey of our HDR cohort and present further details of how we have responded to the very significant challenges experienced by our candidates. Details will follow shortly.

Kind Regards,

Simon

HDR Webinar Video - 22 October, 2020

Dear HDR candidates,

On 22 October, I hosted a webinar for all candidates at which I will presented the results of a recent survey of our HDR cohort and presented further details of how we have responded to the very significant challenges experienced by our candidates. You can watch a recording of the webinar and view our responses to general questions raised by HDR candidates regarding the University's response to the impact of COVID-19 below:

Webinar Questions

Kind Regards,

Simon

COVID19 FAQ

General

Is the Office of HDR Training and Partnerships open?

The Office of HDR Training and Partnerships (OHDRTP) has reopened, with reception available to candidates and supervisors Monday to Friday between 8am and 4 pm. While social distancing restrictions remain in place in NSW our preferred method of communication is via email or telephone, or online chat is available through our How to Apply website. If you do require a face to face conversation with a staff member the OHDRTP now has an online booking system for applicants and current students to book appointments with team members between 9 am and 3 pm Monday to Friday.

If you need to get in touch with your Faculty HDR Office or Academic Advisors, please do so via the contact details available on the website.

Where can I find resources or information about mental health and wellbeing at this time?

The University’s support services are still available for all students and looking after your wellbeing is important. Download the MQWellbeing App as there are resources for COVID-19 and links to external organisations such as Beyond Blue.

Student Wellbeing is available on +61 2 9850 7497 or email: wellbeing@mq.edu.au.  You can also now book a check-in with a Student Wellbeing Adviser. This is the best way to get advice that is most relevant and appropriate for your personal circumstances.  Let us know what’s happening for you and we will call you back.

I am suffering financial hardship as a result of COVID-19. What can I do?

The University has introduced Student Success Support Package for students. This can be utilised in conjunction with our existing loans and grant schemes as well as payment plans.  All MQ students including HDR candidates are eligible to apply for this support.

Applications, Offers and Commencement

I am a prospective research candidate. Can I still apply?

Yes.  Macquarie University is still accepting applications through our online application portal although there may be some delays in processing as staff respond to the rapidly changing COVID-19 situation.

I am not in Sydney and I can’t travel because of the border closures. Can I start my program offsite?

The University is currently operating under the COVIDSafe Plan for research and Universities Australia Principles and Protocols for Reducing the Potential Risk of Transmission of COVID-19. Along with the closure of Australia’s international borders there are currently limitations on and approvals required for research to be undertaken by University staff and students. These restrictions may continue into 2021 and prevent international candidates from travelling to Australia in early 2021.

The OHDRTP will approve an offsite enrolment from 2021 if the candidate, Supervisor and Faculty can confirm that adequate resources and support are available locally to candidates. More information is available, including the Guidelines for Offsite Enrolment on the Offsite Enrolment Request Form.

Applicants outside of Sydney accepting offers made from November 2020 will need to include a statement from the Supervisor indicating whether or not the research is able to commence offsite under the current COVIDSafe arrangements in order to accept their offer. The offsite research enrolment request form will be required at least two weeks prior to enrolment.

All applicants with a Letter of Offer should read this carefully including all attachments and links on how to accept the offer.

I have an existing offer to commence a PhD/MPhil/MRes Y2 in 2020. Can I still enrol?

Master of Research Y2 enrolments for S2 2020 have now closed for domestic and international candidates.

Candidates onshore in Australia: can continue to enrol throughout 2020 up until 15 December, if you are able to commence your research within the guidelines outlined in the MQ COVIDSafe Research Plan. Please discuss with your supervisor prior to submitting your enrolment form to the OHDRTP.

Candidates outside of Sydney: candidates who are not already residing in NSW and are currently unable to travel to NSW will need to defer commencement of their program unless approval is granted to commence the research offsite To ensure that you are given appropriate support and supervision, the OHDRTP advises all candidates to defer commencement to late in 2020 or to 2021. If you are a scholarship recipient, your scholarship will be honoured. Please discuss an appropriate commencement date with your supervisor. Once you have confirmed a new commencement date with your supervisor, please email hdr.admissions@mq.edu.au so that we may reissue an offer and CoE (if required).

I am not in Sydney and I can’t travel because of the border closures. Can I start my program offsite ?

Macquarie University takes the wellbeing and positive experience of our HDR cohort very seriously. Offsite enrolment will only be approved on a case by case basis where physical and digital infrastructure, resources and support networks (including social support) are such that candidates can access the equivalent of an MQ on campus experience.

The University is currently operating under the COVIDSafe Plan for research and Universities Australia Principles and Protocols for Reducing the Potential Risk of Transmission of COVID-19. Along with the closure of Australia’s international borders there are currently limitations on and approvals required for research to be undertaken by University staff and students. These restrictions may continue into 2021 and prevent international candidates from travelling to Australia in early 2021.

Applicants outside of Sydney accepting offers made from November 2020 will need to include a statement from the Supervisor indicating whether or not the research is able to commence offsite under the current COVIDSafe arrangements in order to accept their offer. The offsite research enrolment request form will be required at least two weeks prior to enrolment.

The OHDRTP will approve an offsite enrolment from 2021 if the candidate, Supervisor and Faculty can confirm that adequate resources and support are available locally to candidates. More information is available, including the Guidelines for Offsite Enrolment on the Offsite Enrolment Request Form.

All applicants with a Letter of Offer should read this carefully including all attachments and links on how to accept the offer.

Candidates must not commence any offsite research activities until permission is given in writing from the University.

International MRes Y2 candidates (including bundle offers) who were due to commence in Session 2 2020 will have received new offers for S1 2021 to ensure that appropriate support and supervision is available.  The OHDRTP will contact your Faculty to facilitate this deferral. If you are a scholarship recipient, your scholarship will be honoured for S1 2021. Your CoE will be reissued if you already have one. If you are an international candidate with an offer for S2 2020 and have not already received a deferred offer for S1 2021 please get in touch with hdr.admissions@mq.edu.au at your earliest convenience.

What will happen to my scholarship offer if I am required to defer my enrolment date?

If your offer of admission for 2020 includes a scholarship with your offer of admission and you are required to defer the commencement of your program, your scholarship will be honoured.

I have already submitted or intend to submit an application for a Cotutelle/Joint PhD program at MQ. How will the COVID-19 situation impact my application?

It is very likely that your application will be able to proceed. However, you and your supervisors at both institutions will need to keep the following in mind when preparing your proposal:

  • your arrival date in Australia will need to be January 2021 or later (although the joint enrolment period may commence earlier, if appropriate).
  • you will need to ensure that sufficient time remains on your candidature at both Macquarie and your partner institution, as per joint enrolment requirements outlined on the HDR Cotutelle/Joint PhD website.

Current Cotutelle/Joint PhD, MRES and HDR Candidates

I am a Cotutelle/Joint PhD candidate and planned to travel to Macquarie University in 2020 or early 2021. How will COVID-19 related travel restrictions affect my existing cotutelle/Joint PhD arrangement?

Many cotutelle/Joint PhD arrangements have been disrupted by the travel bans currently in place in Australia and around the world. Your study periods at Macquarie and your partner institution may need to be adjusted. As each Cotutelle and Joint PhD agreement is different, all enquiries will be addressed by HDR Partnerships on a case-by-case basis. Please email hdrpartnerships@mq.edu.au; you should copy hdrcurrent@mq.edu.au and your supervision team. Rest assured we will do all we can to achieve the best possible outcomes for Macquarie’s Cotutelle and Joint PhD candidates.

I am currently enrolled in a PhD or MPhil Program. What will happen to my candidature?

Your enrolment will not automatically be paused or extended as a result of the interruptions from COVID-19. You should continue your research as usual, following the guidelines in the COVIDSafe Research Plan.

We acknowledge that the last few months may have been disruptive as you alter working arrangements, and your access to resources may have been affected. Talk to your supervisor to discuss and assess disruption to your work. In many cases, you will be able to continue projects uninterrupted or in modified form by working remotely, but in some cases you may not. Please see further below for interruptions and alternatives.

I am currently enrolled in MRes Y2. What will happen to my candidature?

All MRes Y2 candidates with EWS Dates in 2020 were given an automatic 1 month extension to mitigate the impacts of COVID-19.

We acknowledge that the last few months may have been disruptive as you alter working arrangements, and your access to resources may have been affected. Talk to your supervisor to discuss and assess disruption to your work. In many cases, you will be able to continue projects uninterrupted or in modified form by working remotely, but in some cases you may not. Please see further below for interruptions and alternatives.

Am I allowed to go to MQ campus?

The University has developed a ‘COVIDsafe plan’ detailing the approach that will be adopted to support a safe return to Research including HDR research activities. Each Faculty is in the process of developing a set of principles based upon these University guidelines. Please contact your supervisor or Faculty HDR office in the first instance to discuss your return to campus-based activities.

How long will my research be impacted by COVID-19?

It’s not possible to determine how long the interruption to research or the severity of the impact of the pandemic will be. This will depend on advice from the Australian Government and health authorities. However, you should discuss strategies to mitigate this impact with your supervisor.

Is the library open?

From Monday 27 July, Levels 1 & 2 of the Library will be open for self-service borrowing and individual study. No group study spaces will be available in the Library. Level 1 and 2 of the library remain closed, except for Click and Collect services. Please check the up to date information on the Library website regarding access to the library and HDR candidates

My supervisor has not responded to my requests for help. What should I do?

Please be patient. Your supervisor is also having to adjust their research as well as their teaching and supervision. If you have not heard from your supervisor in some time, please contact your Faculty HDR Office.

My research involves fieldwork and face-to-face contact with people. What should I do?

The University has developed the COVIDSafe Research Plan. Please discuss changes to your project with your supervisor.

If you make changes to your research methods, you may need to update your ethics clearance. Please contact ethics.secretariat@mq.edu.au for advice. You may also be able to rearrange your research schedule, by focusing on research literature or writing phases that can be more easily pursued remotely. Please note that PhD and MPhil candidates are required to document the extent of the interruption to their research in their 2020 Annual Progress Report.

What should I do if my ethics clearance has been affected?

If you have research ethics approval and can continue your research without face-to-face participant contact (e.g., online or via other remote methods), you should update the ethics application online.

Researchers should submit urgent requests via the HREC system and also contact ethics.secretariat@mq.edu.au, explaining any protocol changes implemented to mitigate risk from:

  • screening or consent from face-to-face to phone or virtual (eg. Skype, Zoom, etc) meetings;
  • the way participants are supplied with any materials or devices;
  • the way the research is documented (eg. electronic records rather than paper).

These project changes will be prioritised, reviewed and approved by the Executive or the Chairs of the HRECs via Macquarie’s Human Research Ethics Management System. If researchers cannot continue a project without face-to-face participant contact and need to delay or suspend their work, you should contact ethics.secretariat@mq.edu.au.

What should I do if my research depends on campus facilities?

For researchers whose work depends on campus facilities and equipment, not involving human participants, laboratories will remain open (as of 30 March 2020). Please consider the MQ COVIDSafe Research Plan and discuss your return to campus with your supervisor and Faculty. Please note that PhD and MPhil candidates are required to document the extent of the interruption to their research in their 2020 Annual Progress Report.

What should I do if my research is unable to progress?

If there is no way for you to progress your research at this time – either online or with adjustment to the research plan (postponing field trips etc) – please discuss with your supervisor and consider the leave options that may be available to you (see below).

What should I do if I have a conference, research trip or field work planned for 2020?

All University travel, domestic and international, is currently suspended until further notice in line with advice from the Australian Government. Most conferences have now been postponed or cancelled. In the first instance, discuss alternative arrangements with your supervisor but we do not recommend rebooking travel until further notice. You should also discuss ways in which you can pursue alternative means of peer-feedback and professional development instead of conference travel.

I have a PGRF Grant for 2020, but I can't travel. What can I do?

Many candidates have been successful in securing PGRF funds to support research related travel, but it is unlikely that international travel will become a realistic option in the short to medium term. Consequently, candidates are encouraged to work with their supervisors in identifying alternative ways of expending your PGRF funds in support of their research program and in line with the PGRF rules. In light of the unique circumstances the University will exceptionally allow candidates a full 12 months to expend their PGRF funds following award, which represents a six month extension to the duration of funding.

For those candidates who received PGRF funding for Round 1, 2020 (Jan-June 2020) and have not yet been able to spend the funds during COVID-19, you have an extension to spend these funds until end 2020. As you will likely not be able to travel, please consider alternative use of the funds in line with the PGRF rules.

For those students who received PGRF funding for Round 2, 2020 (July-Dec 2020) and are unlikely to use the funds per your application, you have an extension to spend these funds until end of June 2021.

In either case, with any change in plans to spend the funds please submit a variation of funding request to your Faculty AD, HDRs. All PGRF forms and information can be found here.

Do I still need to complete my degree milestones such as Confirmation of Candidature, Protocol, Literature Review, RF2?

Yes, your research progress milestones are still in place.  Extensions will not be granted automatically but there may be circumstances where candidates can seek an extension. Please contact your Department MRes or HDR Advisor/Director, or your Faculty HDR Office for more details.

Where your work has been interrupted, you may apply for leave or extensions through the usual forms available on the HDR Forms page.

I’m an international candidate and I want to go home.  Can I go home and continue my study?

The University understands that, where travel restrictions do not prevent them from doing so, international candidates may prefer to return home to be with their families. Discuss this arrangement with your supervisor but note that travel restrictions may prevent you from returning until 2021. Candidates intending on leaving Australia will need to be granted an exemption to the current outbound travel ban, and can do so be sending an email to hdrcurrent@mq.edu.au.

Macquarie University takes the wellbeing and positive experience of our HDR cohort very seriously. Offsite enrolment will only be approved on a case by case basis where physical and digital infrastructure, resources and support networks (including social support) are such that candidates can access the equivalent of an MQ on campus experience.

The University is currently operating under the COVIDSafe Plan for research and Universities Australia Principles and Protocols for Reducing the Potential Risk of Transmission of COVID-19. Along with the closure of Australia’s international borders there are currently limitations on and approvals required for research to be undertaken by University staff and students. These restrictions may continue into 2021 and prevent international candidates from travelling to Australia in early 2021.

The OHDRTP will approve an offsite enrolment from 2021 if the candidate, Supervisor and Faculty can confirm that adequate resources and support are available locally to candidates. More information is available, including the Guidelines for Offsite Enrolment on the Offsite Enrolment Request Form.

Candidates must not commence any offsite research activities until permission is given in writing from the University.

I’m a Cotutelle/Joint PhD candidate and I have nearly finished my time on campus at Macquarie. Can I return home as planned?

Yes. Please ensure you contact hdrpartnerships@mq.edu.au to arrange your return travel home and ensure you complete the OSR Form.

I have to care for/home school my children and I cannot work on my research. Can I take leave?

To align the approval of variation requests with the NSW Government advice on schools reopening, the OHDRTP will now require supporting documentation (ie. the child’s medical certificate indicating they are suffering from an ongoing medical condition and cannot attend school) for approval of variation requests on the grounds of caring responsibilities for school aged children beyond 30 June 2020

International candidates: International candidates who hold a current MQ scholarship may be able to access paid leave (carer’s leave) provisions in accordance with their conditions of award. Check your conditions of award in your offer letter or on the MQ Scholarships website. Alternatively, candidates may apply for a period of unpaid leave (suspension of award) or recreational leave in accordance with their conditions of award.

Domestic Stipend holders: Domestic PhD or MRes Y2 candidates who hold a current MQ Stipend Scholarship may access their paid leave (carer’s leave) provisions in accordance with their conditions of award. Check your conditions of award with your offer letter, or on the MQ Scholarships website. Alternatively, candidates may apply for a period of unpaid leave (suspension of award) or recreational leave in accordance with their conditions of award.

Periods of unpaid leave: All candidates may apply for a Leave of Absence (LOA) during this time, in accordance with the normal policies and procedures. If you have already consumed your LOA entitlement, or you are close to completion of your thesis but still wish to apply, you are encouraged to submit your application for LOA for consideration on a case-by-case basis.

Can I change to part time enrolment while I care for my children?

If you are still able to conduct your research on a part-time basis remotely, but have significantly increased caring responsibilities due to the COVID-19 situation, you may apply to change to part-time enrolment using the relevant Change of Program form. Scholarship holders may request to keep their scholarship on these grounds.

International candidates are not permitted to change to part-time enrolment.

I’m overseas and can’t travel back to Australia. Can I take leave?

International Candidates: International candidates who hold a current MQ Scholarship may access their paid leave provisions. Please check your conditions of award with your offer letter, or on the MQ Scholarships website. Alternatively, candidates may apply for a period of unpaid leave (suspension of award) or recreational leave in accordance with their conditions of award.

Domestic Stipend holders: Domestic PhD or MRes Y2 candidates who hold a current MQ Stipend Scholarship may access their paid leave provisions. Please check your conditions of award with your offer letter, or on the MQ Scholarships website. Alternatively, candidates may apply for a period of unpaid leave (suspension of award) or recreational leave in accordance with their conditions of award.

Periods of unpaid leave: All candidates may apply for a Leave of Absence (LOA) during this time, in accordance with the normal policies and procedures. If you have already consumed your LOA entitlement, or you are close to completion of your thesis but still wish to apply, you are encouraged to submit your application for LOA for consideration on a case-by-case basis.

Domestic Candidates who are stranded overseas and need MQ assistance in returning to Australia

If you are and Australian resident or citizen and currently overseas you may need assistance to return to Australia. Please call International SOS on +44 020 8762 8008. Quote the Macquarie University membership number: 12AYCA630700 – this will activate the assistance you need to get home.

Will my scholarship payments continue if Macquarie University closes and for how long?

Yes.  If you are currently receiving a scholarship stipend payment these will continue unless you apply for, and are approved, for unpaid leave (suspension of award) or your stipend naturally ends during this period.

Scholarships and Thesis Submission Date Extensions, Exams and Graduations

I’m due to submit my thesis in 2020 and I need an extension of my thesis submission date as a result of the impacts of COVID-19. What should I do?

MRes Y2 candidates: All MRes Y2 candidates due to submit in 2020 have been granted an automatic one (1) month extension. Please note that automatic extension does not preclude you from applying for additional extensions of EWS date in accordance with guidelines and usual process.

PhD and MPhil candidates: Discuss your situation with your supervisor.  If you are able to complete your thesis with an extension of your EWS date in accordance with the HDR Variations to Candidature Policy (0.5 EFTSL or 6 months full time equivalent) then please submit an application for OOT Extension . If you have already exhausted your cumulative 1.0 EFTSL extensions of EWS date and require additional time as a result of the impact of COVID-19, you are encouraged to submit another application for OOT Extension, and each application will be considered on a case-by-case basis.

I recently started my PhD/MPhil and my EWS date is beyond 2020. Can I apply for an extension now?

Extensions of EWS date for PhD and MPhil candidates will be considered in accordance with the Variations to Candidature Policy , usually in the last 6 – 12 months of candidature. If your EWS date is in 2021 or beyond, and you have suffered interruptions to your research as a result of COVID-19, you should consider an alternative option such as leave or change of enrolment to part-time (domestic candidates only). Additionally, it is highly recommended you document the impact of COVID-19 on your research progress in your 2020 Annual Progress Report, to support an extension of EWS date later in your candidature should you require it.

Can I get a scholarship extension?

Domestic and International PhD scholarship holders

A 3-month scholarship extension (stipend and international tuition fee offset) is available to all MQ-Funded PhD scholarship holders who have experienced extreme disruption to their research program as a direct result of COVID-19. Candidates may apply for this scholarship within 6 months of their scholarship expiry, applications will be open from 1 July 2020 until 31 December 2022, and candidates must be able to demonstrate extreme disruption by detailing: (1) the impact of COVID-19 on fieldwork, experimentation, and data collection; and (2) that mitigation strategies were considered but alternative work could not continue. This disruption must be documented with support from the supervisor.

Applications for the COVID-19 Extension Scholarship Scheme must be sought via the dedicated application form.

Candidates who have already applied for candidature or tuition fee scholarship extensions as a result of COVID-19 in 2020 do not need to resubmit an application for a stipend extension, and will be followed up by the OHDRTP with direct advice relating to their circumstances.

From 1 July 2020 this scheme will replace the 4-month tuition scholarship extension available to international candidates.

My supervisor needs to nominate examiners. Should they wait?

No. The Nomination of Examiners and Thesis Examination process at Macquarie is electronic and can continue. If a nominated examiner is unable to examine your thesis due to COVID-19, OHDRTP will request your supervisor to nominate an alternative examiner.

Can I still submit my thesis if access to campus buildings is restricted?

Yes.  Submit your thesis on your EWS date and by the appropriate deadlines, as per the information available on the website. Thesis submissions are accepted 24/7 electronically.

Will my thesis examination be delayed?

OHDRTP is fully operational. There will be no delay in your examination due to the temporary closure of the on-campus offices centrally and in the Faculty. However, please be patient for the outcome of your examination as many examiners are currently having to adjust their own research, teaching and supervision activities as a result of COVID-19. As such, the OHDRTP are giving examiners an additional two (2) weeks to return their reports on top of the standard five (5) weeks for PhD/MPhil and four (4) weeks for MRes.

Can I have extra time to complete my Corrections Report?

Yes. The standard timeframe for submission of your thesis correction report is in the HDR Thesis Preparation, Submission and Examination Policy and Procedure.  However if you need additional time to complete your corrections report as a result of interruptions due to COVID-19, please discuss with your supervisor and submit your request to hdrexam@mq.edu.au or exam.mres@mq.edu.au.

Can I still graduate?

Please refer to the FAQs for Students on the MQ COVID-19 website for further information about graduation.

Back to the top of this page