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Graduate Research Festival 2020

Graduate Research festival

This year's Graduate Research Festival runs from Monday 16 November to Friday 27 November. We have collaborated with colleagues and services around the University to put together a diverse range of events designed to enhance your study experience, help you prepare for the future, and to celebrate the achievements of fellow graduate students.

Pick out a few events that interest you, and take some time out to see what the student research community at Otago is up to.

The Festival welcomes all members of the graduate research community: graduate students, supervisors, academics, and staff members with a role supporting graduate students.


Monday 16 November

Workshop: To infinity and beyond!

For PhD candidates in the final year of their thesis

A full-day programme focusing on managing the end stages of a thesis and developing a plan for life beyond your thesis.

9:00am–5:00pm
University of Otago, Dunedin campus

Free for students
Book online for Workshop: To infinity and beyond! (Spaces still available)

Tuesday 17 November

Careers panel and Q&A: Careers for lunch

(12:00–1:00pm; each day from Tuesday 17 November to Thursday 19 November)

These sessions, offered via Zoom, provide an opportunity for candidates to understand the labour market and career possibilities in life beyond study.

Callaghan Innovation – New Zealand’s innovation agency – includes more than 200 of New Zealand’s leading scientists and engineers, empowering innovators by connecting people, opportunities and networks, and providing tailored technical solutions, skills and capability development programmes, and grants co-funding. Hear from their Primary Relationship Managers about how this works and learn how it could shape the next steps for your career. Book your place and you will be sent the link.

Book online for Careers panel and Q&A

Quality forum: Supporting graduate research candidates during COVID-19 times

In this forum, which should appeal to both candidates and staff, panelists will discuss aspects of supporting graduate research candidates during COVID-19 times, including supervising by distance, connecting candidates, rescoping research, and promoting wellbeing and productivity.

12:00–2:00pm
St David Complex Seminar Room A G.02

To register, email quality-advancement@otago.ac.nz

Wednesday 18 November

Wellbeing walk

Have a study break and join us for a wellbeing walk to discover what’s nearby. We’ll wander up through the Botanic Garden, and behind Logan Park to discover a host of hidden walks, followed by a stroll down an avenue of trees to the Unipol Recreation Centre, where staff will show us some of the great facilities and programmes on offer there. From there it is an easy 10–15 minutes’ walk back to campus.

10:15am meet up for 10:30am departure. Finish 12pm.
Meet at the Graduate Research School (103 St David St) at 10:15am – or join in at Unipol Recreation Centre, Anzac Ave at 11:15am.


No registration required
Hosted by Nikki Fahey and Andrew Lonie

Careers panel and Q&A: Careers for lunch

These sessions, offered via Zoom, provide an opportunity for candidates to understand the labour market and career possibilities for them in life beyond study.

Hear from those who escaped the academy to go onto meaningful paid work following years as a graduate student. Learn what made a difference so you can create your own strategy. Book your place and you will be sent the Zoom link.

12:00–1:00pm
Book online for Careers panel and Q&A

Thursday 19 November

Careers panel and Q&A: Careers for lunch

These sessions, offered via Zoom, provide an opportunity for candidates to understand the labour market and career possibilities for them in life beyond study.

What are some of the different roles that you can gain in a university? Hear from this group of graduates who have remained inmates of the academy. Book your place and you will be sent the link.

12:00–1:00pm
Book online for Careers panel and Q&A

Friday 20 November

Postgraduate Happy Hour

From 4:00pm until 6:00pm, grab your office or lab mates and head along to wind down at the end of your busy week with happy hour special prices on beverages and complimentary bar snacks.

The Postgrad Happy Hour is held upstairs at the University Staff Club.

We hope you take this opportunity to relax with your colleagues and meet other students.

Monday 23 November

Workshop: Induction to PhD study at the University of Otago

For PhD candidates in their first year of study

Start your thesis journey equipped with a well-informed set of expectations for your doctorate. This full-day programme is strongly advised for all commencing doctoral researchers.

The programme will enable you to:

  • understand the key processes involved in doing a PhD at Otago
  • reflect on how your skills and experiences can supplement your research
  • clarify your expectations of supervision and how to get the most from your supervisors
  • consider your career development during your doctoral study
  • plan for study-life balance
  •  gain familiarity with various support and service providers for doctoral researchers across the University.

9:00am–5:00pm
University of Otago, Dunedin campus

Free for students
Book online for Workshop: Induction to PhD study at the University of Otago (fully booked but waiting list in operation)

Tuesday 24 November

Cancelled Conference

3:00pm–4:00pm via Zoom 

The following presentations offer you a taster of the amazing diversity of research undertaken by Otago Doctoral and Master’s candidates: 

  • Mark Holdaway discusses biomarkers for diagnosing heart failure.
  • Phra Akbordin Rattana presents understandings of Buddha’s physical and enlightened bodies.
  • Ling Liao examines pricing dynamics of New Zealand’s Emissions Trading Scheme.
  • Ashleigh Barrett-Young deliberates on how retinal dysfunction caused by chronic stress on the brain might help identify those at risk of developing Alzheimer’s.

Support these researchers, expand your horizons, and learn something new about health, faith and the economy. 

Register now to receive the Zoom address for Cancelled conference.

Google Like a Pro

A Zoom session presented by librarians Judy Fisher and Kate Thompson where you will receive some hot tips on using Google and Google Scholar effectively. Learn about clever ways to define your search, get the good stuff, and save time.

10:00–11:00am
Via Zoom

Free for Students
Platform: Via Zoom
Book online for Google Like a Pro

Wednesday 25 November

Guided relaxation session

Join our Graduate Wellbeing Coach, Nikki Fahey, for a guided relaxation session – you may be amazed at how productive an afternoon you have after clearing the mind! Meet on the Clocktower lawn (if weather is looking wet, an alternative indoor venue will be advised via email). You’re welcome to bring something to sit or lie on, or just enjoy the feel of the spring grass. Nikki will take you through a progressive muscle relaxation session for approximately half an hour.

11:30am–12:00pm
University of Otago, Dunedin campus

Free for staff and students
Book online for Guided relaxation session

Cancelled Conference

3:00pm–4:00pm via Zoom 

The following presentations offer you a taster of the amazing diversity of research undertaken by Otago Doctoral and Master’s candidates: 

  • Mark Holdaway discusses biomarkers for diagnosing heart failure.
  • Phra Akbordin Rattana presents understandings of Buddha’s physical and enlightened bodies.
  • Ling Liao examines pricing dynamics of New Zealand’s Emissions Trading Scheme.
  • Ashleigh Barrett-Young deliberates on how retinal dysfunction caused by chronic stress on the brain might help identify those at risk of developing Alzheimer’s.

Support these researchers, expand your horizons, and learn something new about health, faith and the economy. 

Register now to receive the Zoom address for Cancelled conference.

Thursday 26 November

Graduate research writing day

For all graduate research candidates

Looking for an opportunity to write, write, write among a group of like-minded peers?

The Graduate Research School is offering a series of monthly writing days to research master’s and doctoral candidates.

We provide the venue, food and drink.

You will need to bring a device to write on and the determination to get some writing done! Please be aware that opportunities to write are popular and spaces are limited, only register if you know you can commit to the full day.

9:00am–5:00pm
University of Otago, Dunedin campus

Free for students
Book online for Graduate research writing day

Wellbeing Session via Zoom

Nikki Fahey, our Graduate Coach and Rachel Sizemore, our Māori Postgraduate Support Advisor invite you to attend this private Zoom Wellbeing Session.

Do you ever have a feeling like everyone seems to have it together and you do not know what you are doing? Do you doubt your achievements putting them down to luck or someone being overly kind with feedback. Do you have difficulty internalising your accomplishments? You may be experiencing a common issue in intelligent and capable people called imposter syndrome.

The session will involve a discussion about imposter syndrome and a safe space to experience peer support regarding this issue. Participants need to agree to maintaining confidentiality and members may leave the session if it is not of benefit to them.

9:30–10:30am
Via Zoom

Free for Students
Book online for Wellbeing Session via Zoom

Friday 27 November

Workshop: Networking 101

For all graduate research candidates

Networking is a key skill for research candidates. In this session, we will consider why networking is important and how to develop your networks. We will also discuss some practical tips to survive and thrive in networking events.

10:00–11:30am
University of Otago, Dunedin campus

Free for students
Book online for Workshop: Networking 101

Bake your thesis

Graduate research candidates – this is your chance to get your creative juices flowing and enter the ‘Bake your thesis’ competition where you present your research in the form of an edible baked item e.g. a cake, a loaf or biscuits. Whilst the item must be edible, there will be no tasting of entries at the event and judging is based purely on the visual presentation of your research.

1:00pm for 1:10pm judging
Ground Floor Foyer, School of Business, corner of Clyde Street and Union Street East

Deadline for entry registration: 4:00pm, Thursday 26 November
Register for Bake your thesis

Spectators are very welcome to attend this event and view all the entrants’ marvellous creations.

Should there be a change in COVID-19 alert levels prior to the event, this event may be cancelled and we will advise you of this accordingly.

Commercialising Your Research

This interactive workshop will be led by Martin Gagnon (Director, Research and Enterprise) and David Christensen (CEO, Otago Innovation).

Martin and David will explain the processes involved in commercialising research and present you with case studies to consider.

2:00–3:30pm
Via Zoom

Free for Students
Book online Commercialising Your Research

Postgraduate Happy Hour

From 4:00pm until 6:00pm, grab your office or lab mates and head along to wind down at the end of your busy week with happy hour special prices on beverages and complimentary bar snacks.

The Postgrad Happy Hour is held upstairs at the University Staff Club.

We hope you take this opportunity to relax with your colleagues and meet other students.