Faculty launches enhanced doctoral training program

20 September 2016

From 2017, commencing PhD candidates at the Faculty of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences, Monash University will benefit from a new doctoral program designed to ensure that they are equipped with a wider range of skills to complement their deep expert knowledge.

Boasting a range of new elements, the new program builds upon the world-leading research expertise that has seen six members of the faculty named as Thomson-Reuters Highly Cited Researchers (ranking the faculty as number one worldwide); and to it being ranked fourth in the world for Pharmacy and Pharmacology in the 2016 QS World Rankings by Subject.

“The new program will equip our graduates for a competitive and globalised future. We recognise that PhD graduates are in demand from a wide range of employers (eg. multi-national companies, SME companies, start-up ventures, academia and research institutes, and various other sectors) that value an integrated and comprehensive contemporary doctoral program,” said Professor Bill Charman, Dean, Faculty of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences.

All Monash PhD candidatures include a supervised research project of three to four year duration and the Monash Doctoral Program Training Course, which ensures students are equipped with the requisite research and communication skills to succeed in their project.

In addition to these elements, the Faculty’s enhanced program now offers students two key components: an advanced course in drug discovery and development and one of a range of four other additional research experiences.

Associate Dean Graduate Research, Associate Professor Phil Thompson, highlighted that “the drug discovery and development course responds to an emerging national need.” He further added “The new National Innovation and Science Agenda set by the Australian Federal Government clearly focusses effort on building skills around turning ideas into successful products. We therefore must provide appropriate training for PhD graduates to give them the skills to be innovators and get funding to further their ideas. With the funding landscape changing, graduates will need the skills to work in partnership with industry, philanthropy and business. The new course covers the entire spectrum of the drug discovery and development process from target identification through to clinical evaluation and engagement with industry and consumers/patients.”

The second new element, the range of additional research experiences, can be tailored to suit the needs of the project, student and supervisor. “Students and supervisors nominate one of four options. There’s a laboratory rotation program, which sees students commence their candidature with a program of coordinated laboratory rotations before selecting their project and supervisor. There’s an interdisciplinary research program, where students conduct their research in at least two clearly identified discipline areas to tackle a research question. There’s a placement program, which offers students a period at and external institution. And there is a Joint PhD Program that recognises our existing Joint Award Degree and Doctoral Training Centre with the University of Nottingham and the Joint Award degree with Warwick University,” said Associate Professor Thompson.

“We believe that the flexibility and added value incorporated in this new structure, combined with the high impact of the research we conduct, will create a world-class research and training experience for all our PhD students – who are the next generation of our scientific leaders and researchers,” said Professor Charman.

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