How do I select an IMB postgraduate advisor?
So you have decided to become a postgraduate research student. Congratulations!
Two of the most important challenges you will face are Choosing a Principal Advisor, and Convincing a Principal Advisor to Choose You. No doubt you will be looking for a Principal Advisor that is an internationally respected expert in their field, heading a well resourced, innovative and highly productive research group, regularly publishing high impact papers in leading scientific journals. Ideally they should consistently attract high levels of research funding in the form of government grants and industry investment - after all, excellent science is not cheap. Most importantly you should be on the look out for a Principal Advisor with a reputation for attracting, training and mentoring highly talented research students. IMB Lab Heads meet all these criteria.
Choosing a Principal Advisor
Know your interests and your strengths! Before you make contact with a potential Principal Advisor ask yourself, what area of science do I find most exciting and do have the prior training and grades to convince someone to take me on as a postgraduate candidate in that field? Do your homework! Research individual IMB Lab Heads, visit their websites, read their papers, learn of and understand their research and achievements, and where possible attend their seminars/lectures at conferences/meetings etc... Identify and target that one IMB Lab Head that you want above all others to be your Principal Advisor. Generic emails to several IMB Lab Heads lack a sense of commitment and are unlikely to be effective. If you want a leading international scientist (an IMB Lab Head) to take you on as a postgraduate candidate, requesting that they invest their time, energy, resources and funds, do them the courtesy of taking the time to decide for yourself who is your number one choice. As a first start try the IMB website, and don't forget that many IMB Lab Heads maintain their own specialist research group websites - so take the time to find and read these sites. You might also consider making contact with students and/or staff in the target research group, to get some feedback on the advisory skills of the Lab Head. Take the time to choose well!
Convincing a Principal Advisor to Choose You
So you have identified an IMB Lab Head as your ideal Principal Advisor. Congratulations. Now you have to convince them to choose you. IMB Lab Heads receive hundreds of enquiries every year from hopeful research students. Getting first contact right is critical. If you are fortunate you may be able to pitch your case in person, for example at a conference or after a seminar, lecture or tutorial. Alternatively you may have had a prior placement in an IMB lab, as an undergraduate student, or an occupational trainee, or an Honours student. While this personal contact will not guarantee acceptance as a postgraduate candidate, it at least ensures that your case is heard. If you can't manage personal contact then make your email count. Some tips for getting your email noticed. Address the email to the Lab Head by name, and demonstrate very clearly that you understand what research they do, what some of their recent achievements have been, and that this is an excellent fit with your experience, ability and interests. To be competitive domestic applicants must have Honours I and a high undergraduate GPA in relevant subjects, while international applicants must have a suitable Masters degree with a significant research component, a high undergraduate GPA in relevant subjects, and must meet the UQ English language requirements. By all means attach supporting documents (CV etc...) to your first contact email. If you sell your case well in this email the IMB Lab Head will respond positively, requesting additional details - possible by an IMB Expression of Interest (EOI) Form) and/or a face to face (Skype?) meeting.
For more details see:
- How do I select an IMB postgraduate project?
- Am I eligible/competitive for postgraduate study?
- How do I apply to be an IMB postgraduate candidate?