How to be an Associate Advisor
IMB Laboratory Heads and Postdoctoral Fellows (as well as comparably qualified researchers across UQ) are authorized to take on the role of Associate Advisor to IMB postgraduate candidates. It is very common that IMB Associate Advisors are laboratory active postdoctoral researchers in the same research group, or a closely allied collaborating research group, and/or a research group expert in a complementary and project critical technology not available in the candidates host laboratory
IMB Associate Advisors assume a 20-50% FTE advisory load/candidate. That said, when agreeing to Associate Advisory duties for multiple IMB postgraduate students (let alone non-IMB students) be aware that you are taking on a serious responsibility. In addition to fulfilling the Associate Advisory responsibilities outlined below, you are required to read and review all Milestone reports, to attend and participate in all Milestone oral presentations and interviews, and contribute to the Milestone assessment. It's wise to manage your cumulative Associate Advisory load so you can offer the best possible support to a limited number of IMB postgraduate candidates. If in doubt please contact the IMB Postgraduate Coordinator for advice.
IMB Associate Advisors can monitor their FTE load and the progress of candidates online via Pebbles Senior.
Associate Advisor responsibilities include:
- Being a mentor.
- Providing support when the Principal Advisor is unavailable.
- Providing valuable second opinions to project specific challenges.
- Providing hands on technical training and instruction.
- Providing access to project critical methodology/technology not available in the candidates host laboratory.
- Participating in all Milestones.
Although there are no universally agreed golden rules to being an exceptionally successful Associate Advisor, this should not prevent you from inventing your own, and aspiring to be the very best you can be.
Some useful tips:
- Keep regular contact with all your postgraduate candidates.
- Monitor the research group culture, to ensure that it values networking and cooperation, over competition.
- Monitor the progress of the project (i.e. Is it going well or has it stalled?).
- Monitor the progress of the candidate (i.e. Are they growing professionally, or have they stalled?).
- Monitor the mood of the candidate (i.e. Are they happy or unhappy?) and be alert for personal problems that derail even the best candidate.
- If you identify problems with the candidate or the project, alert the Principal Advisor.
- Provide praise and encouragement when things are going well - this is easy.
- Be encouraging and positive when things are not going so well - this is often not so easy.