Milestone 2: Mid-Candidature Review
UQ manages postgraduate progress through three annual Milestones
The second of these, Milestone 2: Mid-Candidature Review, is scheduled to take place at the 24 month anniversary of enrolment (RTS = 24), and is a candidature critical event.
- Candidates that attain Milestone 2 are permitted to go on and complete their candidature.
- Candidates that do not attain Milestone 2 are NOT permitted to go on and complete their candidature.
The purpose of Milestone 2 is to determine that the:
- Candidate is acquiring skills/knowledge and mastering key technologies, and has taken ownership of the project.
- Project is proceeding as planned, and is still appropriate and feasible, well resourced, and on track for completion.
- Advisory Team is continuing to provide suitable mentoring, as well as intellectual and technical leadership.
The candidate must:
- Submit a Milestone 2 Report
- Deliver a Milestone 2 Oral Presentation
- Deliver a 3MT Presentation
- Attend a Milestone 2 Interview
The Candidature Committee must prepare a Milestone 2 Assessment based on the:
- Report, including coverage of key disciplines, technologies and methodologies, planning, progress to date and proposed timelines.
- Oral presentation, including an ability to articulate complex scientific principles and respond to questions.
- Interview performance, including depth of knowledge, level of commitment and project ownership.
- Frequency and effectiveness of contact between the candidate and Advisory Team.
- Research project, including feasibility, appropriateness and levels of resourcing.
- Future directions, including key objectives and decision points, plus consideration of potential challenges.
To organize Milestone 2 candidates must;
- Negotiate with their Candidature Committee to arrive at a suitable date/time for the oral presentation and interview.
- Book a seminar and interview room on the agreed date/time.
- Alert all members of the Candidature Committee if there are any unexpected changes to the schedule.
- Be aware that unless Candidature Committee participation is quorate the Milestone Assessment will be invalid.
- Distribute the Milestone 2 Report AT LEAST ONE WEEK ahead of the scheduled date of the oral presentation.
Milestone 2 Report
Provides a means for the candidate to reinforce that they are engaged in a well-designed research project, that is both feasible and appropriate. It should be written in a scientific style that presents information and concepts in a logical and cohesive manner and unlike the confirmation report, which may take several weeks to prepare; the mid-candidature report should be completed, by the candidate, within several days. It is expected that at this stage the candidate will have well established research objectives, is collecting and processing data in a suitable format to produce high quality figures and tabulated data, and has developed a clear thesis plan, which should be driving data collection.
The precise format of the Milestone 2 Report should be decided in close consultation with the Advisory Team, however, as a guide it should be brief (suggested 10 pages) and the candidate should consider using the subheading listed below to prepare the document (plus any Appendices):
- Aims and Objectives
- Research Plan and Methodology
- Progress to Date
- Current and Planned Publications
- Research Timeline
- Appendices (optional)
Note - Where the candidate and Advisory Team agree that the Milestone 2 "Progress to Date" section can be a substantive draft, submitted, accepted and/or published manuscript(s), this should not remove the need to address the other issues listed above.
Key objectives of this Milestone are to establish that the candidate is tracking well and making progress, AND that they are demonstrating an appropriate level skill in scientific written communication. An advanced draft of the Milestone 2 Report should be reviewed by the Advisory Team prior to distribution to the Candidature Committee. Typically, the Advisory Team will review and provide constructive feedback on one substantive draft. The Milestone 2 Report should be distributed to the Candidature Committee AT LEAST ONE WEEK prior to the scheduled Milestone 2 Interview. While a mandated assessment exercise, if approached in a constructive manner, the Milestone 2 Report can provide a valuable opportunity to reflect on what has been achieved to date, and what has yet to be achieved.
The candidate must deliver a three minute presentation on their research as part of the UQ Three Minute Thesis (3MT) competition.
Milestone 2 Oral Presentation
Provides the candidate with an opportunity to deliver a well-rehearsed, high-quality oral presentation, supported by carefully prepared and informative slides (ie PowerPoint). The presentation should provide a clear, concise and logical account of the research project, progress to date, and future research objectives, including possible challenges, and timelines. During the course of the presentation the candidate should demonstrate knowledge of all relevant literature and technologies, and be responsive and articulate when dealing with questions.
The Oral Presentation should be:
- 20-30 mins duration.
- Allow for 5-10 mins of audience questions
- Attended by all members of the Candidature Committee that will be participating in the Milestone 2 Interview.
- Delivered to an audience that comprises at the very least the candidates research group plus the Candidature Committee (see above), and preferably a wider audience drawn from IMB/UQ.
Milestone 2 Interviews
Provide a forum for discussion and questioning between the candidate and the Candidature Committee.
Milestone 2 Interviews are:
- ~1 h duration
- Held (where possible) immediately after the oral presentation
- Attended by the full Advisory Team and at least two non-advisory members of the Candidature Committee, one of which must be from IMB.
Milestone 2 Assessment
During the course of the Milestone 2 Interview the IMB non-advisory member acting as Chair will lead discussion, following a proforma agenda and assessment template (via Pebbles Senior).
Immediately after the interview the Candidature Committee will determine if the candidate has attained or not attained Milestone 2, and will notify the candidate of the outcome.
Following the interview the Chair and the Principal Advisor will prepare a Milestone 2 Assessment (via Pebbles Senior), documenting the process, any recommendations (if required), and the decision.
Within a week of the Milestone 2 Interview the Chair and the Principal Advisor will co-sign the Milestone 2 Assessment (via Pebbles Senior), triggering automated PDF copies to be distributed to the IMB PG Office and the candidate.
If the Milestone 2 Assessment recommends that the candidate has attained Milestone 2, the IMB Postgraduate Coordinator notifies the UQ Graduate School, and the candidate remains enrolled.
If the Milestone 2 Assessment recommends that the candidate has not attained Milestone 2, the assessment must provide written instructions regarding remedial actions that need to be undertaken by the candidate. The IMB Postgraduate Coordinator will notify the UQ Graduate School that the Candidature Committee will reconvene within 3 months to re-interview the candidate, and prepare a second Milestone 2 Assessment.
If the candidate attains Milestone 2 on a second attempt, the IMB Postgraduate Coordinator notifies the UQ Graduate School, and the candidate remains enrolled.
If the candidate does not attain Milestone 2 on a second attempt, the IMB Postgraduate Coordinator notifies the UQ Graduate School, and the candidate's enrolment is terminated.
The IMB Postgraduate Coordinator reviews and endorses (or not) all Milestone Assessments, prior to forwarding them to the UQ Graduate School for action, and adjudicates on any disputes.