This year, 25 aspiring research scholars from across the Pacific will come to ANU for an intense fortnight of research skills-building. The latest cohort - selected from a highly competitive field of almost 180 applicants – come from Samoa, Vanuatu, Timor L’este, Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands and Fiji.
SSGM Convenor Dr Nicole Haley said that the colloquium is part of SSGM’s efforts to develop the research capacity of the next generation of Pacific scholars.
“Aspiring scholars in the region have little opportunity to present their research, and few have received serious mentoring from senior scholars. As such they benefit greatly from having a solid block of time to reflect upon their research and refine their writing skills”, said Dr Haley.
“The ANU College of Asia and the Pacific is one of the best places in the region in which to conduct this colloquium, as it houses, arguably, the greatest concentration of Pacific scholars in the world, many of whom are world-renowned in their fields,” she said.
This year, the visiting scholars will participate in a series of workshops designed to improve their ability to pose research questions, conduct fieldwork and collect data, as well as to write up their findings. The participants will also work on previously submitted papers and give a 20 minute presentation of their refined research.
“It is an intensive program of workshops and activity. Those who participate will be in a better position to carry out research when they return home,” said Dr Haley.
The colloquium is not all hard work, however. A full social program is also in store, including a meeting with Mr Richard Marles MP – Parliamentary Secretary for Pacific Island Affairs – the opportunity to feed the kangaroos at Tidbinbilla Reserve, as well as the chance to visit one of the many museums and galleries that Canberra has to offer. Participants will also have the chance to build networks with a range of people in academia and government through one of the numerous official functions planned with Canberra-based commission and embassy representatives and staff from AusAID and other government departments.
“The participants will not be the only beneficiaries of the colloquium. ANU-based academics who work with the participants will be able to scout for future PhD candidates or research associates; staff from AusAID and other departments will have the opportunity to learn about research that is emerging from the Pacific; and ANU research students will have the opportunity to work and form links with their peers from the region,” said Dr Haley.
“With its overarching focus on building the research capacity of the next generation of Pacific scholars, the Pacific Research Colloquium is the only program of its kind to be run on an annual basis. It is carried out with the sponsorship of the Australian Government through AusAID.”