Strategies for success for Indigenous higher degree by research students and early career researchers


Improving Indigenous Higher Degree by Research (HDR) completions and growing the Indigenous academic workforce are priorities for Universities, yet it is not clear which strategies are most successful for realising these priorities. This research will investigate program-based strategies to support the success of Indigenous HDR students and Early Career Researchers (ECRs).

It will examine as case studies two programs offered by MCSHE/MGSE: The Professional Certificate in Indigenous Research (PCIR) and The Graduate Certificate in Indigenous Research and Leadership (GCIRL). As the only programs of their kind in Australia, the PCIR and GCIRL have attained a significant reputation for the important contribution they make to improving the completion and success of Indigenous HDR students and ECRs, in line with national targets (Behrendt et al, 2012; Universities Australia, Indigenous Strategy 2017 - 2020). Further analysis of these programs will provide an evidence-base to define and understand which strategies are most effective for Indigenous researchers to thrive.


The aim of this research is to identify strategies that will be of national benefit to institutions seeking to improve outcomes for Indigenous HDRs and to grow the pipeline of Indigenous academics and research leaders. The research will draw on data that is to be collected for the purposes of program evaluation in Semester 2, 2021, which seeks to understand the efficacy and impact of these program-level strategies. The research will privilege the voices and experiences of students who have undertaken the programs and gain insights from their perspectives.


  • Dr Sarah French, The University of Melbourne
  • Dr Sonya Pearce, The University of Melbourne
  • Dr Melitta Hogarth, The University of Melbourne
  • Dr Amy Gullickson, The University of Melbourne
  • Allison Clarke, The University of Melbourne


Melbourne Graduate School of Education Researcher Development Scheme


Proposed outcomes include a journal article and conference presentations.

More information

Dr Sarah French, Melbourne CSHE, The University of Melbourne