Special Interest Courses


Development of Research Skills


The E&ERC hosts regular workshops and discussions throughout the year aimed at improving the research skills of postgraduate students. These will be held by centre academics, research fellows and distinguished visitors. Postgraduate students are encouraged to be actively involved in the selection of topics that will most benefit their research project and development as a research scientist.

Details on specific workshops will be announced during the year and are typically centred on the following themes:

Writing skills. The centre strongly promotes the written communication of research via journal articles, and the popular media. Workshops will give guidance in all steps of the publication process: manuscript preparation, selection of appropriate journals, dealing with reviewers’ comments and manuscript revisions. Excellence in publication is recognised by the annual E&ERC postgraduate award for “Outstanding Paper in Evolution and Ecology”.

Communicating research to the broader community is encouraged via preparation of articles for the popular press, and promotion of student research on the E&ERC web page. Excellence in scientific communication in addition to journal articles is recognised by the annual E&ERC award for “Outstanding Evolution & Ecology Postgraduate Researcher”.

Practical skills: Academics, research fellows and distinguished visitors will periodically present workshops on specific skills relevant to their research (e.g., advanced statistical analyses). A database of research skills held by centre staff and students will facilitate skill sharing among postgraduate students.

Students should check the E&ERC website for dates and times of upcoming events.

"A bag of academic tricks" workshops

A/Prof Shinichi Nakagawa organises special interest seminars that are presented by Centre academics on various topics, such as, how to publish in a good journal, how to write well and a lot, conducting reproducible research, how to deal with referee reports, philosophy and improving your science, preparation for getting a job in academia. The seminar is followed by a discussion. These workshops are held on a fortnightly basis. Previous workshops listed below:

S2, 2016 Advice to future academics A/Prof Stephen Bonser
S2, 2016 How to reply to referee comments Prof Angela Moles
S2, 2016 How to write a lot and well (materials) A/Prof Shinichi Nakagawa
S2, 2016 Ask Editors A/Prof Shinichi Nakagawa
S2, 2016 How to apply for an academic job (materials) Dr Lisa Schwanz
S2, 2016 How to maximize the impact of your science A/Prof Russell Bonduriansky
S1, 2017 A Novel Framework for Research Productivity (materials) Dr Khandis Blake
S1, 2017 Transparent practices in empirical science Dr Tim Parker
S2, 2017 Tricks for improving quantitative skills (materials) Dr Daniel Falster
S2, 2017 How to land on your first post-doc job! (materials) Dr Daniel Noble
S2, 2017 The ABCs of academic writing + a special bonus, the DEFs of it (materials) A/Prof Shinichi Nakagawa
S2, 2017 How and why not to do a minimal PhD  (materials) Prof Angela Moles


Past special interest courses have included:

S2, 2014 How to apply for a job

Lisa Schwanz


Strategies for successful publishing in ecology and evolution  

Alistair Poore and Terry Ord

S1, 2010

Modeling Workshop

Troy Day – Queen’s University, Canada)

S2, 2009

Topics in the Philosophy of Science

Russell Bonduriansky

S1, 2009

Selling Your Science

Tracey Rogers

S2, 2008

Strategies for successful publishing in ecology and evolution

Peter Banks and Alistair Poore

S1, 2008

A critical look at the modern relationships between evolutionary biology, society and the meaning of life         

Rob Brooks and Erik Postma

Postgraduate Writing and Skills Transfer Award

In addition to these special courses run by the E&ERC, several courses run by senior postgraduate students and typically scheduled towards the end of the year have also been offered as a part of the “E&ERC Postgraduate Writing & Skills Transfer Award”.

These awards support students who have recently submitted their PhD theses to continue the preparation of journal articles from their theses. Students receiving this award will also present a short course. The short course is usually based upon the skills they developed during their tenure as PhD students and is presented to students in the EERC graduate program. The aim of these awards is to maximise research output (and to increase competitiveness for post doctoral research fellowships and research positions), and to facilitate the transfer of professional and research skills between post graduate students. For application requirements and submission dates for these awards, see PG Writing & Skills Transfer Award

Previous skills transfer courses have included:


Communicating your research visually

Alicia Guerrero


"Shout if from the benchtops" Engaging methods for outreach and science communication

Floret Meredith


Data Synthesis and meta-analysis workshop

Si-Chong Chen


Modelling workshop

Justin Wan


From Sample to Sequence: Can molecular methods help me

and my research?

Melanie Sun &

Sandra Vardeh


Money Makes the World Go Round Rhiannon Dalrymple


Introduction to GIS in Ecology  Suzanna Evans


Introduction to MATLAB

Natasha Henschke



Anna Namyatova


Building a Professional Network: Meeting & Tweeting

Katelyn Edge


Winning Presentations

Marie Attard


Clarity, Intrigue and Persuasion: Making Your Scientific Writing Worth Reading

Margo Adler


Understanding and incorporating genetic and microbial analyses into your research

Tiffanie Nelson & Anna Kopps


Introduction to the R Environment

Luke Hedge


A Successful Abstract, Making your Conference Talk Stand Out, and Speaking to the Public

Alex Jordan


Interdisciplinary Research: melding for maximum impact

Louise McKenzie

Research Discussion Groups

Students and staff regularly meet to discuss ideas in evolution and ecology. These groups feature discussions of published papers, short presentations of student research, and sessions for planning proposed research. Currently active discussion groups include:

  • Evolution of sexual selection, ageing – Brooks & Bonduriansky laboratories
  • Molecular Ecology – Sherwin laboratory
  • Marine ecology and evolution – Johnston & Poore laboratories
  • Fisheries and marine environmental research – Suthers laboratory
  • Ecochats – Bonser and Moles laboratories

Students should contact the academics in question for further information.