Undergraduate, graduate, and post-doctoral training opportunities

There are many avenues for joining the research group to do some pretty cool science. I have summarised below the profile of who is best suited to the group and the different options depending on your career stage and interests.

Who we are looking for

Great communicators A research group is a tight knit family of often pretty zany people working on diverse projects but with common goals. This is within the context of an extended family, comprising the wider University and all our fellow scientists internationally. Great working relationships, inherent in which are strong and positive communication skills are fundamentally important to creating a successful, productive, and fun working environment.

Innovative questioners Research is about asking questions and solving problems. How does something work? Why does it work like that? Could it work a different way? Might there be a different explanation? How could we test whether this is true? Is there an easier way to do this? How does our methodology affect our results and interpretation? Critical thinking skills and the associated innovative answering skills are crucial skills all scientists must develop.

The excited and motivated The process of carrying out research can sometimes be horribly slow and painful, but with fantastic rewards for hard work and perserverance. As much as it is almost always collaborative, strong independent abilities to think, be open minded, and set goals are crucially important. Science must excite you, and you must be highly motivated and goal-oriented. A mind set for working out how to achieve something rather than one which ponders why not, is necessary.

Smart operators Success comes with hard work and luck. The only thing you can influence is how hard you work. But the best people also work smart, and maximise their productivity by managing their time efficiently, automating tasks, and they seek out lots of advice, help, and guidance. They also appropriately balance work and life.

On a practical level the research interests in the group span from physical chemistry, to chemical biology, and to structural biology, and your own research interests should fall within this multidisciplinary umbrella. As is the case for modern science worldwide, computational tools play an an increasingly important role in all research. Consequently I expect you to be prepared to embrace and become highly proficient in your computer use.

It is important to also understand that you most likely won't have developed or practised many of these skills yet. The group provides an opportunity and a constructive environment in which to develop these skills. I also have a strong interest and emphasis on career development, to help you to secure what you need, be they transferable skills or experience, to get you where you want to go.

Below I have outlined various opportunities for people at different career stages to be a part of the research in the group. It is not an exhaustive list, and the information may at certain times become outdated. Please contact me at any stage to discuss potential options.

Options for post-doctoral researchers

The funding structures in New Zealand create fantastic training grounds for us to produce some of the best PhD students in the world. The research groups therefore typically mostly comprise of students due to the limited opportunities for research grant funding for post-doctoral researchers. Instead, the best option if you are wishing to post-doc in New Zealand is to apply for your own funding. Every support will be provided for applications, and options include:

Options for graduate students

Several funding options are available for Masters and PhD students. Each typically include University fees and a stipend for living costs. As is generally the case in life, scholarships are very competitive. However, likewise, if you don't apply, then you will never succeed! From time-to-time scholarships are available from research grant or other funding.

Options for undergraduates

If you are an undergraduate student and would like to get a taste of the research lab life, a few different options exist.

  • Lab-course research projects If you are continuing in research then you will be taking the BCHM381 lab course. As part of this course you will work on a research project in a real research lab alongside post-graduate researchers.
  • UC Summer Research Scholarship Scholarships are available (currently $5,000) to work on projects for approximately 10 weeks over the summer recess. This is a great opportunity to get some research experience working on active research projects, while earning some money!
  • Honours Honours is a fourth year programme consisting of taught courses alongside a research project. If you are keen to continue with research and a PhD, then you should strongly consider the Honours option as a fast-track to beginning PhD study.

Other funding opportunities

Please have a thorough look through the various other, often esoteric (therefore not many other people applying!) funding opportuities that exist. Some which are of relevance I've listed below. More information about each is available on the Scholarships at UC webpage.

  • Betty Wignall Scholarship in Chemistry
  • Royal Commonwealth Society, Canterbury Scholarship
  • University of Canterbury Alumni Scholarship
  • Brownlie Scholarship
  • Roper Scholarship in Science
  • UC Master’s Scholarship
  • Charles Cook, Warwick House, Memorial Scholarship
  • Mercer Memorial Scholarship
  • Professor Jim Coxon Graduate Chemistry Fund
  • Evans Fund
  • Claude McCarthy Fellowship
  • Keith Laugesen Scholarship
  • Commonwealth Scholarship and Fellowship Plan
  • NZIDRS New Zealand International Doctoral Research Scholarship
  • Charles Cook, Warwick House, Memorial Scholarship