Date / Time

9:00 am 13/02/2017 -

5:00 pm 14/02/2017

Location

Werribee VIC, Australia

Werribee VIC, Australia

The Research Retreat at Werribee, near Melbourne, provided an opportunity for all Life Course Centre researchers to come together to strengthen their collaborations and share their research experiences. The Retreat, run over two consecutive days, on 14 and 15 February 2017, took place in the Werribee Mansion Hotel. It was an excellent opportunity for team members to catch up and update one another on recent research endeavours and to compare notes about ongoing multi-site projects. As well, small teams of researchers were able to identify and begin to shape cross-nodal collaborative research projects.

Some of the sessions involved participants providing an overview of research, but with a twist. Papers were delivered not by the author, but instead by ‘discussants’ who had previously read and reviewed the work. Discussants were allocated on the basis that they came from a different Centre node and, where possible, from a different disciplinary background. This made the conversations and exchanges exciting and enriching. Discussants had 10 minutes to present their assigned paper, with authors getting five minutes to respond to the feedback. Others in the audience could also ‘chip in’ their own ideas and advice. This innovative approach to delivering early research findings ensured that participants learned about each other’s work, and helped them to identify its strengths and weaknesses.

Before concluding, early and mid-career Centre researchers were given the opportunity to take part in one-to-one or small-group mentoring activities. In these, junior researchers asked senior researchers the ‘tough’ questions, such as: how to make the most of their research careers; how to write a ‘killer’ grant application; how to approach research leaders to initiate a collaboration; how to make research appealing to policymakers; or how to be competitive for promotion. Participant feedback for the Werribee Retreat was overwhelmingly positive.