PhD Research Symposium

PhD Symposium application submission extended until May 17

Inaugural SOAC PhD Research Symposium November 2013

SOAC is pleased to announce that the inaugural SOAC PhD Symposium will be held in Sydney on November 24 – 26, and will be carried out in conjunction with the SOAC 2013 conference in Sydney from 26-29 November. 


The Workshop will be held at the University of Technology, Sydney (UTS) campus adjacent to the CBD and a 5 minute walk from Central Station, the main transport hub. The Symposium is organised jointly by the City Futures Research Centre at UNSW and the School of Built Environment at the University of Technology, Sydney.

All PhD students conducting research related to cities and urban issues are invited to share their research and get constructive feedback from senior academic mentors and PhD student colleagues. The Workshop will be comprised of intensive study modules in small groups with plenary sessions and presentations from academic mentors.

It will require active participation from the PhD participants, including presentations of research issues related to their theses.

  • There will be no charge to participants for attending the symposium. Participants will need to meet their travel and accommodation costs if attending from outside Sydney. A number of scholarships will be available, along with inexpensive accommodations, in order to minimize these costs.

Student applicants are to submit an abstract of 300 words regarding their research, which indicates the title, topic, research question, brief review of the issues, research design, methods, four key words, and what stage of their PhD student career they are in.  The abstract and key words will assist organisers with matching students and mentors in small groups of 6-7 students.

Key dates:

May 17 – EXTENDED – submit abstract and application form.

May 27 – students receive acceptance notification.

October 31 – submit 3,000 word brief on their research to be presented and discussed at the symposium.  This will be shared with the other doctoral students in your small group, plus your mentors. 

What students gain from the Symposium:

  • One on one and small group feedback on their own research
  • Developing critical research principles and skills to apply to their own research
  • Experiencing and observing the scholarly mentoring process
  • Developing critical practice in analysing and giving feedback to peers
  • Listening to lectures by top scholars on specialised research topics
  • Establishing peer and senior networks of like-minded urban scholars
  • Developing intellectual leadership
  • Get advice on career progression and mentoring

The focus is on the students’ research, and each participant will have a dedicated time for the mentors and peer group to explore and discuss that student’s research. Students will be organised into small groups of approximately 6 – 7 students each, with one senior academic mentor and one Early Career mentor. A minimum building block of one hour is dedicated to discussing each student’s work. Upon notification of their acceptance into the PhD symposium, each participant is to submit a 3,000 word research proposal outlining their research aim, research questions, research design, methodology, and references. Mentors and group members will read the proposals of the members in their small group before the symposium commences.

The Symposium is intended for PhD students, and will welcome those at the beginning, in the middle of, or towards the end of their journey. Students’ research will relate to one (or more) of the six SOAC themes, and have the city as its empirical focus. SOAC’s broad focus on the city opens up interest to urban planners and designers, geographers, urban sociologists, economists, political scientists, policy analysts and scholars, architects, anthropologists, and related disciplines.

The Symposium builds on the highly successful AESOP, ACSP, AHURI and Federated PhD Scheme postgraduate symposia, where the focus is on PhD students’ research in a congenial, constructive environment. The Symposium offers each student the opportunity to discuss in depth and garner feedback on her/his own research from mentors and peers, alongside engagement in others’ research. While the PhD student workshops present the core component of the timetable, there will also be a number of expert sessions critically engaging with issues/skills/interests relevant to all students: the urban research enterprise, research design, writing and publishing, and careers, mentoring and networking. The symposium will also have a strong social element with of evening events, with the aim of helping establish and strengthen links among the next generation of Australia’s urban research academics.

A dedicated and reasonably priced accommodation option will be provided for students who register for the symposium.  Further details will be made available as they become available.

Please Submit your application form to .