ILP Roles and Responsibilities

ILP Roles and Responsibilities

The ILP has been designed and conceived based on the input of numerous academic, clinical and research staff. The day-to-day supervision, assessment and running of individual ILPs is a responsibility that is shared by students and project supervisors. This joint responsibility is supported and overseen by an ILP Coordinator and the ILP Committee. It is the responsibility of the ILP Coordinator and the ILP Committee members to ensure that a sufficiently large and diverse pool of projects is offered. Furthermore, in conjunction with the ILP coordinator, the ILP committee is responsible for ensuring that individual projects are consistent with the goals and assessment guidelines for the ILP.

ILP Student

Roles and responsibilities of the ILP student

As for all UNSW students, those students enrolled in the ILP course are expected to abide by the Student Code of Conduct. This Code sets out the expectations of students with respect to the primary obligations, academic integrity and behaviour. It also provides a clear statement of the responsibilities of the University towards students in providing an environment that enables the students to achieve their full potential. There are five primary student responsibilities under this code:

  1. A condition of enrolment is that students inform themselves of the University’s rules and policies affecting them.
  2. An obligation to act with integrity in academic work, to ensure that all academic work is conducted ethically and safely.
  3. An obligation to observe standards of equity and respect in dealing with every member of the University community.
  4. An obligation to use and care for University resources in a lawful and appropriate manner.
  5. An obligation to not diminish the University’s reputation in the carrying out of academic and other associated University activities.

Students should make themselves familiar with the responsibilities and principles that are described in the Code of Conduct. Students who breach the responsibilities and principles set out in the Code of Conduct will be handled according to the Student Misconduct Procedure.

Specific aspects of this Code of Conduct in the context of the ILP course are expanded upon in the sub-sections below.

Workplace health and safety

In line with the UNSW Student Code of Conduct and Workplace Health and Safety policy, students are expected to follow all relevant procedures to ensure that their conduct does not endanger themselves, others or the environment. Students are required to complete all safety training that is necessary to undertake the research project in a safe fashion. Students are expected to apply themselves to this training, achieve the expected competency level and do so within an appropriate time frame.

Responsibility for engaging with the research project

While the structure and nature of the research project is often determined by the supervisor, there is opportunity for the student to be involved in the design of the project. The extent of this involvement will be determined by the prior experience and the level of expertise of the student and will be undertaken by negotiation with the supervisor. It is the responsibility of the student to actively engage with the research project to the best of their ability, to learn aspects of undertaking research, specialised training relating to the research tasks, and develop skills in critical thinking and scientific communication. This aligns with the course aims.

It is the student’s responsibility when engaged in the ILP course to manage their time to ensure they can meet each of the deadlines for assessment items and to complete the other requirements of the course. These include (but not limited to): meeting the reasonable milestones set out in the research plan; meeting the deadlines for the Literature Review, Poster, 3MT and Final Project Report; attendance at seminars and workshops; and attendance at research related activities, such as training sessions, laboratory/group meetings, scheduled research activities and supervisor meetings. In completing these activities and assessment items, there will often be times when feedback will be sought from the supervisor/co-supervisor. Students need to be aware that supervisors/co-supervisors are engaged in a variety of activities and may not be able to provide feedback at short notice. The time required to provide feedback at key stages of the ILP year needs to be included in the research plan and take account of the other commitments of the student and supervisor/co-supervisor (for example, attending conferences). This is balanced by the responsibilities of the supervisor (see section 3 ‘Expectations and Responsibilities of Supervisors’), in ensuring that the attendance requirements are met and providing guidance to students in the best use of their time to meet the assessment deadlines.

Changes in circumstances

If there is a change in circumstances that could impact upon the ability of students to meet the expectations and responsibilities of the ILP, then they need to communicate this to their supervisor as soon as practicable. The supervisor will then convey the change in circumstances to the ILP Committee. Where this is not possible or if the student prefers, the change in circumstances may be communicated directly to the course convenor and coordinator. Where the change in circumstances involves illness or misadventure, the student will be advised as to the process for special consideration. In other circumstances, the convenor, in consultation with other parties as appropriate, will assist the student in finding a solution, where possible, to meet the expectations and responsibilities of the course in the changed circumstances. In considering any solutions, the best interests of the student will be the guiding principle and needs to be within the guidelines and policies of UNSW Sydney.

ILP Supervisor

Supervisor Induction

Criteria for Primary Supervisor and Co-Supervisor

  1. The primary supervisor and co-supervisor must be a UNSW staff member or have a conjoint appointment with UNSW (no exceptions to this rule).
  2. The primary supervisor and co-supervisor must have a Masters degree by research or PhD or medical degree (unless specifically exempted by the Committee).
  3. The primary supervisor and co-supervisor should have academic/medical qualifications relevant to the project. 

Additional criteria for the Primary Supervisor

  1. The primary supervisor must have had at least 1 publication in a peer reviewed journal in the previous 3 years.
  2. The primary supervisor must have supervised (to completion) at lease one research student (ILP, Honours, Masters or PhD) previously.

Roles and responsibilities of the ILP supervisor

The role of the supervisor is described in the MFAC4521, 4522 & 4523 course outline. Supervisors are responsible for ensuring that their student(s) meet the course attendance requirements and assessment deadlines of the ILP program. This includes ensuring attendance at the School/Department/Institute research seminars. Supervisors should also regularly check up on the students’ laboratory books to ensure that experimental details, protocols and data are being effectively and accurately recorded.

Supervisors are also required to participate in the assessment activities of the ILP course. This includes attending the oral presentation of their ILP student(s) (the 3MT). Supervisors are required to assess their student(s) performance using the “Research Performance and Seminar Engagement” assessment rubric and submit this at the end of the ILP project. This assessment form outlines the criteria for assessing the student's performance. Supervisors may also be asked to be an examiner for another ILP student, and this role is an essential part of the responsibility of supervision of an ILP student. This entails examining the Literature Review, 3MT and Final Project Report. Failure to comply with assessment of other ILP students in a timely fashion may lead to future supervision proposals being rejected by the ILP Committee.

Responsibilities of offering an ILP research project

When offering an ILP project, it is the supervisor’s responsibility to ensure the feasibility of the project. Supervisors must take account of the training, administrative, financial and material support needed to ensure the project is achievable by the student in the time available. The planning for meeting these responsibilities must be evident in the research plan and time-line included in the ILP “Milestones and Expectations” form. Failure to adequately plan and meet these responsibilities may result in future projects offered by the supervisor being refused by the ILP Committee.

Supervisors must also identify any other commitments they may have during the year that could have an impact on the ILP student. For example: any extended absences from the research group; intensive time commitments like grant review panels; or short absences to attend conferences/symposia. Where these can be identified in advance, they must be considered in the research plan with respect to the timing of assessment deadlines and course requirements of the ILP course, and appropriate contingencies put in place. In those instances where circumstances arise unexpectedly, then the supervisor has the responsibility to identify suitable contingencies to ensure appropriate supervision of the student. The circumstances and contingencies must be communicated to the ILP convenor at the earliest convenience.

Training and work place health and safety responsibilities

Supervisors must consider the limited experience of the undergraduate students who come into the ILP course. Most workplace accidents occur with new personnel working in an unfamiliar environment and with new techniques. The supervisor must therefore assess the level of supervised training and competency that will be required before the student is able to work independently on the project. The supervisor is responsible for informing the student of all relevant training (for example, required safety training, training on equipment and research techniques) necessary to undertake the project and ensuring the training has been satisfactorily completed. Safety training is provided by UNSW Health & Safety. The provision of training in research techniques and methods specific to the research project is the responsibility of the supervisor. This includes ensuring the student has read and understands all relevant risk assessments and safe working procedures before being trained in a technique.

Administrative responsibilities

The supervisor must ensure that all approvals needed for the ILP project to proceed are in place at the start of the project, or else have a reasonable expectation that they will be in place within a short period after the project has commenced (no later than 4 weeks from the start of the ILP) and will not impede the progress of the project. These approvals include, but are not limited to: all ethics approvals for work involving human or animal studies, all biosafety approvals for work with genetically modified organisms, all approvals for work with restricted substances (e.g. S8 controlled drugs of addiction, S9 prohibited substances), all approvals and licences required for work with radioisotopes, and any approvals required for working with hazardous chemicals). Where the project is reliant on the recruitment of human participants, consideration must be given to the time required to recruit participants, when participants will be available, and time needed to collect data.

Project financial and material responsibilities

It is the supervisor’s responsibility to ensure that the ILP project(s) that they offer can be financially and materially supported by the laboratory. Supervisors are required to provide a declaration, as part of the enrolment form, that financial support the project for the duration of the ILP year, along with all ethics and other approvals required for the project, have been obtained. It is essential that supervisors adequately cost the project(s) that they offer, so that there is a reasonable expectation that the project can be completed by the ILP student. Supervisors are also responsible for arranging or negotiating the allocation of space and computer resources in the research environment (web laboratory bench space, dry laboratory space and/or desk space) for the student.

Expectations of supervisor behaviour

In line with the UNSW Behaviours, supervisors are expected to embrace and demonstrate behaviours that support a culture of excellence, innovation and collaboration between people. This should provide a model to ILP students for these behaviours and encourage the development of these behaviours. These behaviours are: demonstrates excellence, drives innovation, builds collaboration, embraces diversity and displays respect.

In the context of the ILPs course, examples of these behaviours include:

  • Demonstrating high performance in the activities undertaken, encouraging students to aspire to a high level of performance, while maintaining accountability and integrity.
  • Demonstrating and encouraging creative thinking, problem solving and new ways of working.
  • Building effective relationships within and across teams, including with the ILP student, to deliver collective outcomes.
  • Acknowledging and embracing the contribution, ideas and opinions of all people, to promote an environment of inclusion.
  • Treating all people with dignity and respect, including communicating appropriately.

ILP Examiner

Criteria for ILP Examiner

  1. The examiner cannot be the supervisor, co supervisor or someone with a significant involvement with the project in question but can be from the same department.

  2. The examiner should have academic/medical qualifications relevant to the project being examined.

  3. The examiner should have a PhD and/or a medical degree.

  4. There should be no conflicts of interest that would compromise the integrity of the examination process.

  5. Any exceptions to these rules need to be approved by the committee.

Role and responsibility of the ILP Examiner

The examiner will only be required to examine and mark the final report. This process should be completed at arms length from the project supervisor and student.

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