ILP Supervisor

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.
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