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COVID-19 Updates for HDR Students and Supervisors

Important information is being regularly provided from ECU to all HDR students through their student email address. This includes information about the full range of support that is being provided to all students during the current COVID-19 situation.  It is therefore critical that you actively monitor any emails sent to that address at this time.

Latest updates

Support for students during the COVID-19 pandemic

ECU has a wide range of support programs for students, and in response to the COVID-19 situation more services are being added to assist students as they transition to remote learning. The ECU Support for Students During COVID-19 Outbreak page outlines support currently available, including:

  • Transitioning to studying online
  • Changes to the academic calendar
  • Assistance from Student Success
  • Technology, including laptops for loan scheme and data packs
  • Finding work
  • Financial assistance through Centrelink
  • Financial assistance through ECU
    • Reduction in SSAF payment
    • Refunds for parking permits
    • No late payment fees for Semester 1,2020
    • Establishing a support grant
  • Accommodation Support
  • Mental Health Support
  • Additional information about COVID-19 for international students.
  • ECU Support Grant – one-off cash payments available for domestic/international students facing financial hardship.
Student Support Pantry Box - Updated 08 April 2020

The ECU Student Guild and the ECU Graduate Research School are partnering to help students in financial hardship receive basic food items to ensure no student faces food insecurity as a result of the COVID-19 crisis.

Donations from $10 will help us provide a basic hamper of essentials that we will distribute to eligible students. If you would like to make a monetary donation you can do so at the form here.

You can also make physical donations of items at locations around campus. See below for more information around physical food donations.

Students or Staff facing financial hardship can apply for a box of grocery essentials here.

Additionally, other support provided by the Student Guild:

  • Discretionary grants – help with payment of bills, ECU SSAF, etc.
  • Guild pantry – food items/parcels available for students in need
  • Student loans - $500-$1,500 available for domestic student who qualify
  • Food vouchers – weekly vouchers provided to students in need

GRS Student and Supervisor COVID-19 QnA sessions - held weekly on Wednesday mornings to provide direct access to the Dean of the Graduate Research School and the GRS team. Summaries of the Student QnA session will be made available on this page as soon as possible after the event. Supervisors can access summaries of Supervisor QnA Sessions by emailing Sarah Gray. Further information about these sessions can be directed to Sarah Gray (

How to access GRS support services and programs

GRS has made changes to the our services and programs to ensure continuity, flexibility and adherence to social distancing guidelines recommended by the Australian Government. These changes include:

  • For Integrated PhDs, first-year units will be delivered fully online. Unit Blackboard sites will contain weekly material, as per schedule, and you will be able to work through these at your own pace. You will also be able to catch up with the unit lecturer and the group in the Virtual Classrooms.
  • The GRS Research Skills Training Program. All face-to-face classes will now be delivered online in a self-paced mode, or alternative virtual sessions where possible. You can access this training content through the GRS Programs Blackboard site. If you are having trouble accessing this, please email Research Training.
  • The SOAR Centre is still open and the SOAR Ambassadors are taking online appointments via Microsoft Teams/Zoom, telephone or email until further notice.
  • The Co-ordinators Research Student Support services are still available to help you via virtual/ email or telephone appointments. Email GRS Student Support to schedule your appointment.
  • GRS Research Advisers are available for virtual/ email or telephone appointments. Please contact Drs Neil Ferguson or Chandra Salgado Kent directly to make an appointment.
    • New online training available: Introduction to Post-Graduate Quantitative Research Skills, Introduction to Qualitative Methodologies, Introduction to Mixed Methods, and Interviews and Focus Groups available now on the GRS Programs BlackBoard site!
  • HDR Communication Advisers. Your HDR Learning Support team, Dr Jo McFarlane, Dr Michael Stein and Dr Kylie Stevenson, are available to help you when you are working off-campus. The  HDR Skills Centre Blackboard site, the GRS Programs Blackboard site, and the ECU Library guides contain online materials and training workshop recordings delivered for HDR students at ECU. Email the HDRCA team to make an appointment.
  • Research conduct. For all queries specifically relating to the ongoing conduct of your research, including ongoing supervision arrangements, contact your HDR supervisor directly.
  • ECUs Academic Calendar for semester 1 will be extended to 26 June, with results released on 5 July. This will ensure our staff have enough time to deliver all teaching and assessment.
  • The scheduled mid-semester break will be extended for 2 weeks from the 13 April to 24 April. This mirrors the WA school holidays.
  • There may be a number of other adjustments made to our teaching delivery in the weeks ahead and we will keep you constantly updated. Please keep a close eye on your student emails, SMS and social media during this time.

Practical resources for managing your PhD or PhD student

  • Alternative Work Plan - Candidates in different research areas and at different stages of the research journey will experience different impacts due to the COVID-19 situation. We ask that candidates and supervisor panels collaborate on developing an Alternative Work Plan for the next 3-6 months to document these issues and agree on strategies to move forward. This will vary from documenting work-from-home arrangements, alternative meeting formats/times and confirming tasks for those with minimal disruptions to considering reorganising scheduled milestones/tasks, developing alternative research questions, or data collection methods for those with significant disruptions in order to remain as productive as possible over the coming months. Access the Alternative Work Plan here.
  • Organising an online Proposal Seminar - Some students will need to deliver their candidacy proposal seminar in this time and will need to do so online. We have produced a guide for schools that takes them through the steps in establishing a seminar session online, as well as some considerations. As schools may have their own processes, they are encouraged to make use of the guide and adapt it relative to their school requirements. The instructions on setting up a Proposal Seminar online can be found here.
  • Mentoring During the COVID-19 Pandemic ( article) by Dr. Ruth Gotian - Weill Cornell Medicine in New York

Keeping in touch

  • Please monitor your ECU student email and our ECU Research Students Facebook Group and do not hesitate to organise a virtual meeting through Microsoft Teams or Zoom if you need help, advice or support.

Frequently Asked Questions

The ECU COVID-19 Information for Students page contains important information for HDR Students and Supervisors.

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