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Thursday, 26 March 2020


Dear Higher Degree by Research (HDR) students,

HDR students are a very important group of researchers at our university. This email is to update you on ECUs response to COVID-19, particularly how it impacts your studies as an ECU HDR student at this time. I hope this message will leave you feeling more confident about our way forward.

Please take a few minutes to read this email as it covers a lot of important information. ECU has also collated many of the Frequently Asked Questions around COVID-19 for our research students, staff and community.

Your studies moving forward

We are making changes to the way we deliver teaching and services 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 appointments. Email GRS Student Support to schedule your appointment.
  • GRS Research Advisers are available for virtual or email appointments. Please contact Neil Ferguson or Chandra Salgado Kent directly to make an appointment.
  • 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, theGRS 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.
  • On campus services. Please note that our libraries, Student Hub and most other services remain open for your use, with visible guidelines for social distancing protocols.
  • 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.

Keeping in touch

  • Please monitor your ECU student email 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.

Lets keep looking out for each other during these challenging times.


Professor Caroline Finch AO
Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research)


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