UNISA EDGE

PhD excellence with career relevance.

Develop your EDGE

UniSAEDGE is a personalised skills development model designed to support our PhD candidates to achieve their career goals.

Developed as part of the University of South Australia's transformed PhD (tPhD) initiative, EDGE (Enhancement of Doctoral Graduate Employability) supports candidates to build disciplinary expertise and versatility to enhance their experience and generate high quality research.

Close consultation with employers and industry means EDGE empowers candidates to meet the challenges of a dynamic labour market. Our graduates develop the capabilities to translate PhD experiences into rewarding career outcomes.

Transforming the PhD graphic

UniSA Video

What UniSAEdge supports:

  • Enhanced experiences for research candidates minus-thick plus-thick

    UniSAEDGE responds to candidate needs by providing research and professional skills development informed by employers, industry and supervisors. Candidates with access to deeper external engagement experiences (internships, collaborative research projects) report greater skills development, a wider range of career ambitions and increased motivation to complete their PhDs1. UniSAEDGE provides a framework to optimise the PhD experience and broaden graduate horizons.   

    1Bentley, P, Bexley, E & Dollinger, M (2017)

  • High-quality research outcomes and timely completions minus-thick plus-thick

    We aim to help our candidates maintain momentum throughout their candidature, and UniSAEDGE is part of that commitment. Research indicates that PhD candidates with access to research skills training and support – like those offered through UniSAEDGE – achieve better submission rates, faster average completion times1 and a higher probability of timely submissions2. It’s about helping our PhD researchers get where they want to be, sooner.  

    1 Spronken-Smith et al (2018)
    2 Humphrey et al (2012)

  • Improved employability outcomes minus-thick plus-thick

    Internationally, PhD careers are diversifying, with more graduates employed in the private sector, and a large proportion of job adverts seeking a high level of research skills and capabilities1. While many of our PhDs go on to work in universities, today’s employment market demands versatile graduates with skills that can be applied in a variety of settings. UniSAEDGE equips graduates with the capabilities and confidence to thrive in a dynamic labour market.

    1 Mewburn et al 2017

What candidates say

UniSAEDGE is modular, like a choose-your-own-adventure. It’s about asking, ‘what skills and experiences do I need to reach my goals?’

Kate Riggall
PhD candidate, Centre for Cognitive and Systems Neuroscience, UniSA

Kate Riggall

A framework for success

UniSAEDGE helps develop a range of capabilities throughout candidature with a bespoke framework tailored to individual needs and goals. It delivers training and recognition across four domains:

Research expertise

Developing PhD candidates in the high-level skills to excel as a researcher in their field.

Enterprising futures

Responding to end-user and employer needs by equipping our graduates with the capabilities most desired in the job market.

Skills in practice

Supporting experiential and work-integrated learning in industry and academia, to build skills in the workplace, lab, studio, field, and beyond.    

Careers in focus

Enabling candidates to manage their professional development in alignment with their career ambitions.

What supervisors say

UniSAEDGE provides a structure – a roadmap – to help identify, attain and apply the skills required to succeed at each stage of candidature, and maintain momentum throughout the process. It’s a win-win. For the supervisor it’s ensuring they have a candidate with the necessary competencies to get through the PhD, and for the candidate, they’ll have the skills that will make them market-ready for employment.

Associate Professor Nicholas Chileshe
Research Education Portfolio Leader, UniSA STEM, University of South Australia

Associate Professor Nicholas Chileshe

An integrated approach

UniSAEDGE has been designed to complement the traditional PhD from commencement to completion, and is integrated throughout the PhD process around three key stages:

Plan

Early in their PhD, candidates undertake a Development Needs Analysis (DNA) to identify skills, knowledge priorities and strengths. This informs a focussed conversation to discuss employment goals, supported by a Career Coach. They’re encouraged to design a personalised development roadmap, tailored to to their needs today, and aspirations for tomorrow.

Do

Choose from a range of professional development opportunities, both in and beyond UniSA, including workshops, seminars, events and online and experiential learning. EDGE recognises a wide range of activities including internships, MOOCs, teaching, public engagement and competitive awards, so that each candidate curates a unique EDGE experience with the input of their supervisory team.

Recognise

Towards completion, the focus turns to recognising achievements and preparing for career success. With support to develop a portfolio of career assets, including a comprehensive CV, candidates will be confident in articulating their expertise and skills to diverse audiences. It’s about broadening the horizons of our PhD graduates and giving them the EDGE.

What industry say

I brainstormed the skills I look for when recruiting from the position of being an employer, and virtually all of them are ticked off under UniSAEDGE. I really like the emphasis on self-awareness as that is critical in industry

Dr Rebecca Barnes
R&D Manager

Dr Rebecca Barnes