A Griffith academic has been recognised as a national leader in graduate and higher degree research supervision.

Professor Rod Barrett from Griffith’s School of Allied Health Sciences was awarded the major accolade at the 2019 Australian Council of Graduate Research Awards at a function at South Bank.

Professor Barrett, an academic in the field of musculoskeletal biomechanics, received his award for Excellence in Graduate Research Supervision.

During his Griffith tenure, Professor Barrett has supervised 24 HDR candidates to completion including 20 PhDs and four Research Masters.

Professor Rod Barrett accepts a 2017 VC Research Excellence Award

This includes 10 PhD completions in the past five years, all using a co-supervision approach and co-authoring 45 refereed journal articles with his most recent 10 PhD completions.

Twelve of his former students have secured academic appointments across four different continents and several have ongoing and senior positions in industry.

Professor Barrett, who took eight years to complete his own doctorate, said his approach to supervising HDR candidates was simple.

“No two candidates are alike and you must be aware that at some point during the candidature the student will face challenges and you have to be able to relate and empathise with what they may be going through.

“It’s an incredibly stressful period at times.”

An academic for 26 years and a recipient of a VC Research Excellence Award in 2017, Professor Barrett admitted there is a deep satisfaction in seeing his HDR students graduate.

Professor Sue Berners-Price at her desk

Professor Sue Berners-Price

“To be sitting on the stage seeing one of your own students receive their PhD and to know a bit about what they went through to reach their goal, there’s no more prouder moment.

“They’re obviously very different people when they graduate to when they began and they have learnt so much over the journey,” Professor Barrett said.

Dean, Griffith Graduate Research School Professor Sue Berners-Price said Professor Barrett demonstrated leadership by proposing and leading the development of the Principles to Promote Excellence in HDR Supervision Practices which have been endorsed and adopted across Griffith University.

Dr Steven Obst, now working at Central Queensland University, had his PhD supervised by Professor Barrett.

Dr Steven Obst

“From the start of my candidature, Rod set out clear expectations of what a high quality PhD should be and what each of our roles and responsibilities were, but importantly allowed me the freedom to pursue research ideas I was passionate about.”

“Rod’s editorial skills, in particular, were invaluable and ensured that each journal submission was of the highest quality,” Dr Obst said.