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Joint PhD opens up global opportunities

Through the Monash Warwick Alliance, students have the opportunity to undertake a Joint PhD from Monash University and the University of Warwick.
Working with academics from around the world, students learn from differing perspectives and work on globally important research whilst developing their personal, professional and academic skills across two research-intensive universities. They build strong networks, gain exposure to different research techniques and cultures, and develop intercultural competencies.

Robbin Vernooij completed his Joint PhD through the Monash Warwick Alliance in April 2018. Leading a team that discovered fresh insight into the development of light-activated cancer drugs that do not cause the toxic side-effects of current chemotherapy treatments, the Monash Warwick Alliance was key throughout Robbin’s Joint PhD and the research it drove. The unique partnership allowed him to work across six different research groups and multiple departments. Robbin says;

Having four official supervisors and many more collaborators was such an incredible opportunity for me as a student. The Alliance Joint PhD enabled me to carry out research across the world, combining state-of-the-art resources from both universities”

Robbin now works in London as a Consulting Analyst at The Information Lab. He says the international experience he received as part of his Joint PhD was an incredibly important part of this studies;

Whether you are from Australia or the UK, you are going to work in two different countries and you have to adapt. Whilst a traditional PhD doesn’t stop you seeking out international collaborations, making these international connections for an extended amount of time makes the Joint PhD an extremely valuable course.”

Robbin also says the Joint PhD has taught him skills that he has been able to use in his current workplace;

I now report to several people with different business interests. The Joint PhD taught me to be flexible as I had to plan my work between my different supervisors and their research. Having that experience has meant I am able to efficiently organise my deadlines, as well as manage expectations.”
Developing flexibility and logical thinking are other skills that Robbin attributes to his Joint PhD. He had to be flexible enough to allow his work to pivot when the research wouldn’t work;

I had to think of different ways to solve my research and to remain up-to-date with the latest technology in the fields. This experience definitely helped me to develop my logical thinking, being able to come up with different approaches quickly and troubleshoot in an organised manner. These are skills I now use daily.”

Robbin’s experience and learning outcomes highlight the incredible strength of undertaking a Joint PhD. Not only does the learning portfolio extend beyond traditional experiences of the classroom, students are developed to become the innovators of tomorrow.

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