PhD students lured by free flights and accommodation

PhD students lured by free flights and accommodation

Distance no longer a barrier to recruiting potential students

The University is offering free flights and accommodation to domestic PhD candidates considering studying toward a doctorate at Otago. The recruitment campaign is designed to allow doctoral students to “seriously consider Otago as an option,” Head of Marketing Services, Lindy Wilson, said in a press release.

Successful applicants to the “Free Flight NZPhD” program will be flown to Dunedin on 4 August from either Auckland, Wellington or Christchurch. Applicants will spend two days in Dunedin staying at the Executive Residence, have the opportunity to meet with their chosen departments, take a grand tour of the University and the city, and have dinner with senior academic staff at the historic Staff Club, before being flown home. The University also guarantees a three-year, $25,000 per annum scholarship to candidates in the program who ultimately choose to study their PhD at Otago, as well as paying for their tuition fees.

Prior to this program, no travel assistance was available to PhD candidates wishing to explore their options at Otago. Wilson added, “We know Otago has a lot to offer postgraduate students, but our distance can sometimes be seen as a barrier. This campaign will give us the opportunity to show potential students how great Otago is.” According to a University spokesperson, the University’s efforts to attract the best students are because “PhD candidates are vital to Otago. As well as undertaking their own research, candidates contribute to the research of their supervisors. Many are also excellent tutors for our undergraduate students.”

When asked how many doctoral candidates were expected to take up the offer, a University spokesperson said, “This is the first time we have run this campaign. We are unsure how many people will be interested.” The University is also uncertain of whether or not the offer will be repeated next year. “This year is a trial of the campaign. We will review the outcome after it has run and consider whether or not it becomes an annual event.”

The University is currently top ranked in the country for postgraduate research, a status it is obviously eager to maintain. “Otago prides itself upon being the leading postgraduate research university in New Zealand. This is indicated in the latest PBRF (Performance-Based Research Fund) results and the quality of our PhD candidates is a vital component of achieving these results.”

Applications to the Free Flight NZPhD program close on 27 June. Successful applicants will be announced on 23 July.
This article first appeared in Issue 12, 2014.
Posted 4:32pm Sunday 18th May 2014 by Nina Harrap.