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15 Fascinating Facts About Australia

doing a second phd in australia

The land down under is a fascinating place. For many years Australia was isolated from the rest of the world. As a result, the animals and trees of Australia look and act differently than those found in other parts of the planet. Check out these fascinating factors for more information about Australia.

Canberra’s Design Is the Result of a Competition

Although Melbourne was a temporary seat of government in Australia, the country decided to create a new city to serve as the capital. The politicians wanted a city that had pleasant weather and was not near the water. Walter Burley Griffin won the city design competition, and his city officially received its name in 1913.

Australia Is Home to Some of the World’s Most Unique Animals

Mammals with bills. Spiders that play peek-a-boo. The animals and birds of Australia are unlike anything you find anywhere else on Earth. There are more than 378 types of mammals, 828 birds, 300 lizards and 140 snakes.

doing a second phd in australia

Australia Has Several Types of Rainforests

The northern portion of Australia is in the tropics, and that’s where you find the country’s tropical rainforest. There is also a subtropical rainforest near the mid-eastern coast and a broadleaf rainforest in the southeastern part of the country.

doing a second phd in australia

And Deserts

It may be surrounded by water, but Australia is the second driest continent on the planet. Deserts cover the country’s western plateau and parts of the interior. The largest of these deserts is the Great Victoria Desert.

doing a second phd in australia

The Earliest European Settlers Were Criminals

The Europeans arrived in the 17th century. Most of these people were sent to Australia as punishment for crimes they committed in England. For more than 60 years, England used Australia as its largest prison.

Australia Has One of the World’s Most Ethnically Diverse Populations

It’s true that most Australians are of British descent, but there is still a lot of diversity in the country. Immigrants from China, Vietnam, North Africa and the Middle East call the country home. They speak more than 200 languages across the island. Australians Aren’t Sure Who Is the Head of State

doing a second phd in australia

Australians Aren’t Sure Who Is the Head of State

The United Kingdom claimed Australia in the 1800s despite the fact that people had been living there for thousands of years. For most of the 1900s the island was a commonwealth of the UK, but it gained legislative independence in 1986. However, there’s still some debate about whether the British monarchy is still the official head of state.

doing a second phd in australia

Australia Is the World’s Largest Producer of Gold

In 2018, U.S. Global Investors ranked Australia number two in the world in terms of gold production. It produced 295.1 tonnes of the precious metal in the previous year. It’s been big business in the country since the 19th century gold rush.

doing a second phd in australia

The Pacemaker Was Invented in Australia

1926, Dr. Mark Lidwill built a portable machine that sent a jolt of electricity into the heart through needles. He used this machine to revive a stillborn baby.

doing a second phd in australia

Some of Earth’s Most Deadly Species Call Australia Home

You’ll find 20 species of venomous snakes and 36 species of funnel-web spiders on the island continent. The funnel-web spider produces enough venom to kill 100 people with a single bite. Its jaws are also strong enough to bite through gloves.

Australia Has Many Different Time Zones

Understanding time zones in Australia takes a little work. First, there are five standard time zones across the island. The time zones range from a quarter-hour to a full hour time difference. Some territories within the time zones observe daylight savings; others do not.

doing a second phd in australia

Feral Camels Roam Australia’s Desert

In the 19th century, Australians imported camels to use as transportation in the desert. The descendants of these camels still live in the desert. Guinness World Records estimated that 300,000,000 camels were roaming the desert in 2013.

doing a second phd in australia

Australia Is the Only Single Country Continent on the Planet

It’s the sixth largest country in the world, but Australia is also the smallest continent. The continent rests on the Indo-Australian plate, surrounded by the Indian and Pacific oceans. In addition to the mainland, the continent also includes smaller islands off the coast.

Everyone Votes in Australia

Voting is mandatory under Australian law. Failure to show up at the polls leads to a fine, so election turnout usually exceeds 90 percent of the population. Many Australians don’t seem to mind though. Voting day is a community party complete with a barbecue featuring democracy sausages.

doing a second phd in australia

Australian Termites Build Massive Mounds

One of the more popular sites in Litchfield National Park are the magnetic termite mounds. These tall, narrow structures, which can reach 17 feet tall, are termite cities complete with nursery rooms, insulation, tunnels and arches.


doing a second phd in australia

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Should I do a second PhD after a bad one? [duplicate]

I am expected to finish my Ph.D. by the end of the year and I am seriously considering going for a second one. After finishing my master's in Biomedical Engineering, I became interested in Machine Learning and self-taught myself until I eventually landed a Ph.D. project in healthcare. At the risk of sounding cliché, the further I explored the field of ML, the more I felt my competencies were shaky at best. Now, this is not your typical "the more I know, the more I know I don't know" dilemma, since I have never had a formal background in the field.

Sadly, I now realize this Ph.D. was a terrible career choice, as was my choice of Biomedical Engineering for a minor/major.

Biomedical Engineering was a very fun but very challenging major. Fun in the sense that I had exposure to nearly all science fields. Challenging because I had first-contact courses at the level of other Engineering programs that had pre-requisite courses, forcing me to learn an insane amount of material in a semester, only to forget everything afterward since there was no follow-up. Thus, I feel like a true impostor, and sometimes I wonder if I should do another more focused major.

Regarding the Ph.D., I am in a peculiar position since I am pretty much the only one doing ML research in my group and the university does not offer graduate ML courses. Furthermore, since the funding comes from a European project with a specific goal, I have a very narrow set of tasks. I tried to learn everything I could myself, but since I never had a project where I could apply my new knowledge, I ended up needing to learn things over and over.

I would not say I was unsuccessful at all. I have published a technical paper in a top-tier ML conference and a clinical one in a top-tier medical journal (and have two of each kind just about ready to submit before I graduate). However, when I am looking for my next steps, I still feel like I barely know anything and that I will feel like an incompetent forever. I have a good relationship with my supervisor, but he has not published anything in the field for a very long time, so I am pretty much on my own all of the time. I like the freedom I have, but not having someone with field experience to discuss my ideas made me pursue a dead-end path for more than a year. Also, I am now struggling to incorporate the feedback I got when my last technical paper was rejected at a top-tier conference.

Thus, I would like some advice regarding my next move. I am confident I could take a few more practical data science courses to mitigate my blind spots (NLP, I am looking at you) and get hired for a standard Data Scientist job, but ideally, I would like to continue working in a science field. I am therefore wondering whether I should do another, proper Ph.D. since this one was a fraud. I am desperate to feel like I am knowledgeable about something for once in my life and that I am progressing towards a goal I am excited about.

Sorry for the long text. I appreciate your advice.

user3653908's user avatar

3 Answers 3

You are dramatically overestimating how much people will look into the details of your PhD. Nobody will read your thesis and, after you land your first job, nobody will care what it was about.

If you decide to switch fields, you'd be surprised how quickly people stop caring what your major was. You will are a STEM PhD first and foremost, and people will only care about details that are directly relevant to your/their work.

Two years of work experience in your desired career will quickly wash away whatever you think was "bad" about your PhD.

For what it's worth, your experience is not uncommon. Despite the (also common) imposter syndrome, you've developed independent research skills and established academic credibility. You're finally wrapping up and want to move onto something new after graduation (and, you guessed it, that's common too).

Finish your PhD and find a job you like in the field you want. That will help you much more than a second PhD.

Gumbercules's user avatar

Short answer: no

Longer answer: Finishing your PhD does not mean that you are done learning and improving. Everybody needs to continue doing that, and they do so without doing an additional PhD. Most (gradually) migrate to new topics, and learn about those through self-study or the occasional course/workshop. Most need to learn new skills; Many are shocked to find out when they got their first professorship that they are now more managers than researchers and need to learn a whole new set of skills. All universities I have been part of offered courses for early career researchers to facilitate that. The list continues. So it is normal that you are not "done" even though you finished your PhD. That unfinished state will hopefully continue for the rest of your life (your life would become pretty boring otherwise...).

Maarten Buis's user avatar

While I agree with the other responses, let me give you the perspective of someone who was part of a group where second PhDs were common. I think many of this will not apply in all countries (including the US), though.

Reasons to do a second PhD:

Funding. Sometimes it is just about how someone can be hired. Also, in some countries PhD researchers are rather well paid so it can be an economic decision. (Also, in the country where this happened considers the PhD years as work experience, so years spent on the PhD are not "lost".)

Changing fields. If the fields are too far apart, it could be a requirement to get a (faculty) job, publications in the field are not enough.

Wanting formal supervision in a specialised field. As other answers and comments suggested this is not really necessary and a postdoc could work nicely to achieve this.

Countries not recognising degree from certain institutions/countries. Sometimes degrees are not automatically recognised and naturalisation is complicated. This is less of an issue nowadays but it still could happen.

Moving abroad.

Practical reasons. For example, wanting to work with a particular advisor who needs to hire a PhD student.

This a compilation of reasons I have been told or have observed. Of course, this does not mean that doing a second PhD is advantageous from any other perspective. You will not necessarily get a better job or be more successful.

Aolon's user avatar

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Double Doctorate: Can You Get Multiple PhDs?

Published by steve tippins on may 12, 2020 may 12, 2020.

Last Updated on: 30th August 2022, 04:24 am

A question I’ve gotten a few times: “Can I get a double PhD?” 

The answer is yes, you can under most circumstances. But why? 

While there are some exceptional cases, generally I’d discourage people from pursuing a second PhD. Here are some of the reasons why. After I cover those, I’ll talk about situations where it makes sense to get multiple PhDs.

Reasons Not to Get a Double PhD

For the most part, I can’t see a big reason for a second PhD unless there is a second academic track you want to go into. Here are some reasons why getting a double PhD won’t actually double your opportunities.

You Are Already Considered an Expert

Once you have a PhD , few people outside of academia will ask you what it’s in. Outside the academic world, multiple PhDs will rarely give you much extra credibility.

Becoming a Student Again Is Tough

stressed out woman holding her had while reading a book

Getting a PhD means you’re very subservient to professors and committee members. Once you’ve emerged from that already and have become an expert, it’s very difficult to get back into that mindset. Doing so requires a lot of self-discipline and humility–sometimes even when it’s unwarranted. While possible, I wouldn’t say it’s desirable.

You Can Do Interdisciplinary Research Already

You probably wouldn’t need a PhD in both Anthropology and Psychology or in both Sociology and Psychology. Those fields are closely related, so an anthropologist can offer valuable insights to the field of psychology, and vice versa. Just make sure to stay within the scope of your knowledge or collaborate with researchers in the other field you’re exploring.

You Already Have Research Skills

A PhD gives you the research skills, and those can transfer to other areas. If you have all those skills, you can get a lot of the information on your own and become an expert in another field. You know how to research and dive in and find people who can help you find other information, so if you need to know about a subject, you have the resources to do it on your own. You already have research skills. Why pay to learn them again?

A note of caution here: people have been getting in trouble for using “PhD” after their name and commenting on things that they’re not experts on. For example, someone with a PhD in classical literature commenting on current societal issues or health issues and not disclosing that their PhD is in an unrelated field.

If you want to be seen as an expert in a field, you’ll need to have a PhD (or other degree or certification) in that field. 

Objectively speaking, the PhD research skills apply across the board. And it may be that through self-study or mentorship, you are an expert in a field unrelated to your degree. However, if you’re putting yourself out there as an expert in another field, you can still say you’re an expert, just don’t put “PhD” after your name (or be clear about what your PhD is in).

You May Be Seen as a “Permanent Student”

woman in a yellow shirt smiling and holding a pile of notebooks and folders

If you haven’t had much of a career after your first PhD, you may be seen as a permanent student. As David Clark pointed out on Stack Exchange , “Hovering around getting multiple PhDs would be akin to getting multiple bachelor degrees. People may see you as a permanent student, not someone growing into a mature researcher.”

While there are many advantages to being a permanent student–a life of learning and curiosity being one of them–some hiring managers may consider it a drawback, as they’re looking for someone invested in their career.

Reasons to Get a Double PhD

All that said, there are some situations where getting multiple PhDs may be the best choice. I’ve outlined some of these below.

Expertise in Hard Sciences

group of researchers examining samples in a laboratory

The most common instances of people having multiple PhDs are in the hard sciences. For example, medical students may also pursue a PhD in something like chemistry or physiology. 

I’ve seen MDs with PhDs and JDs with PhDs. This can come in handy for those more interested in research or administrative work–for example, an MD who pursues a PhD in order to become eligible for an administrative-level position or pursue research.

Shifting Expertise

If you’re a biologist and would like to become a counselor or a mathematician, you’ll need a new degree. However, a PhD may not always be the best choice. Counselors, for example, can be certified with a Master’s degree (more on that in the next section).

That said, if you’re committed to research or high-level management positions in an entirely new field, it may be that there’s nothing to do but buckle down and get your second PhD.

Certifications with Similar Requirements

two women discussing details with pens and paper on the table

If you’re looking to get a certification, and the requirements for that certification are almost as much work as getting a PhD, it usually makes sense to go ahead and get the PhD.

For example, if you are an LMFT and want to get an AAMFT-Approved Supervisor designation, it’s usually worth just going ahead and getting the PhD, since the requirements for both are similarly stringent. 

Another reason to go this route: you can get student loans to fund a PhD, but not to fund self-study.

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How to Get a Double PhD

See if it’s necessary.

See if getting a Master’s or certification in that field will allow you to do what you want to do. For example, somebody who has a PhD in History who decides they want to be a financial planner. They could get a certified financial planner designation and then be fine. If they want to be a therapist, they just need a master’s degree in therapy. 

See if You Can Get Credit from your Previous Program’s Courses

woman working on her laptop with a cup of tea next to her

If you’re going into another field where you want to do research, you may get credit for the research courses you took in your previous program. However, there is usually a 5-10 year limit on this.

Pursue Two PhDs Simultaneously

In some cases, it is possible to complete similar coursework for multiple PhDs at the same time.

Christopher Wells pursued two related PhDs simultaneously. He says, “I have a double major doctoral degree that can be seen as two PhDs individually, in inorganic and physical chemistry, and pursued both of the majors at the same time during my nine years at SUNY Albany, from 2002 to 2011. However, my diploma only shows ‘Chemistry’, so I usually tell people directly about the two majors.”

Double PhD Summary

While in most situations getting multiple PhDs is unnecessary, there are some cases where it makes sense. If you’re in one of those situations, look into whether you can get credit for work you’ve already done.

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The double doctorate

This post is by Associate Prof Martin Davies Principal Fellow in Higher Education in the Graduate School of Education at the University of Melbourne, and a Senior Learning Advisor at Federation University Australia. His most recent work (with Ron Barnett) is an edited collection entitled Palgrave Handbook of Critical Thinking in Higher Education (forthcoming, 2015).  His last book Study Skills for International Postgraduate Students  (2011) is presently being translated into Arabic. Martin did his SECOND doctorate at the University of Melbourne and is now working at Federation University. In this post he reflects on the PhD experience, the second time around.

Screen Shot 2014-06-20 at 7.12.21 pm

We have all seen that annoying thing that authors of (American) pop-psychology books do in order to make themselves sound impressive : “…. By Dr XXXXXXX, PhD”.

They are fooling no-one. “Dr” and “PhD”, while not synonyms, usually mean the same thing —excepting, of course, if one happens to be a General Practitioner of Medicine, whilst also holding a PhD. For most academics, however, adding both titles is superfluous. It also makes you sound like a wanker.

But double doctorate holders can simultaneously—and legitimately— add both “Dr” and “PhD” to their names with no hint of redundancy . They still might sound like a wanker, but at least they are honest, accurate wankers!

The first thing anyone would want to ask someone with a double doctorate is: “Why? Why would anyone want to do that?” Fair question.

I’ll answer that question, but not before I outline what I learned from doing it.

The first obvious thing I learnt was how to manage a large project over a long time period , with an immanent deadline, and with virtually no assistance. This is no easy matter, of course, and—for the uninitiated—managing the PhD is half the battle for the first timer.

A plethora of books abound on managing and writing a PhD. These are devoted to helping people develop skills in large project management. I didn’t need any of these the second time around. That’s quite something when you think about it. Give this person a project and it will be finished on time, and without help. I expect that this is a skill that most employers would want.

Consider that if you start doubting the value of doing a PhD.

Moreover, doing a second doctorate made it palpability clear that I did not fluke the task the first time around. This built my confidence. I really did learn something of enduring value. My “supervisor” for the second doctorate was in another state and another city. I never saw the man, and I didn’t need to.

Nor did I require any of the normal support people and programs that universities typically provide (structured programs, bridging programs, learning advisors, and the like). I enrolled one day, and submitted my PhD by post a couple of years later. (The first one took five years; the second took two—there were efficiency gains as well.)

Germaine Greer once commented that: “one could do PhD down the bottom of a well if one had library books”. This was essentially the case for me, except that, with computer-based scholarship these days, I did not really need a library either— merely a point of access and a password . I could have done a second doctorate whilst living in the Antarctic (as it turned out, much of it was done at a holiday shack in Gippsland—which is much warmer).

The second thing I learned was how to write academically. My “supervisor” commented in a written reference for me that: “I didn’t have to teach Davies how to write Philosophy, nor do much more than watch as it poured forth in polished form”. This is flattering of course, but—under the circumstances—not something very special : if one can write a PhD one can write a second PhD , and a third, and so on.

I found that the second PhD literally wrote itself. There were times when I was in the academic equivalent of what sports people call “The Zone”: that wonderful time when everything seems to “flow” and without any effort. (Of course, as in the case with sports people, and musicians, one does not get into “The Zone” without a considerable amount of skill building and practice.)

In doing a second doctorate it becomes very clear how the skills developed in doing a PhD, i.e., academic literacy, constructing an argument, marshalling evidence, citing sources, and so on, transfer to anything else one does in the academic domain. Now, I am no longer intimidated by having to write an academic book between 80-120,000 words in length , and on any topic. Again, that’s no mean feat. (I’ve since published five books, and a sixth is forthcoming in 2015.)

The third thing I learned was that I could construct an argument on a unique topic of my own choosing—a “thesis” for my thesis as it were. Again, this is no mean feat, and—as all PhD students learn—it is neither easy nor natural. Well, I can tell you from first-hand experience that the second time around it is much easier—almost effortless. One can spot a good thesis statement from 3 yards away. Indeed, they jump out at you and the problem is that you see too many!

Of course, with the skills acquired in academic literacy and managing a large project, one can also quickly detect which of the array of possible thesis statement will be any good. One can, within a few weeks of working of a topic, “narrow down” to something manageable, and interesting, and focus. This is an incredibly important skill for a range of writing projects. Again, it has to be of great value in the corporate or public domain for a range of jobs that involve writing reports of various kinds.

So why did I do it?

Serendipity, as it turns out. I was under-employed after the first PhD, doing part-time lecturing. This was in the 1990s—and “the recession we had to have”. Universities were freezing academic positions left, right and centre. Despair was in the air. An elderly gentleman offered $22,000 tax free prize for a young scholar to write a monograph on a long-forgotten Scottish intellectual. I accepted the challenge and enrolled for a Master’s degree. It was upgraded … and the rest is history.

Thanks for telling us your story Martin! I have a deal with Thesis Whisperer Jnr that when he starts his first PhD I will start my second. Does anyone else have ambitions to do it all again? Or is once enough? Love to hear your thoughts in the comments.

Related posts on ‘ye olde academia’ – what was it like before the internet anyway?

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Hello there, I have got a PhD degree from an Australian university and I have received RTP (fee offset & stipend) during this PhD program. I searched everywhere on the governmental education website and could not find any information in regards to any restrictions to study another PhD and still being able to receive fee offset and stipend for the second time from an Australian university. I Was wondering if anyone has heard anything about this?

Unsure if Q1 of research-training-program-rt p-frequently-asked-questions -university-administrators is relevant; suggests a 2nd PhD, but no indication about a 2nd RTP.

yes, I went through all relevant questions in that page. None specifically mentions the second RTP.

Ninanegaarin writes...

There is commentary on the Uni SYD site that may be relevant.

"Previous Scholarships I previously held a scholarship for two years for a Masters candidature I completed a couple of years ago. I’m now starting a new PhD candidature. Can I apply for an RTP?

If your previous scholarship was a UPA you can apply, but the period that you have already held the UPA for will be subtracted from the scholarship tenure if you are awarded an RTP for your PhD. So, if you held the UPA for 2 years for the Masters, you could receive an RTP for a maximum of 1.5 years (including the 6 month extension period) for a PhD.

If your previous scholarship was an APA or RTP you are not eligible to apply, as the eligibility conditions prohibit applications from anyone who has previously held an APA for more than 6 months." ships/research/apa-faq.shtml

Thanks. I also got my answer from this line on the same URL:

I want to do a second PhD. Can I apply for an RTP? You cannot apply for an RTP if you have already completed a degree at the same, or higher, level as your proposed candidature.

Q – have u thought about doing a post doc in an intermediary field between your current PhD and the other you want to do?

I am currently in a situation where I have been forced to withdraw from a PhD with an RTP scholarship that I had been in for over a year. If you are curious I asked about it here here . I am intending to start again when circumstances are better, presumably in a couple of years. Will I be able to get the RTP scholarship and fee offset again? When you first asked the question it seemed like the answer was no, but the link above has changed. So is that just for University of Sydney or what?

Joe314 writes...

When you first asked the question it seemed like the answer was no, but the link above has changed. So is that just for University of Sydney or what?

In your case:

12. I have received an RTP place in the past however withdrew from the degree prior to completion. Can I apply for another RTP place?

There are no restrictions that would prevent someone who has previously received support from the RTP.

In determining its selection process, a university may consider previous academic experience as a factor. Ultimately the application, selection, and offer process for the RTP is at the discretion of the university. (emphasis added)

from research-training-program-fr equently-asked-questions-students

Dr Curmudgeon writes...

12. I have received an RTP place in the past however withdrew from the degree prior to completion. Can I apply for another RTP place? There are no restrictions that would prevent someone who has previously received support from the RTP.

I am just checking on whether this has changed recently, but the updated DESE seems to state the same.

['11. Am I eligible for the RTP if I have previously completed a higher degree by research? There are no restrictions that would prevent someone who has previously completed a higher degree by research from receiving support from the RTP. arch-training-program-freque ntly-asked-questions-students


31 october 2022.

Melbourne University (South Lawn)

Some of the most interesting work I have been involved in over the past few years has come about as a result of the software tools that I have developed for processing and analysing Australian (and New Zealand) patent data, and the many articles I have published here making use of those tools.  I have also dabbled in machine learning (ML) and natural language processing (NLP) technology, using techniques from these fields for ‘fuzzy’ matching of entity names in patent data and for distinguishing between individual and corporate names in unstructured data (both of which were employed in my work on IPGOD, and are in use every day in my automated patent data updates), as well as in more speculative applications such as classifying provisional applications into technology fields based only on published titles .

A couple of years ago I started thinking about some important, but difficult, problems in patent law and policy that might be addressed using some of these kinds of technology.  For example, what if we want to measure the effect of different patent laws and examination processes in different jurisdictions?  The Australian government’s Productivity Commission thought this was a relevant consideration in its 2016 report on the nation’s intellectual property arrangements , recommending (among other things) that the legal test for inventive step should be modified (yet again – after it had only been adjusted in 2013) to bring Australia more closely into line with Europe.  IP Australia’s initial efforts to implement this recommendation have been abortive , and with the recent change in government seem likely to fall by the wayside altogether.

A bigger problem with this process, however, is that the Productivity Commission’s recommendations were themselves founded on shaky ground.  The majority of ‘evidence’ that the European Patent Office (EPO) grants narrower patents than IP Australia, or that it rejects applications that pass muster in Australia, is anecdotal at best.  Personally, I think that this is probably true, but I could not point you to a statistically sound analysis that would quantify this as a broad proposition.  The opinions of a few attorneys and researchers, based on personal experience or a handful of limited studies, is no basis for a nation to make significant changes to its patent laws in the hope of achieving some ill-defined policy objective such as ‘not granting broader patent rights than other jurisdictions’.

To make matters worse we did not know in 2016, and we still do not know today, what impact the 2013 commencement of the Raising the Bar patent law reforms has had on the scope of patents granted in Australia.  What we do know is that the reforms have not resulted in any reduction in acceptance rates of patent applications in Australia .  But that is not very surprising.  Over 90 percent of applications filed in Australia originate overseas, and their applicants are almost certainly seeking corresponding patent rights in other jurisdictions, including Europe and the US.  The fact that they might have been able to secure broader rights in Australia prior to 2013 does not mean that they actually would have pursued those broader rights, or that they cannot obtain commercially useful rights under the current law.  In either case, they have always had the option of simply filing claims in Australia corresponding with claims that have been allowed elsewhere.

If we want to understand, and quantify , the effect of examination in different jurisdictions, or whether granted patents are generally broader in some jurisdiction than others, or whether the Raising the Bar reforms have had any impact on the scope of patents granted in Australia, then we will need to somehow ‘measure’ the scope of patent claims.  We will need to be able to apply our measurement method en masse , so that we are not basing conclusions and recommendations on limited studies involving only small samples of related applications.  Our measure will need to be applicable and comparable across claims filed and granted in different places and/or at different times.  And it will need to be automated, so that we are not reliant on the labour of patent attorneys to evaluate countless thousands of patent claims.

How could we achieve that?  I don’t know, although I have done enough dabbling to have a few ideas.  But what I realised a little over a year ago is that this is not a problem that will yield to a bit of part-time tinkering.  It requires a concerted effort over a substantial period of time.  So I applied to undertake a PhD at the Melbourne Law School.  (Yes, I do already have a PhD, in electrical engineering.  Yes, I am probably looking back with rose-coloured glasses, considering that I completed that first PhD over a quarter of a century ago.  And, yes, I have already heard your ‘doctor doctor’ joke.)

I commenced at the start of October.  My primary supervisor in the MLS is Professor Andrew Christie (who will be well-known to many readers).  I also have a co-supervisor, Laureate Professor Tim Baldwin of the School of Computing and Information Systems at the University of Melbourne, who is an expert in NLP.

It is going to be an interesting and exciting three years or so, and I am sure that I will keep you posted on developments from time to time.

I will still be blogging, maintaining my patent data, and keeping an eye on developments in the Australasian patent attorney profession.  I will also remain available for small consultancy jobs, although I will be unable to take on larger projects now that I am a full time graduate student… again!


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Innovation Patent Expiry

The Intellectual Property Laws Amendment (Productivity Commission Response Part 2 and Other Measures) Act 2020 received Royal Assent on 26 February 2020, setting in train a phase-out of the innovation patent system. New (non-divisional) innovation patents can no longer be filed, and the time to final expiry of all innovation patents is now:

For further details of the legislation, read the full report here .


doing a second phd in australia

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Second PhD?

doing a second phd in australia

Just a pondering from a guy who is a bit tired of the treadmill of research, have any of you considered pursuing (or pursued) a second PhD on another area of passion?

I feel like I could be a star PhD student (with all the writing, research, time management, etc.). And with what I know now, I'd choose the right school, supervisor, etc. It could theoretically done on top of my current (tenured) position, albeit at the cost of research and service. Coursework could be completed during sabbatical.

EDIT: I'm a fairly successful mid-career full prof who had a great PhD experience (best years of my life, albeit age had something to do with that). I could retire from my current field and feel proud of my accomplishments. My PhD was WAY less work/stress than now. And this is not just selective memory.

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I know someone who earned a second PhD in an adjacent STEM field (while a tenured prof) and then got an academic job in that other field. They had a great time with the whole thing!

Thanks for the one contrary opinion/anecdote here!

You're tired of the treadmill of research so you want to.. get on a new treadmill?

All the skills you have that will make you a great PhD student are good evidence that you don't need to do a second PhD. Why take an underpaid training position when you have already been trained?

If your goal is just to transition to a new area of research, a post doc is a less terrible option, imo. You can leave after a year if it's not for you, rather than being stuck in a PhD program. You can also just apply for a job outside of your area of expertise. Industries want to train you to do things their way anyway. You already have a PhD and some experience, prove to them you're interested and can learn quickly and you may find someone to take a chance.

I would never voluntarily put myself through another PhD. Just my .02

One more thought, if you just want to do different research... Do it? Plenty of labs expand beyond their disciplines. Chemistry, biology, medicine, materials science, engineering - there's enough interdisciplinary research that the lines between these fields aren't as solid as people think. If you're interested in researching a new area, do it.

Why not spend sabbatical in self-guided study and building collaborations with colleagues in the new field? And/or apply for a K award if it’s health-adjacent?

I've thought about getting my MD or a PhD in the humanities (my current PhD is in a STEM field) but while I could no doubt learn the material and succeed, the idea is daunting and life's too short.

History PhD that thinks med school would be interesting. I just look into medical history and include that in lecture. :)

You could do something similar. Historical significance of a specific development in your field.

Best way to try and do this I've found is to do some interdisciplinary research in an intersection of your existing and desired fields. Gives you the access you need to experts in the discipline if you have questions, which is the critical missing component you need vs just self-studying the literature and doing your own thing.

I'd rather eat my own hand than do another PhD. Honestly, you'd have to be some sort of massachist.

Some people are into that ;)

University of California provides 1 quarter of sabbatical at 2/3 pay for every 6 quarters worked (though most trade in their sabbatical credits at 9:1 to get full pay). If you accumulate sabbatical credits for 12 years, you can get 2 full years off at 2/3 pay.

Many PhD programs can be done part time (though that is slower, taking about 4 years to finish coursework, and highly variable amounts of time to write a thesis).

I don't see much point to a second PhD, unless the first one is in such a distant field from current interests that it is preventing access to desired research groups.

Our department has had a lot of PhD students come to us in the 40s, 50s, and even early 60s, after successful careers as engineers or executives, wanting to do very different sort of work. They have been quite successful in their second careers (even though these second careers tend to be much shorter).

Undergrad seriously starting to plan out graduate degrees in education studies

Very helpful, ty

Considered, perhaps, but there are a few financial obligations that make it hard for people (going for a lower pay, lesser health benefits, no retirement benefits for four or so years (though all depends on which institution you choose to go to)

Socialization in the second PhD would be a bit of a challenge due to age differences, and being in a different stage in life than the others...I kind of valued the social friendmaking aspect of the lab on the same level if not more than the research and lab itself, afterall, working in a place for 4+ years could be a sweet dream or a nightmare depending on the personalities of those around.

Lastly, I was never sure where another Ph.D would fit into any sort of professional goal. If its for the pursuit of knowledge, well, after ones first PhD you already have the skills to know how to find, summarize, and connect ideas together. You already know journals and conferences for any field exists so you could just attend those. And if one really want to do an experiment or do field work or find specific tomes and artifacts, one can apply for many sources of funds to spend a few months or so engaging in that experience with any willing takers.

i think it's better to use the security of your current tenured position to move into whatever field you want. maybe you can develop a collaboration with someone so you can contribute your skills. why start over?

My eight years as a grad student were great—if I hadn't run out of fellowship funding, I'd probably still be a grad student (39 years later).

You can get some of that joy back even as a professor by sitting in on courses (graduate or undergraduate) on topics that interest you. You can also work on unfunded research (if you are in a field where that is possible) without chasing grant funding.

Now that I'm retiring, I plan to take more courses and play around with ideas that I've not had time for. I'll probably just publish on my blog, so I won't even have to deal with Reviewer #2.

What is the point of a formal degree? Can't you just engage with this second field on your own?

Imo more academics should be polymaths, but that doesn't mean we all need to get new degrees.

I have a colleague who did that. He got a PhD in geology, but couldn't find an academic job so he got another in computer sciences. He's in our compsci department.

Now and then I hum the song 'Doctor Doctor' by the Thompson Twins when I see him because I'm a comic genius.

Robert Palmer did Doctor, Doctor too. You’d almost have an act.

Think of all the other things you could do with that time.

If I didn't like work, I wouldn't be a prof!

Serious Hulk origin story vibes here.

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Going abroad: Where can I get trained in doing research?

doing a second phd in australia

For our “Going abroad” series , Hugo Guyader interviewed Yupal Shukla, who moved from India to Italy. This is the first part of the interview with him .

Yupal Sanatkumar Shukla hails from India where he has pursued his studies and has obtained his first PhD. Before enrolling in his second PhD program at the University of Bologna in Italy, he worked as an academic in management in India. Yupal has travelled to different parts of the world to attend service conferences, and he took a course at Hanken School of Economics in Finland. Let’s ask him a few questions about his international experience.

Tell us briefly about yourself.

I was born and brought up in a small town called Unjha in Gujarat state of India. I have done my undergraduate studies in Arts from Hemchandracharya North Gujarat University and did my MBA in Agribusiness from Ganpat University, India. 

Then, you directly started to work at the university?

After finishing my MBA, I worked as a marketing executive in an agriculture-based organization. Even though, I started my job career with a private firm, I had a clear vision to pursue a career in academia. My passion for teaching paved the way through and in 2009, I got my first academic position as an Assistant Professor in the faculty of Business Administration at Ganpat University, India. You can say that I was fortunate in finding this position as during those days in India, it was not mandatory to have a Ph.D. degree for getting into an Assistant Professor’s position. 

Why did you decide to obtain a PhD anyway?

As I started working, I was told that to have a good academic career, I should get enrolled in a Ph.D. program. So, I got enrolled for Ph.D. program at Ganpat University in 2011 and finished it in 2015. While I was pursuing my Ph.D. studies, I also got enrolled for my second MBA studies in the marketing specialization from Indira Gandhi National Open University, India. The combination of MBA with marketing specialization and Ph.D. degree helped me to get the opportunity to teach MBA students from 2015 onwards at Ganpat University, which I continued till the end of 2018.

And then you started a second PhD degree at the University of Bologna in Italy. Why did you leave Ganpat University and India? 

doing a second phd in australia

In 2013 I came to know about the 4 th  International Research Symposium in Service Management (IRSSM 4) in India. I remember missing out the deadline for abstract submission. However, Prof. Jay Kandampully (Founder and Co-Chair of the Symposium) was kind enough to give me a chance to submit abstract. It was a pleasant surprise to receive the invitation to attend the symposium and also to submit the full paper. After attending this symposium, I got to know what “impactful research” means. The inspirational speech by Prof. Kandampully shook me and brought a burning desire to pursue quality research. I was constantly guided by him and he was the one who motivated me to spend at least a year outside of India for learning research in a structured way. 

doing a second phd in australia

The plan was to spend a year or two into a good research-based institute outside of India, immediate after finishing my PhD in 2015. This led me to apply for post-doctoral positions in different parts of world. I was advised that getting post-doctoral position is not so easy provided I did not have a PhD from an international university. This sadly came true as all my applications got rejected. As I can comprehend now, the primary reason for these rejections was the fact that I used to apply without understanding the requirements well and without even caring about whether my current qualifications match with the advertised requirements or not.

In 2016, I was advised to reach out to Prof. Kandampully to get his opinion about doing a second PhD. I do not have words to express my deepest gratitude towards Prof. Kandampully for his guidance through hours of discussion about my quest for learning how to do research. After also consulting with my wife and with my parents, I made the firm call to look for a PhD program outside of India.

doing a second phd in australia

[ you can watch Jay presenting what is IRSSM all about ]

Where did you want to go? 

Honestly, I started my quest for second PhD, with the aspiration of doing it from the Ohio State University, USA. Prof. Kandampully helped me understand about the kind eligibility criteria for my application at Ohio State University and accordingly I started working towards it. The biggest hurdle was getting good score in GRE, and I decided to give it a try in 2016-2017. I got enrolled for GRE coaching classes in the evening for which I had to commute every day for about two hours. I used to come back home around 23:00 pm after finishing my GRE coaching. Unfortunately, I hardly got time to practice well. Ultimately, I could not score well in GRE and could not make it to enroll at Ohio State University.

Prof. Kandampully kept on motivating me even after my poor GRE score, by saying that it is not the end of the road and I should not give up with such failure. I could bounce back soon from the setback as I got to know about a call for PhD position at Deakin University, Australia. The application was bit different. I was required to identify a supervisor first. Prof. Kandampully helped me to connect with Dr. Nichola Robertson and she agreed to support my PhD application. I got shortlisted for the interview, but that did not help me, as only the top 6 students were offered scholarships and unfortunately, I was seventh in the list. I was told that being third author in my  Journal of Retailing and Consumer Services  2015 paper (which was part of my first PhD dissertation) made me fall short of reaching the finish line.

One more time, Prof. Kandampully again stood by me and advised me not to lose hope, and he suggested I keep trying.

In the end, you managed to get a PhD position at the University of Bologna in Italy!

In April 2018, I saw PhD opportunity in management at the University of Bologna (Unibo), Italy in one of AKADEUS’ career opportunities notifications. I found doing a PhD at Unibo as the relatively best choice, because it had everything. Unibo ranked high in global rankings, it is known as the world’s oldest university, it has a reputation for its research-intensive culture, there was a full scholarship available for four years and the PhD program had additional funding for going abroad, and it is located in the “academic city of Europe”. I got my application docket ready with applying all the things I learned this far. I believe this proposal I wrote was the better all my previous attempts. I sent it in April 2018. I got called for interview in July 2018. Later in the same month, I was announced that I scored a top rank in the merit list of 200 plus applicants from all around world. After a struggle of two years, I finally got accepted to a PhD program!

What would you recommend to someone applying for a PhD in Italy?

PhD positions in most of the universities in Italy are fully funded with scholarships and seem to be competitive. My advice would be to work on developing a strong research proposal and to try to have at least one or two publications in good research journals (Scopus indexed/ABS ranked). Two Ps (proposal and publication) would certainly improve one’s chance of being shortlisted for a PhD scholarship in Italy. I would also advise to look at the faculty profiles and their research interest so that better match can be found.

doing a second phd in australia

Yupal Sanatkumar Shukla Adjunct Professor and Doctoral Student, Department of Management, University of Bologna, Italy

doing a second phd in australia

5 comments on “ Going abroad: Where can I get trained in doing research? ”

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What an inspiring journey!

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Dear Prof. Wirtz, please keep guiding!

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Awesome journey..i too have my own story!

Hi Arjun, Thanks! Will be happy to know about your journey as well!

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Hi Yupal, keep Motivating, my best wishes for ur future endeavours

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