The week of juggling

Undertaking an international postdoc is the goal for many lucky PhD graduates. In fact, it is often seen as the only way to progress your career.

Meeting researchers from different countries, learning different methods, getting in touch with the international community and applying your Australian experience to a new area (whether that is geographically or varying your field of expertise) is important career stuff. A friend once told me that doing an international postdoc was like doing a PhD all over again, there was so much to take in. Now that I’m here, I completely agree. It’s rewarding, tiring, overwhelming and inspiring all at once.

But what about the non-career related opportunities that an international job placement holds? The chance to learn a new language, experience a different culture, eat new food and travel to exotic locations. These features are often promoted when advertising international postdoc positions, but how do you fit them in while doing well at your hard-earned job?Read More »

The week of supervision

Supervision is one of the most important aspect of a PhD. How you make it through the woods of the doctoral canditure depends so much on the company you keep along the way.

Ideally, a supervisor should hold your hand at first, providing you sustanance (in the form of papers to read and suggestions) and support to get you started. Little by little, the supervisor should let you wander on your own, make your own mistakes and learn from your experiences, but still be there to help and provide timely advice.

By the end, you need to be able to let go, strong enough to direct yourself, and ultimately make your way out of the woods on your own.Read More »

The week of our first journal club

With apologies to Tyler Durden…

The research group at C3 is a small but dedicated bunch. There are only 15 of us, working in a range of fields from climate model downscaling to data homogenisation, from temperature extremes to model downscaling. The majority are women (including our director), and we are a mixture of local and international scientists.

The range of topics and native languages sometimes makes it difficult to ask for help with those silly battles that we early career researchers face every day: how do I find these data? What type of bracket do I need to fix this line of code? When is the next public holiday? But we get by OK.

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Extending the temperature record of southeastern Australia

This is a guest post that I was kindly invited to write for climanrecon.wordpress.com. Climanrecon is currently looking at the non-climatic features of the Bureau of Meteorology’s raw historical temperature observations, which are freely available online. As Neville Nicholls recently discussed in The Conversation, the more the merrier!


Southeastern Australia is the most highly populated and agriculturally rich area in Australia. It’s home to our tallest trees, our highest mountains, our oldest pubs and most importantly, our longest series of instrumental weather observations. This makes southeastern Australia the most likely place to extend Australia’s instrumental climate record.Read More »

The week of my first lecture

This week I filled in for a professor and gave my first ever lecture as a professional scientist to undergraduate students. Two hours of talking at second-year geography students about the climate of Australia. I now officially feel like an academic!

Although I get nervous (who doesn’t), I usually like giving public presentations. After some training in science communication, I hope that I am not completely crap at them either. But this was my first presentation to an audience that were not native English speakers. Unfortunately I could not rely on our mutual knowledge of Con the Fruiterer, or speak in slang. AND, I only had six days to prepare.Read More »

The week of the dogs

Like many couples, my man H and I have wrestled with the ‘two-body problem’ during our eight years together. The two-body problem is mainly referred to when discussing academic couples finding work in the same place. I do agree that the geographical and job distribution of universities is lower than the distribution of, say, accounting firms. However, to my mind it is surely a challenge to find two great jobs in the one place  regardless of your field.Read More »

The week of the assembly

It’s not sexy and there are no tandem bikes, but the most significant thing that happened this week, for the first time, was work related.

My research position at URV is part of UERRA, an EU funded program that stands for Uncertainties in Ensembles of Regional ReAnalyses (acronyms are hilarious). Reanalyses are not the job that Tobias Fünke has from Arrested Development. They are basically a complete picture of the atmosphere based on the observations that are available and the physics that governs how weather behaves.  Reanalyses are the data used by meteorologists and climatologists all over the world. I’ve attempted to explain more about them here.Read More »