Massey Researcher Development Events


Below you will find upcoming Massey Researcher Development events:


Doctoral candidates who plan to submit their thesis for examination by mid-year 2018 are invited to apply for a 3-day intensive writing opportunity. Dedicated solely to getting words down on paper (or a computer screen), this programme is designed to help candidates get over that final hurdle or to kick-start writing progress if it has stalled. Sign up to join other graduate research comrades at the same candidature stage in a no-excuses, no-time-for-procrastination, take-no-prisoners intensive writing weekend.

Not for the faint hearted, Thesis Writing Boot Camp recruits will battle through third-year blues, writer’s block and thesis fatigue to achieve significant progress on their manuscript – under the watchful eyes of the teams led by Massey’s Deans, Research and Academic.

Introductory sessions by Tracy Riley (Dean, Research) and Sarah Leberman (Dean, Academic) will include motivational talks, goal setting and strategies for writing quickly and well. Support staff will be on hand and catering will be provided to ensure an encouraging, distraction-free environment. Attendees will be required to complete pre-program planning activities and to commit to their own tangible aims for the weekend, such as completing a thesis chapter draft or similar.

The 2017 Thesis Writing Boot Camps will be held on the Palmerston North and Albany campuses.  Because in 2017 an event is not being held in Wellington any Wellington based candidates that would like to attend can apply to have travel costs reimbursed.

Please note: there is a requirement for candidates to attend the entire event and for supporting supervisors to attend the opening event on Friday, and agree to having a follow—up Thesis Writing Boot Camp Meeting with candidates before the Christmas break 2017.

Apply Here











PN (3RD - 5TH NOV)






Join us in 2017 for our introductory Boot Camp for candidates in the later stages of their PhD – and watch this space for early stage Boot Camp to be held in 2018.

Massey University Thesis Writing Boot Camp – Later Stage Guidelines


Thesis Writing Boot Camp is a rigorous three-day weekend writing event, where you join other doctoral candidates for the opportunity of a focused period of writing in a supportive environment.

Support staff will be on hand and catering will be provided to ensure an encouraging, distraction-free environment.  One-on-one sessions can be pre-arranged to assist you in the areas that you may be struggling in, such as writer’s block, or techniques you need to develop, like a writing strategy.

This is not a residential Boot Camp, but participants are required to consent to attending all the sessions, and completing the preparatory work.


Thesis Writing Boot Camp is for those who are in a write-up phase of their thesis.  Attendees will be required to complete pre-programme planning activities, and to set objectives such as completing a thesis chapter draft. This preparation work should only take about an hour to complete, but will mean that you are ready to hit the ground running when you get to the Boot Camp.


Spaces are limited, so an application process is used to select participants.

Priority is given to applicants who:

  • have finished research, experiments or design and are in 'write up' phase of their candidature or at the end of their degree;
  • are due to be complete their PhD by December 2018, with their submitted by June/July 2018;
  • are willing and available to attend all of the sessions and commit to the ethos of dedicated writing required at the Boot Camp; and
  • have full support of a supervisor.


In addition to the supervisor supporting the application above, a supervisor must also agree to facilitate a Boot Camp follow-up supervisory session with you before Christmas 2017. Your supervisor will also be invited to attend the Friday evening opening session.  The purpose of the supervisory session prior to Christmas 2017 will be to review and give feedback on the progress made over the course of the Boot Camp.  Your supporting supervisor does not have to be your primary supervisor. In summary, one of your supervisors is:

  • Required to provide written support of application;
  • Invited to attend the opening on Friday 27th October at 5pm; and
  • Asked to agree and arrange a review session before Christmas 2017.


As mentioned above, this is not a residential retreat Boot Camp. There is accommodation available on the campus to those who would like to take that option, but please note this expense is not covered by the Boot Camp. For more information, please contact Marise Murrie or Alexis Boniface.  This is also a BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) and a BYOC (Bring Your Own Cup) event. 

BYOD – Please ensure that your device is fully charged before attending each day, so that you can work uninterrupted. You need to also remember to bring along charging cables; you will be able to charge your laptop or device during the Boot Camp, although you may not be able to leave it plugged in to the mains electricity continuously as these will need to be shared. How are you going to save your work?  Do you use a cloud based system, via Massey network or do you need to bring along USB stick/s?

BYOC – Please bring your own cup/mug and water bottle.  Facilities for you to make your own hot drinks will be available to you throughout the Boot Camp, and in order to reduce waste, you are requested to bring your cup/mug and water bottle.  It is also a comfort and familiarity mechanism; you may also want to bring along a cushion or similar to also make you feel more comfortable.

Please think about if you need headphones or earplugs. What type of environment best stimulates your writing - background music or silence?

Make sure that your clothing is comfortable. Consider how you sit and write. What clothes will be most appropriate - loose fitting clothing, track pants, layers or your favourite t-shirt? If you suffer from cold hands and or feet, feel free to bring gloves and/or slippers or a blanket to go over your knees. We will try and keep an even temperature, but as we all know, some like it warmer/cooler than others. 


Boot Camp will be an intensive writing environment! You want to make the most of your time and avoid getting ‘lost’ along the way. To make sure you stay on track, you’ll need to prepare your own map or writing plan BEFORE commencing the programme. This should not take more than an hour, and this is an hour well spent, as it makes you consider things that you probably have not thought about for a while, and will help you focus your mind on the task ahead. The University of Melbourne suggests setting yourself some SMART goals for the Boot Camp. What’s a SMART goal?

  • Specific – What are you going to focus on writing?
  • Measurable – How many words or chapters do you want to write?
  • Attainable – On average, Boot Camp participants can write anything from 5,000 words to 25,000 words over a weekend programme.
  • Realistic/Relevant – Boot Camp is about writing – not referencing, editing, or note taking. You do want to focus on producing writing that you will be able to follow up with some rigorous editing, but not have to start all over again, so consider targeting your writing carefully, and producing meaningful prose.
  • Time bound – The programme will be approximately 19 hours long. Set yourself a challenge to write more than you usually would, but keep in mind that not everyone will produce 25,000 words.

Central research questions

You should already know these. Write them down. Think about them. Tweak them if they’ve changed over the course of your thesis. Make sure they’re still relevant and you’ve unpacked all their terms and nuances.

Thesis outline

If you haven’t already, take the time to prepare an outline of your thesis. Even if it is just a single page, including the titles/subject of each chapter, it’s important you start to consider your thesis as a single document with an overarching argument. This is your thesis ‘road map’ and it will help you see where you’ve been and where you need to go to complete the thesis.

Bring this to Boot Camp. It will help you clarify your thoughts and to keep focused on the things your chosen Boot Camp chapter needs to accomplish.

Chapter outline

Now repeat the process of outlining the thesis, by outlining your chosen chapter(s) for development at the Boot Camp. Depending on your writing style you may choose to note down just a few lines of a plan, or you might plan subheadings over several pages. Questions you should ask yourself include (but are not limited to):

  • What are the main points this chapter needs to cover?
  • What resources/evidence will I need to draw on to demonstrate these?
  • How does this chapter relate to my overall argument?

It is recommended that you work on a single chapter at any given time at Boot Camp. If you finish a chapter, you can then move onto the next chapter. Much time can be wasted flitting between chapters, and you want to avoid this time-wasting at all costs.

Key texts only

If you were stranded on a desert island and had to write your chosen Boot Camp chapter, what three books would you take with you? This is how you should think of Boot Camp - you should NOT be lugging a library in your backpack!

Ideally, you will have notes or an annotated bibliography to work from during Boot Camp. If you DO need to bring books with you, choose a maximum of two or three key texts. No more. Boot Camp is about WRITING, not reading. You can plug in exact references after the weekend.

Again, this is the same with journal articles. Internet access will be discouraged at Boot Camp. Any electronic resources should be chosen wisely and saved onto your laptop and/or a USB prior to arriving at Boot Camp.




The traditional view of the PhD as a pathway to long-term academic employment has become out-dated as less than 40% of PhD graduates actually gain an academic job. For PhD candidates that have not had industry exposure, programs are needed to develop the skills and experience required to apply their research knowledge in a business setting. These programs also need to be attractive to industry to build long-lasting relationships that support innovation and knowledge exchange. iPREP (Industry and PhD Research Engagement Program) is an innovative initiative that helps PhD candidates engage and network with industry.

Three Minute Thesis (3MT) Competition

Three Minute Thesis (3MT®) is a fast paced and exciting speech competition that challenges post graduate candidates to summarise the significance of their thesis work/research project in three minutes for a panel of judges and a diverse audience. 

Research Bazaar

Massey University, Manawatu campus hosted the inaugural ResBaz event in Feb 2017.

Staff and Students came together to learn new digital research skills, showcase current projects and collaborate on planning new research opportunities. The sessions were interactive, hands on and led by current researchers and support staff from Massey University.

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