Collaborative Transnational Doctoral Education: Insights From a Philippines-Australia Partnership

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This paper describes the experiences of doctoral candidates involved in the first year of a transnational research training partnership between Australia and the Philippines. It aims to ascertain how the partnership model of the programme has been perceived by doctoral candidates, and to understand its associated benefits and challenges. Semi-structured interviews were undertaken with the six candidates enrolled in the programme, revealing five key themes: the importance of place, of planned face-to-face interactions, of diversity in research cultures, managing distance communications, and the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. The consideration of these themes led to two key conclusions. First, in the online context, interpersonal relationships with and between supervisors and programme administrators provided a trusted reference point that became part of the candidates’ sense of belonging. Second, that the treatment of the candidates as a cohort was crucial to their wellbeing and progress in the first year of candidature.