Law Research News

Law Faculty announces VRES projects for Summer 2020-21

Each year the Law Faculty provides undergraduate students with an opportunity to work on cutting edge research with academic experts in the School of Law and School of Justice.

The Vacation Research Experience Scheme (VRES) is a scheme held during the summer vacation period. Students who participate will be supervised by academics who have created real world projects that link in with their current research pursuits. The project will provide students with the opportunity to experience diverse research tasks (e.g. case studies, literature reviews) and should be of particular interest to students who are thinking of pursuing further research (Masters, PhD) in the future.

The scheme provides students with the opportunity to work with active researchers and offers an environment in which students have an opportunity to test for themselves, and demonstrate to others, their research potential.

This summer, undergraduate students have the opportunity to work on a number of projects in research areas such as:

The full list of current projects is available now.

We asked some former VRES students to share their thoughts on their VRES experience.

General Data Protection Regulation (VRES project)Matthew Cowan, Scarlett Stevens and Dr Lucy Cradduck

Dr Lucy Cradduck and two VRES law students, Scarlett Stevens and Matthew Cowan (pictured), worked on research regarding the application of the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation last summer. This was a different way to spend the Christmas break, and Scarlett and Matt took a few moments to reflect on their experiences:

Scarlett: “The VRES program is an excellent opportunity for students to gain insight into the field of academic research. Personally, through the VRES program I was able to foster an appreciation for how a research project evolves from an initial idea that is continually scoped and redefined, into the final output of the research (in the case of my VRES project, an academic journal article). Additionally, the program and my work with Dr Cradduck and Matthew gave me an opportunity to further develop my own skills in research, communication and collaborative team work. For any student interested in pursuing a career in research or being an academic, the VRES program is an ideal way to gain a better understanding of what is involved in the research side of those career pathways.”

Matt: “The VRES project was an eye-opening experience that has led to incredible opportunities that I originally didn’t anticipate. This program offered a behind-the-scenes, hands-on insight into the day-to-day work of a researcher. Now that I have experienced the work that academics put into their work, I have a far greater appreciation when working with articles and other materials for assessment, that have been built from research. Furthermore, this is a really great experience to work closely with an academic and provides a unique opportunity to learn from their mentoring and support. For someone who has as interest in research, or just wants to try something that the classroom doesn’t necessarily provide, then I couldn’t recommend this program enough.”

When asked for her thoughts, Dr Cradduck advised that, despite not having worked together before, “Scarlett and Matt’s work exceeded my expectations of what the VRES project would achieve.”

Dr Cradduck, together with her VRES students have just had an article accepted in the UK journal of Property Management entitled ‘Data sharing, international property practices, and the GDPR: Communicating with your consumers’. They are currently working on a second article together.

Coronial Inquests into Suicides (VRES project)

Professor Belinda Carpenter and VRES student Megan Harris (Justice/Law) worked together on comparatively exploring the various ways in which coronial inquests investigated the suicides of Indigenous peoples. It focused on New Zealand, Canada and Australia and was prompted by four inquests which occurred in Western Australia between 2007 and 2017 which sought to investigate the suicide of 45 indigenous people in the Kimberley. Megan recommends the VRES to other students and notes that as well as giving her an insight into how research actually happens, it can be a good way to think about different career paths:

Megan: “The VRES program is an insightful doorway into the field of research that has underpinned invaluable learning and career opportunities. First and foremost, it provides an opportunity to work with and observe a trained professional in the research field. I was given the chance to work with Dr Belinda Carpenter, Professor and Associate Dean of Research for the Faculty of Law. Her passion, intellect, and skills for research were truly inspiring. With her mentorship and guidance, I learnt about the research process, how to navigate and critically analyse coronial inquest records and compose literature review and research methodology.

This experience has significantly developed my research skills, altered my perspective of potential career avenues, and deepened my appreciation for the research papers that I use in my assessment. Incredibly, this program has also provided me with the opportunity to continue working with Dr Belinda Carpenter to research important contemporary issues. I would highly recommend this program to all students that have an interest in academic research, want to gain a hands-on experience outside the walls of a classroom, or would like to seek insight into different career paths from experienced professionals.”

Professor Carpenter noted that their positive research experience has continued this year, with Megan working as her research assistant. They have also had publication success, with Professor Carpenter noting that “Megan did an excellent job…Her written work formed a large part of a publication currently under review in an invited special edition of a Q1 journal. Megan is 2nd author of five on that publication.”

Eligibility requirements and how to apply

Eligibility requirements for applicants are as follows:

  • you must be completing the second, third or fourth year of an undergraduate QUT Law or Business course;
  • you are expected to achieve a GPA of 5.5 or above (for students in a double degree, your overall GPA will be considered);
  • you must be currently enrolled in a program of study through the QUT Faculty of Law, QUT Business School, or have applied to undertake an Honours degree, Research Masters or PhD at QUT in the following year; and
  • you must have completed at least four units in your degree, and be enrolled in at least two units of your degree.

International students wishing to apply should have a current student visa for the period of research.

Applications for the LAW VRES program should be submitted by Wednesday, 7 October, 2020. The full list of current projects is available now.

For more information about the VRES program and to submit an application visit the QUT HiQ website.

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