Jilbay First Nations Research Higher Degree Academy

The Jilbay First Nations Research Higher Degree Academy is an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander research-focused community of practice hosted within the Jawun Research Centre and the Office of Indigenous Engagement (OIE) in collaboration with the School of Graduate Research. The Academy is the first internally funded Academy of its kind for any Australian University. It aims to build the research capacity of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Research Higher Degree (RHD) candidates and their supervisors by developing and undertaking Indigenous research projects and establishing partnerships in collaboration with other CQUniversity Schools, Research Centres, and Institutes.

Jilbay means old peoples' wisdom, and in every essence of the word, it’s the sharing of old people’s wisdom that makes students clever (Jilbaybili), likewise making supervisors/fellows more culturally clever (Jilbaymali). Therefore, Jilbaybili (students) and Jilbaymali (supervisors) are the two critical components of the Jilbay First Nations RHD Academy.

Originally named the First Nations Research Higher Degree Academy, the Academy underwent a name change with formal endorsement from the Dean of the School of Graduate Research. To better reflect the research that Jawun Research Centre and CQUniversity First Nations staff and students are engaged in, the Academy has been renamed Jilbay First Nations Research Higher Degree (RHD) academy. Jilbay is a Jirrbal word from Far North Queensland gifted by the Jirrbal Elders to Professor Adrian Miller, the academy’s Director.

Guwal Jilbay 2024 Yarning Research Conference

Gawul Jilbay conference Indigenous artwork

In July 2024, CQUniversity are excited to be hosting the inaugural Guwal Jilbay – Yarning Research Conferencea conference specifically supporting First Nations Research Higher Degree students and their supervisors.

The primary role of the Academy is to:

  1. Build research capacity and resilience within a cohort model for First Nations Research Higher Degree students to complete their studies
  2. Build the capacity of CQUniversity staff to appropriately supervise First Nations Research Higher Degree students

The overall objective of the Academy is to grow capacity for research undertaken by Indigenous candidates, and in Indigenous research more generally, in an inclusive and supported environment. Specifically, to:

  • Support existing and future First Nations RHD candidates with a specific focus on addressing the known barriers to Indigenous RHD completions (as evidenced by the literature and lived experience of current and previous candidates);
  • Grow CQUniversity capacity in Indigenous RHD supervision and the application of Indigenous research methodologies (including human research ethics), with a focus on best practice; and
  • Contribute to CQUniversity’s overall impact in Indigenous Research, including research quality, engagement, and a priority on research with and for the benefit of Indigenous communities.

Jilbay First Nations RHD Academy support

  • The Academy will provide a culturally safe supportive environment for Jilbay RHD candidates to progress through their studies.
  • By providing a range of events and activities including cultural mentoring and support.
  • Candidates will benefit from the annual Jilbay RHD Academy’s Darumbal residentials on the CQUniversity Rockhampton Campus. 
  • At the residential RHD candidates will be provided with face to face research training, connect with other candidates and hear from keynote speakers.
  • We also offer Research scholarships and help during your application process.


To be eligible to become a member of the CQUniversity Jilbay First Nations RHD Academy you must identify as an Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander person and enrol in one of these courses of study:

Check out our Research Higher Degrees page for more RHD Courses we have to offer. 

For more information about becoming a member, contact the Jilbay academy office.

Contact the Jilbay First Nations RHD Academy on 07 4726 5394 or via email JilbayRHD@cqu.edu.au

CQUniversity academics who wish to be affiliated with the Jilbay First Nations RHD Academy must:

  • Be supervising an Indigenous CQUniversity student
  • Be currently employed by CQUniversity
  • Undertake specific cultural competency and supervisory training courses.
  • Please contact the Jilbay office with any questions.

We encourage our candidates to build a public profile for themselves via various professional tools such as LinkedIn and our own RHD Candidate profile page. Here are just some of the current Jilbay First Nations RHD Academy students.

Jilbaybili First Nations RHD Academy Students

  • Catherine Robinson - A comparison and evaluation of the curriculum design, delivery, uptake and efficacy of university units that teach Cultural Safety to undergraduate nurses.
  • Christie Mancktelow - Our Languages, Identity and Wellbeing; A Quandamooka Perspective
  • Jewels Rogers - Walking on Country: A Model of Wellness for Woppaburra Women
  • Justin Gladman - How can health services adapt to engage with young males aged between 15-29 years of age residing in sparsely populated rural or remote communities?
  • Nadia Cowperthwaithe - From Conspiracy Theories to Political Propaganda: The Marketing of Misinformation
  • Muriel Wymarra - Working together with Torres Strait Islander People: Understanding the practice of professional helping n Torres Strait culture
  • Naomi Smith -  Relationship central to creating positive classroom engagement and success for young learners – How Indigenous family values can help create an atmosphere of success
  • Kristie Dillion - Methodology and protocols for the cultivation and propagation of Zostera muelleri for restoration
  • Joann Schmider - Collecting, cognitioning and capitalising local cultural knowledge for tourism: a Wet Tropics of Queensland World Heritage Area rainforest Aboriginal peoples' study
  • Laimena Muwadda - The Cultural Relativism of Aboriginal Men and the Universalism of Sexual Health: a qualitative study in North Queensland
  • Leonie Taylor  - still to confirm her thesis title 

Using filters on the CQUni RHD Candidate profile can page help you find other RHD candidates by searching school, field of research, key words or their name.

Jilbaybili Alumni

Samantha Cooms - Disability and First Nation Australians: Custodians of the People

Academy Leadership

Jilbaymali Supervisors

Business and Law

Education and the Arts

Health, Medical and Applied Sciences

Nursing, Midwifery and Social Sciences

Office of Indigenous Engagement 

School of Graduate Research

External Supervisors

  • Prof Bronwyn Fredericks
  • Dr Lachlan Yee
  • Prof Melissa Haswell
  • Dr Mick Adams

Useful Information

To find a potential topic expert for your research, please visit Find an Expert - CQUniversity

Learn more about the Guwal Jilbay - Yarning Research Conference

Complete the Expression of Interest form and we'll contact you.