Jilbay Research Higher Degree Academy

The Jilbay 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 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 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.

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 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 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.

Dr Vicki Saunders - Academic Lead

Dr Vicki Saunders (BPsych, MPH, PhD) is a Gunggari woman with connections to the Maranoa region of Southern Central Queensland. She is currently research fellow with the Jawun Research Centre (formerly the Centre for Indigenous Health Equity) Central Queensland University and the Centre for Research Excellence-Strengthening Systems STRengthening systems for InDigenous health care Equity (CRE-STRIDE). 

She brings expertise in building First Peoples research capacity, public health research and arts-based, Indigenist and poetic inquiry. She is also Adjunct Research Associate with the Queensland Conservatorium Research Centre through the Listening to Country project. She has published in mostly health related journals and 2 book chapters on arts informed research methods. She has previously been part of the Collaborative Research in Empowerment and Wellbeing (CREW) team in Far North Queensland, and the James Cook University led Building Indigenous Research Capacity (BIRC) project. She is currently a member of the Maya Kawayu Indigenous data governance committee (ANU) and the Muliyan research consortium, which is a community of independent academics/educational researchers working with the Congress of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Nurses and Midwives. With an extensive background in social emotional wellbeing, psychology and public health research, she has been involved in a range of creative health and wellbeing research projects with Indigenous and community-based organisations (BPsych, MPH, PhD) is a Gunggari woman with connections to the Maranoa region of Southern Central Queensland. She is currently Research Fellow with the Jawun Research Centre, Central Queensland University and the Centre for Research Excellence-Strengthening Systems for Indigenous health care Equity (CRE-STRIDE), and Adjunct Research Associate with Griffith University Queensland Conservatorium Research Centre.

Pamela Herlihen LLB, GDLP - Jilbay RHD Academy Officer

Pamela is a proud indigenous woman, a descendant of the clan Bidjara, currently employed at CQUniversity as the Jilbay Research Higher Degree officer. 

She completed the Graduate of Diploma of Practical Legal Training Program at the College of Law. In 2017 she was admitted as a Legal Practitioner in the Supreme Court of Queensland. Recently worked at Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Legal Service and Legal Aid Queensland. Pamela has worked in various positions involving the advancement of Indigenous student’s education. She likes to see our mob go further with their career goals and set in firmly with higher education qualifications.

Most recently worked in the CQUniversity Indigenous Student Engagement Office, as the Indigenous Student Engagement Officer before moving over to the Jilbay RHD Academy Officer. Her greatest achievement to date is rearing my family of five children, schooling them, and furnishing the way for them to play a valuable role in Australian society. Whilst raising her children Pamela enrolled in the Tertiary Entry Program (TEP) now referred to as Skills for Tertiary Education and Preparatory Skills ( STEPS) and then Bachelor of Laws at CQUniversity. 

My children are inspired by my actions. As a mother of five children, she has overcome many challenges however she has never let these deter her or impair her determination and drive to complete her studies.

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

  • Be supervising an Indigenous CQUniversity student
  • Be currently employed by CQUniversity
  • Undertake specific cultural competency and supervisory training courses.
  • Please email Jilbayrhd@cqu.edu.au

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 RHD Academy students.

Jilbay 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
  • Daniel Hicks - Utilisation of Unmanned Aerial Vehicle Flight Controllers as Flight Data Recorders
  • 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
  • Elizabeth Childs - An exploration of the Lived Experiences of Domestic and Family Violence, Trauma and Cultural Healing in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Communities.
  • 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
  • Sandra Hyde - Recruiting and retaining Indigenous new graduate nurses in public mental health services in QLD
  • Rosetta Smith - Connecting the Dots: a fresh paradigm for wellbeing.
  • Leonie Taylor  - still to confirm her thesis title 

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

Jilbay Alumni

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