As we welcome in 2014, the research team are pleased to report that the ARC Linkage Project is running on schedule according to the project timeline. Regular meetings for the Chief Investigators (CIs) of the project have been taking place on a monthly basis and have enabled effective collaboration and project planning. A project officer (Kimberley Wilson) and PhD candidate (Mark Thomas) have been appointed to the project. A communication schedule between the CIs and Partner Organisations (POs) has been established.

As a follow-up to our November 2013 meeting, a project brochure was developed to allow communication of the nature of the project to stakeholders and interested parties (available on the project dropbox for circulation).
Other actions arising from the meeting included addressing the ethics protocols of individual POs, a process which is currently underway via development and submission of ethics applications for each organization as required.

On a related topic, local permission has been received to commence a pilot case study with an established Edmund Rice Education Australia Flexible Learning Centre site in North Queensland. This will enable testing and refinement of the project research instruments. The finding of the pilot study will inform the advancement of the case studies at the other partner organization sites which will take place in the latter half of 2014.

Lastly, two journal article publications are in progress that will look to establish the current state of the field in relation to the research questions guiding the project. Overall, we are well positioned for a productive year in 2014.

Introducing our PhD Candidate for the Project

Mark ThomasAfter a national and international search, the PhD scholarship attached to the project has been awarded to Mr Mark Thomas, an international candidate with considerable experience in economics and working towards social justice outcomes. Mark’s work and study has spanned North America and the Middle East. After completing his BA in Business Administration from the University of Colorado in 2001, Mark relocated to the Middle East in order to pursue a better understanding of the enduring Israeli- Palestinian crisis.

Throughout the last decade, he has helped coordinate an innovative educational collaboration to connect students in the United States and Canada with their counterparts in the Middle East, including the occupied Palestinian territory, Egypt Tunisia, Yemen, Syria and Israel. Mark has recently arrived in Townsville with his wife, Naama, and son, Liam. He is looking forward to participating in the ARC project and realizing the milestones of his PhD with support from supervisors Dr Riccardo Welters and Associate Professor Brian Lewthwaite.

For more news from FLOResearch, please click here.

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