Population Change and Lifecourse

Fourth CPS Graduate Research Development Conference

Graduate Research Development Conference Final Report

Project Description

The fourth CPS Graduate Research Development Conference was held on June 4th, 2013, as part of the 2013 meeting of the Canadian Population Society at the Congress of the Humanities and Social Sciences, University of Victoria. Hosted by the Population Change and Lifecourse Strategic Knowledge Cluster, the aims of this conference were:

Of the Conference one student said:

The 2013 CPS Graduate Conference was the first conference that I presented at, other than a poster-presentation, and I am really glad to have had the opportunity of doing so.  Since presentations always go along with some nerves and insecurities, the setting of this graduate conference made me really feel at ease.  The round table created in my opinion a comfortable circle, that allowed interacting more with one another, and gave an open feeling to it.

What students found useful about the Conference

The opportunity to have a trainer help them with their research

The presenters were pleased to have an expert in their area of interest provide them with useful commentary to enrich their papers and dissertations, specifically:

Additionally, in 2012 we specifically requested that the trainers provide their students with written feedback on their papers and their presentations. All students found this to be useful to organize their thoughts and some students have indicated that they have already used this advice to restructure their papers for publication.

One of the presenters remarked:

My research trainer provided me with specific, detailed methodological feedback that will definitely enhance my paper.  She also had specific suggestions for preparing the paper for publication and, because of her urging, I have now begun to prepare the paper for a journal submission whereas I had simply planned to leave it as a conference paper prior to her comments.

Another student benefited from the input of the trainer, as well as other audience members:

Personally, I have learned a lot, not only from my trainer but from other faculty members as well.  Professor Frank Trovato, for example, provided additional feedback on my paper.

A third student was particularly grateful for the written remarks:

I was lucky enough to receive these comments in hard copy, something which had aided my recall since the conference itself.  The introduction to this trainer also enabled me to set up a new academic connection, and opened up an avenue that I feel I can turn to in the future when I have questions about my research.

The Knowledge Mobilization Seminar

The day concluded with a Knowledge Mobilization Seminar conducted by Dr. Ray Siemens, Canada Research Chair in Humanities Computing and Distinguished Professor in the Faculty of Humanities at the University of Victoria, in English with cross appointment in Computer Science.  Dr. Siemens gave a presentation entitled “Research Dissemination and Knowledge Mobilization.”  This was followed by presentations by two Post-Doctoral Fellows at the University of Victoria, Dr. Laura Estill and Dr. Aaron Mauro.  Dr. Estill’s talk concerned “Graduate Student Conferencing” and Dr. Mauro spoke on “Professional Profiles and Marketing Methodologies.”  All presentations addressed the performance of the professional self in the rapidly changing world of digital media and social networking.

The formal portion of the presentations was kept brief in order to allow time for discussion among the conference participants.  The students appreciated this time to have a more general discussion about the practical-side of knowledge mobilization, as well as to ask for guidance for the next steps in their careers.  Having three presentations with different themes provided the participants with a multifaceted understanding of issues in knowledge mobilization and networking.

One student remarked:

The knowledge mobilization instruction at the end of the conference was of great benefit because there are not so many opportunities for graduate students to learn how to network and how to divulge one’s own research.  The practical strategies presented I believe were of great use to all graduates students attending the session.

Professionalization experience

For many of the students, the most useful and long-lasting benefit of participating in the Conference was the opportunity to meet with experts in their field, to meet like-minded students, and to be able to forge relationships with established demographers.  Especially:

How participants will use what they have learned:

The participants were eager to pass on the information they learned at the 2013 CPS Graduate Research Development Conference to their peers and mentors at their home universities.  They mentioned:

One student who was new to the CPS plans to encourage other students to explore demography, the CPS, and the PCLC:

I plan (and already have begun) to encourage students in the School of Planning to delve further into demography.  I believe that planning graduate students could benefit from more exposure to demographic research and methods than they currently have.  Much planning student research could be augmented with an added emphasis on the demographic side.  I also have been encouraging my colleagues to look into the CPS and the PCLC both for the society and clusters’ member output, but as potential avenues for their own research.

Organizers & Attendees


  • MD Kamrul Islam, CPS Student Representative, University of Alberta
  • Stacey Hallman, Western University
  • Georgios Fthenos, Western University

Graduate Student Participants

  • Yvonne Asare-Bediako, Western University
  • Emmanuel Banchani, Memorial University of Newfoundland
  • Nicholas Cofie, Queen’s University
  • Cassandra Cotton, McGill University
  • Maxwell Hart, University of Waterloo
  • Iris Hoiting, University of Alberta and University of Groningen
  • S. M. Tariqul Islam, Laurentian University
  • Scott Mandich, Western University
  • Yugiro Sano, Memorial University of Newfoundland
  • Jason Settels, Western University

Knowledge Mobilization Trainer

  • Ray Siemens, University of Victoria
  • Laura Estill, University of Victoria
  • Aaron Mauro, University of Victoria

Research Trainers

  • Roderic Beaujot, Western University
  • Alain Bélanger, Institut National de la Recherche Scientifique
  • Thomas K. Burch, University of Victoria
  • Eric Fong, University of Toronto
  • Lisa Kaida, Memorial University of Newfoundland
  • Don Kerr, Western University
  • Rachel Margolis, Western University
  • Margaret Michalowski, Statistics Canada
  • Lisa Strohschein, University of Alberta
  • Frank Trovato, University of Alberta

Suggestions for Future Conferences

Changes in Conference Organizations

The participants in the 2013 Graduate Student Development Conference were enthusiastic about the conference in its present format, including the changes implemented based on feedback from the 2012 conference. Ideas presented for the 2014 conference include: