‘Bonded but not embedded: trust in Australia Indonesia relations’ – Dr Sian Troath

Dr Sian Troath from the College of Business, Government and Law, Centre for United States and Asia Policy Studies is one of the seven winners of the Best HDR Student Publication Award for 2019.

Her winning publication “Bonded but not embedded: trust in Australia Indonesia relations” provides a new theoretical explanation for why the relationship between Australia and Indonesia has been characterised by ups and downs, using trust theory. It has been drawn from the case study Dr Troath used in her honours, but with an updated theory she worked on throughout her PhD.

We invited Dr Troath to share some insights into her PhD journey and what winning this award means to her.

“I chose to study PhD as I really enjoyed my honours and I wanted to keep doing more research in the same area.”, Dr Troath admited. She decided to select her honours supervisor to be her principal supervisor during PhD. “She was amazing, so I begged her to keep me on! She is kind, hard-working, and really dedicated to opening up opportunities outside the PhD for her students.”, Dr Troath said.

When asked if she could give any advice for current or prospective PhD students, Dr Troath responded: “Every PhD journey is different, so try not to compare yourself to others. Connect with peers, they are going through the same thing and they can be one of your best resources. I learned so much from my office mate. A PhD is big and daunting, so make sure that you take breaks and time off. Break it down into small chunks. I found writing daily mini-milestone lists really helpful (so helpful I still use them).”

Dr Troath revealed what winning the award means to her: “It gave me a brief reprieve from my crippling imposter syndrome. Just kidding – mostly! It was a huge boost in confidence to have my research recognised like this from outside the discipline.”

With regard to her future research, Dr Troath hopes to keep researching in the same area of trust theory in international relations, but also to find new ways to apply it. She says: “I am lucky enough to have a research position in the recently opened Jeff Bleich Centre for the US Alliance in Digital Technology, Security & Governance, where I get to research the relationship between trust and technology, particularly looking at the impact of all the features we associate with the term post-truth on the nature of strategic competition.”

To view Dr Troath’s full publication, click here.

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