Toronto-Melbourne Research Training Group

Fostering an inclusive community of learners across two leading international universities


The University of Melbourne partnered with the University of Toronto to create the Toronto-Melbourne Research Training Group.

Established in 2020, this initiative strengthens the longstanding scholarly ties between the two institutions, particularly in fields like medicine and public health. Graduate researchers in the joint PhD program are enrolled at both universities and upon completion, receive a jointly awarded PhD recognised with a testamur from both institutions. This collaboration aims to expand research opportunities by fostering deeper relationships among PhD candidates and facilitating joint grant applications and co publication.

Taking a strong relationship to another level

Building on existing research collaborations between the universities of Melbourne and Toronto, the Toronto-Melbourne Research Training Group joint PhD program is expanding the breadth and reach of collaborating experts to provide a growing number of joint PhD candidates with experience in diverse cultures and research environments and access to resources, facilities, and world-class training at two universities.

Participating in the program’s equity training plan, the jointly supervised PhD candidates have access to an open and inclusive community of mentors and learners, and through the post-project career development and equitable support provided, receive the support required to reach their long-term academic career goals.

The inherent benefit of the Toronto-Melbourne Research Training Group joint PhD program is the focus on enabling long-term and sustained collaborations through research training. By working together to train cohorts of joint PhD candidates jointly and address challenges across a comprehensive range of health and medical research disciplines, the program leads to increased research output and more novel discoveries with greater global impact.

Collaborating to discover new medicines to treat resistant bacteria

In a joint PhD project for the Toronto-Melbourne Research Training Group program, the University of Melbourne’s Dr Sacha Pidot, an expert in Bacteriology Microbiology and Immunology, is teaming with Assistant Professor Mason Ghafghazi and Professor Justin Nodwell from the University of Toronto to explore fundamental questions on the chemical biology of microbial life.

The research team is investigating the effect of actinomycete bacteria on a range of insects. Their aim is to provide a range of previously unseen invertebrate-active compounds to provide a pathway for further development and clinical use and, ultimately, identify urgently needed new therapeutic approaches to treat infectious diseases, including cancer, that are proving increasingly resistant to existing antibiotics.

Looking to incorporate global classrooms into course offerings

The Toronto-Melbourne Research Training Group's is looking to pedagogy to offer students from the University of Melbourne and Toronto further opportunities for exchange between the partner universities.

In the future, the program is hoped to increase the number of 'global classrooms' to enable students to engage more routinely with their counterparts online for knowledge and cultural exchange. The initial aim is to develop several dozen global classrooms and then build on this success to influence the integration of digital classrooms into regular course offerings at each university.