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Students of Neuropsychiatry Research (SONR)

The Students of Neuropsychiatry Research (SONR) Group is central to the Melbourne Neuropsychiatry Centre's student experince


The Students of Neuropsychiatry Research (SONR) group is central to the Melbourne Neuropsychiatry Centre’s student experience. Established in 2015, as an internal committee for MNC’s students, the group now thrives with over 45 members that are enrolled across multiple University faculties and research centres, and hail from nine different countries around the world. Any honours, masters or doctoral students undertaking research studies related to neuropsychiatry are welcome to join us.


SONR’s mission is to engage, encourage and empower all graduate students undertaking studies related to neuropsychiatry. We take a proactive approach to this, through hosting a combination of academic, social, networking and wellbeing focused events.


Our regular activities include a weekly meeting and presentation showcase, which features a dynamic programme of guest speakers, documentary viewings, research skills workshops and journal club. Our guest speakers, including local and international researchers such as Prof Christos Pantelis, Prof James Gross, Prof Matthias Mehl, Prof Ben Harrison, Prof Cordelia Fine, A/Prof Sarah Whittle and Dr Robin Cash have been incredibly generous in not only presenting about their work, but giving us highly insightful advice on our careers and science in general.


This weekly meeting’s priority initiative is to provide an informal setting for our students to practice their own presentations or discuss their work. This is always found to be incredibly valuable, through the sharing of presentation skills, gaining confidence in asking questions of a speaker, and practicing critical thinking and giving constructive feedback.


A highlight of the SONR calendar are the Student Retreats. Hosted twice a year, these retreats are an opportunity for us all to come together outside of the research environment, and enjoy a relaxing weekend together. With activities such as board games, movie nights, shared meals and beach/bush walks, the retreats are an excellent way to build strong social bonds between all SONR members and unify our diverse group.


In 2019, SONR hosted its inaugural MNC Trivia Night, which brought the staff and students together to face off rounds of trivia and mini games. It was a great success, and will return as an annual fundraiser in 2020.


SONR acknowledges its unique position as a group of young scientists who hope to be leaders in the field of neuropsychiatry and mental health in the coming years. With this comes our call to action and support of charitable initiatives such as the Walk for Mental Health, RUOK Day and The University of Melbourne’s Green Impact. We hope to further our advocacy efforts this year and a be a positive force in the community.


We thank the Melbourne Neuropsychiatry Centre, The Faculty of Medicine, Dentistry and Health Sciences, and The Graduate Student Association for their funding, support and recognition of the importance of student groups.


All in all whilst research degrees can be stressful and challenging endeavours, SONR takes immense pride in promoting a supportive and safe environment for all. From daily group lunches, shared coffee breaks, and ending the week with informal social drinks at the pub, our tight knit group facilitates a very positive, unified and collaborative student experience, as well as lifelong friendships.


For membership enquiries or more information please contact


Georgia Caruana

President, Students of Neuropsychiatry Research (SONR)

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