We are offering a range of online, specialist workshops on academic writing, research leadership, careers and employability throughout Spring and Summer.
These are a great opportunity to increase your knowledge, refine your skills, meet our friendly programme tutors and postgraduate researchers across the University. To find out more and register directly for the events while places last, please go to our LDC Development Team Eventbrite pages:
Overcoming Imposter Feelings, 10 June 2022 (Time: 09:30am – 12:30pm)
The Emotionally Intelligent Researcher, 24 June 2022 (Time: 09:30am – 12:30pm)
We’ll be adding events throughout the year, so do check back! Workshop numbers are capped and places book up quickly. Please feel free to contact us if you have any questions at email@example.com .
While a joyful curiosity might be the fuel of research, doing it day-to-day can be really tough. The series aims to help researchers move just a little bit from a sense of merely ‘surviving’ within the research process to ‘thriving’, being just a little bit more productive and happier.
Getting Organised for Research (and Life) 1 – Get Control of the ‘Tasks’ that Plague our Mind, 25 March 2022 (Time: 10:00am – 12:30pm)
Getting Organised for Research (and Life) 2 – Get Control of Research Literature and Information, 01 April 2022 (Time: 10:00am – 12:30pm)
Overcoming Imposter Syndrome, 05 April 2022 (Time: 09:30am – 12:30pm)
Getting Organised for Research (and Life) 3 – Get Control of Life’s Projects, 08 April 2022 (Time: 10:00am – 12:30pm)
The Emotionally Intelligent Researcher, 26 April 2022 (Time: 09:30am – 12:30pm)
Supporting Your Career Offer
Creating Effective Job Applications 1 and the Follow-up Support 2, 01 & 11 March 2022 (Time: 09:30am – 12:30pm)
Effective Career Networking, 15 March 2022 (Time: 09:30am – 12:30pm)
Shining at Interview, 22 March 2022 (Time: 09:30am – 12:30pm)
PGR ‘Career Ready’ Bootcamp, 29 March 2022 (09:30am – 12:30pm)
The Emotionally Intelligent Researcher, 26 April 2022 (09:30am – 12:30pm)
Our workshops listed above are taught live and online to Postgraduate Researchers throughout the year. Workshop numbers are capped and places book up quickly. Please don’t hesitate to get in touch with us if you have any questions at firstname.lastname@example.org .
LDC Development now have an area within the University’s new virtual learning environment, Canvas ‘LDC Development Online Resources’, which offers supplementary information to our face-to-face and online programme of events.
Access: This resource is open to all PGRs at the University of Liverpool and can be accessed at any time through the link below:
– You will need to log in with your MWS credentials, with your username in the format email@example.com .
Content – Our resources in Canvas are organised into two sections, with further information below:
LDC Development Online provision
Related training sources for Postgraduate researchers
LDC Development Online provision
The resources are divided into our seven programme themes:
Taking Ownership of Your PhD – materials from our introductory workshops for new PGRs, including edited recordings of some of the workshops for those new to the PhD.
Communicating in Writing – materials to develop your academic writing, for your thesis and research publications, including recordings of materials from the three webinars on ‘Developing Writing Techniques’.
Communicating through Presentations – materials looking at the requirements for research presentations and academic posters, including content from of the two online workshops covering Research Presentation. This area also includes guidance for the PhD Viva.
Research Productivity – materials covering Time and Project management
Resilience and Well-being – ways that you can manage the challenges of life as a researcher
Career Planning – guidance and an online course help to help your prepare for the next step in your career
Creativity & Critical thinking – an introduction to the problem-solving, innovation and critical thinking skills needed as a researcher
Support for the PGR Toolbox – including a video of a recent introductory webinar with a software demonstration.
Related training sources for Postgraduate researchers
The section contains links to further development opportunities with the University of relevance to postgraduate researchers:
Research Ethics and Research Integrity – access to the recommended Epigeum courses on these subjects.
Cross-faculty training Opportunities – a list of training opportunities available in April 2021.
The June/July Researcher KnowHow programme has recently been published. The programme runs from 14th June to 16th July, it includes many usual workshops plus a new workshop on creating digital collections using OMEKA open-source software and the launching of 5 pre-recorded sessions, including ‘How to use Word to build long documents’ and ‘GDPR and research data’ .
The programme also includes introductory sessions on statistics – follow the above link for dates.
For more information and to sign up to the live events go to the above link to the programme.
The Making an Impact event runs annually and many sessions are relevant to postgraduate researchers, to engage participants to think about research impact and learn more about Knowledge Exchange strategies. The events include sessions with Alumni that have gone on to pursue very successful careers outside of academia and insights into how we can rebuild Liverpool after COVID. For details of specific events follow the above link to the programme.
We are pleased to share the following article, written by Dr. Adrian West, Company of Mind
“What should be, or ought to be, is different from what is” (the error of ‘speculative thinking’ as defined by Robert Thouless).
What can we do to make sure the future we want happens?
Is that even possible, when so much is unpredictable and beyond our control? Especially if knowing what we “want” isn’t actually that straightforward. Reality is Contingent Much of what happens in our careers (and lives) is outside our control – however strong and single-minded our visionary belief. If you ask academics (or anyone) what chance events had a big positive impact on their careers, you always get interesting and surprising stories. Scientific laws define the boundaries of what is possible, but what actually happens is largely down to historical chance happenings: the “contingent” nature of reality as Stephen Jay Gould put it. If you apply for positions, fellowships and so on, the outcome will depend at least on who else happened to apply for the same positions – for example.
Do Something! Yet it’s also true that you can “make things happen”. This is easy to see if we consider the alternative: if you do nothing at all it’s far less likely that much will happen! You can be confident and make Herculean efforts…that come to nothing; and you can make a tiny nudge that topples an empire. But in both cases you learn a lot along the way and create new possibilities – if you’re not so blinded by self-belief that you are able to see them. “Doing something” has a power – “problems” of any significance require us to start solving them just to understand what the problem actually is.
Capacities for success? Taken together, those points advocate a strategy for success that is a combination of energy, action, wisdom, playfulness, persistence, courage, and common sense – as you might expect. It doesn’t say “what” to do, but it does indicate why those obvious qualities are, in fact, important.
What to Actually “Do”? (and Why We Don’t). The common problem is to have a rather fixed view of what we want ‘next’, which at the same time is (perplexingly) rather vague: “some sort of fellowship”; “some sort of intermediate academic position”, or “I don’t really want to think about it”. Which are hard things to execute on.
But, maddeningly, other concrete things do have to be done ‘now’ and within our immediate focus – an experiment; writing a chapter; teaching tomorrow; a meeting…so it’s very difficult to put serious energy into the more vague, further away, futures. The difficulty of a task isn’t so much the technical challenge, it’s more about emotional resistance to doing it, or a lack of clarity about what exactly to actually “do”. We’ll definitely need to master this “managing the present, while creating the future” if we end up responsible for other people.
A Trick The trick is to make the vague definite; the fixed flexible; and the not-doable long term, into short-term things we can easily “do” today. As a caricature, let’s use the ambition of becoming a “Star Researcher” for example. You can find out what you’ll need to have achieved by, say, five years from now. Then you can work backwards to identify steps you can actually execute on today. Time is shorter than we think; but you can achieve more than you imagine you can by making steady small steps of useful progress, from which we will at least learn, and perhaps therefore adapt our plans and goals as we progress. You will end up way ahead of people who never quite got around to it – which may include your ‘old’ self.
One Way to Get Going Pushing and motivating ourselves can be lonely, hard and delusion prone. Many of us are more effective when working in a team towards a goal we all believe in. There’s an upcoming event taking place for people who enjoy collaboration and find the above relevant to their future. It is a team exercise, where each “research group” is in friendly competition with the other teams, to achieve the most progress for their individual members (much as a real research group functions). The series runs over a fortnight with 3 consecutive facilitated sessions “Ingenuity”, “Perseverance” and “Opportunity” online : If that’s for you, and you can commit to the time needed, then we’ll look forward to seeing you there.
Practise Skills; Build Capacities If you attended our earlier series – Practical Thinking; Working with Difficult People; Getting Organised for Research (and Life) – you should be able to recognise where all of those tools apply to this. For example “Motivate the Elephant”? “Lateral Thinking”? “Horizons of Focus”? We won’t be re-doing that material, but it’s definitely an opportunity to apply what you have learnt for real. Why is that important?
Anthropologists tell us that the unique human capacity isn’t intelligence, but imitation. As a species we’re stunningly good at it, unknowingly. Think of language, civilisations, religions, cultures, skills, and professions. It is why humanity has made the unique kind of progress that is has. That being so, you’re perfectly adapted to transcend evolution because you can consciously make choices about what you ‘imitate’, and therefore what abilities you acquire, and hence what you become. We’re less ‘fixed’ than we think we are, which is reassuring really.
The APR forms will be released on Tuesday 1st June – do you need to update the PGR Toolbox?
The PGR Portfolio of Activity and the Record of Supervisory meetings must be up to date by the 31st May for this data to be included in the 2021 APR form. Any data added to the PGR Portfolio of Activity and the Record of Supervisory meetings after the 31st May will not be included in the 2021 APR form. You are recommended to review your progress over the last year to ensure that you have a full record for the last academic year.
Below, we provide further information to help you complete the PGR Portfolio of Activity and the Record of Supervisory meetings for the current academic year. Guidance to help you complete the APR forms will be available on the LDC Student Experience team web-site.
Preparing your Record of Supervisory meetings for the APR
Please ensure that your Record of Supervisory meetings is up to date before the end of May. The APR contains the complete list of the dates of all supervisory meeting records that have been signed off by your supervisor. You may want to remind your supervisor that they should sign off all records before the 1st June.
You should check that you have recorded the correct number of required meetings:
At least one meeting per month if you are a full-time student
At least one meeting every two months if you are a part-time student
NB You can enter meetings retrospectively. The record should include relevant Zoom or Skype meetings. You are not expected to record meetings for any periods of suspension.
Preparing your PGR Portfolio of Activity for the APR
The PGR Portfolio of Activity is your record of your activities and achievements over the last year, which supplements your research and support your long-term development. For example, the record can include the training and development workshops/webinars that you have attended, conferences and research meetings that you have participated in, work with industry or organisations outside academia, public engagement and public communication and so on. This record can include any activities taken place online.
The APR form will display data from the PGR Portfolio of Activity in a non-editable format, i.e. any changes to the Portfolio of Activity after the 31st May will not be reproduced in the APR form. We recommend that you revisit the Portfolio of Activity before the 31st May and check which of your records you want to be visible in the APR. All records for the past year are included by default, but you can de-select any activities that you want to be kept private.
The APR will include data from the PGR Portfolio of Activity under the four headings in the Portfolio of Activity, which correspond to the four domains of the Researcher Development Framework. The data that is transferred to the APR will be limited to:
Records with dates in the period from the 1st June 2020 to the end of May 2021.
The type of activity, the title, and the date of the events that you have recorded in the Portfolio.
Records that you have kept marked as ‘selected’ in the Portfolio.
The APRs will not include further information such as the longer record description or the ‘RDF descriptors’.
You may want to check the event titles carefully to ensure that this accurately represents the event, since the event description is not included in the APR. For example, if you recorded attendance at a three day conference, you might include the dates in the title.
If you have not entered data into the Portfolio of Activity, the APR will include empty text boxes where you can add any additional information in relation to your professional development to record in the APR process. The choice of which of the four boxes to use to record each training or development activity is a personal choice, but could help you ensure that you can demonstrate a wide range of development.
If you have any problems with this process or you encounter system issues in relation to the Portfolio of Activity before the APR forms are released, please contact the LDC Development Team at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Next Tuesday (the 27th of April) from 10-12am, Peers for PhDs are hosting a Semester 2 Check in coffee morning where we can catch up and have an informal chat about how we are all doing over a cup of tea or coffee. Spring is a great time to check in with goals and plans, refocus and make sure we’re looking after ourselves. Join us for this coffee morning with your favourite beverage, check in with your peers and let us know how your research is going!
Please register via the link above, and the link to the zoom meeting will be sent out on the day
All PhD students at the University of Liverpool are invited to join the conversation. Please register in advance using your university email.
You can be added to the mailing list to hear about future events or ask questions by contacting email@example.com
For those near completion and now in the process of job searching, the challenges of the pandemic can make this process more challenging than before. This means that planning ahead and making essential preparation is particularly important,, as highlighted in a recent article from jobs.ac.uk, ‘Getting your post-PhD job during COVID-19‘.
Our upcoming programme includes a number of online workshops, delivered by our Careers Consultant, Sally Beyer, to support your career preparation, including two workshops to help your mental preparation and mind-set:
Past feedback: From the Career-Wise Researcher Workshop:
“A great opportunity to really think about your personal and career goals and consider the steps you can take to improve your chances of success”
“Good for identifying your inspiration, reflection on what you want from your career and a reminder of why you signed up for a PhD in the first place”
Further ways to prepare for the future
If you are still far from completion you will have more time for career preparation, and time to review your interests and assess the activities that you should be engaging in now to further those interests. We have a new workshop series, based in an engaging game format, to consider how the ingenuity, perseverance and opportunity can help you reach your desired ambitions:
In this session we’ll be discussing tips and methods in ways we wind down and enjoy our free time outside of research! Sharing resources, routes to go on walks, and all things we enjoy! This will be an informal discussion where we can share our hobbies and remind ourselves why it’s important to maintain a good-work life balance and be happy outside of our PhDs.
All PhD students at the University of Liverpool are invited to join the conversation.
Peers for PhDs is a student-led project for people undertaking PhDs at the University of Liverpool. We aim to support wellbeing by providing more opportunities for postgraduate researchers from across the university to meet, share practical solutions to common challenges and support each through the ups and downs of the PhD. You can be added to the mailing list to hear about future events or ask questions by contacting firstname.lastname@example.org
We have opened booking for most of the remaining events for this academic year on March 5th. These cover a range of subjects and include some exciting events new to the programme. The workshops are arranged under the following headings:
The upcoming programme includes a range of workshops to help you improve your writing techniques including two new series of workshops provided by Dr Matt Lane, who delivered our ‘From Surviving to Thriving’ series. Places on all workshops are limited so we ask that you only book on one of the following three workshop series, to allow others the opportunities (Thank you!)
1. Dr Matt Lane’s first workshop is aimed at those in their first year and are writing their Literature review or their First year report: