Mental Health and mindfulness – two PGR-led sessions

Two events, in February and March, offer Postgraduate Researchers different forms of support for maintaining wellbeing and managing stress. These events are developed for and by PGRs. Follow the title links for further details and  to book a place:

Peers for PhDs – February Session – Protecting your Mental Health

Tue, February 19, 2019   12:00 PM – 2:30 PM

Natasha Bradley presents Peers for PhDs – February Session – Protecting your Mental Health

Peers for PhDs is a group for PhD students at the University of Liverpool. We host regular peer-led support sessions with a different theme each month – instead of facing common PhD challenges in isolation, we can learn from each other and find ways to get the most out of the PhD journey. This month the theme is ‘Protecting Your Mental Health’. We know that undertaking a PhD is risky for your mental health, but do we know what positive steps we can take to maintain wellbeing and resilience? 

Lunch is included – we have the room from 12 and will start our group discussion at 12.30.

Becoming a mindful researcher

Fri, 15 March 2019  09:30 – 12:30 GMT

Presenter: Priyanka Sakhavalkar, Institute of Translational Medicine

“It’s not stress that kills us, but our reaction to it” – Hans Selye (Father of the field of stress research)

Whether it is about getting desired results of the difficult experiment, a power presentation at the conference, or preparing for the final viva, stress is an inevitable part of a researcher’s life. Work can become demanding and we tend to lose our work-life balance.

Stress management is the necessary skill to enjoy not only research but life in general. Mindfulness is about being aware of the present moment. It’s the kind and compassionate way of acceptance of own self and life experiences. This is one of the proven scientific techniques for stress reduction and mind management that helps to produce a right response to stress.

In this workshop, we will focus on mindfulness and some techniques to achieve your best performance. Join us in finding that balance for the stressful situations in life.

Becoming a successful conference presenter

Do you dream of emulating the keynote speaker at conferences?
– To be able to enter the stage confidently and with personality …
– To deliver an entertaining talk that both expounds new ideas and presents the research clearly and concisely …
– To deliver the talk that people talk about afterwards …
– To be recognised as a competent upcoming researcher and so to promote your career opportunities…
(Or are you just hoping to get through your next presentation?)

Practice is very important, but how do you find new approaches to strengthen your performance?

The Liverpool Doctoral College Development programme includes workshops and webinars to help advance your presentation techniques, with new ideas to enhance your delivery style and practice with delivery. Other sessions will help you make best use of conferences and to overcome imposter syndrome. For an overview, see the introduction provided for the Presentations section within our Communications theme.

Upcoming events focussing on presentation skills

The programme includes two workshops to help create your presentation; the first focusses one standard academic presentation formats, while the second offers an alternative approach using creative techniques that will be particularly useful to those communicating to a multi-disciplinary audience.

19-Feb 13:00 – 16:00 Planning and preparing an effective Research Presentation (waiting list only)
28-Mar 13:00 – 16:00 Communicating your Research through Storytelling  

A further  two webinars offer advice and guidance for those preparing their presentations, in a discussion based format:

18-Mar 12:30 – 13:30 Webinar: Enhancing your Research Presentations 1 – defining your message
25-Mar 12:30 – 13:30 Webinar: Enhancing your Research Presentations 2 – delivery

 The half day workshop, ‘Delivering Academic Presentations’ offers direct practice in delivery with feedback from a small and friendly group:

13-Feb 13:00 – 16:00 Delivering Academic Presentations (waiting list only)
27-Feb 13:00 – 16:00 Delivering Academic Presentations (waiting list only)
26-Mar 09:30 – 12:30 Delivering Academic Presentations

NB These are repeated sessions – please book on only one date!

Posters and Conference Attendance

The following workshop can help you prepare your conference poster:

14-Feb 13:00 – 16:00 Preparing Poster presentations (waiting list only)
14-Mar 13:00 – 16:00 Preparing Poster presentations

A further  half-day workshop will help you prepare for networking at conferences and create a ‘pitch’ to talk confidently  about your research.

6 Mar 13:00 – 16:00 Effective Networking at Conferences

Online support

The DLC Development online resources includes  specific guidance to covering presentation skills, including an external video to support those preparing their first presentation:

The resources also include The Good Networking Video which offers excellent advice to help your Networking at conferences.

If you are looking for further opportunities to present your work outside your own discipline, why not try a Research Cafe?

Research Cafés

The next Research Café will be held on Thursday 14 February, 2-4pm in the Gilmour Room of the Liverpool Guild of Students. Research Cafes are an informal, safe space for PhD students to share their research and meet fellow early career researchers from across the University.  Presenting at the University’s Research Cafes is a great opportunity to receive feedback about any aspect of your research and to practice talking about your research to an audience outside of your discipline – an invaluable skill for researchers who want their work to have impact.    

Two speaking slots are available – please contact Sarah Roughley if you would like to take part on sarah13@liverpool.ac.uk  

To book on to attend the Research Cafe, please click here.   

What new challenges do you have for 2019?

Happy new year to all researchers at Liverpool!

We hope you are returning from a well-earned break, refreshed and looking forward to the coming year. This time of year is a good opportunity to review your work, maybe to take a fresh approach to your research or work environment and find ways to move forward on your long term goals. Do you have new ideas that you want to explore or do you need to organise your working life more efficiently? Do you have upcoming challenges that need new solutions? Do you need to take actions for your future career?

This is also a time to review your own development and the LDC Development programme can help in several ways

  • Our first webinar, on the 28th January, will help you create a development plan.
  • The Spring programme has a strong focus on presentation skills, including repeated offerings of the small group workshop on Delivering Academic presentations.
  • We have further workshops to advance your writing and a return of the Thesis Thursday sessions, together with sessions on research productivity.
  • The programme also has a focus on impact, to help you achieve impact outside your academic area, which is an important aspect of research to have on your CV, whether your future career is inside or outside of Academia.
  • Finally we have a new Career-ready Boot-camp coming up in March.

The following list connects upcoming events to the programme themes on our website:

Research Productivity (Taking Ownership of your PhD and Resilience)

04-Feb 12:30 – 13:30 Webinar: Managing and facilitating meetings
11-Feb 12:30 – 13:30 Webinar: Time management
28-Feb 9:15 – 12:30 The Emotionally Intelligent Researcher

Presentations (Communication)

23-Jan 13:00 – 16:00 Delivering Academic Presentations
29-Jan 13:00 – 16:00 Delivering Academic Presentations
13-Feb 13:00 – 16:00 Delivering Academic Presentations
14-Feb 13:00 – 16:00 Preparing Poster presentations
19-Feb 13:00 – 16:00 Planning and preparing an effective Research Presentation
27-Feb 13:00 – 16:00 Delivering Academic Presentations

Writing (Communication)

07-Feb 09:00 – 12:00 Thesis Thursday: structure & format
18-Feb 12:30 – 13:30 Webinar: Research Writing – maintaining motivation for your writing
20-Feb 13:30 – 16:30 Mini Writing Retreat
25-Feb 12:30 – 13:30 Webinar: Research Writing – communicating your research effectively

Impact (Public Engagement )

11th Feb – 8th April 8 week online course Communicating research online: writing for a wider audience
21-Feb 10:00 – 15:00 Making Meaningful Impact during your PhD

WriteFest18 recap – what comes next?

November and WriteFest18 is already starting to seem like a very long time ago. With the holiday season now just around the corner, it is time to take a moment to reflect on what we achieved and to look ahead to the new year and to keeping up that writing momentum.

The month of November is internationally referred to as Academic Writing Month and WriteFest18 was planned as a way of celebrating and encouraging academic writing across campus. We had a wide range of workshops, webinars and writing retreats on offer, hosted by the LDC Development team and by the Researcher KnowHow team. All events proved very popular, and it was particularly exciting to see how many of you engaged with the writing retreats and shut-up-and-write sessions. There was a real writing buzz in the air!

A key message from Academic Writing Month is the importance of regular and frequent writing practice. Writing is a skill that takes time and dedication to develop, but often finding the time and motivation can be challenging. This is where writing retreats or shut-up-and-write sessions can be helpful. They provide dedicated time and space for writing, and peer motivation to keep your productivity up. But don’t just take my word for it, listen to what your colleagues said about it:

“It got me focused with no distractions and write something down within the short time. Outside the writing retreat, I spend much more time to complete the same task”

“It enabled me to work better on my writing tasks as I had peers around me doing the same in a quiet and conducive environment.”

“The pressure of other people writing and being quiet really helped me focus. I got some proposals done and journal entry I had put off and I felt so productive after.”

And now that WriteFest18 is officially over, how will you keep the momentum up? Keep an eye out for more writing retreats in the new year. Writing retreats and academic writing workshops coming up are listed on our programme. And consider other ways to practice your writing – why not join a writing course? We have an online course starting in February, focused on writing for a wider audience.

Communicating research online: writing for a wider audience

Online course: 11th Feb – 8th April 2019

Are you looking early experience of publishing through an article to the University News, to communicate to other postgraduate researchers and undergraduates, or publishing more widely in ‘The Conversation’?  Are you interested in an opportunity to gain real practice in a peer review process?

This online course  offers a supportive and encouraging forum to share your research and network with other researchers, whilst preparing an article for wider circulation. Through regular practice and supportive feedback you can  further develop your writing skills and new ways to communicate your research and gain a wider impact. This course will last 8 weeks, with a recommended contribution of just one to two hours per week to gain most benefit

‘ … the feedback is invaluable, it’s great to hear how other people perceive my work, and how I can improve. ’ participant 2017.

Further information and registration

News from outside – development opportunities around the Northwest

The University of Liverpool is part of a consortium of Universities in the Northwest and Yorkshire who have agreed to share selected training sessions and events between the Institutions. Below are some upcoming events which may be of interest.

Note: Please contact the host institution directly for any further information about these events as the LDC Development team are unable to answer further enquiries.

IEEE UK&I YP Postgraduate STEM Research Symposium 28-29 November

This PGR STEM Symposium is a great opportunity for researchers (early and established researchers) and young professionals to network, learn and share ideas. There are variety of interesting talks by well-experienced speakers. See more details here. Consider making a submission (to present your research) and/or register to attend the symposium. The registration deadline (12/11/18) may likely be extended by a few days depending on demand. Also, there is a limited optional registration to attend the Reception Dinner (@ Abode Chester – providing a relaxing environment for meet-and-greet, networking, talks, champagne or beer, and a 3-course meal)

Any questions regarding this event, get in touch with Simon Beer at the University of Chester (s.beer@chester.ac.uk)

Manchester Met Postgraduate Research Conference – Risks and Beyond – 6 March 2019

This conference is run by PGRs for PGRs, and it’s a great development opportunity, allowing you to present your ideas to a friendly local crowd. Call for abstracts is open until 14th December – welcoming multidisciplinary research, discussing research risks, uncertainties, how we overcome them and future implications to society.

For more information about this conference, get in touch with the conference organisers: pgr-conference@mmu.ac.uk

Further workshops and training opportunities

Through our network of partner universities, UoL PGRs have access to a wide range of workshops to support your development. These events take place on campuses across the North of England, in Salford, Manchester, Huddersfield and Bradford, as well as Liverpool John Moores.

NWY PGR Training Group – Shared Sessions

Please register with the host institution before attending; see the last column for contact details. You will need to provide your own transport.

WriteFest 2018 – a month of writing related events

WriteFest was established as a way to support academic writing via the #AcWriMo hashtag on Twitter. During November 2018, the LDC Development team will be running WriteFest in collaboration with the Researcher KnowHow team at the library. This is our local contribution to this global academic writing month, with the aim of bringing people together to raise awareness and celebrate academic writing.

At the start of the month, we have a very special one-off event lined up – Writing Without Discipline, a creative look at developing sustained writing habits. We will continue to build that writing habit throughout the month with regular writing retreats, workshops and webinars to keep your motivation up. For the full programme of events, check out the WriteFest18 website. Join the writing fun, in person and online at #WriteFest18

Writing Without Discipline – Tuesday 6 Nov 10:00 – 12:00
In this interactive workshop, we combine video and face-to-face facilitation to help you get to grips with creative writing methods and techniques to build writing into your daily routine. The workshop will provide a framework for understanding how writing is constructed, discuss tools you can use to approach your writing and help you to think creatively about your writing habits.

Whether you are at the early stages of your PhD or in the final phase of thesis writing, this workshop will help you develop techniques to sustain your writing practice through academic writing month and beyond.

The workshop is facilitated by Dr Matthew Cheeseman, Senior Lecturer in Creative Writing at the University of Derby (on video) and Dr Eli Saetnan, Academic Developer at University of Liverpool (in person).

row of students writing

 

Preparing for your future after the PhD

Statistics show that those with a postgraduate qualification do gain significant rewards in their ongoing career: they earn approximately £5,500 more per year, or £200,000 more over a 40-year working life (Sutton Report ), they earn around 9% more than graduates over the course of a lifetime, (Institute of Fiscal Studies, 2015) and are over 20% more likely to be in a professional occupation (Graduate Labour Market Statistics 2017). Careful planning of your own career can help you make the most of your doctoral qualification.

Do you know what you want from your future career?
If you are looking outside of academia, how can you find out about different careers and employers?
Do you have sufficient experience  to prove yourself to a future employer?
How can you best prepare for applications?

Many aspects of career preparation are best started much earlier in the PhD and can be accomplished a little at a time, such as two or three hours each month. A short break from the stresses of research can  be helpful, even in the writing up phase.

There is a range of support within the LDC Development programme and the wider University to help you prepare for your future:

Career planning:

We offer several workshops within the LDC Development programme that will help you assess what you might want from a future career, and prepare for the move to future employment. Coming up with have the workshops, The Career Wise Researcher (1st Nov) and The Emotionally Intelligent Researcher (6 Dec). You can also find related information in our online resources, Career Management Skills.

Researching career options:

To gain further information on potential career options you may need to seek out further sources. Your Faculty, school or Institute may offer career related workshops that are specific to your subject area or researcher conferences may offer similar sessions. The University Careers and Employability service offer CareerConnect, events where you can meet and network with external employers. These sessions will also provide advice on the types of experience to succeed in different areas of employment. Alternatively there are online areas, such as LinkedIn, where you can gain similar information.

Our upcoming workshop, Networking for your Career (8th Nov) will help you make the most of these events and the webinar,  Using LinkedIn to Manage Your Career (1st Nov) offers advice for managing this online environment.

Preparing for the application process:

 The LDC Development programme also offers workshops to assist in the application process, which are again specific to PhD level employment. Coming up we have Shining at Interview (15Nov) and the webinars, Developing Effective CVs and Applications (15th Nov) and Developing your Interview Skills (6th Dec).

The workshop, Get That Academic Job! (29th Nov) offers useful advice to those looking for academic career.

There is also a wide range of online advice in the LDC Development online resources, Career Management Skills and through the Careers and Employability CareerHub.

 

Developing Intellectually as a researcher

How will you develop critical analysis, problem-solving and decision-making skills?

Successful research demands a wide range of skills, including skills in creative & critical thinking.  During your PhD, you must be creative in order to develop new ideas in research, deliver engaging presentations and solve problems.  Gaining confidence in creativity will also help you foster critical analysis, risk taking and decision making in order to better manage the uncertainties that surface in the research process.

Developing skills in these areas in the research environment isn’t always easy. Workshops offer an alternative space where you can learn and experiment with new ideas in a safe environment.

Coming up, we have a workshop on improvisation by Dr Ahmed Al Naher, which introduces the ‘Improv’ technique to help you in making decisions and be spontaneous and creative in your work, particularly when presenting.

24 Oct 09:30 – 12:30 Improvisation in the workplace – a tool for research

Then there are two further workshops delivered by Dr Aimee Blackledge that will help you develop as a researcher by introducing creative approaches to support you in problem solving, building confidence and starting your professional development planning.

07 Nov 13:00 – 16:30 Setting Goals for 2019
22 Nov 10:00 – 15:00 Gaining Confidence as a Researcher

You can find out more on how the LDC Development programme can help with your creative & critical thinking through our theme: Creativity & Critical thinking, which also introduces the techniques of Design Thinking and Lego® SeriousPlay®, together with further online resources to stimulate your approach in this area.

How is your thesis writing going?

row of students writingIt is the start of the academic year, summer is over and the University is again buzzing with students. For us in the LDC Development team, this is an exciting time of year. We have a great new programme of workshops and webinars lined up and are looking forward to meeting lots of interesting PGRs, both familiar faces and new.

Many of us find it difficult to keep up the motivation for writing during a busy academic year. You may have teaching responsibilities to manage, or you may be busy with experiments or data collection. Or maybe just the long nights and gloomy days are getting you down. Joining a community of writers to share both successes and frustrations, and cheer each other on can help.

For our programme this academic year, we have added even more support for thesis writing. Based on the success of our summer writing retreats, we have added a series of monthly mini writing retreats. These are a great way of keeping your thesis writing (or other writing) progressing through the year. They provide time and space for writing, but crucially also moral support and motivation to keep writing. If you have never attended a writing retreat before, and are not sure what to expect, check out this brief video: https://spark.adobe.com/video/1V64D

The first mini writing retreat is scheduled for 24th October. Follow this link for details and booking: https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/mini-writing-retreat-registration-49939016944

And if you like the idea of writing retreats, check out the programme for WriteFest18. During November, also known as Academic Writing Month, we will have writing retreats scheduled every week along with a full programme of writing related workshops – a veritable Festival of Writing!

WriteFest 2018