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

Introducing Peer Support for Postgraduate Researchers

Would you like to join a peer support group for PhD students at the University of Liverpool?
image of people talking
Three PhD students from across the University are working with the LDC Development Team to improve the support available for PGRs. This peer support group will hold regular meetings off campus, focusing on a different theme each session – ranging from practical issues in academia and project management, to wellbeing threats and strategies for resilience. The group will emphasise problem-solving and supporting each other in navigating the PhD journey.

The first meeting will be held during Researcher Development Week. Come along to an informal session to meet fellow students and find out more:

Peer Support for PGRs – introductory session
Thu 11 October 2018
11:00 – 12:30

Lunch is included – please register in advance

This initiative was launched following recent research into the wellbeing and unmet support needs of PhD students. A team of PhD students from across the university sought the perspectives of fellow Liverpool students by organising a focus group for PGRs working in a range of research areas. It explored the challenges involved in doing a PhD at this university and discussed the supportive resources that are currently available.

Focus group attendees were able to identify wellbeing issues, discuss their PhD experiences, and provide recommendations for future support. It was recognised that there is a high degree of loneliness and uncertainty in undertaking a PhD, and it is not always clear who is best to approach for impartial support and advice. Although certain groups of students may be more vulnerable, there appears to be some common ground amongst students in the causes and consequences of stress. There are multiple sources of loneliness during the PhD, and these can be compounded by a lack of contact with peers and a working environment that can limit opportunities to share wellbeing concerns with departmental colleagues.

These conversations have informed the new approach for this academic year, which aims to provide opportunities for PhD students to develop a supportive peer network, through regular group sessions. All current PhD students are welcome, and we particularly invite those in the middle and later stages of their PhD.

If you are unable to attend the opening session, please feel free to express your interest in the initiative by contacting Natasha Bradley natasha.bradley@liverpool.ac.uk

New themes to introduce the LDC Development Programme 2018-19

Video introducing the LDC Development programme and the themes

For 2018-19 we are presenting the LDC Development programme through seven themes that address various different needs relevant to postgraduate researchers. You can find more details on these themes, through our video introduction, or you can view the video introductions for specific themes on the links below:


Taking Ownership of your PhD – Plan your PhD journey as a new researcher to develop into a confident and effective researcher


Resilience – Gain skills and find support to manage the challenges of life as a researcher.


Communication – Develop the skills to communicate your research effectively through posters, presentations and writing.


Creative & Critical Thinking – Explore how to develop creative mindsets and skills for problem-solving, innovation and critical thinking.


Public Engagement – Acquire the skills to make your research count through sharing it with the wider public.


Careers – Take control of your own career planning and prepare for the next step in your career.


Facilitation – Practise leadership skills in guiding groups towards making decisions and resolving conflicts.


New Researchers: While you can attend all parts of the programme at any stage during the PhD, the events in the ‘Taking Ownership of your PhD’ theme, which includes the highly recommended workshop of the same name, are particularly recommended for new researchers. The first date for this workshop is in Researcher week on the 8th Oct, and you can find out more details and register your place on the following link:

8th Oct   9:15 – 4:30      Taking Ownership of your PhD

See the Researcher week timetable for further events that week.

Contact & further information: More information about our themes and details of our programme can be found on our website: https://www.liverpool.ac.uk/pgr-development/. Further sessions and new events are announced during the year, within the LDC Newsletter, on this blog and on Twitter: @livuniPGRDev.

Advance your skills in Facilitation

Facilitation is an extremely useful skill for all researchers , to help manage meetings and working with others, particularly if you work in teams, work with people as part of your research or have opportunities in public engagement. It is also an important leadership skill and an extremely useful skill  to demonstrate for your future career.

The LDC Development Team is offering a new series of short workshops in September to help attendees gain and practise skills in facilitation. The series begins with a webinar to help you learn more about facilitation, followed by a workshop, which expands on the techniques of facilitation and provides practice to learn and practise these techniques. The series concludes with two workshops that focus on designing and facilitating your own teaching session using an experiential learning model.

The workshops are as follows (click on the link for further details and registration):

Date Time Title
19 Sep 12:30 – 13:30 Introduction to Facilitation
20 Sep 13:00 – 16:00 Becoming a Facilitator
26 Sep 13:00 – 16:00 Designing & Facilitating Workshops I
27 Sep 13:00 – 16:00 Designing & Facilitating Workshops II

Note: These events are designed as a series and attendance at each event is strongly recommended before attending the later workshops in this series.

Development Tutor Scheme

The workshops are open to all postgraduate researchers at the University of Liverpool and you can register for each workshop individually to learn facilitation skills, or you can attend these workshops in preparation for the Development Tutor Scheme. This scheme is  open to postgraduate researchers who have completed one year of their PhD. The scheme includes:

  • Training in facilitation
  • Observation sessions
  • Paid engagement to assist at LDC Development workshops and webinars
  • Opportunity to design and deliver your own short workshops or webinars, that form part of the LDC Development programme, with support from the LDC Development team

Registration for this scheme is open throughout the year and you can view further details of the scheme on our website:
https://www.liverpool.ac.uk/pgr-development/ tutors/

LDC Development Team

Support for PGRs – Have Your Say!

2-3:30 pm 27th June   Faculty Room 4, Faculty Suite, 2nd floor, Central Teaching Hub

Delivered by postgraduate researchers:

Natasha Bradley, Institute of Psychology, Health and Society
Lorna Bryant, Institute of Translational Medicine
Rachel Heah, School of Law and Social Justice

What are the support needs of postgraduate researchers?
How can we improve the resilience and wellbeing of PhD students at UoL?
Would peer support groups be useful, what format should they take?

As part of the upcoming LDC Researcher development week, we are embarking on a fact-finding mission to inform our approach for the next academic year.
Come participate in an informal group discussion on the challenges involved in doing a PhD.

This is a real opportunity for you to use your experience to improve the wellbeing of current and future postgraduate students.

All PhD students and early career researchers welcome!

Please register your attendance to receive an email reminder and venue instructions.

Support for PGRs – Have Your Say!2-3:30 pm 27th June

Anyone who would like to contribute their thoughts, but does not wish to attend this session, is welcome to email us at Natasha.bradley@liverpool.ac.uk.


This event forms part of LDC Researcher Week. See the Researcher Week timetable for information of further events that week.

 

Postgraduate Researcher Week –25-29 June 2018

Postgraduate Researcher Week is a University-wide event that offers a variety of sessions running throughout the five days, 25-29 June 2018

Full list of Events

All events take place on Liverpool Campus, with the exception of the two Writing Retreats (26th and 27th June).

The planned events  cover a wide range of subjects and offers many opportunities for networking with other PGRs. We have two events led by postgraduate researchers:

Improvisation in the workplace – a tool for research  – 9:30-12:30  26th June
– a new event to help you explore improvisation techniques to help you make decisions on the spot and under time pressure. The event aims to be both enjoyable and provide confidence and team-building skills.

Support for PGRs – Have Your Say!2-3:30 pm 27th June  – an informal group discussion on the challenges involved in doing a PhD, to explore options for creating peer support groups in the coming year. All PGRs are welcome to come to  room 4 of the Faculty suite, Central Teaching hub – please register to receive an email reminder.

Further sessions in Researcher week include:

  • Introductory events for those new to the University;
  • Popular sessions from previous researcher weeks covering  ‘How to work with your Supervisor‘, ‘Planning your Final Year’,  ‘Viva Survivor’ and guidance to help you develop Evidence reviews;
  • A session on ‘Writing Targeted Grant Proposals’;
  • A visit from the library and talks on data access and Liverpool elements;
  • A tour of the Guild.

Find out more and register on the LDC Intranet site

Connect with us at #ldcpgrweek.