Peers for PhDs is a student-led project offering peer support opportunities for PhD students.
Peers for PhDs aims to improve the wellbeing of PhD students by hosting regular group meetings and social events, so that postgraduate research students can support each other through the challenges of the PhD journey. It is a friendly and welcoming group, open to all current PhD students at the University of Liverpool.
The theme of this upcoming session is ‘First Year Woes’. We will focus on group discussion and collaborative problem-solving to address some common challenges in the early phases of the PhD. Students in their second year and beyond are still encouraged to come – we are sure that you will have valuable experiences and advice about the PhD to share with first year colleagues.
In preparation, all first years are asked to think about what their three biggest PhD concerns are right now, and non-first years asked to think back to their three biggest challenges in the first twelve months and how they were overcome.
Refreshments will be provided. Please register on Eventbrite.
Are you wondering what career preparation you can do early in the PhD while keeping your career options open?
Or are you in the later stages of the PhD, and looking for advice to prepare for upcoming applications?
At the start of a three or more year research degree it is easy to feel that you have plenty of time to consider your choice of future career. In fact, you can take many actions early on whilst still keeping your careers options open. You have time to research information on potential choices and assess your personal preferences. You can also focus on your professional development, and develop skills within your research that will also promote your ongoing career prospects. This form of career planning is often referred to as ‘Planned Happenstance’, a career model that fits quite well with many academic careers. The aim is to focus on activities that motivate you and so to build a CV that will support you in a career that matches your preferences. To find out more see our online Career management resources.
The LDC Development programme provides workshops and webinars to help you at all stages of your career preparation, from more general career planning, to preparing for actual applications. We also offer further sessions to help you prepare emotionally for moving into your career after the PhD. In 2020, we will also offer a session to help you manage ‘Imposter Syndrome’. Our upcoming sessions are as follows:
WriteFest is an annual event established as a way to support academic writing via the #AcWriMo hashtag on Twitter. As part of our contribution to this global event, the LDC Development Team will be running writing events throughout the month of November, with the aim of bringing people together to raise awareness and celebrate academic writing.
The programme of events will consist of a series of workshops and webinars to help you write and four writing retreats to provide you with the time and space to write. We encourage all academics, research staff, and research students to join in the write-a-thon.
WriteFest19 is a collaboration with the Universities of Sheffield, Manchester, Liverpool, Exeter, Bristol, Kings College London, Keele, Sheffield Hallam, Newcastle, Derby and Adelaide. The festival aims to provide protected time and space for writing to help you work on:
How to Get Involved
Start by searching for #AcWriMo on Twitter for inspiration and tips from fellow contributors.
Use the #AcWriFest19 hashtag to share your progress with other researchers at Liverpool and across other UK Universities.
Book onto one of our workshops or webinars to learn new skills and gain advice.
Join us during our WriteFest Writing Retreats to put your learning into practice and keep yourself motivated through peer support.
To attend a writing retreat, choose the ones(s) that best suit your schedule and book your place through Eventbrite. Then, simply bring your laptop, or a pen and some paper, and get writing! Thisone-minute video outlines what the retreat sessions will, and won’t involve.
This year, we are hosting four weekly two-hour writing retreats for up to 24 people. The retreats provides protected writing time for you to accomplish your academic writing goals. We sit together in a room and use peer accountability to help us avoid the distractions of email, social media, the internet, impending meetings, tea making, paperclip sorting, desk cleaning, lab work, or any other procrastination techniques you’ve been employing in your everyday working practice.
Please arrive in plenty of time, and stay for the full session.
Don’t forget to bring cables, chargers, adaptors and any other accessories to help keep you writing without disruptions.
Writing retreat facilitator’s guide: You may also be interested in running your own writing retreats, and to help with this the Think Ahead team at Sheffield University have put together a guide to give you an idea of how to structure and facilitate the event. If you run a retreat during November, please let us know!
Starting a research degree can be an exciting time, as you are effectively beginning a journey into the unknown, making newdiscoveries and ultimately becoming a subject specialist in your specific field. However, this can also be a daunting time, where you may be working in a new, and sometimes isolated environment. In addition to developing subject knowledge and learn specific research techniques, you may need to develop new skills to manage your own time and project, or to enhance your wider skills in presentations, writing, creativity and critical thinking in order to communicate your research effectively, as well as to build your resilience as a researcher.
The LDC Development team offers a range of support for your development at the start of the research degree, including specific advice on those essential research skills. Our sessions will provide a greater understanding of the expectations of you, as a research student, and will help you take more control of this process yourself, to start the journey to becoming an independent and confident researcher and ultimately, to take ownership of your own PhD.
The programme includes both workshops and webinars. Our highly interactive workshops take place on the Liverpool campus and include opportunities to network with researchers across the University. The hour-long webinars are accessible online to all, on or off campus, including those who are attending research experiments.
Our Programme timetable lists all events offered this Autumn. The links on the dates below offer further information and registration for the events most relevant to new researchers:
Developing a healthy supervisory relationship30th Oct
Adapting to an international research environment within the UK6th Nov
The LDC Development team offers a range of online resources that can be viewed by all postgraduate researchers at Liverpool and which offer advice and suggestions on wider research skills including writing, presentations, time management. This resource collection also includes packages covering research integrity and more subject-specific guidance on research methods.
As the old adage says, the best way to learn something is to teach it so someone else. Teaching can be a very rewarding experience, and many PGRs have opportunities to do so during their PhD. Yet, how confident do you feel in your teaching skills? How do you know if you are doing the right thing? Many PGRs find stepping into the classroom for the first time a very daunting experience.
This is where the Academic Development team can help. We offer introductory workshops for those new to teaching, as well as teaching recognition programmes tailored to your teaching role. Of particular relevance to PGRs who teach are the introductory workshop and the Foundations of Learning and Teaching in HE (FLTHE) programmes.
Introduction to teaching:
For anyone new to teaching at Liverpool, we offer a 1-day workshop called Introduction to Supporting Student Learning. This is an interactive workshop which will give you an introduction to the theory of learning and teaching in Higher Education and chance to discuss techniques for supporting student learning in a range of different contexts.
For those who primarily demonstrate in practical classes, we offer two half day workshops: Introduction to Demonstrating and Advanced Demonstrator. The first of these will give you an introduction to the theory of learning and teaching in Higher Education and a chance to practice techniques for engaging students in practical classes. The second session builds on your initial experience to consider how to handle particularly challenging situations as well as how to assess student work.
Further developing your teaching skills and gaining formal recognition – Foundations of Learning and Teaching in HE programme
The FLTHE programme is a developmental programme aimed at those relatively new to teaching in Higher Education. The programme aims to support you in the development of your teaching skills and ideas in the context of your current role, and to increase your understanding and appreciation of alternative approaches and wider viewpoints of teaching and learning issues. Much of the benefit of the course derives from the opportunity to work with peers in similar situations from across the university in a cross-curricular ‘community of practice’, sharing ideas and experiences of teaching. The programme takes approximately 4 months to complete,and successful completion gives you a formal teaching accreditation in the form of Associate Fellow of the HEA.
new themes and a new teaching placement scheme
We, in the Liverpool Doctoral College Development team, have now launched our programme for the coming academic year, 2019-20. The workshops and webinars offered in Autumn are now open for registration and a full list of dates for our core programme for the year, organised by our programme themes, can be downloaded below.
Programme themes: A fuller introduction to all our programme themes can be found on our website together with a short video introduction to each theme. This year we have made a slight change to our themes, to separate out the topics of Writing, Presentation and Productivity, which we believe are important topics for the development of all postgraduate researchers.
We have several new workshops and webinars in our programme for
the coming year, which include:
Regional workshops – Liverpool are part of a regional group of researcher development partners, which have agreed to openly share selected programme sessions. There are two upcoming workshops offered by LJMU (registration not yet open) which University of Liverpool PGRs may attend.
to be Shy or introverted in academia’ – Thu 5 December, 2-3pm
to write well: some tips for PGRs’ – Wed 22 January, 2-3pm
Brilliant Club: For 2019- 2020, the LDC have an agreement with the Brilliant Club to provide five paid placements for PhD researchers. Under this scheme you would deliver lessons relating to their own research area in local schools, supporting pupils to develop the academic skills, knowledge and confidence needed to progress to highly-selective universities.
The LDC Development Team are offering two events for new researchers during September. If you are a newly arrived postgraduate researcher and want to hit the ground running with your PhD, then join us for an opportunity to discuss ideas, meet other researchers from across the University and learn how to make the most of your time during your PhD.
Our first event is an hour-long webinar that focuses on helping you feel less daunted during the first few months of a PhD. This webinar aims to give support to those just starting their PhD, with information on the essentials and guidance on what to expect in the first few months. Specifically we will offer discuss the following topics:
Settling in to your Department/Institute
Finding essential support
The supervisory relationship
Managing your training and Development
Good practice in your research There will be time to ask questions about any aspect of the PhD process and share your experiences with other new researchers.
There will be time to ask questions about any aspect of the PhD process and share your experiences with other new researchers.
Our second event is a workshop, which has been a quintessential starting point for postgraduate researchers at the University of Liverpool for several years. This one-day workshop offers new researchers the opportunity to explore how to take ownership of the PhD. Through discussions and activities, you will identify the milestones and planning processes involved in pursuing a PhD and learn how to successfully work with your supervisor. You will also have an opportunity to introduce your research to fellow researchers and plan personal objectives in order to achieve your longer-term professional ambitions. In this workshop you will:
Gain a greater understanding of the processes and milestones in the PhD by creating a project plan for the PhD
Identify the opportunities for your own professional development to achieve longer terms goals and become a successful researcher
Gain a greater understanding of how you can improve and develop the supervisory relationship
Network with other PhD researchers to gain a wider understanding of the research environment
The highly experiential format for this workshop offers many opportunities to share your own experiences and gain advice from other PGRs.
This webinar helps newly registered PGRs make effective use of the PGR Toolbox in Liverpool Life. The webinar offers a:
brief introduction to the Institutional requirements
demonstration of how to use the Record of Supervisory Meetings, how to arrange meetings with your supervisors, set an agenda and targets, upload documents, and send Outlook appointments to your supervisors
demonstration of how to use the PGR Portfolio of Activity, how to record your training activities, email your portfolio to your supervisor, how to print your portfolio for compiling your CV
Opportunity to ask questions and raise any queries or problem you have had using the software
All PhD students are invited for coffee and a chat at 92 degrees,
Myrtle Street (opposite Vine Court) on:
Tuesday 6th August – 1pm
Thursday 15th August – 3pm
Monday 26th August – 1pm
‘Peers for PhDs’ aims to connect
PhD students from across the university so that we can support each other
through the ups and downs of postgraduate research. Campus can seem eerily
quiet this time of year, so we’re hosting an informal series of Summer Coffee
Socials instead of our usual monthly group meeting. This is open to any PhD
student wanting to take a break, meet others and relax over a hot drink. If
you’re new to Peers for PhDs, it’s the perfect way to get involved.
A group of PhD students began planning Peers for PhDs last Summer, and we
held our launch event in October 2018. We typically meet monthly and discuss a
different theme each time, as suggested by the group’s members. We’ve grown to
more than forty member and have covered a range of topics including ‘First Year
Woes’, ‘Lunchtime Destress’, ‘Protecting Your Mental Health’ and ‘Improving the
Supervisory Relationship’. Research into the wellbeing of PhD students suggests
that it is common for PhD students to lack opportunities to connect with others,
leading to loneliness and increased stress. Social connections can often feel
side-lined in a competitive academic environment, but we can all benefit from
helping each other and making some new connections.
Vitae is inviting researchers at all career stages (from PhD candidate upwards) to participate in a workshop looking at research integrity and researcher behaviour. The workshop takes place on Friday 9 August (pm) at the University of Manchester.
Do you need help making academic applications? Do you urgently need support with your career thinking and planning ? Are you constantly struggling with self-doubt?
We have three events coming up that can help you prepare for your future career, in research or otherwise, including one last event offering proven techniques to help those suffering from Imposter syndrome.
Delivered by Sally Beyer, this one-day interactive workshop is for those in the final year before completion to help you make considered choices about your next steps, provide a structured process to identify personal career goals and to maximise your chances of career success.
“Great session for thinking about career goals and for putting in place a plan of action for career planning/preparation.” “An engaging workshop to get you thinking about your career options. Very thorough and really helpful!” ‘A ‘Must Attend’.’ Participants March 2019
Delivered by Sharon Nicholson, this workshop will help you enhance your chances of success in your academic applications. The workshop will help you recognise what is required in academic applications and provides practical tools to help you promote yourself and present your research, face to face and on paper.
“This was eye opening – necessary for preparation and making a good application/interview”. “Very useful & stimulating. A nice environment to work and learn in and share ideas”. Past participants.
by Sally Beyer, this workshop will help those suffering from ‘Imposter
Syndrome’ through providing proven techniques to help you understand your
issues and identifying ways to change your approach.
In a safe and supportive environment, we will consider what
imposter syndrome actually is, where it comes from and which groups of people
are more likely to suffer from it. Along with identifying how it emerges, you
will be introduced to life enhancing techniques that help you to respond to,
and progress beyond, your imposter experiences.