Volunteers needed for focus groups

I am currently undertaking a small research project to explore postgraduate students’ motivations for attending or not attending professional development workshops and to explore which factors postgraduate students feel would facilitate participation and engagement with professional development. As part of this project, I am looking for volunteers to take part in one of three focus group interviews. These focus groups will form part of a study designed to explore motivations for attending PGR professional development workshops and scope out demand for future workshops both in terms of format and content. Your contribution will ensure that the needs of our PGR community continues to be met.
I am inviting all PGRs at University of Liverpool to participate, whether or not you have attended a workshop previously, or intend to sign up for one in the future.
Focus groups are scheduled to take place 12-2pm on the following dates:
Tuesday 21st November
Wednesday 29th November
Friday 1st December
To take part in the focus groups, please respond by email to saetnan@liverpool.ac.uk with your preferred date and time. Lunch will be provided during the focus group meetings.
More information about the study, and what is involved in participating, can be found in the participant information sheet. If you have any further questions about the project, or your participation in the survey, do not hesitate to get in touch.
Thank you for your help!
Dr. Eli Saetnan

PGR Development website and programme for 2016-17

PGR Development web site – important changes


The PGR Development website has had a major restructuring for 2016-17, which we hope will make it easier for PGRs and staff to find essential information about  our programme offering and guidance on the PGR toolbox. Three main sections are affected by these changes:

webinarlistProgramme 2016 – This new section provides an introduction to our programme and the list of workshops, webinars and courses that we will offer in 2016-2017. The section also includes a list of our online resources and a guides to the University resources for professional development organised to the Researcher Development Framework. Follow the links below for details.

Please note: Only one workshop is currently available for booking as below. We are still finalising the main programme and we expect to announce workshop dates  and open booking in September or early October.

Your Development This is a new section that introduces professional development for postgraduate researchers, with guidance to help researchers start the process. The section also describes the specific parts of our programme for new researchers and advice for international researchers.

PGR Toolbox –This section introduces the PGR Toolbox and software contained within this part of Liverpool Life, together with the institutional requirements and further links to our supporting online tutorials.

Delivering Academic presentations 20 Sept 1-4 pm  

Booking is now open for this  half-day workshop which offers an experiential learning experience to develop  and gain advanced presentation skills within a supportive environment.

>> Booking form

Places are limited but we will be offering this workshop regularly during 2016-17

Enterprise Events for PGRs 2016

Two events are coming up in July 2016 that will deal with different aspects of postgraduate research and enterprise. Enterprising behaviours and attributes are highly valued by all employers and they are a core element within the Researcher Development Framework (RDF). The RDF has an Enterprise lens that helps researchers understand the context of enterprise I the research community enables researcher to identify how they can grow and nurture these highly treasured skills. As researchers you all have them to some extent and both of the scheduled events aim to help you recognise and apply them.

Being Enterprising with Your Research One day event 13th July 2016

Presented by Scandinavian Stories

The aim of this one-day (six hour) session is to provide postgraduate research students with a toolkit for exploring how they can apply their research output and/or their skills as researchers to innovative ventures in entrepreneurial, intrapreneurial, and social enterprise contexts.

The workshop is broken into three, two-hour parts. Participants will work in groups during the workshop, and progress an enterprise idea whose genesis begins with an area of research in which one or more of the group members is active. The groups will have a choice about whether to focus on designing a product or service based upon their research, or to focus on a more academic pursuit such as establishing an innovative research group. (NB For the purposes of the workshop outline, we speak in terms of creating a product or service for which there must be an intended customer or beneficiary, the assumption being that the output from an academic pursuit such as a research group can be thought of as a product or service, aimed at a defined community who are the customers or beneficiaries.) At the end of the workshop, each group will pitch their enterprise idea to the wider cohort, covering all aspects of the work they’ve done during the workshop.

To book on this workshop – go here

Enterprise Bridge – One day event Friday 29th July 2016

Facilitated by Dr Richard Hinchcliffe, Geoff Banks, Fiona Geng

Enterprise Bridge is an intensive one day event for PGRs from any discipline allowing participants to work directly with employers on a short consultation project as part of a small team. The event lasts for one day.* The employers will be donating their time and expertise to Enterprise Bridge with a view to giving you an opportunity to test, develop and stretch your enterprise skills. You will be developing your skills around enterprise, engagement and impact including: innovation, creativity, problem solving, communication, project management, customer relationship, research skills and business acumen.

Enterprise Bridge – the day:

8.30: Networking breakfast – participants, business representatives and academics
9.30: Director’s welcome, introductions, what the exercise is about
10.00: Acting as consultants – teamwork and communication
11.00: Team prepares for meeting the client
11.30: first client meeting (opportunities for further consultation through the day)
12.00: Teamwork with break for lunch
3.00: Draft presentation
5.00: Evening presentations to clients – buffet reception and networking
7.00: close

*All partners in the workshop will sign a non-disclosure agreement allowing all participants, employers and research students, to work together freely but with confidential material.

You don’t have to be interested in business to gain valued experience from this event. An enterprising approach benefits research graduates wherever you go – into an academic or research career, into teaching, industry or self-employment.

To book on this workshop go here:

New workshops for those entering their final year or who are close to completion

We are now opening booking for the following two workshops for PGRs entering their final year or close to completion of their thesis.

These workshops also form part of the LDC Postgraduate Researcher Week and further details of that programme will be sent out by the Liverpool Doctoral college soon.

Please note: Both workshops are delivered by an external presenter. If you book a workshop, please record this in your diary/calendar and contact gssp@liv.ac.uk if you can no longer attend

Please following the links below to book a place.

PGR: Plan Your Final Year, 7th June 2016 09:15 – 12:30

The final year of PhD research can be difficult. Finishing research, thesis writing, viva preparations, job hunting – candidates have many different things to accomplish and balance. In this session, participants will be given practical tools and space to plan the time leading up to thesis submission and examination. Project planning concepts will be applied to personal situations and during this interactive workshop, participants will:
•    explore essential steps for planning;
•    identify the different goals and components of their final year;
•    start a plan detailing important targets and milestones.

>> Registration form

PGR: Viva Survivor  7th June 2016  13:15-16:30

The viva is the culmination of the PhD process: a lot of work has led to this point, but a feeling of anxiety can go hand-in-hand with the sense of achievement at completing one’s thesis. For many PhD candidates the time leading up to the viva is filled with stress about the day, and uncertainty about what their examiners may ask or how to prepare.

Viva Survivor is a session for postgraduate researchers close to submitting their thesis who want to gain insight on how to be well prepared for their viva. In this session participants will:
•    identify sources of support for their viva preparation
•    develop strategies to prepare themselves and their thesis for the viva
•    explore questions that are frequently asked in vivas.

>> Registration Form

 Dr Nathan Ryder completed his PhD in Mathematics in 2008 (University of Liverpool) and has since worked freelance as a skills trainer and consultant. He has delivered training sessions to nearly 5000 postgraduate researchers and research staff. Nathan’s main interests are in creativity, collaboration, productivity and helping postgraduate researchers prepare for the viva. In 2012 he created the Viva Survivors podcast which features interviews with PhD graduates talking about their research and their viva

Further resources: PGR development offer a range of further resource to help those preparaing for their viva:

>> Preparing for your viva

**Important Information for Academic Presentations workshop for HSS and Presenting for Public Engagement Workshop

As you may be aware, we are experiencing technical issues with the booking system and are unable to access the class lists for the following workshops:

  • 8th March, 9:00-4:30, Presenting for Public Engagement
  • 9th March, 9-12, Academic Presentations for School of Law & Social Justice
  • 9th March, 13:00-16:00, Academic Presentations for Management School
  • 10th March, 09:00-12:00, Academic Presentations for the School of Arts
  • 10th March,13:00-16:00, Academic Presentations for the School of Arts

If you are booked onto one of these workshops, please consult the pre-workshop information outlined below and contact gssp@liv.ac.uk for information regarding venue.  If you have questions regarding how to prepare for the workshops, please contact:

Dr Aimee Blackledge: aeb@liv.ac.uk

Workshop preparation for the Presenting for Public Engagement

Please prepare a three-minute talk about your research using the following structure:

1. Interest– Start off with an interesting fact, statistic, quote, topical news item, historical or personal narrative about your research area.

2. Need– Inform your audience why is your research needed and why they need to know more about it

3. Title- what is the title of your thesis and why have you chosen this title?  What is your research question?

4. Range– what is the range of your research? What will you investigate and what will you not be exploring?  Why have you made those decisions?

5. Objective– what is your objective with your research and what would you like your audience to do with the information you have given them?

You may also wish to consult Chris Anderson’s article on ‘How to Give a Killer Presentation’, Harvard Business Review: https://hbr.org/2013/06/how-to-give-a-killer-presentation/

Workshop preparation for Academic Presentations for HSS Schools


This workshop aims to provide a friendly learning environment. To make the session work effectively please can you prepare the following before the workshop:

1)      A five-minute presentation of on your research, which may be based on the introduction to a previous research presentation.  You may use PowerPoint to accompany your talk if you feel it is appropriate.  Please remember that the workshop has a mixed audience, and five minutes is a very short time. You will not be able to present all components of a normal presentation and we suggest you focus on the introduction, possibly supplemented with one or two prominent aims of completed this research.

2)      Consider the feedback that will be most helpful to you in order to improve your presentation skills. (You may want to refer to the notes below)

Guidance notes: to help those who want to prepare for this session:

This session focuses on your presentation style, with an aim to give you direct and relevant feedback and ideas to take away to help present with more confidence in the situations that matter.

However many participants request advice to help them assess their own style. We have an online resource to offer ideas to improve your presentation style, which is found at:


This resource includes The Good Presentation Video (personally I find this at quite a basic level). , but you may also like the short article,  How to Give an Academic Talk .

Ultimately you will need to decide for yourself the key attributes of a good presenter, particularly in the context of your own subject area, and we hope the session will help form your ideas in this respect. According to the article ‘How to Give an Academic Talk’ the key features in giving a good talk are:

  1. communicate your arguments and evidence
  2. persuade your audience that they are true
  3.  be interesting and entertaining

For our session, we will ask you to focus on the specific attributes:

  • Aims of the talk – want do you want to gain from the presentation and what should the audience gain?

Can you summarise your talk in a sentence of two?

Can you define three or four ideas that you want audience to take away? How are these points emphasised in any visuals?

  • Content – Does the content help support your main argument (without too many distractions) and help maintain interest?
  • Structure –       How persuasive is your structure? – Does it help present a clear argument?   (i.e. one that the audience will recall afterwards)
  • Visuals – how do these add to the communication and not distract your audience?
  • Voice – how does your speech help communicate your message and maintain interest?
    Consider rate of speech, variation of pitch and use of pauses.
  • Body language – do you give a confident impression?
    – do your gestures help your expression?
  • Audience – do you maintain eye contact?  Are you aware if the audience is still interested in your talk?

And not forgetting:

  • Try to keep calm (there are techniques we will discuss at the workshop)
  • Keep to time!

PGR Development Webinars – Important information regarding access to meeting rooms

Are you booked on any of the following workshops?

2nd March  – Introduction to the three minute thesis competition  12:30pm

3rd March  – Enhancing your Research Presentations  12:30pm

16th March  – Effectively Using the PGR Toolbox Webinar  12:00pm

Due to technical problems with the CLL booking system, we no longer have access to the lists of those booked on these workshops and may not be able to send out further information in regard to access to the software for each session..

We are keen that the workshops can still go ahead, and request that anyone still interested in attending should email us at pgro@liv.ac.uk

We will also advertise the meeting room address on the day of the webinar at:

We hope to repeat all webinars in April/May and will advertise the dates when confirmed.

If you have enquiries in regard to any other events in March, please contact us at gssp@liv.ac.uk directly.

PGR Development.


Awareness Event for a new PGR School Outreach Programme – 2nd March

Post Graduate Researchers School Outreach Programme: A new Pilot programme in association with the Brilliant Club

The Brilliant Club Pilot programme – further details for those unable to attend the event below.

This event is now open for recruitment – please apply before the 20th March

PGR Awareness Event: 2nd March at 10.30am,

During the Awareness Event a representative from the Brilliant Club will provide a short presentation about the programme. This will also offer an opportunity to ask questions about the new Pilot programme.

—   All interested are invited to attend.   —

The Widening Participation & Outreach Team are recruiting PhD students from rhe University of Liverpool to support a new school based Outreach programme, which is part of a pilot project with the Brilliant Club. The programme will involve current PhD students delivering subject specific academic workshops in schools across Merseyside. The objective of the programme is to raise awareness of subjects amongst school pupils whilst increasing academic skills and attainment.  We are hoping to recruit PhD Students from all three faculties of the University who will then go into schools within Merseyside and deliver subject based workshops that will excite young people and encourage them to consider continuing their studies into Higher Education.

Brilliant Club: www.thebrilliantclub.org/

If there is interest, a training event will be arrange towards the end of March

Organised by the Widening Participation and Outreach Team and PGR Development.

Liverpool Doctoral College – Call for Focus Group Members

Would you like to take part in a focus group consultation on the new professional development opportunities for the Liverpool Doctoral College?

This is a unique opportunity for you to influence your research environment and to ensure the career and professional development needs of PGRs are met. The focus group will specifically discuss the process for PGR and Supervisor to complete a Development Needs Analysis.

A focus group meeting facilitated by the Guild and PGR Development will be held on Friday 7th August at 10.00 – 12.00 in the Centre for Lifelong Learning, 126 Mount Pleasant with refreshments provided.

If you are available to take part, please reply to me Richard Hinchcliffe: rjh@liv.ac.uk please include details of your Faculty and School/Institute/Department.

We may not be able to accommodate everyone at the session, however, we will report to you all on the outcomes of the meeting and we welcome any feedback you wish to give.

Congratulations to all PhD researchers who participated in Poster Day Online 2015!

We had 146 participants and so voting for the winners proved a difficult task! The winners are as follows:

Participants award:

First place: Gabrielle Laing

Second place:  Ilaria Santeramo

Faculty of Health and Life Sciences:  

First place: Natalia Cooper

Second place:  Stephanie James

Highly commended: Katherine Allsopp
Rosa Whalen
Amy Eacock
Christine Stafford
Kelly Bowlt Blacklock
Bethany Levick
Cassandra Raby

Faculty of Humanities and Social Science:   

First place:   Amie Caddy
Second place: Anna-Katharina Balonier

Highly commended: Eileen Turnbull
Caroline Gray
Darren Dunnin
Pei Zhang

Faculty of Science and Engineering:  

First place: Hsiang-Hsuan Liu

Second place: Chaofan Wen

Highly commended: Joscha Fossel
Xinkai Wang
Oliver Lamb
María Pin-No
David Morris

We had a range of brilliant posters, with some particularly innovative ideas! A number of our student’s decided to share their research using alternative forms of media, from interactive posters to online videos!

  • Bethany Levick, Faculty of Health and Life Sciences.

Linked web pages were used by Bethany to discuss her research on improving the ability to predict plague (https://sites.google.com/site/plagueposter15/).

  • Mathew Flynn, Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences.

Mathew opted to share his research using a screencast, in which he considers musical taste, according to digital streaming services (http://screencast-o-matic.com/watch/cofDYveSWB).

  • Gabrielle Laing, Faculty of Health and Life Sciences.

Gabrielle provided a link to a 3 minute, online video, to explain her research on working horses in Ethiopia (http://pcwww.liv.ac.uk/~glaing/)

  • Cassandra Raby, Faculty of Health and Life Sciences.

Cassandra created an interactive poster, which included taking the reader to her own YouTube videos to find out more about seasonal environments and gastrointestinal parasites in baboons!

This is an excellent demonstration of how we can share our research in many other forms, taking Poster Day Online to the next level! Our prize-winners and highly commended posters can be viewed at: http://www.liv.ac.uk/pgr-development/poster-day/2015/?display=pdo

Thank you to all participants and the judges who helped make Poster Day Online 2015 a success! The standard of posters gets higher by the year!