Introducing ‘Taking Ownership of your PhD’

A new series of online workshops for researchers in the first few months of their PhD.

For new researchers we offer a series of half day workshops presented online in Zoom. Each workshop may be taken on its own, but together they will support you to take ownership of your own PhD. Collectively the series includes:

  • Advice to settle into the PhD in the first few months to an activity to help you envisage the whole PhD
  • Guidance to manage your own working time and support to build a good working relationship with your supervisor
  • Ways to build your resilience for the challenges in research and take a professional approach to your own development
  • Starting your networking and gaining practice in introducing your research to your peers

All workshops in the ‘Taking Ownership’ series are discussion based and include opportunities to network with other researchers from across the University. The use of a microphone and webcam are recommended for use in the small group discussions

These workshops will be delivered by Dr Shirley Cooper, from the LDC Development team, working with PGR tutors, who will share their own experiences of doing a PhD at the University.

We also offer a further webinar on how to effectively the software in the PGR Toolbox.

The full timetable for these workshops is listed below. The workshops in October are open for registration (follow the link on the title)

Places will be limited. If you book and find that you can no longer attend, please cancel your place so that it can become available to another researcher.

Getting your Toolbox data ready for the Annual Progress Reports

The APR forms will be released on Monday 1st June!

Your PGR Portfolio of Activity and the Record of Supervisory meetings must be up to date by the 31st May for inclusion in this year’s APR form.

You are recommended to review your progress over the last year before this data is copied into the Annual Progress Report (APR) forms. Whilst the period prior to lock-down may now seem distant, it remains important to maintain a full record for the last academic year. 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 APR forms.

Below, we provide further information to help you complete the PGR Portfolio of Activity and the Record of Supervisory meetings before the records are added to the APR form. 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

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.

Please ensure that your Record of Supervisory meetings is up to date before the end of May. 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 have recorded meetings during periods of suspension.

Preparing your PGR Portfolio of Activity for the APR

The PGR Portfolio of Activity is your record of your achievements over the last year. You might 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 of course include any online activities that you have engaged in recently. In fact you can include  other activities that supplement your research and support your long-term development.

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)

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 2019 to the end of May 2020.
  • 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 this is a three day conference, you might include the dates in the title.

Example of how APR form appears

Example of Portfolio of Activity data as it will appear in the APR    – set for the year 2017-18. Only items added in the year 2019-20 will appear in the APR for this year.

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, please contact the LDC Development Team at pgro@liverpool.ac.uk.

New to PhD Research at Liverpool?

  • Are you feeling confused and disorientated at the start of your PhD?
  • Are you seeking opportunities to connect with other researchers in similar positions?
  • Are you aware of what the LDC Development programme has to offer?

Starting the PhD can often be a bewildering process as you try to find a structure and make sense of what you need to do, not just to start your research, but to manage all those various administrative processes. Unfortunately, there is no generic roadmap for the PhD.

I liken the start of the PhD to setting out on a sea voyage in an unfamiliar boat, to an unknown destination and with limited charts. You might have some guidance from your supervisor, some supervisor can be very helpful but others may have limited time. Your first trip out usually involves considerable trial and error; you will need to learn many general skills and gain new knowledge, how to handle your ‘boat/research’ , how to communicate with the ‘shore/work with collaborators’ as well learning the navigation/research skills. The first destination may not be where you expected, as research is about exploring the unknown, but, the first voyage will give you a much better idea of how to approach the next trip.

Remember; Many other PhD researchers do feel  ‘in the same boat’ !

The Liverpool Doctoral College provides a range of induction material for new starters, including the LDC Handbook, and your School or Institute should also provide an induction.  The PGR Toolbox includes the Record of Supervisory Meetings, a tool that all PhD researchers must use. There is a range of online help for this tool.

For more information see Essential University Links and a video Introduction to the LDC Development Programme

LDC Development programme

The LDC Development programme also offers sessions with opportunities to network with  researchers from across the  University and share experiences. In particular, we offer two events of specific interest to those just starting the PhD at Liverpool:

  • Webinar: Effectively Using the PGR Toolbox  5 Feb  12:30 – 13:30 – learn more about this essential tool and an opportunity for questions.
  • Taking Ownership of your PhD 11 Mar         09:15 – 16:30  – a day of activities and discussions to help you understand the processes and milestones in the PhD, working with your supervisor, planning your own professional development and starting networking.

The programme includes a range of further workshops and  webinars to help new researchers develop the wider skills, particularly in communication and productivity to succeed as a researcher. See our programme timetable for details.

Peer Support – PostGrad Society and the Peers for PhDs group

Finding support from your peers can be valuable early on in the PhD, so that you build on their experiences. You will probably find it useful to both seek both communities within your department/school or subject area and with mixed communities from other areas.

There are a couple of University PhD student groups that offer frequent meetings on campus and are open to all PhD researchers; look out for events run by the PostGrad Society and also the Peers for PhDs group, who offer facilitated discussions to share  experiences and plan to move forward.

Is your development record ready for the APR and progress panels?

The APR forms are released on Monday 3rd June!

Your PGR Portfolio of Activity and the Record of Supervisory meetings must be up to date before  the 3rd June for inclusion in the APRs.

This is a time for a review a review of your progress over the last year, through both the Annual Progress Reports (APR) and your assigned progress panels. Your panels are likely discuss your personal development over the last year, so this is a good time to review what you have achieved over the past year; including the training and development workshops/webinars that you have attended, conferences and research meetings that you have attended, work with industry or organisations outside academia, public engagement and public communication  and so on. In fact you can include  other activities that supplement your research and support your long-term development.

Any data added to the  Portfolio of Activity and the Record of Supervisory meetings after the 2nd June  will not be included in the APR forms.

Below, we provide further information to help you complete the PGR Portfolio of Activity and the Record of Supervisory meetings. Guidance to help you complete the APR forms can be found from the PGR Student Administration team web-site.

Preparing your Record of Supervisory meetings for the APR

The APR contains the complete list of the dates of all supervisory meeting records that have been signed off by your supervisor.  You may also want to remind your supervisor that they should sign off all records before the 3rd June.

Please ensure that your Record of Supervisory meetings is up to date before the end of May. 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.
You are not expected to have recorded meetings during periods of suspension.

Preparing your PGR Portfolio of Activity for the APR

The APR 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. We recommend that you revisit the Portfolio of Activity before the 31st May and check which data you want to be visible in the APR.

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 2018 to the end of May 2019.
  • 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 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 this is a three day conference, you might include the dates in the title.

Example of how APR form appears

Example of Portfolio of Activity data as it will appear in the APR    – set for the year 2017-18. Only items added in the year 2018-19 will appear in the APR for this year.

If you have not entered data into the Portfolio of Activity, the APRs 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 box to use to record each training or development activity is only approximate and will be a personal choice.

If you have any problems with this process or you encounter system issues in relation to the Portfolio of Activity, please contact the LDC Development Team at pgro@liverpool.ac.uk.

Important information for those who have entered data into the Portfolio of Activity

The Annual Progress Reports (APRs) to be released in June 2018 will, for the first time, include selected data from the PGR Portfolio of Activity. The data will be displayed in the APR 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 2017 to the end of May 2018.
  • 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 description or the ‘RDF descriptors’ that you can add to the Portfolio of Activity.

Example of Portfolio of Activity data as it will appear in the APR    (link to file attachment)

Further Guidance for the APRs: Further information on the changes to the APRs will be released during May, including the updated Student Guidance for 2018 to help you complete the form and the dates of supporting workshops organised by the PGR Student Team.

If you have not entered data into the Portfolio of Activity, the APRs 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 box to use to record each training or development activity is only approximate and may be a personal choice. We recommend that you aim to complete development relevant to all sections of the Portfolio over the course of your PhD, as this will help you to make the most of your PhD experience and to prepare you for your ongoing career.

You do not need to add activities for all Portfolio of Activity sections within the APR form. Non-completion of any of these boxes will not delay completion of the APRs.

Preparing your Portfolio for the APR

The APR will display the data 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. We recommend that you revisit the Portfolio of Activity before the 31st May and look over the data that you want to have included in the APR.

You may want to check the event title to ensure that this accurately represents the event, since the event description is not included in the APR.
For example, if this is a three day conference, you might include the dates in the title.

If you do not want data to be transferred into the APR, please ensure that you untick the box in the column labelled ‘Select’ in the portfolio.

If you have any problems with this process or you encounter system issues in relation to the Portfolio of Activity, please contact the LDC Development team at pgro@liverpool.ac.uk

Reminder – 31st May is the completion date for the record of Supervisory Meetings.

As in previous years, the APR will also include the complete list of the dates of all supervisory meeting records that have been signed off by your supervisor. Please ensure that your record of Supervisory meetings is up to date before the end of May. You may also want to remind your supervisor that they should sign off of all records before the 1st June.

Postgraduate Researcher Week 9-13 October 2017

Join us for a week of bespoke workshops and wider events for both new and more advanced researchers.

Full Programme


New Researchers

Postgraduate Researcher Week offers a wide range of events that serve as a welcome for new researchers and aim to help you learn more about the training and development opportunities available to you as a postgraduate researcher at the University of Liverpool.

The LDC Development Team is offering the following events for new researchers:

Taking Ownership of your PhD –  10th  Oct,    12th  Oct

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.

Webinar: Effectively Using PGR Toolbox  – 11th Oct 1pm
This lunch-time webinar aims to help new PGRs make effective use of the PGR Toolbox in Liverpool Life.  We will provide an overview of the key systems and processes and step-by-step instructions with a live demonstration.  There will be time for questions and answers throughout the webinar.

Solving the Challenges of Part-Time Research- 13 Oct-14.00-15.00– This workshop is open to all part-time researchers and offers the opportunity to share your experiences and explore potential solutions to any problems you are facing.

For more Advanced Researchers

There are a variety of sessions running during the week including, Your Thesis: why you should start your writing now!, Planning your Final Year, Thesis writing afternoon and Viva Survivor.  There are also several careers oriented events for those considering their future after their PhD.

Webinars for Effectively Using the PGR Toolbox

Webinar: ‘Effectively Using the PGR Toolbox’

PGR Development are offering a numbers of webinars to help newly registered PGRs make effective use of the PGR Toolbox.  The following dates are open for booking:

6th October, 12:00-13:00

13th October, 12:00-13:00

16th November, 12:00-13:00

2nd December, 12:00-13:00

Webinar Description

During the webinar we expect to offer:

• A brief introduction to the Institutional requirements
• A demonstration of how to use the software in the PGR Toolbox
• A question and answer session where you can raise any queries or problem you have had using the software.

The webinar will specifically address the PGR Toolbox within Liverpool Life, including:

Record of Supervisory Meetings, including how to arrange meetings with your supervisors, set an agenda and targets, upload documents, and send Outlook appointments to your supervisors.
PGR Portfolio of Activity, including how to record your training activities, email your portfolio to your supervisor, how to print your portfolio for compiling your CV.
To attend you need only have Internet access. We will send a link to the Webinar software to all registered participants at least 15 minutes before the session starts, to allow you to test your connection.

How to book

To book your place, click on the links above or visit the Educational Development Booking web page. http://www.liv.ac.uk/cll/booking/index.htm?filter=toolbox&button=Go! and scroll down to the appropriate date.

Webinar: Effectively Using the PGR Toolbox – 8th Sept

8th Sept 2015 — 12 – 1pm (approx)
+ further dates to be announced soon

You will need to book a place through the Educational Development Booking web page:

http://www.liv.ac.uk/cll/booking/index.htm?filter=toolbox&button=Go!

PGR Development are offering a webinar to help newly registered PGRs make effective use of the PGR Toolbox. During the workshop we expect to offer:

  1. A brief introduction to the Institutional requirements
  2. A demonstration of how to use the software in the PGR Toolbox
  3. A question and answer session where you can raise any queries or problem you have had using the software.

The webinar will specifically address:

  • PGR Toolbox within Liverpool Life
  • Record of Supervisory Meetings, including how to arrange meetings with your supervisors, set an agenda and targets, upload documents, and send Outlook appointments to your supervisors.
  • PGR Portfolio of Activity, including how to record your training activities, email your portfolio to your supervisor, how to print your portfolio for compiling your CV.

To attend you need only have Internet access. We will send a link to the Webinar software to all registered participants at least 15 minutes before the session starts, to allow you to test your connection.

To book your place, visit the Educational Development Booking web page. http://www.liv.ac.uk/cll/booking/index.htm?filter=toolbox&button=Go!  and scroll down to the appropriate date.

Webinar: Effectively Using the PGR Toolbox – 29th Jan and 4th March

29th Jan and 4th March — 12 – 1pm (approx)

You will need to book a place through the Educational Development Booking web page:

http://www.liv.ac.uk/cll/booking/index.htm?filter=toolbox&button=Go!

PGR Development are offering a webinar to help newly registered PGRs make effective use of the PGR Toolbox. During the workshop we expect to offer:

  1. A brief introduction to the Institutional requirements
  2. A demonstration of how to use the software in the PGR Toolbox
  3. A question and answer session where you can raise any queries or problem you have had using the software.

The webinar will specifically address:

  • PGR Toolbox within Liverpool Life
  • Record of Supervisory Meetings, including how to arrange meetings with your supervisors, set an agenda and targets, upload documents, and send Outlook appointments to your supervisors.
  • PGR Portfolio of Activity, including how to record your training activities, email your portfolio to your supervisor, how to print your portfolio for compiling your CV.

To attend you need only have Internet access. We will send a link to the Webinar software to all registered participants at least 30 minutes before the session starts, to allow you to test your connection.

To book your place, visit the Educational Development Booking web page. http://www.liv.ac.uk/cll/booking/ and scroll down to the appropriate date.
(Or follow the links in the top section)

Webinar: Effectively Using the PGR Toolbox – 22nd Oct and 17th Nov

22nd Oct and 17th Nov — 12 – 1pm (approx)

You will need to book a place through the Educational Development Booking web page. http://www.liv.ac.uk/cll/booking/ or follow the links:

  22nd Oct 17th Nov

PGR Development are offering a webinar to help newly registered PGRs make effective use of the PGR Toolbox. During the workshop we expect to offer:

  1. A brief introduction to the Institutional requirements
  2. A demonstration of how to use the software in the PGR Toolbox
  3. A question and answer session where you can raise any queries or problem you have had using the software.

The webinar will specifically address:

  • PGR Toolbox within Liverpool Life
  • Record of Supervisory Meetings, including how to arrange meetings with your supervisors, set an agenda and targets, upload documents, and send Outlook appointments to your supervisors.
  • PGR Portfolio of Activity, including how to record your training activities, email your portfolio to your supervisor, how to print your portfolio for compiling your CV.

To attend you need only have Internet access. We will send a link to the Webinar software to all registered participants at least 30 minutes before the session starts, to allow you to test your connection.

To book your place, visit the Educational Development Booking web page. http://www.liv.ac.uk/cll/booking/ and scroll down to the appropriate date.
(Or follow the links in the top section)

This workshop is for Postgraduate Research students, including staff who are also PGR students.