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.

The ‘New-normal’ – what might this offer for your development plans?

What do you most need, for your work and well-being, post lock-down?

What new opportunities can you create post lock-down?

The lock-down is easing, although it may take months or years to return to the working life we consider ‘normal’. The University is currently making plans for a safe return to campus, but where the priorities for researchers will be to return to laboratories. Most conferences will be online in the coming months; you will be able to share research progress and potentially present online yourself, but there will be fewer opportunities for more conventional networking. Most teaching will be at best in blended format. The challenge in the short-term is to find new solutions to meet your needs or that provide a new experience to build upon.

The LDC Development programme will be totally online for the Autumn. We hope to repeat many of the popular online workshops in this period. We are also creating a new fully online set of induction workshops for those at the start of their PhD and are keen to retain the options for networking across disciplines, aspects that we consider central to our face to face workshops. Further details will be announced in coming months. Currently we are looking for tutors to support this delivery. We have an online workshop coming up as preparation, ‘ Facilitation in Practice ’. All are welcome to join this interactive session, to help us all explore the opportunities for teaching online.

24 June 10:00 – 12:00  Facilitation in Practice (Online Workshop)

You can also challenge yourself! As the researchers of the future you might consider how you might help shape the future of academic/research life. Consider what aspects of working life are missing in current working arrangements and what provision, new types of events or new use of social media, might support alternative arrangements in this online or ‘blended’ world? What does the online world offer that did not seem possible in the ‘old-normal’? You might share and discuss ideas with your peers to identify new ways to support your community. In this uncertain world, small steps can lead to big opportunities.

If you have bigger ideas for events to help other PhD researchers, we would be happy to talk through these with you and may even be able to help you put these into practice.

Believe in yourself! Your ideas might be unique … All big movements start with small steps.

Our Programme for June is open for registration!

We have a range of new sessions on offer for the coming weeks, covering topics in project planning, working with other people and career planning. Further details are provided on the links below.

Webinars providing an ‘Introduction to Project Planning

These two hour sessions are provided in Zoom by Fistral Training and Consultancy and now collectively replace the full day face to face workshop originally planned, ‘Introduction to Project Management’.

01 June 14:00 – 16:00 1. Establishing foundations
08 June 14:00 – 16:00 2. Scoping the project
15 June 14:00 – 16:00 3. Creating the plan

Online resources: Fistral also provide a series of short videos focussing on topics around project management, which free to view by all: Fistral Training ‘Exspressos videos’

Webinars on ‘Influencing without authority’

Delivered by Fistral training these two hour sessions present a mixture of informative advice supplemented by online discussions.The sessions below may be attended as a series or you may book on a single individual session.

03 June 14:00 – 16:00 1 – Mobilising your personal power
10 June 14:00 – 16:00 2 – Assertive communication 
17 June 14:00 – 16:00 3 – Making your case

Online careers-related workshops

These two hour online workshops, presented by our careers consultant, Sally Beyer, will be delivered in Zoom and will provide a mixture of advice and discussions. For further information, please follow the links below:

04 June  10:00 – 11:30 Using Linkedln to Manage Your Career
11 June  10:00 – 11:30 PGR ‘Career Ready’ Bootcamp (for final year PGRs)
25 June  10:00 – 11:30 The Career Wise Researcher (for pre-final year PGRs)
02 July  10:00 – 11:30  Overcoming Imposter Syndrome

Sally will remain on-hand for a half hour at the end of each session to answer any individual questions.

Writing Retreats

Our morning writing sessions will also continue on Tuesday mornings in June, on the 2nd 9th , 16th, 23rd and 30th. For further details see the registration form below to add your name to our email list to receive reminders of upcoming dates. (NB you only need complete this form once!)

Online Writing Retreats

Our new online programme for April

We are pleased to announce a range of new online workshops, webinars and writing retreats for April, following the cancellation of all face to face workshops for the remainder of the academic year.

Al postgraduate researchers at Liverpool are welcome to join any of the events below. Further events for May and June will be announced soon and the dates will be be listed on our Programme Timetable, and communicated through this blog, PGR News @Liverpool, and on twitter at @livuniPGRDev.

Online workshops and webinars

We have expanded on our planned webinars for April, as follows:

16 Apr 12:30 – 13:30 Webinar: Using Twitter for Academic Purposes 
22 Apr 10:00 – 12:00 Mindfulness techniques to support self-isolation 
(Online workshop)
29 Apr 12:30 – 13:30 Webinar: Time-management techniques for
working in isolation

In addition, the Company of Mind have agreed to provide a series of three shorter online workshops for each of the originally offered full day workshops, ‘Practical thinking for researchers’ and ‘Working with difficult people’. These online workshops will be presented in the Zoom software and will provide a mixture of ideas and interactive activities, with a further half hour at the end of each workshop for questions and discussion. The first set of workshops are as follows:

08 Apr 10:00 – 12:30 Practical Thinking for Researchers, 1 –
Creative Thinking (Online workshop) – FULLY BOOKED*
16 Apr 10:00 – 12:30 Practical Thinking for Researchers, 2 –
Constructive & Practical Thinking (Online workshop)
24 Apr 10:00 – 12:30 Practical Thinking for Researchers, 3 –
Critical Thinking (Online workshop)

Each of these online workshops may be booked and taken separately. *Priority booking for the first session on the 8th April has been given to those who registered for the workshop for 31st March, and who will receive an email with further information.

Online presentations practise: We are also providing an opportunity to gain practise in delivering online presentations in a friendly environment, with supportive feedback. This first session will be trial session, please contact me directly, shirley.cooper@liverpool.ac.uk if you have any questions or suggestions.

28 Apr 09:30 – 12:30 Online Presentations practice session 
(Online workshop)

Online Writing retreats

During the period of Covid-19, we will need to meet virtually, but we hope that by setting out specific and protected time for writing, with set periods of discussion and silence, we give those attending a chance to motivate each other and feel part of a wider, supportive community. Each session will begin with a short general discussion for those attending to share any concerns or good practice.

The upcoming sessions are as follows:

08 Apr 09:45 – 12:00 Online Writing Retreat
15 Apr 09:45 – 12:00 Online Writing Retreat
21 Apr 09:45 – 12:00 Online Writing Retreat
27 Apr 09:45 – 12:00 Online Writing Retreat

Please note that we are using a single Eventbrite form; by signing up to this form, you will receive regular updates on this part of the programme and are not committed to attending on any specific date.

Methods webinars from LJMU

Liverpool John Moores University have kindly opened their series of webinars on methods to postgraduate researchers at the University of Liverpool. Further details and booking below:

27th April, 14.00-16.00 Writing Reflexivity

28th April, 10.0-12.00 Getting to Grips with Method and Methodology

28th April, 13.30-15.30 Focus Group Skills for Researchers

Please use your University of Liverpool email address when you register for any of the above events.

LDC Development Support for PhD researchers during Covid19

How solid are your plans for coping with the coming period of isolation due to COVID19? Are you confident of continuing with PhD work? What support would you like to receive from LDC Development over the coming period?

The University has recently announced the cancellation of all face to face workshops as part of the University’s response to COVID-19. In consequence, all face-to-face workshops in the LDC development programme are cancelled for the remainder of the Academic year.

Working at home for long periods can be a challenge, especially for those students who are used working on campus. The University encourages students to use Microsoft Teams to maintain formal meetings. Social contacts with peers and colleagues should be maintained online, too, to help us all retain the motivation and general well-being. Have you already arranged your support system? We would love to hear from you about different approaches, and to discuss them with other researchers, enabling everybody to stay engaged.

We are currently looking at how we can enhance our online programme. We would be very interested to hear your thoughts too! What kind of online programme would you like to see? Are there any topics we could add to our programme that would ensure further skills development? Please do get in touch and let us know what we can do to support you in this period.

Meanwhile, we are making significant changes to our programme as an immediate response to COVID-19 situation, which will include a greater range of online sessions as outlined below:

  1. Discussion-based webinars.

Webinar: Managing your PhD work during Covid-19’ 31 March 2020 12:30-13:30

This is a first in a series of webinars on maintaining research activities and social engagement throughout this unusual period. The focus will be on sharing problems and finding solutions. The idea is to move beyond just a presentation format and to encourage wider participation. There will be ample opportunities to ask questions and to share and discuss each other’s needs and experiences.

The webinars in this series will always take place around lunchtime, to give you enough time in the morning to focus on work but also to encourage you to take a well-deserved break!

2. Online careers events

Webinar: Developing effective CVs and applications 2 April 13:30 – 14:30

We are replacing the Workshop on Career Networking on the 26th March with a longer version of the webinar ‘Promoting yourself through networking’ and this will include additional exercises. The presenter, Sally Beyer is exploring options to provide additional online advice on career. More details will be announced soon.

3. Further online workshops

Many of our external presenters are offering to produce online versions to replace the longer workshops in our timetable for this summer that will no longer take place. We hope to announce further details soon.

4. Online writing retreats

Online Mini Writing Retreat 1 April 2020 09:45 – 12:00

During the period of Covid-19, we are moving our meeting online. We still hope that, by setting out specific and protected time for writing, the session can provide structure to your working day and a degree of community support. Please register for further details.

5. Online presentations

Many of you will be missing out on essential opportunities to give early presentations. Perhaps you were hoping to give a first talk at the ‘Your Voice’ PGR conference? The online environment is different, but we may be able to help you to deliver your talk, with accompanying slides and possibly an audience! Don’t forget that some people have to deliver their conference presentations online and that some job interviews are also done online.

We are looking to offer two forms of events:

  1. Practice session – similarly to ‘Academic Presentation’ workshops, the aim would be to give each participant 5 minutes to present their research. After the presentation, the participant would receive friendly comments on the communication, slides, voice etc. 2.
  2. Lunchtime short conferences with each talk lasts 10-15 minutes followed by questions from audience (other participants).

We understand that many conferences have been cancelled, therefore, if you have already prepared your presentation or paper maybe this is a good opportunity to share it. We are also exploring the possibility of organising mini-online conferences for different Faculties, or different field should there be wider interest. If you were wondering about your friends’ research maybe this is the right time to encourage them to apply and share their findings with you and others.

For these sessions you need to be able to access your microphone and send us your slides in advance. The session could be recorded, but with the recordings shared privately.

If you are interested in either of the above options, please email me, Shirley Cooper, shirley.cooper@liverpool.ac.uk with your proposed talk and any questions (NB Please use your University email as I need to know who you are!)

More details about all the proposed activities will be available soon. But should you have more questions please get in touch.

Similarly, should you have any other ideas or needs, please let us know! We can provide further support and discuss your ideas! Follow us on twitter, read our blog and keep an eye on our webpage (to be updated soon). All changes and new activities will be announced through these channels.

Shirley Cooper, shirley.cooper@liverpool.ac.uk

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

What you can do now to prepare for your ongoing career

The LDC Development team  and the Careers service have a range of events in coming weeks for both those early in their degree a well as  those who are preparing applications. These are listed below, together with further online offerings that support your career preparation.

LDC Development Programme

Career Management                       01 Feb         09:15 – 12:30
This thought provoking and interactive session will enable you to explore how employable you are, identify the work values that drive you and set personal and professional goals for the next 3 years.

Developing Your Interview skills         15 Feb       09:15 – 12:30
An interactive session will help you gain confidence in your ability to perform at interview, define the essential preparation and manage your verbal and visual impact on others.

Developing Networking Skills             28 Feb         09:15 – 12:30
A fun and practical session to give you confidence to network effectively, to  help you develop your network map of current contacts and focus on what potential links you will need to make in the future to enhance your career.

Webinar: Developing effective CVs and Applications     28 Feb    13:30 – 14:30
Create excellent written applications for both academic and non-academic roles and identify key steps you can take to increase your chances of being shortlisted for posts when applying with CVs, applications and covering letters.

For further information follow the above registration links. Full information will be sent by email nearer the event.

Coming up in March, (booking to open shortly):

Making an Impact in Work                     07 March 09:15 – 12:30
Webinar: Effective Interview Skills       07 March 13:30 – 14:30
Making Academic Applications               08 March 09:15 – 12:30

Careers Service Events

Postgraduate Research (PhD/MRES) students: 30 minute guide to improving your CV.
Tue 20 Feb 2018, 12:15 PM – 12:45 PM      Fri 16 Mar 2018, 1:15 PM – 1:45 PM
We’ll help you work on your layout, structure and content by looking at the 10 key rules of the applications game. Please bring a copy of your CV with you as you’ll need it for this session.

Careers & Employability Service meeting room. The Careers & Employability Service is located in the Alsop Building, University Square (building 750 on the campus map).

Liverpool Spring Careers Fair 2018          Wed 7 Mar 2018, 10:30 AM – 3:30 PM

The Spring Careers Fair is back to give University of Liverpool students a head start in their job search. With around 60 exhibitors offering internship, placement and graduate opportunities for 2018 and beyond, it’s an event not to be missed!

The Crypt, Liverpool Metropolitan Cathedral, Mount Pleasant, Liverpool L3 5TQ

Further Online sources

If you cannot attend the Career Management workshop, you may be interested  in the ‘What Next’ video: The ‘What Next?’ Video

Career Management Skills Resources
Our online resources offer a further range of relevant advice from networking and assessing your own skills through to preparing applications.

Career Management for Early Career Academic Researchers (MOOC online course)

Alternatively, you may be interested in this four week online course, open to PhD researchers across the UK. (Follow link for details).

The first offering starts 5th March.

Communicating your research online – online courses begin 22nd Jan

These two online courses aim to help you develop and enhance your writing and other communication skills. You may also gain ideas on how to communicate your research online, in blogs or Newsletter articles as a form of Public Engagement/Impact.

Communicating Research in the Sciences Online 22 Jan – 02 April
Communicating Research in the Humanities & Social Sciences Online 22 Jan – 02 April

The  ten week courses offer a supportive and encouraging forum with a range of discussion topics including writing and presentation skills to reflect on your wider research skills.  In participating in these courses  you will:

  • Gain practice in writing and communicating the essence of your research to others, and so review and share ideas for your research project. Writing in different ways can often help you think differently about the topics.
  • Enjoy the benefits of feedback from those outside your field of research, who may offer a new angle to your research,
  • Learn of the different areas of research being undertaken in the University. See also how others present their research and write differently, their styles, and how they  approach their communication challenges.
  • Engage and gain direct experience of the Peer review process.
  • Start preparing an article that may be submitted online, as a blog, newsletter article or even as a start of an article for the ‘Conversation’.
  • Engage in online discussions on methods of writing, referencing, publications …
  • Gain confidence from finding others who are interested in your research!

Your engagement within the course is entirely flexible in terms of time, to fit in with your research and other work. Two hours per week is recommended. You do not need to be interested in publishing online to gain from this course.

Please choose the course that best fits your research focus. Follow the above links in the course titles for further details and registration. If you have any further questions, please contact Dr Shirley Cooper at Shirley.Cooper@liverpool.ac.uk.

For further details of the LDC Development programme, see our timetable,  where all workshops in February are now open for booking.

Two Part-time Teaching Opportunities to support our online courses in communicating research

Would you like to learn and engage in online teaching and development in a paid part-time position?

The LDC Development Team require part-time support for each of two online courses, primarily aimed at new researchers, (follow the above links for full course descriptions) :

Assistant Tutor for Communicating Research in the Sciences Online
Assistant Tutor for Communicating Research in the Humanities and Sciences Online

For either role you should be a PhD researcher in at least your second year at the University of Liverpool and working in a discipline related to the specific course.

The courses are delivered over a ten-week period and we require a contribution of half a day per week, starting the week of the 22nd or January. The roles can be undertaken on a flexible basis at times to fit in with your research and other work. Within this role, you will work with the course organiser to develop and engage participants in online discussions, help in creating supplementary materials for the course and to provide feedback to support participants in their development.

For these roles, experience of participation in an online environment and teaching experience will be useful, together with experience of writing for the wider public outside your research field and knowledge of the difficulties faced by part-time or off-site students. Preference will be given to those who have previously completed the course in previous years and/or have taken part in our workshops in facilitation. Technical skills are not necessary for this post.

Guidance and informal training will be provided and the roles offer opportunities to explore teaching ideas within an interactive online environment.

For further Tutor Details, please contact me, Dr Shirley Cooper directly at Shirley.Cooper@liverpool.ac.uk.

Payment: is at Grade 4 , point 14 for an average of 3.5 hours per week.

Applications: To apply for this position, please send a CV and covering letter to Dr Shirley Cooper Shirley.Cooper@liverpool.ac.uk by the end of 8th January 2018. The covering letter should describe your interest in this post and what you think you can bring to this course.