Finding your direction at the start of your PhD

Or how to take ownership of your PhD

Signpost at dawn

Starting a research degree can be an exciting time, as you are effectively beginning a journey into the unknown, making new discoveries 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.

Video Introduction to the LDC Development Programme
Video introduction to the theme: Taking Ownership of your 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:

Upcoming Workshops

  • Taking Ownership of your PhD – A full day workshop, 09:15 – 16:30
    10th Oct, 23rd Oct, 5th Nov
  • Build your PhD 17th Oct 13:00 – 16:00
  • Improving your Social Wellbeing during your PhD 19th Nov 10:00 – 15:00
  • Setting Goals for 2020 3rd Dec 13:00 – 16:00

Upcoming Webinars – all run 12:30 – 13:30

  • What to expect and what to do early in the PhD14th Oct
  • Effectively using the PGR Toolbox 1st Oct, 15th Oct, 7th Nov
  • Surviving the PhD 21th Oct
  • Time management for PhD researchers 28th Oct
  • Developing a healthy supervisory relationship 30th Oct
  • Adapting to an international research environment within the UK 6th Nov

Online Support

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.

Our Development Programme for 2019-20

New events, 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.

Themes display

Programme timetable for Autumn 2019, including links for registration [web link]
LDC Development Programme 2019-2020 [PDF]

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.

New sessions: 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.

  • ‘How to be Shy or introverted in academia’ – Thu 5 December, 2-3pm
  • ‘How 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.

To find out more, see the website information on our Careers Theme page or join Webinar: The Brilliant Club: meaningful, paid teaching experience for PhDs at 12:30 on the 13 Nov.

And now,

So what’s your development plan for 2019-20?

September Events for New Researchers

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.

Webinar: What to expect and what to do early in the PhD                                        23 September, 12:30-13:30

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.

 Workshop: Taking Ownership of your PhD                                                                26 September, 9:15-6:30

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.

And in October…

You might also like to join us for:                                                                           Webinar: Effectively Using the PGR Toolbox                                                               1 October 2019, 12:30-13:30

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

   Unable to attend?  

Don’t worry, we will be running more of these sessions throughout October and November.  However, places fill up fast, so don’t miss out on booking your place.  Visit our website for further details: https://www.liverpool.ac.uk/pgr-development/offering/catalogue/

We look forward to meeting you and learning more about your research at one of our upcoming events!

Postgraduate Researcher Week –25-29 June 2018

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

Full list of Events

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

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

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

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

Further sessions in Researcher week include:

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

Find out more and register on the LDC Intranet site

Connect with us at #ldcpgrweek.

Making the Most of your PhD

Workshops to help you devise strategies to manage your research and professional development.

Upcoming workshops from the LDC Development Team will help you take action to manage your personal and professional development and to develop your research productivity.

 

 

Click on the titles below for further information and registration.

Developing Mindsets and Taking Action

Practical Thinking for Researchers            22 May, 9:15 – 16:30

Gaining Confidence as a Researcher         30 May, 10:00 – 16:30

Coaching for Researchers                                                           2 June, 9:30 – 16:30

Problem Solving and Decision Making for Researchers             5 June, 9:15 – 16:30

Improving your Social Wellbeing as a Researcher                     20 June, 10:00 – 16:30

Time Management & Motivation for Postgraduate Researchers

21 June 13:30 – 16:30                                    21 June, 9:30 – 12:30

 

Developing your Productivity

Planning and Preparing an Effective Research Presentation     23 May, 9:30 – 12:30

Writing a Scientific Article                                                                19 June, 9:30 – 12:30

Getting your Work Published                                                         19 June, 13:30 – 16:30

Introduction to Project Management                                              14 June, 9:15 – 16:30

Writing Targeted Grant Proposals                                                  28 June, 9:30 – 16:30

LDC Development Programme for February/March 2018

All our workshops are now open for registration up to the end of March. These include a range of webinars and short workshops covering writing and presentation skills, careers preparation as well as a begin of our new series on Design Thinking.

For new PGRs (or those who missed workshop last term)

Introduction to the Research Environment 27-Feb 09:15 – 16:30

 Developing your written skills

Webinar: Research Writing – maintaining motivation for your writing 05-Mar 12:30 – 13:30
Webinar: Research Writing – communicating your research effectively 12-Mar 12:30 – 13:30
BiteSize Thesis: format & structure – full booked 08-Mar 14:00 – 16:00
BiteSize Thesis: edit for clarity 13-Mar 14:00 – 16:00
BiteSize Thesis: read, write, repeat 27-Mar 14:00 – 16:00
BiteSize Thesis: overcoming writer’s block 29-Mar 14:00 – 16:00
Webinar: Writing for ‘The Conversation’ – for PhD researchers
– led by PhD Researchers sharing their experience
22 March 12:30 – 13:30

Developing your presentation skills

Preparing Poster Presentations 01-Mar 12:30 – 15:30
Webinar: Enhancing your Research Presentations 1; defining your message 19-Mar 12:30 – 13:30
Webinar: Enhancing your Research Presentations 2, delivery 26-Mar 12:30 – 13:30

Developing your creative confidence

Design Thinking Studio 1: Empathy and Defining the Problem 28-Feb 13:00 – 16:30
Design Thinking Studio 2: Ideate and Rapid Prototyping 14-Mar 13:00 – 16:30

Developing your research productivity

Webinar: Introduction to Facilitation
– Part of the Development Tutor Scheme.
21 March 12:30 – 13:30
Public Engagement Incubator 07-Mar 13:00 – 16:30

 Preparing for your career

Developing Networking Skills 28-Feb 09:15 – 12:30
Webinar: Developing effective CVs and Applications 28-Feb 13:30 – 14:30
Making an Impact in Work 07-Mar 09:30 – 12:30
Webinar: Effective Interview Skills 07-Mar 13:30 – 14:30
Making Academic Applications 08-Mar 09:15 – 12:30

Please follow the above links for further details or see the LDC Development Timetable.

Postgraduate Researcher Week – 12- 16 March 2018

Postgraduate Researcher Week offers a variety of sessions running throughout the five days, 12 – 16 March, and are open to all PGR students at the University.

Full list of Events

All events take place on Liverpool Campus (various locations)

The planned events    cover a wide range of subjects and offers many opportunities for networking with other PGRs. the sessions include:

  • Introductory events for those new to the University;
  • Development workshops for those in their first year, including, ‘Your Thesis: why you should start your writing now!’, ‘Getting started with academic writing’, ‘How to work with your Supervisor ‘ and guidance to help you develop Evidence reviews;
  • Guidance on ‘Stress and mental health for postgraduate students’;
  • The talk: ‘Achieving Nirvana on stage: How to deliver a great talk’;
  • LDC development events including a new ‘Design Thinking’ workshop;
  • Sessions for those in the later sages of their PhD, including ‘Planning your Final Year’, ‘Thesis writing morning’, ‘Viva Survivor’ and the Thesis submission through Liverpool Elements;
  • Opportunities to take time out with a range of musical events, and other sessions, including gardening.

Find out more and register on the LDC Intranet site

Connect with us at #ldcpgrweek.

Developing your Creative Confidence: Design Thinking your PhD

Conducting original scholarship requires a wide range of skills and behavioural traits associated with creativity, including curiosity, motivation, risk-taking, problem-solving, collaboration, playfulness, tolerance for ambiguity and a willingness to overcome failure. While you might not claim that you are ‘creative’, creativity is an important part of what you do as a researcher. Developing your creative confidence can help improve your research processes, impact, communication, working style, emotional state and the assumptions that result in us sometimes feeling ‘stuck’ when we face barriers.

As part of the LDC Development Programme, we offer a series of workshops devoted to fostering your creative confidence so you can take positive actions towards reaching your goals and build lasting social connections through the Design Thinking process.

What’s Design Thinking?
Design Thinking is a process of thinking and working that can be used to design innovative solutions, including solutions to the varied challenges that will arise while pursuing a research degree. This approach can be used to reimagine better solutions to:

* Your PhD experience
* Exploring career options
* Research processes and productivity
* Public engagement
* Participatory research
* Interdisciplinary collaborations
* Co-creation with industry and other partners
* Developing curriculum and teaching

The Design Thinking Process

Join us for our first series of Design Thinking Studios!

Design Thinking Studio One: 

Empathy and Defining the Problem

Wed 28 February 2018

13:00 – 16:30

Design Thinking Studio Two:

Ideate and Rapid Prototyping

Wed 14 March 2018

13:00 – 16:30

Design Thinking Studio Three:

Refining your Prototype, Iteration and Testing (booking opens soon)

 Wed 18 April 2018

13:00 – 16:30

Communicating your research online – new courses/events for January

Do you want to further develop and enhance your writing and other communication skills? Are you interested in sharing your research online, in blogs or Newsletter articles or using Twitter as a form of research communication? The following online courses and webinar can help you start:

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

These two ten week courses offer a supportive and encouraging forum with a range of discussion topics including writing and presentation skills to help you develop 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 in the University. See also how others present their research and write differently, their styles, their approaches …
  • Engage and gain direct experience of the Peer review process.
  • Engage in online discussions on methods of writing, referencing, publications …
  • Gain confidence from finding others who are interested in your research!

Please choose the course that best fits your research focus.and follow the links in the course titles for further details and registration.

Using Twitter for Academic Purposes   22nd January 12.30-1.30pm

This webinar is designed for researchers who are new to Twitter, as well as those who are already on Twitter to help them explore how they might use Twitter with their research.

And if you’re struggling to start your writing see,

Overcoming Writer’s Block  – 24 Jan 14:00 – 17:00

Or see the LDC Development Timetable for a full list of all events available for booking.