The Universitas 21 & PwC Innovation Challenge is an annual international competition exclusively for postgraduates. PricewaterhouseCoopers set a current workplace challenge and participants record a 3 minute video pitching their solution. In 2020, University of Birmingham Philosophy PGR Eugenia Lancellotta did fantastically well, getting into the top 10. Her video was judged by high level staff both within PwC and their client companies, and she won careers training and mentoring from PwC. Here, she tells us about her experience.
It felt great and completely unexpected to be in the Top 10, especially because I realised I was one of the few students of Humanities there! I felt really proud of representing the category and of doing it for the University of Birmingham.
In this blog post Dr. Holly Prescott, our PGR Careers Adviser, talks about how to put yourself in a position where a great career can find you…
After six long months of trying to kid myself that I could make my own entertainment, I bit the bullet and bought a TV for my new flat. After a barrage of suggestions as to what I should spend my weekends ‘binge-watching,’ Dexter left me underwhelmed, whilst Doctor Foster Series 2 was five hours of my life I wanted back. Perhaps this whole telly box thing wasn’t for me after all.
That was until I tried BBC police drama Line of Duty. If you haven’t had the pleasure yet, the series follows AC-12, an anti-corruption police unit whose mission is to sniff out and bring to justice corrupt officers within the force. Detective Sergeant Steve Arnott is a diminutive cockney detective-genius with a superlative ability to maintain a single facial expression for five entire series. Detective Constable Kate Fleming makes working undercover look as easy and seamless as riding a bike… if you’re Bradley Wiggins.
As I was engrossed in an episode in series two, Steve and Kate outlined the three criteria that a suspect must fulfil to be convicted of a crime:
Motive: a reason/ motivation to commit the crime
Means: the ability and tools necessary to commit the crime
Opportunity: adequate chance(s) to commit the crime
In this blog post Patricia Herterich, the Research Repository Advisor in the University of Birmingham Library, provides a summary and reflection of the Writing Summer School session “Navigating the maze of research and writing tools”…
Using the right tools is crucial to make your research and writing processes as efficient as possible. There are plenty of tools to choose from to support the full research life cycle from discovering literature related to research to publishing and promoting your own works. To get a better understanding, Bianca Kramer and Jeroen Bosman surveyed the tools used by researchers around the world for 9 months in 2015/16. The more than 20,000 survey answers can be accessed for detailed research and inspired some workflows based on e.g. services offered by the same provider or services that support the ideas of Open Science. Continue reading “How to find your tools of the trade”
Carol Gray, a doctoral researcher at Birmingham Law School, shares her experience with us on designing online courses…
“To teach is to learn twice”, as the saying goes.
Have you ever found yourself explaining your research to other people, then wondering how much they have taken in? Ever been tempted to set them a quick quiz to test this? (Okay, that’s probably going a bit too far….)
What about your key stakeholders or colleagues? Wouldn’t it be good to share your results with them in a format that allows the learning to count as Continuing Professional Development (CPD)? Many professionals are now required to complete a certain number of hours of CPD per year, and this can be a powerful recruitment tool for short courses.
So, why don’t you think about turning your research topic into an on-line learning module? On-line learning has become a hugely popular form of learning, either on its own or mixed with face-to-face sessions as “blended learning.” Continue reading “Turn your research into a course!”
This week James Walker, a postgraduate researcher in the Centre for Doctoral Training in Fuel Cells and their Fuels in the School of Chemical Engineering, shares his public engagement experience with us…
Ever been at a party and killed a conversation in ten seconds flat when asked “so, what do you do?” If so, you’re probably also a postgraduate researcher (PGR) – or perhaps a town planner. My heart goes out to my peers who are both! I used to get as far as “oh I’m doing a PhD in Chemical Enginee-,“ before I’d notice the glazing over of the eyes of what had been my audience. “You must be very smart,” they all say, before suddenly needing to nip to the loo. Now I lead with “well I make really tiny renewable energy catalysts and look at atoms using fancy, expensive microscopes that look like weapons in a Bond villain’s arsenal!” Suffice to say, the second response engenders significantly more discussion. The subtle difference is in knowing your audience and tailoring your delivery, I’d say. These are among a crop of new skills that I’ve picked up since becoming heavily involved in public engagement with research and I’m writing this to tell you how you too can revolutionise your personal development simply by talking about the thing that you spend most of your time doing. Convenient eh? Continue reading “Public Engagement with Research: The Personal Development Holy Grail”
The term ‘transferable skills’ often elicits either:
A flashback from a cringe-worthy team-building day
So let’s think about it in another way.
Imagine your postgraduate research degree wasn’t just about writing a however-many-thousand-word thesis. Imagine that, at the same time, you were also becoming a proficient project manager, an expert in conveying complex information in an accessible way, and a skilled diplomat capable of managing a whole host of potentially tricky professional situations and working relationships.
Call it selling yourself, call it ‘spin,’ call it whatever you like… but there’s no imagination required. As a PGR, you are already ALL OF THESE THINGS. And, chances are, much more besides. When it comes to considering potential careers and applying for jobs then, the trick is being able to reflect not just on what we know as PGRs, but what we can do. Continue reading “Your PGR skills: from feeding bees to being the bees-knees…”
Presenting your research in a poster format might seem like a daunting task, but there are many reasons that this is an essential task for PGRs. Jenna Clake, from the College of Arts and Law, shared her experience of participating in the Conference with us…
I presented my research at the Research Poster Conference last year, with a poster entitled ‘Do You Think I’m Crazy?: Feminine and Feminist Humour in the Absurd’. As a Creative Writing PhD researcher, sometimes it is difficult to gain the opportunity to disseminate my research to a wide audience. My research focuses on two main areas: my ‘creative’ work (poetry) and my ‘critical’ work (researching literary theories and trends). I rarely have the chance to talk about the latter, especially to academics and researchers outside my specialism, so the Research Poster Conference offered the chance to receive some much-needed peer review.
Writing for research is such a huge topic that it can’t be covered in its entirety in a 2-day summer school, so a blog post is definitely not up to the job. But in the spirit of the writing summer school, I wanted to share with you my “top tip” for writing. It’s not particularly original, and has been encapsulated in a thousand clichés, but here it is: