Jack and the annual review process

Are you following jobs.ac.uk‘s PhD Vloggers?  The most recent installment catches up with Jack Donaghy, just reaching the end of his 1st year as a PhD student in Urban Studies at the University of Glasgow.

Continue reading “Jack and the annual review process”

Spotlight on the RDF: “Appropriate practice”

In the first of an occasional series, we take a closer look at a specific descriptor from the RDF.

In this series of “Spotlight on…” posts, we’ll be delving into the detail of the descriptors in Vitae‘s Researcher Development Framework (RDF).  Each one of the sixty-three descriptors is a characteristic of an excellent researcher, and we’ll be looking at how UoB PGRs can develop these characteristics.

The RDF  descriptor “appropriate practice” is one which is easier to define through its opposite:  academic malpractice is any activity – intentional or not – that is likely to undermine the integrity essential to scholarship and research.  Examples of academic malpractice include plagiarism and falsification/fabrication of results.  Continue reading “Spotlight on the RDF: “Appropriate practice””

What are you going to do today?

Sometimes old-school pen and paper does the job best.  Sometimes technology really does do something better.  Most of the time, it’s down to personal preference and how the tools fit with your workflow.

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Image credit: Adam Diaz

A “To Do” list can be a few scribbled notes on a Post-It, or a detailed project plan.  It can be used just to help you with today, this week, or months and years.  The key advantage of a “To Do” list is that you no longer have to spend mental energy keeping track of what you have to do, which David Allen of Getting Things Done notes will free you up to think and be creative.

There’s no single right way to keep a “To Do” list, and, to be honest, they’re not for everyone.  If you think you’re a list person, there are hundreds of ways to do it, so you’re sure to find a way that works for you.  Continue reading “What are you going to do today?”

Should Cindarella apply for research funding?

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Image credit: The Metropolitan Museum of Art

Over on her excellent blog, patter, Pat Thomson shares what she’s learned about applying for research funding from her last five years directing a research development centre for the Arts and Social Sciences.  She gives a great summary of the right and wrong ways to respond to a call for bids.

For researchers who already work on this agenda, this kind of call is a god send… The funding shoe fits.

[…]

The problem comes when a researcher or research team sees the call and decides to try to make their research fit into it… – they simply try to shoehorn themselves and their work into the call.

Read the whole post: beware the shoehorn – #researchfunding

What are your experiences of responding to a call for bids?  Have you been successful in obtaining funding?  Share your thoughts below.

There’s no “I” in TEAM

In the week of the Postgraduate Enterprise Summer School, we take a quick look at effective team working.

This week, PGRs from across the University are participating in the Postgraduate Enterprise Summer School (PESS).

Participants will work together in small teams to solve a real life strategy challenge being faced by an influential local organisation.

PESS is designed to develop PGRs’ enterprise and transferable skills, and in particular to give PGRs the invaluable opportunity to develop team working skills.  You will often be required to work in teams in careers both in and outside academia.

Teams are formed when a group of people get together with a shared goal.  One feature of effective teams is each member of the group/team understanding their own strengths and weaknesses, and appreciating the strengths and weaknesses of other members of the team.  One of the most common models used for this is the Belbin Team RolesBelbin’s original research demonstrated that successful teams had a balance between eight (later nine) “team roles” (or clusters of behaviour in a team). Continue reading “There’s no “I” in TEAM”

Write often!

In the week of the Writing Summer School, one “top tip” for writing is offered.

This week, it’s the University Graduate School Writing Summer School.  There are a lot of exciting workshops planned, covering wide-ranging topics on writing from mapping academic writing, writing for publication, reviewing the literature and doctoral writing groups to editing and proof-reading.  For full details, enrol on the Canvas module.

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:

Write often.

Continue reading “Write often!”

Mentoring: what does it add?

Picking up on a few highlights from Vitae’s recent Google Hangout on mentoring, this post considers mentoring in the context of UoB PhD students.

Mentoring uses a conversational approach to help an individual clarify their goals and/or improve their self-awareness, skills or knowledge.

From May to July this year, Vitae has a “Focus on” mentoring and coaching for researchers.  They say:

Interviews with research and academic leaders revealed having a mentor to be one of the most important forms of support to prepare early career researchers for the challenges of research independence and leadership.

Continue reading “Mentoring: what does it add?”