Happy and productive 2020!

Happy New Year and welcome back.  Or just welcome, if you’re starting your research programme this month.

2020 balloons

It’s traditional at this time of year to make (and perhaps break!) a few resolutions.  The media is full of articles about diet and exercise, but what about resolving to make lasting improvements in your research processes?  It’s easy to say “I will do more” or “I will do better” but what exactly does that look like in practice and how can you make it stick? Continue reading “Happy and productive 2020!”

Fast away the old year passes…

…and suddenly campus is quiet.  The undergraduates have gone home for the Christmas break and the short days and grey weather discourage lingering in the Green Heart. There’s a feeling of winding down as staff and researchers breathe more easily now that the freneticism of the Autumn Term is over. What will you be doing over the Christmas break?

 

Continue reading “Fast away the old year passes…”

Advice? Take it or leave it.

As a PGR, you are no doubt receiving plenty of advice from many different sources, not least (I hope!) this blog and any development workshops or online courses you are completing.  I’ve recently seen this excellent post by Amber Gwynne on The Thesis Whisperer blog, and it’s got me thinking about giving and receiving advice.

Amber gives a number of really good suggestions for contextualising advice and deciding which pieces of advice you should take or leave.  I would recommend you read her post.

[T]here’s an awful lot of advice out there. And then there’s just awful advice. So, how do you separate the wood from the trees … ?

Her advice (!) can be summarised, in my view, as a two-step process: contextualise the advice from the giver, and be highly self-reflective when considering whether it can usefully apply to you.  It’s this second point that I want to pick up in more detail. Continue reading “Advice? Take it or leave it.”

‘Twas the night before Christmas (vacation)…

Spring is frequently considered to be the time for cleaning, but nevertheless, many colleagues are currently sorting and tidying their desks. For those working in universities in all sorts of roles, the Autumn Term feels like a particularly long and sustained period of hard work, with memories of summer weather and holidays fading into history. The end of term and approach of the Christmas break comes as a welcome opportunity to take a deep breath, tidy desks and minds in preparation for returning in the new year, and shift focus from busy day-to-day activities to future plans. Continue reading “‘Twas the night before Christmas (vacation)…”

Happy New Year!

janus_
The Roman god Janus, often represented with two faces looking both forward and backwards.

Welcome to 2017!

The month of January is named after Janus, the Roman god of beginnings, endings, and transitions, and is often a time when we resolve to do things differently.  Are you considering any research-related resolutions for 2017? Continue reading “Happy New Year!”

Spotlight on the RDF: “Self-reflection”

In the second of our occasional series of spotlights, 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.

reflection-1205794_1920If only self-reflection, in the context of becoming an effective researcher, were as easy as looking in the mirror!  In fact, the ability to reflect on your experiences, strengths and weaknesses, and to seek and respond to feedback is a hugely important quality you will develop as a researcher.  Effective self-reflection allows you to keep moving forward by careful evaluation of the past.

I’ve chosen to focus the spotlight on self-reflection at this time of year, because many of you will be completing your Development Needs Analysis (DNA) forms around now, and self-reflection is a key part of this process. Continue reading “Spotlight on the RDF: “Self-reflection””