Archives for the month of: April, 2016

Hopefully you are familiar with the Concordat? It is a sector owned document, rolled out eight years ago and it is a ‘good practice’ guide for institutions in the support of our researchers.

Externally, we are measured on our success in implementing the Concordat’s seven principles through the HR Excellence in Research Award which is independently reviewed every two years.

Over the last 18 months, we wanted to dig a bit deeper into how things are going and as a result, the Research Staff Development Committee, charged me with going on a tour of the University to find out about the environment for researchers.

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Some wise words here from PGRs Billy Bryan and Furaha Asani.

PhD Life

“This is not your supervisor’s market”, asserted Donna Yates in one of our recent posts. But what kind of market is it then, and how can PhD graduates find their place in it?  Furaha and Billy reflect on the changing landscape of modern knowledge economy.

Getting onto a PhD programme isn’t like it used to be. Once upon a time, you had to be a member of the affluent social elite, or incredibly clever, to have a chance of wearing that floppy hat and gown on graduation day. That’s not all it got you:a PhD was your guaranteed entry ticket into an academic job, that’s why people undertook them in the first place. The career pathway was linear and simple.

Times have changed

The PhD student population is now more evenly scattered. Now, students from more diverse socio-economic backgrounds are studying for their doctorates. The typical PhD student now closely fits into at least…

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I’ve recently read a journal paper by Nasriri and Mafakheri (2015) in Studies in Higher Education which nicely reviews the last 10 years of research into the challenges faced by academics and students faced with research supervision at a distance. It also goes on to offer strategies used to try to overcome some of the difficulties which I thought might be nice to share on here so that any of our readers, whether you are academics or students in this situation might benefit from it. Read the rest of this entry »

Building rich research and expansive networks is a core aspect of a successful academic career. Similarly, if you’re looking to move beyond academic research, breaking into professional networks and getting to know who’s who and what they do, is also crucial for getting the vital stats, and a foot in the door.

Researchers are always, and very modestly, telling me they’re really bad at networking… but that’s not what I observe of them. Maybe it’s the old definition of the corporate schmooser that’s confusing the issue. I don’t think academic networking is about elevator pitches and popping on your pushy pants, and I’m not going to reduce it to a ‘skill’ that you can perfect in 10 top tips. Read the rest of this entry »

Being a researcher at the University of Sheffield means that you have a whole host of development opportunities at your fingertips. There’s so much on offer that you could probably spend a couple of days every week attending workshops, events, participating in online training etc. and not tackle the same thing twice. So how do you go about choosing which development event is right for you?

PaniniTo avoid a situation where you start to collect development events like you would panini stickers (got, got, NEED!), it’s always handy to take a step back and reflect on your current strengths and areas for development. There are plenty of tools and resources to support you with this, such as the Researcher Development Framework, which identifies the behaviours and attributes of successful researchers and enables you to recognise your existing skills and set realistic goals for your own development.

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