Archives for posts with tag: development

What happens after you’ve participated in a development event?  Do you put together an action plan to implement what you have learned or do you take your time and apply your knowledge/skills as and when they are required?  I know that I’ve been guilty of completing an evaluation form immediately after a workshop, identifying three things I will do as a result of attending and then months later I haven’t actually followed through with my grand plans.  Sometimes this is because priorities change and other times it’s because I haven’t taken the time to properly reflect on the outcomes of an event and whether or not I will ever put them into practice.

I’ve been thinking about this recently as I surveyed researchers who had participated in one of our long-standing development events.  The particular event always receives great feedback and word of mouth referrals are high.  But I really wanted to know if researchers were actually taking away anything of use from the session.  Was the development event actually having an impact?  Some of the respondents identified direct impacts on their research such as employing time management and planning techniques learnt during the workshop, others reported more of an influence to the way they perceived themselves – project planners and professional writers.

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It struck me that there are often additional benefits of participating in a development activity, other than the stated expected outcomes.  For example; researchers who participated in an event to create a short video about their research not only gained an end product, they also developed their communication skills by presenting their research project to non-experts in three minutes, they learnt about body language and presenting in different settings, all of which can definitely be transferred into other situations.  On top of this they gained technical expertise in video production – thinking about lighting, scene creation and editing. By attending this one session they could have had a great impact upon their future career.

As a team we’re interested in hearing about how your learning experiences have impacted on your practices and behaviour.  We’d like you to help us demonstrate to others how engaging in CPD can impact on your research and upon your future career prospects.  Please share your stories in the comments below, or if you’d like to contribute a post to this blog email thinkahead@sheffield.ac.uk

 

 

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I'd like to alert you to a new resource for supervisor development on the Think Ahead web pages. The page was developed from Trust Me!  an ongoing research project led by me and funded by the Leadership Foundation for HE, investigating the behaviours that are important in building trust and creating 'quality' doctoral supervision relationships.

Throughout the project students and supervisors alike speak of the need to achieve clarity of purpose, and find good ways of working together, seeking to make the uncertain processes of the PhD more predictable; reducing feelings of insecurity, worry and stress for all involved.

The resources (locate the page here) are designed to help supervisors think, plan, and have the right conversations with their students. The page is under continuous development, linking to new resources, and articles every week via the @predoctorbility Twitter feed and blog posts.

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I want to develop this for the supervisor community. Please use the evaluation form here to let me know what you’d like to see added or created, or to signpost me to a good resource you have found.

We have a new book out! 53 Ways to Enhance Researcher Development

cover.pngSeveral of the Think Ahead team, contributed practical short chapters to this edited collection, sharing what we do and how we do it. There are 53 chapters in total, written by contributors form across the world, and this book would be great for anyone seeking to refresh and revitalise what they deliver and how, as well as people new to research development.

 

Daley, R., Guccione, K., Hutchinson, S., (Eds) (2017). 53 Ways to Enhance Researcher Development. London: Frontinus Read the rest of this entry »

The beginning
Recently I’ve been thinking about how Think Ahead came to be.  Fifteen long years ago, Sir Gareth Roberts completed a detailed review into the supply of people with science, engineering and technology skills to support UK innovation.  The review made many recommendations, two significant ones for researcher development being;

  • “The training elements of a PhD, particularly training in transferable skills, need to be improved considerably.”   (and)
  • “HEIs take responsibility for ensuring that all their contract researchers have a clear career development plan and have access to appropriate training opportunities.”
    (SET for Success, 2002).

In 2005, the European Commission adopted a ‘European Charter for Researchers’ and a ‘Code of Conduct for the Recruitment of Researchers’ furthering the agenda to make research careers more equitable and attractive. Read the rest of this entry »

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I teach professional practices in coaching and mentoring* in an education context and have developed some short workshops for academic supervisors and principal investigators that focus on the relational aspects of research leadership and use coaching techniques as the basis for conversations that help people develop their thinking and understanding.

Read the rest of this entry »

This is a guest post, written by and expressing the views of Dr Steve Hutchinson (founder of Hutchinson Training and Development). Steve runs excellent workshops. He is also one of the editors, and a plausibly prattling contributor to the upcoming book ‘53 interesting ways to enhance researcher development’…

Many years ago, I was trying to successfully navigate the upgrade meeting which would allow me to promote my registration from MPhil to PhD.

This was a scary meeting and not because I didn’t know my science (I didn’t know my science – but I’ve always been good at plausible prattle). The meeting was frightening because straight from the start one of the two panellists fixed me with a steely gaze and asked: “So, what have you learned over the last year that has made you a better academic?”. Read the rest of this entry »

d53018c541604453a8446db7ebff4483.jpgI work a lot with stuck and panicking PhD researchers near the end of their time here, and from them I have some intel to share. Bear in mind then that what follows doesn’t represent an ever so typical experience, but it does represent an important and keenly felt negative experience. One we can all learn from as colleagues in researcher development: be your role full time academic superhero and supervisor, or like mine, a specialist learning and development role, I think this will be relevant to you. Read the rest of this entry »

This is a guest post from Sara Shinton, Head of Researcher Development, University of Edinburgh — see Sara’s blog here.

An analysis of the portfolios of major research funders over the last 20 years would reveal many shifts, but perhaps the most marked is the trend away from single discipline, narrow topic research towards a collaborative model. Researchers are expected to develop connections in other disciplines and sectors and to work with them on projects on a grander scale, with a broader scope or to address specific societal issues. Read the rest of this entry »

o-new-years-resolutions-facebookHappy New Year to everyone from the Think Ahead Team!

New Year is the time when many of us make those New Year resolutions. We aspire to put things in place to be better versions of ourselves, be it to start that diet (…again!), do more exercise so sign up to a gym, stop drinking/smoking, save money…

Read the rest of this entry »

Everyone tells researchers that they need to get their research “out there”.  They should be promoting themselves and engaging with the public via YouTube, twitter, blogs and the like.  Some researchers can crack on with this and take to it like a duck to water, especially the written format.  But videos…well for some that’s an entirely different matter.  In an age where it can seem like every 10 year old is a YouTuber, what do you do if you’re not confident on screen or if you haven’t got the first idea of what makes a good video? Read the rest of this entry »