Archives for posts with tag: post-doc

Guest post on the University of Edinburgh IAD4RESEARCHERS blog


This is our first guest post on iad4researchers and I’m delighted that Dr Kay Guccione (@kayguccione) at the University of Sheffield took the time to share her perspectives on the valuable role postdocs play in supervision. Unless there are factual errors I won’t be making any edits to our guest posts, so their views are their own.

Postdocs view experience in supervision, teaching and learning as core to scoring that academic career (Akerlind 2005). And post-doctoral research staff are actually very active in teaching and learning*. I believe that post-docs are a really important but often under-recognised group of teachers in research intensive universities. Development of an academic sense of self is in part a result of having the right formal institutional responsibilities and resources (McAlpine et al., 2013) yet, post-docs aren’t often included directly in university Learning & Teaching strategies, or seen as key assets with specific skills, position, and the right experience…

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This post is brought to you by a rainy weekend in Whitby…


Rainy Whitby!

I’m not a careers adviser. I don’t even play one on TV.  At the University of Sheffield, we’re incredibly lucky to have a Careers Service that understand the particular needs of postgraduate and postdoctoral researchers, and has expert careers advisers dedicated to supporting researchers as they plan their careers, either within academia or within a different sector.

Nevertheless, I talk to a lot of researchers in my job and, increasingly, researchers want to talk about and reflect upon whether academia is the right choice for them. I think this is really positive; after all, surely one of the big reasons for undertaking doctoral or postdoctoral study is to open-up opportunities, not to close them down. Read the rest of this entry »

fsa_logo.pngRemember my Fellowship Ahoy! research project? Well it’s now been published. The summary of the project outcomes below is the press release from the Leadership Foundation.

The research paper itself is here on the LFHE website and has a lot of data in the fellows own words about how they got their fellowship funding.

You can find links, two online virtual workshops on ‘Network Building for Research Success’ and ‘Having Creative Research Ideas’, and a batch of videos of the Fellows talking about their experiences all branching from the FSA home page here. Read the rest of this entry »

rmpOur early career Research Staff Mentoring programme has been running for 5 years now. Having trained about 150 academic volunteers in mentoring techniques and ethical practice, and having seen more than 500 pairs come through the scheme, I’ve learned a lot about the power of dialogue in supporting planning for research careers. Taking a research-led approach has helped craft a programme of value to the primary learners, the early career researcher mentees. But there’s wider listening to be done to fully embed a mentoring culture across the university – a successful mentoring programme has to align with existing structures and cultures, not circumnavigate them or try to replace them.

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We are hosting a conference in 2015!

REDs_CONF1_LOGOThis inaugural conference is timely, and in-line with recent sector calls for the professionalisation of the researcher developer role. Those who develop research staff and students, are invited to strengthen their links to evidence-based practice and the impact agenda, by coming together to share and discover the scholarly work that underpins robust and innovative education of research staff and students. The conference is linked to the work of the International Journal for Researcher Development*

Register and submit your abstract here: DEADLINE WEDS 15th JULY 2015

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A guest post by Dr Beth Hellen. Catch her @phdgeek – and read her blog here – Tunnelling Through Academia

On a sunny day lasRutgerst October I stepped off a plane at JFK airport to begin a new postdoc research position in the States, and everything changed. Or actually, mostly, it didn’t.

The experience of being a postdoc abroad can vary widely depending on the country you go to and moving to the east coast of the USA is a fairly easy ride as far as postdocs in a foreign country go. There is so much cross-pollination of culture between the two countries that many aspects of life are exactly the same. Of course that means that the things that are different are much more likely to broadside you if you’re not looking out!

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Start small before trying this. Image credit: Jeff Rowley, Flickr

Start small before trying this. Image credit: Jeff Rowley, Flickr

Do you want funding for your research question? Of course you do. It’s hard to do though isn’t it, especially for ECRs with no track record. To get research funding you need a track record so how do you get that?

By starting small before you go big, and this is where Research Professional comes in. It’s a large database of research funding opportunities that is updated twice weekly and has extensive coverage of funding opportunities available in the UK and beyond. Users can search the database and stay up to date with email alerts using search terms and filters. Search results include information about the calls, funder and eligibility, relevant links as well as any notes and comments.

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As I am just back from holiday after several weeks away, I realise that I have been thinking a lot about how researchers get inspired for their work. When you ask young researchers what they do to foster their research inspiration and creativity, they usually start by responding that before being able to be creative, they need to know enough, need to have read enough. They may say that they get inspired by attending conferences or by meeting other researchers.


How do we get our research inspiration? How can we be creative as researchers? These are vast questions. What strikes me is that rarely will people start by saying that for them to be inspired or creative in their research, they just need time to think. In some ways, ‘time to think’ may seem an oxymoron in the academic context. Isn’t it what researchers do all day, isn’t it their job to think? Of course you do think all day when you are doing research, but the question remains of how you can sustain inspiration and creativity in the manner you pursue your research. I have just started reading a very interesting book called Bite: Recipes for remarkable research (Eds. A. Williams, D. Jones & J. Robertson from Sense Publishers), which presents lots of examples or as they are called in the book recipes about fostering and sustaining our inspiration and creativity as we work alone or collaboratively. It would be interesting to hear from you which of these recipes work for you.

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