Leadership is one of those Holy Grail skills that all researchers aspire to develop but often struggle to demonstrate and give evidence of leadership experience on job applications or in interviews. There are lots of different ways to lead and just because you line manage someone, doesn’t mean you are acting as a leader. Other forms of leadership include; leading up (i.e. leading your supervisor, which in research is a very regular occurrence as you are the person who knows your research area as well as, if not better than your PI), self-leadership (which is self-explanatory and something researchers do on a daily basis) and lateral leadership which I want to cover below. Read the rest of this entry »
Walking to work this morning, in the rain, I was trying to think of something to write for my blog post and the phrase ‘when it rains, it pours’ kept playing over in my mind. For many of us, it really does seem to be the case at work especially that your workload is not a steady flow but a torrential downpour of tasks. You find yourself rushing to finish that presentation for the conference in a couple of days’ time, when a journal review lands in your inbox that you know you can’t say no to. You also have that paper that still needs finishing, portfolio to finish for your Higher Education Academy submission, a million actions to complete from a variety of committee meetings and that’s on top of balancing your ‘day job’ work. If this isn’t enough, home life seems no less hectic. Your kids have such a busy social/hobby/homework demands they could do with their own PA, someone in your extended family isn’t well, you foolishly decided to have some renovation work done to your house and you daren’t open the spare bedroom door for fear of being consumed by the tidal wave of ironing threatening to engulf you. It’s enough to make you feel like dropping all the juggling balls and running in the opposite direction. Read the rest of this entry »
A guest post from Dr Vera Lukashchuk, a research associate from the Sheffield Institute of Translational Neuroscience.
If you have ever felt like you are not using your time effectively, that you are not progressing in your job as fast as you wish to, and that you may be ignoring the importance of the work/life balance, then read on…
In March 2015, Think Ahead ran a brilliant workshop called ‘How to be an Effective Researcher’ aimed to help you resolve or at the very least recognise all of these and other issues in yourself. The workshop delivered by Caron King from Mindset Methods consisted of two very dynamic days dedicated to providing an insight into strategies for successful project design and management, and working effectively to deliver results. I walked in there open-minded, and very aware of the fact that I would have to challenge my introverted nature and interact with people I’d just met, full-time for two days straight. Read the rest of this entry »
I have been working on projects for a while. I was a researcher (Technician, PhD, PDRA) so initially these were bioscience projects. Now I am a Project Officer in R&IS and manage and co-ordinate institutional projects that support research and researchers. I could tell you more, but won’t, the point is I gained transferable skills from my time doing research and I recently used this to write a ‘project planning check list’ to help me plan new projects. I share it below. Read the rest of this entry »
I’m regularly asked (often by researchers just starting a PhD or their 1st postdoc), “what training and development activities should I sign up for?” They are often overwhelmed by the mind blowing amount of workshops, schemes and seminars that are on offer. It is true that a researcher could spend more time attending workshops than actually doing their research. As important as it is to spend time on career development activities, the one thing you don’t want to do is to become a serial workshop booker, enrolling onto everything you see advertised. As managers of training programmes we often come across individuals who sign up for every single workshop we advertise (I’ve even come across people attending the exact same workshop more than once in a year). As flattering as it is that they want to attend all we provide, this really isn’t the most effective use of your time.