Last Thursday morning I attended the first ‘Research & Innovation forum’, which was led by Professor Dave Petley, Vice President for Research & Innovation.
I think it is worth writing about for a few reasons.
- It is an example of me engaging in continuing professional development. Many times, myself and colleagues make the point that development is everywhere. It is to be found in much more fluid experiences than a whole day ‘training’ event or qualification. We develop through engagement in everyday activities where we expand our knowledge base and reflect on the way we work.
- In working in a team whose mission is to provide, “a framework for the continuous professional development of researchers at the University of Sheffield, supporting individual career ambitions in and beyond academia”, I ought to have an understanding of the current research landscape both in and beyond the university and be prepared to share that understanding with others.
- To encourage other people to attend future forums.
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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 »
In May 2016 I posted about the launch of a research project I am collaborating on with Billy Bryan (@BillyB100) looking into perceptions of value in the PhD.
The study has progressed really well over the last 9 months, we have now completed two phases: our survey for current PhD students got 200+ responses, and we also did 22 in depth interviews with PhD graduates across a range of career types. 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 »
The gang were stumped. Researchers kept joining the university and then vanished into thin air!
Was there some dark laboratory in the basement where they were all held captive and never saw the light of day again? It appeared some of them seemed to be able to escape to attend various development sessions but sadly some never did. Read the rest of this entry »
With the sunshine seemingly over and autumnal nights closing in, I’ve been reflecting on development events which took place over the summer and in particular the success of the Think Ahead: Sheffield Undergraduate Research Scheme (Think Ahead: SURE). 33 summer research projects took place over a 6-8 week period in the Faculty of Medicine, Dentistry & Health and the Faculty of Science, with undergraduate students gaining valuable research experience to set them up for the final year of their studies and, in some cases, to support applications for further study. Read the rest of this entry »
My usual thesis banter is all about how to start writing. But in order to get it submitted at some point you have to stop.
Lots of you will have hard deadlines to meet and be beavering away towards them. I hear sometimes though a variation on “…but I want to be finished way before that.” There can be flexibility in any self-imposed deadline that allows you to slide it back if you want to. Beware this tendency to drag the process on longer and longer and if you can, force an end by planning a ‘full stop’ point. Maybe plan a holiday, or agree a job start date that requires you to have finished your thesis. It’s hard to write and fully commit to your work in a new role, as many people who are juggling a full time job and thesis writing will echo.
As you come towards the end, keep your mind on being done, and remind yourself: Read the rest of this entry »
Below, and here, are two stories of PhD study from researchers who combined work and a PhD. While both are positive accounts, there are some differences, for example, working as a practitioner in the same field as you study, or working on multiple research projects including the PhD. What both have spoken of though is:
- Perspective: the PT PhD as one aspect, albeit important, of who they are and their career portfolio. This helps to maintain momentum, and enthusiasm, and avoids becoming entrenched in the idea of the perfect PhD.
- Complementary: Working and studying within the same topic areas, or having insight into the research culture and university workings, all useful things in navigating PhD progression.
- Process not product: seeing the PhD as a learning and growth opportunity, and slowly building skills and experiences towards the next step.
I hope you enjoy them both, there are some good ideas here for full time PhD students too.
This piece is from Samuel Dent (@SRDent89), a researcher in Higher Education, at Sheffield Hallam University.
My PhD topic area is based in my experiences of working on the front line of University Student Support. Each March I’d brace for impact as swathes of 20/21-year-olds about to graduate would come to see me; exhausted/tempted to withdraw, and questioning the purpose of their entire education. At this point in the year most graduate recruitment schemes had announced their new recruits, and inevitably some students didn’t make the cut. For many of these students this was the first time they had realized that beginning their career would not be straightforward, and that being successful had not come easy this time.
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This post is from Melanie Lovatt (@melanie_lovatt), who has just completed a PhD in Sociological Studies. For a sister-post on part-time PhDs, please see here.
Back in 2010 I excitedly told friends and family that I had decided to do a part-time PhD. “Part-time?” repeated a relative sceptically. “Well, how long’s that going to take you?” “Around six years!” I replied, with an enthusiasm that I suspected might desert me long before completion. But five years and nine months on, having passed my viva with minor corrections last month and about to start a lectureship, I can honestly say that doing my PhD part-time was the right decision for me. Here are some reflections on the process: Read the rest of this entry »
2nd Researcher Education & Development Scholarship (REDS) Conference — University of Sheffield — Friday 14th October 2016
Anchoring Researcher Development: theoretical mindsets
The second annual REDS conference will focus more deeply on the professionalisation of the researcher developer role and access to scholarly activity, and consider the challenges involved for practitioners in developing research ideas/projects. We aim to share and explore the designs, outcomes and impact of practice-based research into doctoral and post-doctoral experiences, researcher learning and development mechanisms, and enabling supervisory practices. The event is organised to provide opportunities to network and share professional and research practices across multiple perspectives and contexts for developing researchers.