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Researcher Development Programme (RDP)

Researcher Development Programme (RDP) course timetable

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Tue 23 May – Wed 5 Jul

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May 2017

Wed 24
Postdocs: Managing up new [Places] 14:00 - 16:00 Postdoc Centre, Newman Library @ Biomedical Campus

The relationship you build with your supervisor/PI is important for your future career development, and you stand to gain from shaping a mutually beneficial rapport. This workshop helps postdocs develop the skill of managing up, the deliberate effort to bring understanding and cooperation to a professional relationship. You will see how to consider your PI’s perspectives and motivations, and how embedding your career goals into your PI’s goals, your team’s goals, and the institution’s goals will positively influence your own progress. Come to this workshop to understand how to actively build strong, meaningful professional relationships.


Outcomes:

  • Identify what is important to you in a professional relationship
  • Learn real steps toward building mutually beneficial working relationships
  • Extend your awareness of your place in building strong relationships with those who oversee you


Feedback:

“[This workshop] increased my awareness of the concept of and the need for managing up - this was something I had been missing. Considering that not everyone has a supervisor that initiates a discussion of how you will manage working styles and communications, it is especially necessary to fill that gap.”

“It was a very useful and novel (for me) session that gave a good overview of the concept of managing up, which I was unfortunately somewhat oblivious to previously.”

“It was helpful to think about how my supervisor works and the importance of communicating expectations.”

Thu 25

It’s that time of year: the report is looming on the horizon and the reality of writing is here!

Aimed at first-year PhD students, this course is designed to get you thinking and working effectively on your end-of-first-year report / Certificate of Postgraduate Studies. How do you start? What is expected? How do you make it work for you? These and many other important questions, hints and tips will be addressed in this half-day session.


Outcomes:

  • Understand the form and function of the first-year report
  • Start planning the structure of your report
  • Experience the benefits of editing and providing feedback on writing
Writing Your First Year Report (Life Sciences ) [Places] 14:00 - 16:30 17 Mill Lane, Seminar Room B

It’s that time of year: the report is looming on the horizon and the reality of writing is here!

Aimed at first-year PhD students, this course is designed to get you thinking and working effectively on your end-of-first-year report / Certificate of Postgraduate Studies. How do you start? What is expected? How do you make it work for you? These and many other important questions, hints and tips will be addressed in this half-day session.


Outcomes:

  • Understand the form and function of the first-year report
  • Start planning the structure of your report
  • Experience the benefits of editing and providing feedback on writing
Wed 31
Making the Most of Conferences [Places] 10:00 - 12:00 16 Mill Lane, Office of Post-Doctoral Affairs, Eastwood Room

"It's not what you know, it's who you know."

This might be an old cliché, but it's particularly true in research where (reportedly) over 90% of jobs go to a candidate already known to the employer. This half-day session will examine how you can make the most of conferences as an environment to strategically network and build research connections.


Outcomes:

  • Know how to make attendance at conferences productive
  • Start thinking about personal goals while attending conferences
  • Understand practically how to network during and after a conference
Better Presentations: A Practical Guide [Full] 14:00 - 16:30 PPD, Revans Room

You know your stuff, but does your performance let you down? Presenting your research is an essential skill for a researcher, be it to your research group, at a major conference or even to a classroom of schoolchildren.

This is a highly interactive workshop that requires you to throw yourself into the activities. Everyone will be involved as we take some of the material from the online Presentation Skills Toolkit and try it out in a safe and supportive environment. Learn to project your voice, handle the dreaded Q&A, and work on getting better each time you present.

This workshop is particularly designed for those who feel less confident with the performance aspects of giving presentations. If you are comfortable standing up and talking in front of others then we recommend starting with the online Presentation Skills Toolkit.


Outcomes:

  • Feel more confident in your ability to speak well
  • Know some practical tips for handling nerves and questions
  • Understand how to continue improving with each presentation

June 2017

Thu 1
Writing Your First Year Report (Life Sciences ) [Places] 14:00 - 16:30 Postdoc Centre, Newman Library @ Biomedical Campus

It’s that time of year: the report is looming on the horizon and the reality of writing is here!

Aimed at first-year PhD students, this course is designed to get you thinking and working effectively on your end-of-first-year report / Certificate of Postgraduate Studies. How do you start? What is expected? How do you make it work for you? These and many other important questions, hints and tips will be addressed in this half-day session.


Outcomes:

  • Understand the form and function of the first-year report
  • Start planning the structure of your report
  • Experience the benefits of editing and providing feedback on writing
Postdocs: How to Approach Difficult Conversations new [Places] 14:30 - 16:30 The Postdoc Centre, Eastwood Room @ Mill Lane

As a postdoc, you’re in a transitional period of your career, one that can be precarious and uncertain at times or marked by dependency on others. Inevitably, there are moments when you have to engage in difficult conversations, whether with your PI, your peers, or with the people you now oversee. You may need to discuss the advancement of your career, settle a conflict with a colleague, or provide feedback to the students.

This workshop is designed to equip you with the right tools to prepare for and have difficult conversations. We will consider the factors that make particular conversations difficult as well as the “third-generation thinking” and mindful listening that will help you elicit the response you want. This interactive workshop is for all postdocs who want to hone their communication skills, advance their careers, and develop their leadership capacities.


Outcomes:

  • To think differently in leading difficult conversations to negotiate and influence.
  • Articulate own view point in collaboration with team members.
  • Consider different ways to deal with difficult conversations in light of your own behaviour and that of others.


Feedback:

“I liked the way we explicitly broke down the process of preparing for difficult conversations by giving techniques.”

Mon 5
Effective Undergraduate Supervision (Life Sciences) [Places] 09:30 - 12:30 PPD, Fawcett Room

Why this course might make a difference:

Looking back at your experience of education you can probably remember those teachers and lecturers who were excellent. We remember the ones who were good because they have left a lasting impact on us; shaping both our learning in the past and our approach to teaching at Cambridge. Supervising undergraduate students at Cambridge can be one of the most rewarding activities for PhDs and Postdocs and this course is designed to make sure that you can offer your best and hopefully be one of those memorable teachers for someone else.

A blended workshop incorporates personal reflection on teaching practice, discussion of real teaching scenarios, a chance to ask questions from an experienced supervisor and access to practical information about organising and carrying out your supervisions.

This training is required by many colleges before you can carry out supervisions and is always a popular course.

About the trainer:
The course trainer is Dr Ben Murton who has over 12 years of teaching experience in Cambridge and was an undergraduate here as well. He is now a College Teaching Associate at St John's, a tutor on the Teaching Associates Programme and offers supervision coaching for Life Sciences supervisors.

If you have any specific questions you are welcome to contact him before the course on Ben.Murton@admin.cam.ac.uk

Tue 6
Postdocs: Self-Coaching for Professional Development new [Places] 14:30 - 16:30 Postdoc Centre, Newman Library @ Biomedical Campus

Have you ever considered how you could coach yourself in your professional development?

This workshop progresses on from Postdocs: Introduction to Coaching and Mentoring to suggest tools and techniques that can help you gain greater self-awareness whether of your blind spots, of the barriers you may be creating for yourself, or of what you could be doing to take the necessary steps for development. Techniques include how to use writing, sharing, and planning to heighten your motivation to succeed, clarify your thoughts, and activate new ideas, solutions, and possibilities for moving forward. We will introduce tools to help you to prioritise and focus, question yourself, and break down your ideas into real steps toward progress.

It is possible to attend this as an individual workshop, although we would recommend that you attend Postdocs: Introduction to Coaching and Mentoring before signing up for this workshop.


Outcomes:

  • Identify your key areas for development.
  • Apply tools and techniques to coach yourself in these chosen areas of development.
  • Recognise how to clarify and focus on the necessary steps to be taken from here.
Wed 7
Introduction to Research Integrity at Cambridge new [Places] 14:00 - 16:00 17 Mill Lane, Seminar Room E


This course will be delivered by the University’s Research Governance and Integrity Officer and will introduce researchers to research integrity and ethics at Cambridge. The course will:

  • explore the issue of research misconduct in academia and facilitate discussion of why and how it occurs
  • explain the recent research integrity agenda and examine how this effects researchers
  • discuss some of the challenges to the integrity of research and ask what individuals, groups and institutions can do to tackle them
  • introduce the University’s research ethics system
  • use case studies and discussion exercises to examine key issues
Thu 8
Writing Your First Year Report (Life Sciences ) CANCELLED 14:00 - 16:30 17 Mill Lane, Seminar Room B

It’s that time of year: the report is looming on the horizon and the reality of writing is here!

Aimed at first-year PhD students, this course is designed to get you thinking and working effectively on your end-of-first-year report / Certificate of Postgraduate Studies. How do you start? What is expected? How do you make it work for you? These and many other important questions, hints and tips will be addressed in this half-day session.


Outcomes:

  • Understand the form and function of the first-year report
  • Start planning the structure of your report
  • Experience the benefits of editing and providing feedback on writing
Fri 9
MBTI: Understanding Personality in a Research Environment [Places] 10:00 - 16:00 PPD, Revans Room

The Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) is the most widely used personality instrument worldwide. Based on over fifty years' worth of research, it presents a framework for understanding how you operate, how others operate, and how you can use that understanding to get more from yourself and the relationships you have with others.

This workshop is led by a qualified MBTI practitioner, and will involve taking the MBTI questionnaire as well as self-assessment with group exercises.


Outcomes:

  • Understand what MBTI is and its limitations as well as its strengths
  • Know and understand your MBTI type
  • Use MBTI knowledge in real-world applications such as communication, planning and relationships
An Introduction to Emotional Intelligence new [Full] 10:00 - 13:00 PPD, Fawcett Room

Emotional intelligence is the ability to recognize both your own and others' emotions and feelings. As a result, emotional intelligence is vital to enhancing our own personal effectiveness and our ability to work with others.

This pilot course will introduce you to emotional intelligence and help you to recognize and work with your own and others' emotions.

Tue 13
Postdocs: How to Prepare a Grant or Fellowship Application with Impact (STEMM) [Places] 09:00 - 12:00 The Postdoc Centre, Eastwood Room @ Mill Lane

Do you know how to write a successful research grant or fellowship application? This course is designed for STEMM postdocs with little or no experience of getting their research funded. It will explore the current research environment and impact agenda and help you understand how research is funded. You will also experience the process of reviewing applications and gain valuable and timely knowledge about how to get research funded.


Outcomes:

  • Learn tips and strategies to help you to get your current & future projects funded
  • Understand how proposals are assessed by funders
  • Gain experience of reviewing funding applications
  • Gain information about translational research funding and support available to post-docs


Feedback:

“Both the online resources presented, and the focused training sessions were well structured and passed through the importance of well-structured proposal, and often overlooked issues such as impact.”

“[I liked] seeing a grant from another discipline, to realise that a well-written grant (even if not perfect) can be understood also by people external to the field.”

Wed 14
Leadership + new [Places] 09:30 - 16:30 17 Mill Lane, Training room A (First Floor)

Arguably, there is a central tension within the concept of ‘Leadership’: on the one hand, the concept of Leadership has been explored extensively by researchers and become increasingly ambiguous; on the other, it is still the practice of leading others, which, in order to be effective, needs to be as clear as possible.

Building on the foundations of the 'Four Elements of Leadership' explored in Introduction to Leadership, this full-day course will develop your leadership skills by exploring its complexities through Keith Grints’ "4P framework of Leadership".

We recommend that you attend the Introduction to Leadership workshop before attending this course.

Thu 15

A good poster’s worth 1000 words… but a bad poster’s just a bit of messy paper. When it’s time for you to present your scientific poster how are you going to make the most of the opportunity? We’ll think about why we use posters to present our research, what makes the difference between a good and bad poster and some useful tips to help you present your data in style.

Writing Your First Year Report (Life Sciences ) CANCELLED 14:00 - 16:30 Postdoc Centre, Newman Library @ Biomedical Campus

It’s that time of year: the report is looming on the horizon and the reality of writing is here!

Aimed at first-year PhD students, this course is designed to get you thinking and working effectively on your end-of-first-year report / Certificate of Postgraduate Studies. How do you start? What is expected? How do you make it work for you? These and many other important questions, hints and tips will be addressed in this half-day session.


Outcomes:

  • Understand the form and function of the first-year report
  • Start planning the structure of your report
  • Experience the benefits of editing and providing feedback on writing
Thu 22
Scientific Writing new [Full] 09:30 - 17:30 Department of Engineering, Lecture Room 4

This one-day course focuses on the structure of good scientific writing. Including writing exercises as an integral part of the workshop, we will look at the practical process of writing, the nature of scientific publishing, and the importance of editing. The day will finish with a group editing session in which you apply the ideas you have learnt by editing each other's work.

For the group editing session you will need to write a 300-word abstract about your work in advance, and bring it with you as a printout (see 'Prerequisites' below for details).

REGISTRATION starts at 9.00am on the day. Please ensure you arrive on time as latecomers may be refused entry.


Outcomes:

  • Develop skills for producing high-quality scientific papers aimed at the world's top journals
  • Understand the structure of good communication at the level of sentences, paragraphs, abstracts and entire papers
  • Apply these ideas to your own work
Postdocs: Leading Others new [Places] 10:30 - 12:30 The Postdoc Centre, Eastwood Room @ Mill Lane

Are you ready to lead others confidently in whatever leadership position you may find yourself in?

This workshop draws on insight gained from Postdocs: An Initial Guide to Leadership and Postdocs: Self-Leadership and considers how to apply different skills, strengths, and styles of leadership as well as the strategies of self-leadership to enable you to thoughtfully and self-assuredly lead others. This workshop will help you cultivate a more profound and extensive portfolio of leadership capabilities and a deeper understanding of how to motivate people and to get the best out of them.

It is possible to attend this as an individual workshop, although we would recommend that you try to attend the series starting with Postdocs: An Initial Guide to Leadership and Postdocs: Self-Leadership.


Outcomes:

  • Understand the key components of being led and leading others.
  • Expand and extend your skills, strengths, abilities and style in detail so that you can lead others now and in the future.
  • Apply self-knowledge, awareness and techniques in the deployment of your leadership skills with others.
Fri 23
Introduction to Teamwork new [Places] 09:30 - 16:30 Faculty of Education, 184 Hills Road, GS5

In today’s world, very few people work in isolation without any help or input from others. Whether teamwork is an active part of your research or will be part of your next stage in life, understanding what an effective team looks like and how you can help to develop one is an essential skill.

This full-day workshop will let you explore the fundamentals of effective teamwork. Based around a series of intensive activities that link theory with application, you will gain practical knowledge that can be used to improve your teamwork within your research, and beyond.

Tue 27
Postdocs: How to Achieve Productive Collaborations new [Places] 10:30 - 12:30 The Postdoc Centre, Eastwood Room @ Mill Lane

We hear a lot lately on the benefits of collaboration for researchers. International collaborations look good on your CV, being collaborative helps generate higher impact publications, and participating in collaborations leads to creating professional networks you can call on throughout your career.

If we know that collaborations are good for research and career progression, it follows that we should learn how to collaborate well. This workshop looks at the practices of productive collaborations exploring the ways of thinking and doing that will contribute to successful teamwork. We will consider the importance of give-and-take within professional relationships, the benefits and challenges of bringing people together, and the stages collaboration goes through. We will also explore how working with others leads to personal growth.


Outcomes:

  • Learn the skills and ways of thinking that lead to productive collaborations.
  • Understand the challenges of teamwork and the typical stages of collaboration.
  • Consider the links between working collaboratively and personal growth.

July 2017

Tue 4
Better Presentations: A Practical Guide [Places] 14:00 - 16:30 PPD, Revans Room

You know your stuff, but does your performance let you down? Presenting your research is an essential skill for a researcher, be it to your research group, at a major conference or even to a classroom of schoolchildren.

This is a highly interactive workshop that requires you to throw yourself into the activities. Everyone will be involved as we take some of the material from the online Presentation Skills Toolkit and try it out in a safe and supportive environment. Learn to project your voice, handle the dreaded Q&A, and work on getting better each time you present.

This workshop is particularly designed for those who feel less confident with the performance aspects of giving presentations. If you are comfortable standing up and talking in front of others then we recommend starting with the online Presentation Skills Toolkit.


Outcomes:

  • Feel more confident in your ability to speak well
  • Know some practical tips for handling nerves and questions
  • Understand how to continue improving with each presentation
Wed 5
Postdocs: Setting Up Group Coaching Sessions new [Places] 14:00 - 16:00 The Postdoc Centre, Eastwood Room @ Mill Lane

Would you like to learn the skills and techniques of group coaching and see how it can support postdoc development, productivity and progression?

This workshop will give you the opportunity to learn about and experience group coaching within a supportive, safe environment alongside other postdocs. We will use tools and techniques first introduced in Postdocs: Introduction to Coaching and Mentoring and Postdocs: Self-Coaching for Professional Development to support and facilitate you to coach others and be coached to progress your ideas. This workshop is intended for those wishing to set up peer group coaching in their own professional contexts.

This can be attended as an individual workshop but we strongly recommend that you attend it as part of a series starting with Postdocs: Introduction to Coaching and Mentoring and Postdocs: Self-Coaching for Professional Development.

Outcomes:

  • Discover how the model of coaching in group situations can support postdoc development.
  • Experience a short term group coaching situation.
  • Identify when a group coaching situation could be useful in your specific context and how to set one up successfully for you and your colleagues.