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Researcher Development Programme (RDP)

Researcher Development Programme (RDP) course timetable

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Thu 19 Mar – Mon 11 May

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March 2020

Thu 19
Postdocs: Strategies for Being Resilient new [Places] 14:00 - 16:00 Postdoc Centre@ Mill Lane, Eastwood Room

The life of a postdoc can be inherently stressful, with making applications for research grants, publishing and maintaining a work life balance, as well as coping with the precariousness of temporary contracts or visa regulations. Postdocs need an ample supply of resilience to deal with the ups and downs of being a professional researcher.

The aim of this workshop is to help you build emotional resilience by further developing coping strategies to overcome challenges. We will focus on what constitutes resilience, identifying your current coping strategies, and using theories of resilience to strengthen your ability to deal with whatever life and work throws at you, whilst maintaining a good level of wellbeing.


Outcomes

  • Recognise that you already have emotional resilience and use strategies on an ongoing basis.
  • Cultivate further effective coping strategies for various contexts.
  • Discover how to use a range of tools and techniques to increase your resilience.


Feedback:

“I would like more courses like this! Thank you!”

“Really good framework for applying it personally.”

“Interacting in groups worked well while exploring real-life examples.”

Poster Presentations (Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences) new [Places] 14:00 - 16:00 Student Services Centre, Exams Hall, Room AG03d

Poster presentations are a well-established format for presenting research findings within STEM subjects. The past few years has witnessed a growth in poster presentations across a number of AHSS conferences. Given the infancy of this phenomena, it stands that a number of researchers within AHSS remain unsure on the question of content design and delivery.

During the session, therefore, we will explore what makes a successful poster presentation in AHSS and examine how key components of a poster can be designed to make the poster more effective to your target audience.

This is a beginner’s course covering the basics of poster presentations.

Fri 20
Postdocs: Assertiveness & Difficult Conversations new [Places] 09:30 - 12:00 Student Services Centre, Exams Hall, Room AG03c

As a postdoc, you’re in a transitional period of your career, one that can be precarious 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, students and/or the people you support or oversee.

Are you able to ask for the things you need and want? Do you spread yourself too thin by saying yes to others’ requests for support? Do you have techniques for approaching difficult conversations? This course is designed to help you develop an assertive mindset and to communicate your needs in an honest, clear, and respectful way.


Outcomes:

  • Understand the benefits of being assertive and the difference between assertive, aggressive, and passive thinking and behaviour
  • Know what assertiveness looks and sounds like
  • Consider different ways to deal with difficult conversations in light of your own behaviour and that of others.
Mon 23
Presenting with Impact (STEMM) [formerly 'Better Presentations: A Practical Guide'] [Full] 13:00 - 14:00 Student Services Centre, Exams Hall, Room AG03d

This beginner’s course is designed to get you thinking about presenting with impact. Giving presentations is an essential skill for a researcher, be it in your department, at a major conference, or in your next job interview! You know your subject but sometimes issues of performance and clarity stop you being your best. This highly interactive workshop requires you to throw yourself into the activities in a safe and supportive environment.

Tue 24
Becoming interdisciplinary: research paradigms and terminology (Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences) new [Full] 09:30 - 13:00 Student Services Centre, Exams Hall, Room AG03d

Across all AHSS disciplines (and within) there are varying views of what research is. Following the work of Thomas Kuhn, these views form what are commonly referred to as ‘research paradigms’, entailing a variety of epistemological (study of knowledge) and ontological (study of being) assumptions that ultimately underpin and guide how we carry out research (method).

Though not a definitive means by which to conceptualize meta-research, this course offers the ‘research paradigm’ as a heuristic and expedient entry point into key terms and concepts often encountered by research students and the tactic assumptions underpinning them. This can and often does result in an ability to understand the significance of one’s own research, the research of others and the broader intellectual context in which both are situated.

Wed 25
Becoming a Productive Writer (Life Sciences) [Places] 10:00 - 12:00 Student Services Centre, Exams Hall, Room AG03d

As a researcher, you are expected not only to run experiments, but also write regularly. Establishing a writing regular routine can be difficult, especially when experiments are running well. This half day workshop will explore the different writing techniques, tips and tricks, productive writers use regularly to keep on track with their writing commitments.

Thu 26
Writing Your First Year Report (Physical Sciences & Technology) [Places] 10:00 - 12:30 Student Services Centre, Exams Hall, Room AG03d

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, with little or no academic writing experience. This course focuses on helping you develop good writing habits and become a more efficient writer. It is designed to get you thinking and to get working effectively on your end-of-first-year report / Certificate of Postgraduate Studies.

Please note, this is a beginners course, so if you already have experience in writing for academic purposes, this course might not be for you.


Outcomes:

  • Understand the form and function of the first-year report
  • Start planning the structure of your report
  • Overcoming procrastination
Tue 31
Scientific posters; the good, the bad and the ugly (STEMM) [Places] 10:00 - 12:30 Student Services Centre, Exams Hall, Room AG03d

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.

Please note, this is an introductory course to help you start preparing for your first poster sessions...

April 2020

Thu 2
Postdocs: An Initial Guide to Leadership new [Places] 10:00 - 12:00 Postdoc Centre@ Mill Lane, Eastwood Room

Are you in a formal leadership role, or have you taken on leadership positions informally?

This workshop will help you to consider the variety of situations and contexts you find yourself leading in and guide you in understanding your leadership skills and abilities so that you can improve them and deploy them thoughtfully. We will look at a variety of meanings and views of leadership, discover the 4 elements of leadership, consider various leadership styles, and reflect on leadership within and out of research environment.

We would encourage you to take this workshop as a brief introduction to leadership before attending more in-depth workshops, including Postdocs: Self-Leadership and Postdocs: Leading Others.


Outcomes

  • Recognise own current skills and strengths in relation to developing further as a leader.
  • Review a range of definitions of, and styles of, leadership.
  • Apply to your own context.


Feedback:

“I found it interesting to define what leadership means and to understand the different styles there are.”

“It was a very interesting and different training which was very good to attend so as to know the skills to develop.”

Fri 17
Postdocs: Solving Research Problems Creatively new [Places] 10:00 - 13:00 Student Services Centre, Exams Hall, Room AG03d

While we might assume that creativity is a fixed innate ability – stereotypically leading to the creation of poems and paintings – in the context of our research, the creative thinking process that underpins creativity can be seen as a skill to be developed to solve problems large and small. Indeed, with this creative thinking process at the heart of research, research itself can be viewed as an inherently creative act.


Why this course might make a difference
The overall purpose of this intensive, practical workshop is to help you develop your creative thinking skills to help you solve research problems.


Outcomes:
With this aim in mind, the course outcomes are:

  • To give you a systematic creative-thinking process for solving problems
  • The opportunity to apply and develop a creative thinking process to a challenge in your current research
  • To explore your assumptions about your own creativity
Tue 21
Resilience In The Lab (STEMM) [Places] 13:00 - 15:00 Postdoc Centre@ Mill Lane, Eastwood Room

Let’s face it; being a researcher can be stressful! Not only are you managing the ups and downs of life in the lab, but you are probably balancing work and life and also have one eye on the future and what comes after your PhD…

This workshop is designed to help you build emotional resilience. You probably already have some strategies in place so we will reflect on the highs and lows you have already experienced, look at some of the theories of resilience and consider how we can better support your coping and wellbeing.

  • Understand what resilience is
  • Consider why researchers need to be resilient
  • Identify when we have been resilient
  • Be aware of the three Cs of stress hardiness
  • Start to develop our resilience toolkits
Wed 22

This is the first of two workshops designed to develop your understanding of the technicalities and the process of getting your research published.

In this workshop, we examine the technical aspects of writing up your research in a format appropriate for publication. You will learn about the importance of following journal guidelines and house style, and the value of using a clear structure to frame your paper. You will also receive guidance on how to produce clear writing in a register appropriate for the readership.

It is possible to attend this course as an individual workshop, although we would encourage you to attend the second workshop in the series Getting published II: Impact and Peer-review.


Please note: The course does not offer bespoke or 1-1 support for manuscript preparation.

Thu 23
Time and Project Management (Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences) new [Places] 10:00 - 13:00 17 Mill Lane, Seminar Room B

How is it that we all have the same amount of time in the day, yet some postgraduate research students seem to achieve so much more than others? How can we deal with those people and tasks that seem to drain away our time and energy? How can we make sure that we maintain an effective balance in our work and home life, yet still progress towards our career aims? Managing your research project and time effectively are key skills to develop, and will lead you to be a more effective researcher. This will be useful in your future career whatever direction it takes.

This course provides the tools and techniques required to improve your time and project planning.

Fri 24
Scientific posters; the good, the bad and the ugly (STEMM) [Places] 14:00 - 16:30 Clinical School, Seminar Room 19

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.

Please note, this is an introductory course to help you start preparing for your first poster sessions...

Mon 27
Basic Presentation Skills (Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences) new [Places] 14:00 - 16:00 17 Mill Lane, Seminar Room B

Learn how to create and deliver an effective presentation.

Most postgraduate researchers benefit from giving presentations about their research by gaining feedback, sharing their ideas and/or findings, and raising their profile in the research community. Therefore, learning how to present your research effectively is an important skill to develop during the course of your doctorate.

Tue 28
Introduction to Research Integrity at Cambridge new [Places] 14:00 - 16:00 17 Mill Lane, Seminar Room E


A thorough awareness of issues relating to research ethics and research integrity are essential to producing excellent research. This session will provide an introduction to the ethical responsibilities of researchers at the University and explore issues of good research practice, research integrity and research misconduct. It will be interactive, using case studies to better understand key ethical issues and challenges in all areas.

The course will:

  • explore the issue of research misconduct in academia and facilitate discussion of why and how it occurs
  • explain the University and national expectations around research integrity 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


The course will be delivered by the Research Governance Team in the Research Strategy Office.

Wed 29
Postdocs: Self-Coaching for Professional Development new [Places] 10:00 - 12:00 Postdoc Centre@ Mill Lane, Eastwood Room

Are you interested in how you could coach yourself in your own professional development?

This workshop progresses on from Postdocs: Introduction to Coaching and Mentoring to suggest tools and techniques that can enable you to gain greater self-awareness 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 your career. 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. You will be introduced to tools which may 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.
Thu 30
Putting your Research into Context new [Places] 09:00 - 12:00 Department of Physics, Maxwell Centre, Rayleigh Seminar (Floor 2)

Do people tune out when you talk to them about your research? Can you explain why your research is worth their attention? Do you know how to make your research better and enable its impact by gathering external perspectives from its downstream beneficiaries, including industry?

This half-day workshop gives you the tools to articulate the broader context of your work. It will help you explain the relevance and anticipated impact of your research to people who need to know about it, but are not part of your immediate community. Practice discussing your work among peers so that you can crystallise your message, and make it relevant. This will maximise the value of your next opportunity to talk about your research to external experts and future users of your research outcomes.

It is particularly relevant if you are preparing for a workshop, conference or poster session where you can engage with potential industrial partners, or look for further sponsorship for your research, preparing for its commercial uptake, or even if you are considering a job outside academia!

This workshop adds to what you may already know about general science communication and presenting. It goes beyond Research Commercialisation 101, and dives deep into how to derive value from conversations with specialist and non-specialist audiences.

Course Organised by: Maxwell Centre (www.maxwell.cam.ac.uk)

Writing Your First Year Report (Physical Sciences & Technology) [Places] 10:00 - 12:30 Postdoc Centre@ Mill Lane, Eastwood Room

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, with little or no academic writing experience. This course focuses on helping you develop good writing habits and become a more efficient writer. It is designed to get you thinking and to get working effectively on your end-of-first-year report / Certificate of Postgraduate Studies.

Please note, this is a beginners course, so if you already have experience in writing for academic purposes, this course might not be for you.


Outcomes:

  • Understand the form and function of the first-year report
  • Start planning the structure of your report
  • Overcoming procrastination

May 2020

Fri 1
Developing Your Leadership as a PhD Student [Places] 10:00 - 16:30 Student Services Centre, Exams Hall, Room AG03d

Leadership is a word that seems to be ubiquitous in universities these days, but keeping a handle on all its possible meanings is becoming ever harder: research leadership, team leadership, institutional leadership, thought leadership, educational leadership, ethical leadership, inclusive leadership…

Likewise, employers beyond academia repeatedly tell us that they’re seeking researchers who can be self-motivating, proactive, strategic; can build productive relationships with colleagues at all levels of seniority; are able to create consensus and shared understanding; know how to mentor and guide as well as take direction…

So, if leadership is being talked about everywhere and yet is also very hard to define, how can you as a PhD student identify your own leadership practice and your future potential?

This interactive workshop will combine practical insights with key leadership theories in order to explore the ways in which you’re already acting as a leader; to examine how ‘follower’ behaviours have a crucial role in shaping good leadership; and to consider leadership in a variety of contexts.

The session will be led by Jen Wade, a highly experienced trainer who has been leading her own business for more than ten years, working with a diverse range of organisations across the academic, public, and commercial sectors.


Outcomes:

  • Review a range of definitions of, and styles of, leadership.
  • Recognise your current strengths and future potential as a leader.
Resilience In The Lab (STEMM) [Places] 14:00 - 16:00 Clinical School, Seminar Room 19

Let’s face it; being a researcher can be stressful! Not only are you managing the ups and downs of life in the lab, but you are probably balancing work and life and also have one eye on the future and what comes after your PhD…

This workshop is designed to help you build emotional resilience. You probably already have some strategies in place so we will reflect on the highs and lows you have already experienced, look at some of the theories of resilience and consider how we can better support your coping and wellbeing.

  • Understand what resilience is
  • Consider why researchers need to be resilient
  • Identify when we have been resilient
  • Be aware of the three Cs of stress hardiness
  • Start to develop our resilience toolkits
Tue 5
Postdocs: How to Approach Difficult Conversations new [Places] 10:00 - 12:00 Postdoc Centre@ Mill Lane, Eastwood Room

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.”

Starting Your PhD (STEMM) new [Places] 10:00 - 12:00 Student Services Centre, Meeting Room CG09

You are beginning one of the most exciting, yet challenging programme of your academic career. You have entered a new lab, with a new supervisor, new lab colleagues and a new project. Where do you start? How do establish productive working relationships, get up to speed with literature and establish a project that will be worthy of a PhD at the end? This half day workshop will explore what it means to do a PhD, think about how to establish meaningful student-supervisor relationships and plan for a productive PhD project.

Getting published is a central part of being a researcher. Peer-reviewed publications allow researchers to communicate their research to the broader research community, and thus, make a contribution to the body of work within their field.

This workshop is divided into two interrelated components. The first concerns the question of ‘high impact’, whilst the second concerns the process of peer-review and manuscript preparation.

It is possible to attend this as an individual workshop, although we would recommend that you try to attend the series starting with Getting published I: Writing for publication


Please note: This course does not offer bespoke or 1-1 support for manuscript preparation.

Mon 11
Solving Research Problems Creatively [Places] 10:00 - 13:00 17 Mill Lane, Seminar Room B

While we might assume that creativity is a fixed innate ability – stereotypically leading to the creation of poems and paintings – in the context of our research, the creative thinking process that underpins creativity can be seen as a skill to be developed to solve problems large and small. Indeed, with this creative thinking process at the heart of research, research itself can be viewed as an inherently creative act.


Why this course might make a difference
The overall purpose of this intensive, practical workshop is to help you develop your creative thinking skills to help you solve research problems.


Outcomes:
With this aim in mind, the course outcomes are:

  • To give you a systematic creative-thinking process for solving problems
  • The opportunity to apply and develop a creative thinking process to a challenge in your current research
  • To explore your assumptions about your own creativity