Tuesday, 6 October 2015

Career hacks for PhD researchers: know your transferable skills

The inspiration for this post comes from a question raised at one of our workshops on professional development for PhD researchers. In a discussion about careers, a PhD researcher asked “Should I tell potential employers that I have a PhD?”

The question was motivated by the impression that some employers considered PhD researchers to be too academic and too specialised to work in industry. Here, I focus on why PhD researchers have a powerful contribution to make to industry careers. Yes, PhD researchers have very specialised skills, but they also have a broad range of abilities that are highly prized by industry, as well as academia and other non-academic research careers.

Here’s a list of the skills that I discuss here:

Thursday, 17 September 2015

Link: Talking to the media: 12 top tips for scientists

This is a link to a great article on media communication for researchers. The twelve tips are given here as a list, and see the original Silicon Republic article by Dr Aoibhinn Ní Shúilleabháin and Dr Shane Bergin for more details.

1. Get your message out there
2. What is the purpose of the interview?
3. What do you want to say?
4. Have an ‘elevator pitch’
5. Minimise jargon
6. Colour the conversation
7. Have a catchphrase
8. Set homework for the interviewer
9. Be yourself
10. Nature abhors a vacuum (of talk)
11. Remember: if it’s not live, it will be edited
12. How clean is your lab?

Thursday, 27 August 2015

14 Graduate student essays on the PhD experience

This is a great book (35 pages) that is a must-read for postgraduate researchers. With personal accounts that are intended to give advice that has been learned the hard way, it is essential reading for less experienced research students.
The topics range from networking, communication, supervisory issues, presenting, publishing and, of course, doing research.

How to survive your PhD


Thursday, 2 July 2015

Seven reasons to care about integrity in research

A recent document from Science Europe Member Organisations highlights seven key reasons why research organisations should be concerned about promoting research integrity amongst their research community.

1.       Research Integrity Safeguards the Foundations of Science and Scholarship

2.       Research Integrity Maintains Public Confidence in Researchers and Research Evidence

3.       Research Integrity Underpins Continued Public Investment in Research

4.       Research Integrity Protects the Reputation and Careers of Researchers

5.       Research Integrity Prevents Adverse Impact on Patients and the Public

6.       Research Integrity Promotes Economic Advancement

7.       Research Integrity Prevents Avoidable Waste of Resources

Science Europe. 2015. Seven reasons to care about integrity in research. Science Europe Working Group on Research Integrity – Task Group ‘Knowledge Growth’


Wednesday, 1 July 2015

Link: Ten Simple Rules for Better Figures

This Open Access article by Rougier et al. is an excellent tutorial in which they "provide a basic set of rules to improve figure design and to explain some of the common pitfalls."

Tuesday, 12 May 2015

Tips for designing academic posters (link)

Infographic: Tips for designing better research posters

The dos and don’ts of preparing posters for conferences

Wednesday, 11 February 2015

How to be a lead author: Part II

In a previous post 'How to be a lead author: five key practices', I emphasised the importance of communication and leadership as traits of a lead author. Soon after, I got an email from the lead author about a research manuscript that we were working on. This was from a close colleague of mine with whom I've worked for many years, and is a nice example of effective communication from a lead author to co-authors.

Friday, 30 January 2015

How to be a lead author: five key practices

This post is aimed at PhD and early career researchers who are lead authors for the first time on a research manuscript that is being prepared for submission to a journal. Here, I share some thoughts on the role of the lead author of a manuscript, from the perspective of someone who's been a lead author, as well as a co-author who has been dependent on lead authors. I especially focus on the role of the lead author in leading and managing a number of co-authors who contribute to a manuscript.

Sunday, 18 January 2015

Why am I doing my research? A basic question for every PhD student

Why am I doing my research? 

That must surely be one of the most fundamental questions any PhD student, or potential PhD student, should be able to answer, as this is the activity to which they are committing years of their lives, but is probably rarely articulated or discussed with supervisor(s).