ESSENCE ITN – Taking Control of your Research Project

These are the slides, with annotations which include snapshots of your discussion summaries and extra notes from me.

Links: The following links were mentioned during the session or allow you to dig a little deeper on topics that we touched upon.

Starting a PhD – our page on launching a PhD with links to project management advice and other resources to help you tune into a doctorate.

Vitae – the UK body supporting PhDs and postdoctoral researchers – a doctoral planner is available to download (free registration required) alongside many articles to support researchers  such as this one on planning a doctorate.

Hofstede cultural dimensions – a long-term research project looking at national characteristics and how these affect behaviours at work. Select two countries to compare their characteristics, but remember that individuals are far more complex and don’t always follow national behaviours.

Collaboration confusions – a new page on this site designed to help researchers from different disciplines understand each other

ISSTI guide to supervising ID PhDs – one of a number of guides developed from research into successful ID collaborations

Researchers’ guide to social media & #phdchat & Prof Alex Marsh “One Academic Online” – these three links should give you a better view of the value of social media for researchers. 

Time management for academics – our page including strategies from academics to manage your time more effectively.

Negotiation – as a stepping stone to taking more control. The recommended text is Getting To Yes, recently reviewed by Professor Andrew Derrington on his blog: A “Good Book” for Head of Department.  

Fiona mentioned the importance of positive gender role models. One of my favourites is Prof Dame Athene Donald who regularly blogs about equality in higher education, but also gives many insights into the decision making processes at very senior levels in academia.

Managing a good work-life balance is an essential part of setting priorities in your research. This recent blog on The Mentally Healthy PhD contains a lot of great advice.

Poster preparation

These notes are taken from our “Effective Conference Skills” session:

Posters – some extra key points (more information in the links below)

Design the poster around one central question. Answer it.

You can always use discussion time with passers by to elaborate.

Posters often (usually!) have TOO MUCH TEXT!

Posters Show, Not Tell

Make things simple for the audience.

“Make it easy, make it flow.”

Save Your Work. Regularly and accessibly.

Computers crash, airlines lose posters, posters get stolen.

Prepare a short overview of the poster to help nervous or quiet people understand the work and to fill any awkward silences. Be ready to give a one minute overview covering:

Hook               Why is this issue important? Who should be interested?

Outline            Briefly (and jargon free) what did you do?

Outcomes       What did you find / what are you hoping to find?

Towards          What do you want them to do? What does the future hold? UCL, like many universities, runs an institutional poster competition. The guidelines for people wanting to enter offer good general advice Although dating from the 1990s, this contains a lot of common sense advice from an academic in Engineering.

Effective Poster Design for Academic Conferences Gives a great overview of the conference environment, as well as advice on poster design. A learning technologist shares his expertise, in a dynamic workshop presented in Prezi. Advice from a senior academic from a workshop, giving you step-by-step advice to construct a more compelling poster. a comprehensive guide to poster design (US) an article from the Chronicle of Higher Education (US) on poster sessions at conferences Advice from nearly 20 years ago but still full of good points An online tutorial which takes you through a step-by-step process to design a poster for a conference.


Anything I’ve missed? Just let me know….