- University of Leicester
- Date first submitted:
- 1 Oct 2009
- Date last modified:
- 7 Dec 2009
- Researcher-led activities
- Personal effectiveness
- Equality and diversity related activities
- Research project skills
- Academic practice
- Knowledge exchange
- Researcher development strategy/management
- Postgraduate researchers
- Doctoral researchers
- Research staff
- Research masters
Rationale, aims and outcomes
What is the rationale for doing this?
How does it fit with institutional strategy?
What are the main features of the provision?
What are the aims and expected outcomes?
Research students graduate with a well recognised and highly valued qualification after 3 or 4 years of study. However, there is a real chance that their time at Leicester could be even more fulfilling, leading to greater gains both for their research and personally. A possible source of this ‘gap’ faced by Leicester’s non-scientific researchers is that they are isolated from normal everyday interaction and from being aware of other research projects. This could be easily resolved though them having more contact with other researchers.
The networking that can occur and thus the knowledge being passed around the group will be conducive to a positive research environment, providing people other than supervisors who can be sounding boards for ideas and inspiration for new paths.
These lunchtime meetings will attempt to capture the potential skills of the PhD student providing them opportunities for increasing confidence by small scale presenting. Many of the outputs may not be quantifiable but will be apparent though attendance retention and growing numbers. Additionally this may increase the amount of students attending the training sessions put on by Student Development.
Are there any pre-requisites for engagement, e.g. levels of skill, years of experience, essential pre-activities?
How many participate in each 'activity'?
Evaluation: benefits, challenges and next steps
How do you monitor effectiveness?
Who do you seek feedback from?
Do you have benchmarks?
There will be three types of beneficiaries.
Firstly there will be direct beneficiaries, these are individuals who go along to the networking and problem solving sessions to meet other PhD research students, to find out how to overcome an obstacle of their research and to gain ideas both directly related to their PhD and through a broader range of benefits like finding out face to face what training activities are being provided for them. (Currently too much emphasis has been put on the digital dissemination of training). By having an individual from SLC at the meeting this person will be able to give a human touch as to how the training session may personally affect and benefit the individual.
There will be indirect benefits to the general public who will gain from the production of a more thought out and will rounded PhD thesis from the student attending the meeting. And of course this extends to the employers who will be employing the individual after completion of their PhD.
Finally the University of Leicester is a beneficiary. It will have a friendlier community of research students. The networking will help to remove the both real and perceived isolation of those undertaking a PhD. It is acknowledged that if the candidate does not actively step outside their research that they can become divorced from reality.
Students arrive at Leicester but do not necessarily get sufficient organised opportunities to network. This leads to a loss of valuable information percolating through the students, from final years to the newer researchers, for example how to avoid pitfalls of an information overload etc.
In this digital age there is an overemphasis of dissemination though non-contact sources. An impersonal list of events and training, is neither welcoming nor conducive to attracting the potential attendees.
This could be remedied quite simply by opening up an opportunity for a quick delivery session of what is available over the next month ahead. The identification of this gap is apparently nothing new, what is proposed however is a new way of attempting to overcome the issues identified. This will be done through a semi formal gathering of researchers and post-docs.
Roll out to other departments/colleges, encouraging cross-disciplinary interaction.