What every new researcher needs to know #vitaechat

Whatever your situation, taking a professional approach to your development from the start can help make the path smoother, and enable you to be more successful in the long run.

During your doctoral or postdoctoral research you will push the boundary of current knowledge, increasingly becoming an expert in your field. However, being a professional researcher involves not just writing a thesis or papers, but also developing your skills and building your profile. So how do you make the most of your PhD or postdoc and prepare yourself for what’s coming next? 

Our moderator, Dr Kieran Fenby-Hulse was joined by a panel of researchers at various stages of their careers to discuss what they wish they’d known when starting out. The #vitaechat helped answer questions such as:

  • As a PhD researcher, or postdoc in a new role, which first steps should I take? 
  • How do I manage my relationship with my supervisor or PI?
  • How do I plan my research project and what are the typical milestones?
  • What kind of development opportunities will I have, and how do I prioritise them? 
  • When should I start thinking about my post-PhD career?


Emily Bartlett, Doctoral Researcher in History, University of Kent

Dr Lucy Michael, Lecturer in Sociology, Ulster University

Danielle Redd, Doctoral Researcher in Creative Writing, University of East Anglia

Dr Anna G. Slater, Royal Society-EPSRC Dorothy Hodgkin Fellow, Department of Chemistry & Materials Innovation Factory, University of Liverpool

We were by a whole host of doctoral candidates and researcher developers for a very lively and informative discussion. Here is a Storify of the #vitaechat:

This Twitter chat is part of our 'Focus-on: Getting Started' theme.

Visit our Focus On page for resources and information to help you achieve your goals. 


What is a Twitter chat and how do I participate?

A Twitter chat is a live discussion on a set day and time, usually facilitated by a designated person, around a particular topic. If you have never used Twitter or taken part in a Twitter chat before, there are a lot of helpful guides around (e.g. 10 Commandments for Twitter and Using Twitter in university research, teaching and impact activities)

How do I join in?

  1. Log in to Twitter (you will need a Twitter account) at 12pm(UK time) on Thursday 19 October 2017
  2. Search for the hashtag #vitaechat on Twitter and select the “Live” tab
  3. Follow @vitae_news
  4. Our #vitaechat moderator, Katie Wheat, will post a series of discussion questions from the @vitae_news account
  5. Tweet your replies to the discussion questions and add your thoughts around the topic
  6. Don’t forget to add the hashtag #vitaechat to each of your tweets so that it shows up in the discussion stream

Why should I join?

Twitter chats are an open discussion, allowing participants from around the globe to meet and chat in real time around a shared interest. They are often fast-paced and exciting, with lots of different conversations happening simultaneously.

Benefits of joining a Twitter chat include the opportunity to

  • broaden your network outside of your usual circles
  • find out more about a new topic
  • be exposed to different perspectives on a familiar topic
  • offer advice, share your expertise, and contribute to a pool of knowledge.

What if I can’t make it at that time?

We will record the tweet chat and post a summary of it here afterwards so that you can view the chat if you missed it. 

Register, if you would like to be notified about future Vitae events