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Researcher Development Programme (RDP)

Researcher Development Programme (RDP) course timetable

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Mon 10 Dec – Thu 28 Feb 2019

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January 2019

Thu 10
Effective Researcher (Sciences & Technology) [Places] 10:00 - 16:30 Department of Engineering, Lecture Room 4

This course is designed for first-year PhD students to help you increase your effectiveness and meet the challenges of your PhD. We cover several different aspects of personal effectiveness in this one-day workshop, with practical solutions to get you started on your journey.


Outcomes:

  • Start planning the first year of your PhD
  • Be equipped to manage your relationship with your supervisor
  • Understand how to work effectively with others
Tue 22
Postdocs: An Initial Guide to Leadership new [Full] 10:30 - 12:30 Postdoc Centre, Newman Library @ Biomedical Campus

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.”

Mon 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.

Tue 29
Resilience In The Lab (Sciences and Technology) [Full] 10:00 - 12:00 CCTL, Revans 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 30
Solving Research Problems Creatively [Full] 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, by working in pairs on a challenge.
  • To explore your assumptions about your own creativity.


Previous feedback:
“It had so many ideas and mnemonics for having a creative and constructive brainstorm, with outputs!”

“This training event showed me how little time brainstorming actually takes and how it boosts creative process. I literally felt that after some warming up, my brain started to give me more and more pictures-ideas in two minutes each time.”

Postdocs: Self-Coaching for Professional Development new [Places] 14:00 - 16:00 Postdoc Centre, Newman Library @ Biomedical Campus

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.

February 2019

Tue 5
Postdocs: Self-Leadership new [Full] 10:00 - 12:00 The Postdoc Centre, Eastwood Room @ Mill Lane

The first step toward confident leadership is assured and well-balanced self-leadership. Are you really aware of how you lead yourself every day? This workshop aims to inspire you to be a self-leader by developing strategies to extend your awareness and confidence to take action and design the professional outcomes you are looking for. We will encourage you to think about how to recognise patterns of your own behaviour that might hold you back so that you can have the understanding and tools to communicate yourself and your perspective with awareness and confidence. This will create a firm foundation on which to build your leadership of others.

This workshop leads onto Postdocs: Leading Others. We recommend that you do these workshops after having first completed Postdocs: An Initial Guide to Leadership.


Outcomes

  • Explore and experience your skills, strengths, abilities and style in detail within your individual context.
  • Consider how to extend your own self-leadership on a daily basis through a variety of strategies.
  • Apply self-knowledge, awareness and techniques to your repertoire of leadership skills.
Wed 6
Writing Your First Year Report (Life Sciences) [Full] 10:00 - 12:30 CCTL, Revans Room

Aimed at first-year PhD students, this course is designed to get you thinking and working effectively on writing your end-of-first-year-report. How to start? What is expected? How do you make it work for you? These and many other important questions, hints and tips will be addressed in this half-day session.

Outcomes:

  • Understand the standard form and function of the first year report
  • Start planning the structure of your report
  • Experience the benefits of editing and receiveing feedback on writing
Map your Postdoc Journey NOW! new [Places] 14:00 - 17:00 Postdoc Centre @ Eddington, Sanders Hall

How can you make the most of your postdoc years at Cambridge? What does a strategic postdoc look like? What could you be doing now to be more strategic, intentional and agentive during your time at Cambridge?
This workshop explores how to navigate the research landscape, how to think and act strategically, and how to develop mental and emotional discipline for coping with the demands of the competitive research environment. We will explore the career journeys of former postdocs and see that there’s no one recipe for success, but there are common ingredients. This workshop is for postdoctoral researchers who want to get to and be prepared for the next step in their careers, whether that’s within academia or beyond.


Outcomes:

  • Begin to take charge of your own career path
  • Understand the many actions you could be taking now to achieve a career within or beyond academia
  • Consider the important link between mental and emotional health and career advancement


Feedback:

“It encouraged an overall view of thinking about my career and what I want out of it and what I am good at. It also covered examples of people who stayed in academia as well as those who did not, so that I was able to consider the pros and cons of more than just one route.”

“I'm right at the start of my post-doc and it helped me to think about what I wanted to get out of the next few years in terms of my career.”

Procrastination Workshop new [Full] 14:00 - 16:00 17 Mill Lane, Seminar Room B

While there might be a simple ‘cure’ for procrastination – just get started on the things you’re putting off – for many of us, this simple ‘cure’ is not necessarily easy.


Why this course might make a difference
The overall purpose of this intensive, practical workshop is to help you manage your procrastination.


Outcomes:
With this aim in mind, specific outcomes of the course include:

Raising our awareness of:

  • What procrastination actually is
  • Our reasons for procrastinating and our habits when we do so
  • Our rationalizations when procrastinating
  • Two key steps to overcoming our procrastination
  • Practical strategies and tips


Previous feedback:
“It helped me realize some deep reasons that cause me to procrastinate.“

“It made me think of all the ways in which I procrastinate and gave me several tools and ideas to help me improve my focus.”

Thu 7

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
  • Experience the benefits of editing and providing feedback on writing
Mon 11
Better Presentations: A Practical Guide (Sciences and Technology) [Full] 10:00 - 12:30 17 Mill Lane, Seminar Room B

Giving presentations is an essential skill for a researcher, be it in your deparment, 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. Perhaps you can't project your voice, perhaps you are terrified of the Q&A, perhaps you feel your slides let you down, or perhaps you just don't know what to do to get better.

This is a highly interactive workshop that requires you to throw yourself into the activities. Everyone will be involved as we apply some of the material from the online Presentation and Performance toolkit and try it out in a safe and supportive environment.

The workshop is especially designed for those who feel less confident with the performance aspects of giving presentations. If you are comfortable standing up and talking in front of others then we recommend starting with the online materials.

Wed 13
Writing Your First Year Report (Life Sciences) [Places] 10:00 - 12:00 Postdoc Centre, Newman Library @ Biomedical Campus

Aimed at first-year PhD students, this course is designed to get you thinking and working effectively on writing your end-of-first-year-report. How to start? What is expected? How do you make it work for you? These and many other important questions, hints and tips will be addressed in this half-day session.

Outcomes:

  • Understand the standard form and function of the first year report
  • Start planning the structure of your report
  • Experience the benefits of editing and receiveing feedback on writing
Thu 14
Writing Your First Year Report (Physical Sciences & Technology) [Places] 10:00 - 12:30 CCTL, Revans 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
  • Experience the benefits of editing and providing feedback on writing
Wed 20
The Art of Negotiation and Influence [Full] 09:00 - 17:00 Postdoc Centre @ Eddington, Sanders Hall

When opportunities come along, do you feel confident about working with people to get what you need? This course gives you a practical insight into the application of professional communication to everyday life, learning how to persuade and influence others effectively. Improving your listening and communication skills is advantageous for both your personal and your professional life.

This workshop is led by Richard Mullender, an external trainer who formerly worked for the Metropolitan Police as a hostage negotiator, and then as Lead Trainer at the National Crisis & Hostage Negotiation Unit in Scotland Yard. By looking at everyday scenarios as well as life-or-death negotiations from his professional experience – e.g. with terrorists for the release of hostages or with someone threatening to commit suicide – Richard demonstrates how to listen for ‘levers’ that help you to persuade and influence, and to secure the best possible outcome.

Outcomes:

  • Be able to use communication consciously to persuade and influence effectively
  • Recognize when others are using persuasive communication techniques
  • Feel more confident in presenting yourself well to others and in gaining support
Writing Your First Year Report (Life Sciences) [Places] 10:00 - 12:00 CCTL, Revans Room

Aimed at first-year PhD students, this course is designed to get you thinking and working effectively on writing your end-of-first-year-report. How to start? What is expected? How do you make it work for you? These and many other important questions, hints and tips will be addressed in this half-day session.

Outcomes:

  • Understand the standard form and function of the first year report
  • Start planning the structure of your report
  • Experience the benefits of editing and receiveing feedback on writing
Postdocs: Setting Up Group Coaching new [Places] 14:00 - 16:00 Postdoc Centre, Newman Library @ Biomedical Campus

Would you like to learn the skills and techniques of group coaching and see how it can support postdoc development, productivity and progression?

This workshop provides an opportunity to learn about and experience group coaching within a supportive, safe environment alongside other postdocs. We will use tools and techniques first introduced in Postdocs: Introduction to Coaching and Mentoring and Postdocs: Self-Coaching for Professional Development to support and facilitate you to coach others and be coached to progress your ideas. This workshop is intended for those wishing to set up peer group coaching in their own professional contexts.

This can be attended as an individual workshop but we strongly recommend that you attend it as part of a series starting with Postdocs: Introduction to Coaching and Mentoring and Postdocs: Self-Coaching for Professional Development.

Outcomes:

  • Discover how the model of coaching in group situations can support postdoc development.
  • Experience a short term group coaching situation.
  • Identify when a group coaching situation could be useful in your specific context and how to set one up successfully for you and your colleagues.

Feedback:
“Thank you for the great course."

“[I found] the discussions [useful] about how to leverage successful group coaching and its hands-on examples."

Thu 21
The Art of Negotiation and Influence [Places] 09:00 - 17:00 Postdoc Centre @ Eddington, Sanders Hall

When opportunities come along, do you feel confident about working with people to get what you need? This course gives you a practical insight into the application of professional communication to everyday life, learning how to persuade and influence others effectively. Improving your listening and communication skills is advantageous for both your personal and your professional life.

This workshop is led by Richard Mullender, an external trainer who formerly worked for the Metropolitan Police as a hostage negotiator, and then as Lead Trainer at the National Crisis & Hostage Negotiation Unit in Scotland Yard. By looking at everyday scenarios as well as life-or-death negotiations from his professional experience – e.g. with terrorists for the release of hostages or with someone threatening to commit suicide – Richard demonstrates how to listen for ‘levers’ that help you to persuade and influence, and to secure the best possible outcome.

Outcomes:

  • Be able to use communication consciously to persuade and influence effectively
  • Recognize when others are using persuasive communication techniques
  • Feel more confident in presenting yourself well to others and in gaining support
Building Resilience and Coping with Setbacks [Places] 10:00 - 12:00 17 Mill Lane, Seminar Room B

Perhaps because it’s at the meeting point between the known and the unknown, research can seem to be inherently stressful; our good intentions to complete our research can in reality be fraught with setbacks. So how do we cope with these challenges?


Why this course might make a difference
The overall purpose of this two-hour practical workshop is to help you develop your resilience to cope with setbacks in your research.


Outcomes:
With this aim in mind, specific outcomes of the course include:

  • Developing your knowledge of the ‘6 Cs’ of emotional resilience: Coping, Commitment, Challenge, Control, Community and (self-)Care
  • Developing your application of these ‘6 Cs’


Previous feedback:
“I like the way the course was thought, it was a good mix of direct teaching, reflection and practical exercises. I think it is really well balanced as it gives you the possibility to reflect on what you are doing and what you could further improve.”

“Provided useful tools and perspectives for dealing with future set backs, and an interesting opportunity for introspection.”

“It highlighted the various support networks there exist to aid me in my PhD.”

Being Assertive: Making Yourself Heard [Full] 14:00 - 16:00 The Postdoc Centre, Eastwood Room @ Mill Lane

Research can be fraught with the challenges of working with others - whether your supervisor or PI or your colleagues – and the challenge of asserting yourself appropriately.


Why this course might make a difference
The overall purpose of this practical workshop is to help you develop your assertive communication skills, to enhance your everyday interactions with others.


Outcomes:
With this in mind, the course seeks to help you develop:

  • An assertive mindset
  • Practical strategies for developing your assertiveness


Previous feedback:

“It was dynamic, provided a high level of interaction between trainer and trainees and presented very relevant and thought-provoking ideas.”

“It showed us ways to communicate more effectively with colleagues.”

Mon 25
Developing Your Leadership as a PhD Student [Full] 10:00 - 16:30 17 Mill Lane, Seminar Room B

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.
Tue 26

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...

Wed 27
Writing Your First Year Report (Life Sciences) [Places] 10:00 - 12:00 CCTL, Revans Room

Aimed at first-year PhD students, this course is designed to get you thinking and working effectively on writing your end-of-first-year-report. How to start? What is expected? How do you make it work for you? These and many other important questions, hints and tips will be addressed in this half-day session.

Outcomes:

  • Understand the standard form and function of the first year report
  • Start planning the structure of your report
  • Experience the benefits of editing and receiveing feedback on writing
Postdocs: Effective Research Presentations (Group Workshop) new [Places] 14:30 - 16:30 The Postdoc Centre, Eastwood Room @ Mill Lane

Would you like to learn what constitutes an effective and impactful research presentation? Are you interested in improving how you communicate your research?

This interactive workshop helps participants to communicate research engagingly and effectively. In addition to reviewing useful patterns and styles of presentation, you will have the chance to try out different techniques and to observe others in action. This workshop is for postdocs who want to achieve the greatest impact while presenting their work and to improve their public-speaking skills within a safe and collaborative environment. Feedback will be given to each participant.


Outcomes:

  • Improve on designing and delivering a successful presentation
  • Consider how to understand and engage your audience
  • Gain constructive feedback on how you present and further develop your style
Thu 28
Writing Your First Year Report (Physical Sciences & Technology) [Places] 10:00 - 12:30 CCTL, Revans 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
  • Experience the benefits of editing and providing feedback on writing