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Researcher Development Programme (RDP)

Researcher Development Programme (RDP) course timetable

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Mon 28 May – Thu 5 Jul

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May 2018

Wed 30
Scientific posters; the good, the bad and the ugly (Life Sciences) [Places] 10:00 - 12:30 17 Mill Lane, Seminar Room B

A good poster is worth a thousand words... but a bad poster is just a messy bit of paper.

When it’s time for you to present your research, how are you going to make the most of the opportunity? Aimed at second-year PhD students preparing for conferences, this session considers why we use posters to present our research, what makes a good poster, and some common mistakes. Through critiquing real examples and providing useful tips, this course helps you to present your research in style.

Outcomes:

  • Understand the purpose of a research poster
  • Know what contributes to making a poster good
  • Feel more confident in presenting your work effectively
Postdocs: How to Approach Difficult Conversations new [Places] 14:30 - 16:30 Postdoc Centre, Newman Library @ Biomedical Campus

As a postdoc, you’re in a transitional period of your career, one that can be precarious and uncertain at times or marked by dependency on others. Inevitably, there are moments when you have to engage in difficult conversations, whether with your PI, your peers, or with the people you now oversee. You may need to discuss the advancement of your career, settle a conflict with a colleague, or provide feedback to the students.

This workshop is designed to equip you with the right tools to prepare for and have difficult conversations. We will consider the factors that make particular conversations difficult as well as the “third-generation thinking” and mindful listening that will help you elicit the response you want. This interactive workshop is for all postdocs who want to hone their communication skills, advance their careers, and develop their leadership capacities.


Outcomes:

  • To think differently in leading difficult conversations to negotiate and influence.
  • Articulate own view point in collaboration with team members.
  • Consider different ways to deal with difficult conversations in light of your own behaviour and that of others.


Feedback:

“I liked the way we explicitly broke down the process of preparing for difficult conversations by giving techniques.”

Thu 31

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. This is an introductory course to help you start preparing for your first poster sessions...

Introduction to Research Integrity at Cambridge new [Places] 10:00 - 12:00 17 Mill Lane, Seminar Room E


This course will be delivered by the University’s Research Governance and Integrity Officer and will introduce researchers to research integrity and ethics at Cambridge. The course will:

  • explore the issue of research misconduct in academia and facilitate discussion of why and how it occurs
  • explain the recent research integrity agenda 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
  • use case studies and discussion exercises to examine key issues

June 2018

Fri 1
Effective Undergraduate Supervision (Life Sciences) [Full] 13:30 - 16:30 PPD, Fawcett Room

Looking back at your experience of education you can probably remember those teachers and lecturers who were excellent. We remember the ones who were good because they have left a lasting impact on us; shaping both our learning in the past and our approach as teachers. Supervising undergraduate students at Cambridge can be one of the most rewarding activities for PhDs and Postdocs and this course is designed to make sure that you can offer your best and hopefully be one of those memorable teachers for someone else.

This blended workshop incorporates personal reflection on teaching practice, discussion of real teaching scenarios, a chance to ask questions of an experienced supervisor and access to practical information about organising and carrying out your supervisions.

This training is required by many colleges before you can carry out supervisions and is always a popular course.

Mon 4
Procrastination Workshop new [Full] 10:00 - 12:00 PPD, Revans Room

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

Feedback from 2016-17:
“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.”

An Introduction to Emotional Intelligence new [Full] 14:00 - 16:00 PPD, Revans Room

Emotional intelligence is the ability to recognize both your own and others' emotions and feelings. As a result, emotional intelligence is vital to enhancing our own personal effectiveness and our ability to work with others.

This pilot course will introduce you to emotional intelligence and help you to recognize and work with your own and others' emotions.

Tue 5
Introduction to Leadership [Places] 09:30 - 16:30 17 Mill Lane, Seminar Room B

Increasingly, successful researchers are expected to be leaders. Yet with a vast academic and popular literature on Leadership and a huge industry of leadership development programmes, where does a researcher start?

Why this course might make a difference
The overall purpose of this intensive and practical one-day workshop is to introduce PhD students both to the concept of leadership and to practical ways to lead, by exploring four foundational ‘elements of leadership’.

Outcomes:
With this in mind, the specific outcomes for this introductory course include:

  • Knowing the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development’s four elements of leadership, and developing an awareness of two theoretical models of leadership, thereby developing a starting ‘toolkit’ for leadership
  • In the process of developing this knowledge, having the opportunity to apply this knowledge to lead a small team
  • As a result, developing your confidence in your ability to lead should the opportunity arise

Feedback from 2016-17:

“The course gave a good overview of the key elements of leadership. It allowed each participant to put into practice what was learned and receive constructive feedback.”

“I feel much more competent in my ability to lead, now that I know theories behind the skill and know frameworks which I can implement. Practicing by leading a group of people I did not know was very useful.”

Better Presentations: A Practical Guide (Sciences and Technology) [Places] 10:00 - 12:30 Clinical School, Seminar Room 1

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 6
Postdocs: Self-Coaching for Professional Development new [Places] 10:00 - 12:00 The Postdoc Centre, Seminar Room @ Mill Lane

Have you ever considered how you could coach yourself in your professional development?

This workshop progresses on from Postdocs: Introduction to Coaching and Mentoring to suggest tools and techniques that can help you gain greater self-awareness whether 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 development. 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. We will introduce tools to 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.
Writing an Academic Report (Life Sciences) [Places] 10:00 - 12:30 Postdoc Centre, Newman Library @ Biomedical Campus

Your research is going well, you feel you are making progress, but looming on the horizon is the write up...

Aimed at those in their first year of study (PhD / Masters / Rotation students), this workshop is designed to get you thinking and working effectively on writing up your research. How do you 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 that will help you start to learn and apply the habits of a productive writer.

This course replaces "Writing Your First Year Report" and is designed to be more inclusive of the various programmes of study in Cambridge

Outcomes:

  • Understand the standard forms and functions of academic reports
  • Start planning the structure of your report
  • Experience the benefits of editing and providing feedback on writing
Thu 7
Writing Retreat new (1 of 2) [Places] 09:30 - 16:30 Department of Applied Mathematics and Theoretical Physics, Meeting Room 2

If one of the few criteria for the Cambridge PhD is ‘clearly written’, yet as Bourdieu said ‘academic writing is … no one’s mother tongue’, how do we solve this puzzle and write clearly? The overall aim of this intensive, interactive and practical two-day course is to help you get better at writing academically – whether on your dissertation or a journal article – in other words, writing more clearly. With this aim in mind, Day 1 focusses on Writing; Day 2 on Editing.

Day 1 will explore two fundamental principles of writing English clearly: ‘old before new’ and ‘simplicity first, complexity last’, and will look at these principles at ‘different levels’ of writing from the level of the sentence through to the level of the paragraph and larger work. In the process the course will look at the ‘rhetorical templates’ of introductions, conclusions abstracts and articles.

Day 2 will explore these two principles through the process of editing, and will cover common qualities of academic writing, including using the passive voice, nominalisations and ‘hedging’ appropriately.

To make Writing Retreat even more effective, please bring samples of your own writing that you can work on during the retreat. Writing sample should be a work in progress and not a polished final draft.

Please note, if your booking is successful and you gain a confirmed place you will be expected to attend the whole two days. If you fail to attend or do not stay for the duration of the course you will be charged for your place on this course.

IF YOU ARE SUCCESSFUL IN SECURING THE PLACE YOU WILL BE NOTIFIED BY EMAIL DURING THE WEEK COMMENCING 28th MAY 2018.

Fri 8
Writing Retreat new (2 of 2) [Places] 09:30 - 16:30 Department of Applied Mathematics and Theoretical Physics, Meeting Room 2

If one of the few criteria for the Cambridge PhD is ‘clearly written’, yet as Bourdieu said ‘academic writing is … no one’s mother tongue’, how do we solve this puzzle and write clearly? The overall aim of this intensive, interactive and practical two-day course is to help you get better at writing academically – whether on your dissertation or a journal article – in other words, writing more clearly. With this aim in mind, Day 1 focusses on Writing; Day 2 on Editing.

Day 1 will explore two fundamental principles of writing English clearly: ‘old before new’ and ‘simplicity first, complexity last’, and will look at these principles at ‘different levels’ of writing from the level of the sentence through to the level of the paragraph and larger work. In the process the course will look at the ‘rhetorical templates’ of introductions, conclusions abstracts and articles.

Day 2 will explore these two principles through the process of editing, and will cover common qualities of academic writing, including using the passive voice, nominalisations and ‘hedging’ appropriately.

To make Writing Retreat even more effective, please bring samples of your own writing that you can work on during the retreat. Writing sample should be a work in progress and not a polished final draft.

Please note, if your booking is successful and you gain a confirmed place you will be expected to attend the whole two days. If you fail to attend or do not stay for the duration of the course you will be charged for your place on this course.

IF YOU ARE SUCCESSFUL IN SECURING THE PLACE YOU WILL BE NOTIFIED BY EMAIL DURING THE WEEK COMMENCING 28th MAY 2018.

MBTI: Understanding Personality in a Research Environment [Full] 10:00 - 16:00 PPD, Revans Room


Ever wonder why you seem to ‘click’ with one person and not another? Ever wonder why you might find some things easier to do than others? The Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) might shed some light on these questions.

Why this course might make a difference
The Myers-Briggs Type Indicator presents a framework to help you understand yourself and others, by exploring differences and preferences in four areas of your personality. As a result of this exploration you may work more effectively and be more understanding in your relationships with others.

Led by a qualified MBTI practitioner, the workshop comprises working through the MBTI questionnaire and self-assessment exercises, so that participants can:

  • Understand the concept and theories behind the MBTI types and process to obtain a personal profile
  • Explore the differences and preferences within personalities in research-related scenarios

Feedback from 2016-17:

“I had known about the Myers-Briggs, but I hadn't understood the different dimensions fully, or their interactions at a deeper level. Between explanations and activities, the course really helped me to understand the Myers-Briggs perspective, and to be aware of personal and professional differences between my friends and colleagues.”

“The contents of this training and the design of the teaching were very attractive and interesting. I think this training is very useful and helpful, and will recommend it to my friends and other students in my department in the future.”

Wed 13
Postdocs: Writing a Grant Application with Impact [Full] 09:30 - 12:30 The Postdoc Centre, Eastwood Room @ Mill Lane

Do you know how to write a successful research grant application? This course is designed for postdocs with little or no experience of getting their research funded. It will explore the current research environment and impact agenda and help you understand how research is funded. You will also experience the process of reviewing applications and gain valuable and timely knowledge about how to get research funded.


Outcomes:

  • Learn tips and strategies to help you to get your current & future projects funded
  • Understand how proposals are assessed by funders
  • Gain experience of reviewing funding applications
  • Gain information about translational research funding and support available to post-docs


Feedback:

“Both the online resources presented, and the focused training sessions were well structured and passed through the importance of well-structured proposal, and often overlooked issues such as impact.”

“[I liked] seeing a grant from another discipline, to realise that a well-written grant (even if not perfect) can be understood also by people external to the field.”

Writing an Academic Report (Life Sciences) [Places] 10:00 - 12:30 17 Mill Lane, Seminar Room B

Your research is going well, you feel you are making progress, but looming on the horizon is the write up...

Aimed at those in their first year of study (PhD / Masters / Rotation students), this workshop is designed to get you thinking and working effectively on writing up your research. How do you 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 that will help you start to learn and apply the habits of a productive writer.

This course replaces "Writing Your First Year Report" and is designed to be more inclusive of the various programmes of study in Cambridge

Outcomes:

  • Understand the standard forms and functions of academic reports
  • Start planning the structure of your report
  • Experience the benefits of editing and providing feedback on writing
Thu 14

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. This is an introductory course to help you start preparing for your first poster sessions...

Wed 20
Writing an Academic Report (Life Sciences) [Places] 10:00 - 12:30 Postdoc Centre, Newman Library @ Biomedical Campus

Your research is going well, you feel you are making progress, but looming on the horizon is the write up...

Aimed at those in their first year of study (PhD / Masters / Rotation students), this workshop is designed to get you thinking and working effectively on writing up your research. How do you 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 that will help you start to learn and apply the habits of a productive writer.

This course replaces "Writing Your First Year Report" and is designed to be more inclusive of the various programmes of study in Cambridge

Outcomes:

  • Understand the standard forms and functions of academic reports
  • Start planning the structure of your report
  • Experience the benefits of editing and providing feedback on writing
Thu 21
Postdocs: Leading Others new [Places] 10:00 - 12:00 The Postdoc Centre, Eastwood Room @ Mill Lane

Are you ready to lead others confidently in whatever leadership position you may find yourself in?

This workshop draws on insight gained from Postdocs: An Initial Guide to Leadership and Postdocs: Self-Leadership and considers how to apply different skills, strengths, and styles of leadership as well as the strategies of self-leadership to enable you to thoughtfully and self-assuredly lead others. This workshop will help you cultivate a more profound and extensive portfolio of leadership capabilities and a deeper understanding of how to motivate people and to get the best out of them.

It is possible to attend this as an individual workshop, although we would recommend that you try to attend the series starting with Postdocs: An Initial Guide to Leadership and Postdocs: Self-Leadership.


Outcomes:

  • Understand the key components of being led and leading others.
  • Expand and extend your skills, strengths, abilities and style in detail so that you can lead others now and in the future.
  • Apply self-knowledge, awareness and techniques in the deployment of your leadership skills with others.
Fri 22
Better Presentations: A Practical Guide (Sciences and Technology) [Places] 10:00 - 12:30 Clinical School, Seminar Room 1

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 27
Postdocs: How to Achieve Productive Collaborations new [Places] 14:30 - 16:30 Postdoc Centre, Newman Library @ Biomedical Campus

We hear a lot lately on the benefits of collaboration for researchers. International collaborations look good on your CV, being collaborative helps generate higher impact publications, and participating in collaborations leads to creating professional networks you can call on throughout your career.

If we know that collaborations are good for research and career progression, it follows that we should learn how to collaborate well. This workshop looks at the practices of productive collaborations exploring the ways of thinking and doing that will contribute to successful teamwork. We will consider the importance of give-and-take within professional relationships, the benefits and challenges of bringing people together, and the stages collaboration goes through. We will also explore how working with others leads to personal growth.


Outcomes:

  • Learn the skills and ways of thinking that lead to productive collaborations.
  • Understand the challenges of teamwork and the typical stages of collaboration.
  • Consider the links between working collaboratively and personal growth.
Thu 28
Scientific Writing new [Full] 09:00 - 17:30 Department of Engineering, Lecture Room 4

This one-day course focuses on the structure of good scientific writing. Including writing exercises as an integral part of the workshop, we will look at the practical process of writing, the nature of scientific publishing, and the importance of editing. The day will finish with a group editing session in which you apply the ideas you have learnt by editing each other's work.

For the group editing session you will need to write a 300-word abstract about your work in advance, and bring it with you as a printout (see 'Prerequisites' below for details).

REGISTRATION starts at 9.00am on the day. Please ensure you arrive on time as latecomers may be refused entry.


Outcomes:

  • Develop skills for producing high-quality scientific papers aimed at the world's top journals
  • Understand the structure of good communication at the level of sentences, paragraphs, abstracts and entire papers
  • Apply these ideas to your own work
Fri 29
Scientific posters; the good, the bad and the ugly (Life Sciences) [Places] 10:00 - 12:30 Postdoc Centre, Newman Library @ Biomedical Campus

A good poster is worth a thousand words... but a bad poster is just a messy bit of paper.

When it’s time for you to present your research, how are you going to make the most of the opportunity? Aimed at second-year PhD students preparing for conferences, this session considers why we use posters to present our research, what makes a good poster, and some common mistakes. Through critiquing real examples and providing useful tips, this course helps you to present your research in style.

Outcomes:

  • Understand the purpose of a research poster
  • Know what contributes to making a poster good
  • Feel more confident in presenting your work effectively

July 2018

Wed 4

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.

Thu 5
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 will give you the 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.