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Researcher Development Programme (RDP)

Researcher Development Programme (RDP) course timetable

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Sat 24 Feb – Mon 26 Mar

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Monday 26 February

14:00
Introduction to Research Integrity at Cambridge new [Places] 14:00 - 16:00 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

Tuesday 27 February

10:00
Postdocs: Strategies for Building Resilience new [Places] 10:00 - 12:00 The Postdoc Centre, Eastwood Room @ Mill Lane

The life of a postdoc can be inherently stressful, with making applications for research grants, publishing and maintaining a work life balance, as well as coping with the precariousness of temporary contracts or visa regulations. Postdocs need an ample supply of resilience to deal with the ups and downs of being a professional researcher.

The aim of this workshop is to help you build emotional resilience by further developing coping strategies to overcome challenges. We will focus on what constitutes resilience, identifying your current coping strategies, and using theories of resilience to strengthen your ability to deal with whatever life and work throws at you, whilst maintaining a good level of wellbeing.


Outcomes

  • Recognise that you already have emotional resilience and use strategies on an ongoing basis.
  • Cultivate further effective coping strategies for various contexts.
  • Discover how to use a range of tools and techniques to increase your resilience.


Feedback:

“I would like more courses like this! Thank you!”

“Really good framework for applying it personally.”

“Interacting in groups worked well while exploring real-life examples.”

Wednesday 28 February

10:00
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
14:30
Postdocs: Effective Research Presentations (Group Workshop) new [Places] 14:30 - 16:30 The Postdoc Centre, Eastwood Room @ Mill Lane

Would you like an opportunity to try out a presentation before presenting it live to your key audience?

This interactive workshop, which centres on you delivering of a five-minute presentation, will support participants to communicate research engagingly and effectively. In addition to reviewing useful patterns and styles of presentation, you will have the chance to observe others in action, as each participant presents their five-minute presentation. 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

Thursday 1 March

11:00
Supporting Survivors of Rape and Sexual Violence new [Places] 11:00 - 13:00 Churchill College, Jock Colville Hall


This course is aimed to increase your understanding of the issues surrounding disclosures of sexual assault and harassment of students, the support available locally and the new University Harassment and Sexual Misconduct Procedures.


Norah Al-Ani, Director of Cambridge Rape Crisis Centre will deliver a presentation on:

  • Prevalence, definitions and the Legal Framework
  • Attitudes to rape and sexual violence
  • Effects and impacts of sexual violence
  • Barriers to disclosure, barriers to reporting
  • Working with and supporting survivors
  • Sources of support

Amy O’Leary, University Sexual Assault and Harassment Advisor will provide information on:

  • How the service can support students
  • How the service can provide consultation and support to staff working with students who have experienced sexual violence
  • How to access the service


Sarah d'Ambrumenil will report on:

  • The university new Harassment and Sexual Misconduct Procedures

Friday 2 March

10:00
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.

Tuesday 6 March

10:30
Solving Research Problems Creatively [Full] 10:30 - 12:30 PPD, Revans Room

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.

Feedback from 2016-17:
“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.”

14:00
Building Resilience and Coping with Setbacks [Full] 14:00 - 16:00 PPD, Fawcett Room

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’

Feedback from 2016-17:
“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.”

Wednesday 7 March

10:00
Postdocs: Assisting with PhD Supervision new [Places] 10:00 - 12:00 The Postdoc Centre, Eastwood Room @ Mill Lane


Do you supervise PhD students? Though not official supervisors, many postdocs are involved in the process of supervising PhD students. You face the challenging task of fostering creativity, delivering feedback, and managing a supervisor-student relationship. This workshop explores the principles of good supervision, the art of delivering critical feedback for best results, and the teacher/learner roles of the supervisor-supervisee relationship. It is aimed at postdocs looking to develop their skills in effective and inspired pedagogy.

Outcomes:

  • Understand the teacher/learner roles central to the supervision of PhD students
  • Explore good practice for delivering feedback
  • Learn techniques for fostering creativity in students

Feedback:

“I got to know the procedure, approaches, common problems and solutions to the problems of PhD supervision, and [to understand that] supervision is a balancing act.”

“The framework introduced to describe different aspects of supervising a research student was really useful.”

Procrastination Workshop new [Full] 10:00 - 12:00 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

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.”

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

Friday 9 March

10:00
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.”

Monday 12 March

14:00

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.

Tuesday 13 March

14:00
Postdocs: Leading Others new [Places] 14:00 - 16:00 Postdoc Centre, Newman Library @ Biomedical Campus

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.

Wednesday 14 March

10:00
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

Thursday 15 March

09:00
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

Monday 19 March

10:00


This course complements the supervising training and information your Department will provide. It is a course that consists of: an online module, which introduces practices and principles of undergraduate supervision at Cambridge, and a face-to-face workshop in which you will explore challenges and approaches to supervising.

By the end of this course you will know:

  • the purpose of supervisions at Cambridge
  • how to deal with common supervision scenarios
  • how to provide effective feedback
  • the practicalities of starting to supervise

Topics covered:

  • Introduction to supervising (including what supervisions are, format, preparing for them)
  • Background information for those who need it (British education system, Cambridge undergraduate system)
  • Role of a supervisor
  • Dealing with different supervision scenarios
  • Departmental information
  • Summary of what you have learnt
  • Practical tips and advice
  • Resources for ongoing support and information

Wednesday 21 March

10:00
Writing Your First Year Report (Physical Sciences & Technology) [Places] 10:00 - 12:30 PPD, 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, this course is designed to get you thinking and working effectively on your end-of-first-year report / Certificate of Postgraduate Studies. 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.


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

Thursday 22 March

10:00

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, this course is designed to get you thinking and working effectively on your end-of-first-year report / Certificate of Postgraduate Studies. 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.


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
14:30
Postdocs: Introduction to Coaching and Mentoring new [Places] 14:30 - 16:30 The Postdoc Centre, Eastwood Room @ Mill Lane

Do the terms ‘coaching’ and ‘mentoring’ intrigue you? Do you want to understand how they can be part of your future progression? There are many opportunities and programmes across this university for postdocs to get involved in coaching and mentoring in different ways. The overall purpose is to help postdocs understand the importance of being coached and mentored, and/or being a coach or a mentor. This short workshop introduces these two methods to explore what they are and how they can be helpful to postdocs. It will also direct you to where you can access these opportunities at Cambridge University.


Outcomes:

  • Describe the terms ‘coaching’ and ‘mentoring’ in more detail.
  • Differentiate between the two and identify situations for each that are specifically relevant to postdocs.
  • Compose a way forward to plan for coaching and mentoring to be part of your personal, professional and career progression.


Feedback:

“Great trainer - very professional, supportive and helpful.”

“This was a great coaching and mentoring session. I liked the interaction with other people.”

“I like the approach to the topics covered. [There was] useful information that I would like to explore more to enhance my coaching and mentoring.”

Friday 23 March

13:30
Effective Undergraduate Supervision (Life Sciences) [Places] 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.

Monday 26 March

09:30
Postdocs: Effective Research Presentations (1-2-1) [Full] 09:30 - 10:30 Postdoc Centre, Committee Room @ Biomedical Campus


Do you achieve the desired results from your presentations?
This interactive, individualised workshop, which centres on your delivery of a five-minute presentation, will help you communicate your research engagingly and effectively. In addition to reviewing useful patterns and styles of presentation, you will have the chance to observe yourself in action, as we will record and watch together your five-minute presentation. This workshop is for postdocs who want to achieve the greatest impact while presenting their work and to improve their public-speaking skills in a safe and supportive environment.

Outcomes
- Improve on designing and delivering a successful presentation
- Consider how to understand and engage your audience
- Observe yourself presenting and further develop your style

10:30
Postdocs: Effective Research Presentations (1-2-1) [Full] 10:30 - 11:30 Postdoc Centre, Committee Room @ Biomedical Campus


Do you achieve the desired results from your presentations?
This interactive, individualised workshop, which centres on your delivery of a five-minute presentation, will help you communicate your research engagingly and effectively. In addition to reviewing useful patterns and styles of presentation, you will have the chance to observe yourself in action, as we will record and watch together your five-minute presentation. This workshop is for postdocs who want to achieve the greatest impact while presenting their work and to improve their public-speaking skills in a safe and supportive environment.

Outcomes
- Improve on designing and delivering a successful presentation
- Consider how to understand and engage your audience
- Observe yourself presenting and further develop your style

11:30
Postdocs: Effective Research Presentations (1-2-1) [Full] 11:30 - 12:30 Postdoc Centre, Committee Room @ Biomedical Campus


Do you achieve the desired results from your presentations?
This interactive, individualised workshop, which centres on your delivery of a five-minute presentation, will help you communicate your research engagingly and effectively. In addition to reviewing useful patterns and styles of presentation, you will have the chance to observe yourself in action, as we will record and watch together your five-minute presentation. This workshop is for postdocs who want to achieve the greatest impact while presenting their work and to improve their public-speaking skills in a safe and supportive environment.

Outcomes
- Improve on designing and delivering a successful presentation
- Consider how to understand and engage your audience
- Observe yourself presenting and further develop your style

13:30
Postdocs: Effective Research Presentations (1-2-1) [Full] 13:30 - 14:30 Postdoc Centre, Committee Room @ Biomedical Campus


Do you achieve the desired results from your presentations?
This interactive, individualised workshop, which centres on your delivery of a five-minute presentation, will help you communicate your research engagingly and effectively. In addition to reviewing useful patterns and styles of presentation, you will have the chance to observe yourself in action, as we will record and watch together your five-minute presentation. This workshop is for postdocs who want to achieve the greatest impact while presenting their work and to improve their public-speaking skills in a safe and supportive environment.

Outcomes
- Improve on designing and delivering a successful presentation
- Consider how to understand and engage your audience
- Observe yourself presenting and further develop your style

14:30
Postdocs: Effective Research Presentations (1-2-1) [Full] 14:30 - 15:30 Postdoc Centre, Committee Room @ Biomedical Campus


Do you achieve the desired results from your presentations?
This interactive, individualised workshop, which centres on your delivery of a five-minute presentation, will help you communicate your research engagingly and effectively. In addition to reviewing useful patterns and styles of presentation, you will have the chance to observe yourself in action, as we will record and watch together your five-minute presentation. This workshop is for postdocs who want to achieve the greatest impact while presenting their work and to improve their public-speaking skills in a safe and supportive environment.

Outcomes
- Improve on designing and delivering a successful presentation
- Consider how to understand and engage your audience
- Observe yourself presenting and further develop your style

15:30
Postdocs: Effective Research Presentations (1-2-1) [Places] 15:30 - 16:30 Postdoc Centre, Committee Room @ Biomedical Campus


Do you achieve the desired results from your presentations?
This interactive, individualised workshop, which centres on your delivery of a five-minute presentation, will help you communicate your research engagingly and effectively. In addition to reviewing useful patterns and styles of presentation, you will have the chance to observe yourself in action, as we will record and watch together your five-minute presentation. This workshop is for postdocs who want to achieve the greatest impact while presenting their work and to improve their public-speaking skills in a safe and supportive environment.

Outcomes
- Improve on designing and delivering a successful presentation
- Consider how to understand and engage your audience
- Observe yourself presenting and further develop your style