Prepare for Doctoral Success


Prepare for Doctoral Success is a 4-week, interactive online course for all doctoral researchers at the University of Edinburgh.

Starting a doctorate is a very exciting time, but it can also be difficult to know where to start.

We hope  this online course will help you settle in to your doctoral studies by sharing essential information, tips and advice, and giving you an opportunity to interact with other students at the same stage.

Course dates: this course will run for four weeks from 8th October 2018

Time commitment: we estimate you should expect to spend about 1-2 hours per week reading the materials and engaging with the tasks and online forums. It will be run as an asynchronous course, which means you can look at the tasks and post in the forums at a time that suits you.


  • Week 1: Getting to know you – this is to introduce you to the course and other participants.
  • Week 2: Starting out – the essential information and expectations.
  • Week 3: The first year – milestones, planning and skills development.
  • Week 4: Working with your supervisor – hints and tips, expectations and supervisor styles.

More information and booking here:


Welcome along/back!

A warm welcome to new students to the University of Edinburgh and a welcome back to returning students! This academic year has another packed programme of events and workshops here at the Institute for Academic Development.  We will use this blog to provide useful hints and tips as well as keep you up to date with events throughout the year.

You can find out about transferable skills, professional and personal development training and support for postgraduate researchers from the IAD in our new brochure for 2018/2019

See our new brochure here: welcome_primarylogo_main

You can find our monthly newsletter here:

For details of Prepare for Doctoral Success Online Resource click here:

See our website for more information:

Follow us on twitter: @iad4phd

Best wishes

Louise McKay

Programme Manager – Doctoral Provision at the IAD


Places available: Upcoming IAD PhD Workshops

We have places available on the following workshops running in September:

The Writing Process: Getting Started  (CAHSS)– 17/9/18

This workshop provides practical tools and tips for making the transition into writing by developing focus, structure and a writing habit.

Text: Coherence, Structure and Argumentation 18/9/18

This workshop looks at different aspects of organising a text. Topics include creating coherence; ordering sentences into paragraphs, and paragraphs into sections; using signposting to highlight connections and support transitions; and developing an argument.

Is My Writing Academic Enough? (CSCE/CMVM) 20/9/18

This workshop will focus on identifying key requirements for strong academic writing, and translating those into practical checks to ensure that your text meets relevant expectations.

The Writing Process Getting Started (CSCE/CMVM) 24/9/18

This workshop provides practical tools and tips for making the transition into writing by developing focus, structure and a writing habit.

Academic Writer – Creative Writer 25/9/18

This workshop will explore some of the creative writer’s toolkit through exercises that first take us outside the realm of academic writing, and then back into it.

Is my Writing Academic Enough? (CAHSS) 26/9/18

This workshop will focus on identifying key requirements for strong academic writing, and translating those into practical checks to ensure that your text meets relevant expectations.

Just Write for Research Students 28/9/18

The aim of a ‘Just Write’ session is to create a time and place for PhD students to write without the distractions of emails, Facebook, Twitter and everyday life.


PGR Summer Writing Retreats

These PGR summer writing retreats provide you with a quiet time and space to focus on your writing without the distractions of the office, emails and daily life. These sessions are not facilitated, it is simply a dedicated space and time to progress your writing projects.

Thinking of coming along? Here is what you need to know:

•You will get the most out of the time by planning in advance and coming prepared to write

•Bring your laptop and any notes you may need with youuntitledgyh

•You can use this time to focus on anything related to your work

• You can attend as many sessions as you wish

•You can attend for the full day or half a day, but please make sure you book a place on each session

•Catering is not provided – please bring your own refreshments with you

•Laptops are not provided

The sessions will follow the timetable below:


09:30-10:15 – Writing

10:15-10:25 – Short Break

10:25-11:25 – Writing

11:25-11:35 – Short Break

11:35-12:25 – Writing


13:30-14:15 – Writing

14:15-14:25 – Short Break

14:25-15:25 – Writing

15:25-15:35 – Short Break

15:35-16:25 – Writing

For more information see here

3 Minute Thesis Competition 2018 – Winners Announced

DSC_0858The University of Edinburgh 3 Minute Thesis Competition final took place on 22nd June 2018. Nine finalists from Three Colleges competed to deliver the best research presentation in 3 minutes with 1 slide.

University competition winner: The winner of the University of Edinburgh 3 Minute Thesis 2018 competition was Phoebe Kirkwood from the Deanery of Clinical Sciences with her presentation ‘The Secrets of Scarless Healing’ Phoebe will now go on to represent the University in the UK and Universitas 21 competitions.

Runner Up: the runner up was Owen James from the Centre for Clinical Brain Sciences, with his presentation ‘Human Myelin in a Dish’

‘People’s Choice’: Gavin Woolman from the School of Physics and Astronomy won the people’s choice prize with his presentation ‘Better Thermoelectrics through high pressure’

Congratulations to all the finalists.

Find out more about the competition here



3 Minute Thesis Final 2018

3MT_Logo.jpgAudience tickets are now available for the University of Edinburgh 3 Minute Thesis Competition Final on the 22nd June 2018.  The Three Minute Thesis competition requires doctoral researchers to compete to deliver the best research presentation in just 3 minutes and one slide.  Nine finalist from three Colleges will present a compelling presentation on their research topic and its significance in just three minutes.

This year’s finalists are:

Owen James CMVM
Phoebe Kirkwood CMVM
Danielle Leighton CMVM
Gavin Woolman CSCE
Sorcha Gilroy CSCE
Warwick Wainwright CSCE
Fabio Battaglia CAHSS
Vivek Bhatt CAHSS
Katie McGoohan CAHSS

You will also be able to live webstream the final from your own computer.

Find out more about the competition, and reserve tickets for the final here


Places available: Upcoming IAD PhD Workshops

We have places available on the following upcoming workshops:

Practical Project Management for Research Students

25th April 2018

This workshop will introduce you to project management, with a focus on the development of practical skills. More information here

Simply Assertive

11th May 2018

The aim of this workshop is to enable delegates to have a greater self confidence in difficult situations and feel able to express their opinions. More information here 

Speed Reading

11th May 2018

This short workshop will give you a number of tools to help you to read more quickly, more strategically and more critically. More information here

Effective Writing: Grammar

11th May 2018

Native speakers of English often have little knowledge of formal grammar and non-native speakers may know the grammar in theory but find the practice is a lot harder. This workshop starts by providing the vocabulary to discuss grammar. Using examples of academic writing from a variety of subject areas, we deal with common errors in sentence construction and punctuation in the work of native and non-native speakers.  Finally, we look at how a knowledge of grammar can help the writer communicate more effectively in a way that the reader will enjoy. More information here





Facilitation Skills for Public Engagement

Facilitation skills for public engagement workshop 10/5/18

Do you need facilitation skills to do your job? Probably: good facilitation skills are critical to team working, collaborating with other teams and organisations, planning and holding meetings, and small group teaching.

If you’d like to improve the communication and inter-personal skills needed to facilitate well, this workshop may be for you!network-1020332_1920

Skills You’ll Develop:

– Enabling everyone to speak openly about their views, interests and needs

– Thinking together to tackle difficult problems or get a job done

– Fostering creativity and realise the potential for ‘group intelligence’

– Handling dominant voices and ensure all participants are heard

– Working through conflict without confrontation

– Recognising different patterns of communication and encourage ‘authentic’ communication

– Using your power as a facilitator constructively

Training Approach:

Our training approach integrates some ‘theory’ with a lot of opportunities to practice. Specifically, we will:

– Introduce key concepts – about different forms of communication and styles of facilitation, and about collaboration

– Work on key skills and common challenges, giving you experience of some different techniques and approaches

– Make this relevant to your circumstances and needs, and encourage your reflective practice.

What this Course Does Not Cover:

Facilitation involves two skill sets: thinking strategically (for planning and evaluation); and attending to communication and inter-personal dynamics in these critical conversations. This workshop aims to build capacity in the latter skill set only.

While this workshop is extremely useful for people wishing to engage others with their research, this won’t be a specific focus on the day.


This workshop is intended for people who already do some facilitation and want the opportunity to reflect on and deepen their practice in this area. Those new to facilitation and dialogue, are encouraged to attend Public Engagement Beyond Public Lectures instead.

For more information and booking see here


Places available: Upcoming IAD PhD Workshops

We have places available on the following upcoming workshops:

Structured Writing Retreat

11th April 2018

This writing retreat is an opportunity to make progress on a writing project and build confidence in your academic writing skills.  Writing slots will be interspersed with short discussions and reflections. More information here

Managing your Research Project

17th April 2018

Project management is a core skill for most jobs and being a researcher is no different.   This workshop is designed to help you take control of your research and support you in the successful completion of your PhD and future research projects. More information here

Searching Research Literature and Finding Bibliographies

17th April 2018

The workshop is a mixture of presentations and hands on practical computer-based sessions to help participants understand the information research process and developing Good practice in literature searching. More information here

Conference and Events Organising

18th April 2018

The workshop is designed to cover event planning and design, management, finance, venues, online tools, marketing and promotion, attracting sponsorship and post-event actions. More information here

Good Practice in Research Data Management

19th April 2018

This workshop is aimed at all postgraduate researchers who are interested in finding out how to manage their research data effectively and efficiently during their post graduate research study. More information here

Finding Funding for Research

20th April 2018

This workshop will initially focus on examining the current funding landscape, helping researchers to identify the most promising sources of funding for their research. In the second part we will look at funding applications and they review process, highlighting the most important mistakes researchers make and defining a strategy for applying that will produce the greatest success. More information here



Structured Writing Retreat

Structured Writing Retreat for Postgraduate Researchers 11th April 2018

Come to a writing retreat if you want to make progress on a writing project (such as a thesis chapter or a journal article) and build confidence in your academic writing skills. At this structured retreat, writing slots will be interspersed with short discussions and reflections. The retreat format of working alongside (and sometimes in conversation with) others has been shown to generate pages as well as solutions to writing problems.untitledgyh

You will get the most out of this retreat if you:

  • decide on a writing project in advance, with corresponding goals for the day
  • don’t use the internet during the writing retreat
  • do as much relevant reading and other preparation as possible in advance
  • bring notes, plans and outlines for your writing project to the retreat

More information and booking here