International Guest Speakers

This semester we have two international guest speakers delivering workshops for the IAD PhD programme:

Seven Secrets of a Highly Successful Research Student 4/3/16

Hugh Kearns, Flinders University, Adelaide, Australia

What do research higher degree (RHD) students do to finish on time, to overcome isolation, doubt and writer’s block, and to enjoy the process? And just as importantly what do they do in order to spend guilt-free time with their family and friends and perhaps even have holidays? If this sounds appealing, then this session will be of particular use to you.

This workshop describes the key habits that our research and experience with thousands of students shows will make a difference to how quickly and easily you complete your RHD. Just as importantly, these habits can greatly reduce the stress and increase the pleasure involved in completing a RHD.

The workshop helps you to understand how to increase your effectiveness and outcomes in the following key areas:

  • how you deal with your supervisorGreen-Globe-psd448121
  • how you structure your study time
  • your attitude (or lack thereof!) in relation to your research
  • dealing with writer’s block or having difficulty writing
  • getting the help you need when you are stuck
  • juggling multiple commitments and never having enough time
  • keeping on going when the going gets tough

Hugh Kearns BAgSc, MEd, MMHS

Hugh Kearns is recognised internationally as a public speaker, educator and researcher. He regularly lectures at universities across the world and has recently returned from a lecture tour of the UK and the US which included lectures at Oxford, Harvard and Stanford.

His areas of expertise include self-management, positive psychology, work-life balance, learning and creativity. He draws on over twenty years of experience as a leading training and development professional within the corporate, financial, education and health sectors in Ireland, Scotland, New Zealand and Australia. He has coached individuals, teams and executives in a wide range of organisations in the public and private sectors.

Hugh lectures and researches at Flinders University, Adelaide, Australia. He is widely recognised for his ability to take the latest research in psychology and education and apply it to high-performing people and groups. As a co-author with Maria Gardiner, he has published six books which are in high demand both in Australia and internationally.

Hacking the US Academic Job Market 29/4/16

Karen Kelsky, USA, author of The Professor is in: The essential guide to turning your PhD into a job’

If you are seeking to develop your academic career and are keen to gain international experience this workshop will help you consider what to expect and to plan ahead in order to maximise your prospects of success.

This workshop will be led by Karen Kelsky, a former professor at two US universities (Illinois and Oregon), who will walk you through the conditions of the current American academic job market, the most common mistakes made by job-seekers, and how you can maximize your chances of success while looking for an academic job.

It will address:

  • The conditions of the academic job search in a time of economic upheaval
  • How to think like a search committee
  • The four core qualities of a successful job candidate
  • The all-important 5-Year Plan
  • The ethos of effective job market documents
  • The most common mistakes made by job seekers
  • The keys to academic interviewing
  • Negotiating your US offer
  • Challenges for UK clients on the US market

Karen Kelsky currently runs a consulting business to help research students and junior faculty to think ahead and plan for an academic career. Karen has developed her reputation in this field through working with leading US universities, her blog The Professor Is In and recent book ‘The Professor is in: The essential guide to turning your PhD into a job’.

For more information on both workshops click here



Edinburgh Local Gradschool 2016

Edinburgh Local  Gradschool 2016.  18th – 20th May 2016

The Edinburgh GRADschool is an experiential 3-day non-residential learning course, designed for doctoral researchers in the last 18 months of their PhD, aiming to raise participants’ awareness of their personal and professional transferable skills.

The course uses small facilitated groups to enable you to review your experiences at intervals as the GRADschool progresses.

It offers you the unique opportunity to:

  • take a step back from your research and consider your next step
  • develop a wide variety of personal and professional skills
  • build a network with students from across Scotland
  • develop self awareness and self confidence

The course aims to help you develop:

  • communication, networking, time management, and team work skills
  • awareness of your own individual qualities and strengths
  • self-confidence in research and beyond
  • career management skills and raised awareness of the range of career options open to PhD graduates.

For more information and booking see here


3 Minute Thesis 2016

Guest Blog Post: Chen Zhao, 3 Minute Thesis Winner 2015

Are you thinking of entering the 3 Minute Thesis Competition?  See our guest blog post from Chen Zhao, winner of the 2015 competition on her IMG_8291experience of the competition:

394—the word count of my 3MT. It doesn’t sound like a big deal, does it?

This all started two years ago when I read the news that Chris West, a colleague from the Sottish Centre for Regenerative Medicine (SCRM), had won the university final. That was the first time I had heard of this competition, and I thought one day I might enter it. I’m so glad that I did!

Some people may think that 3MT is just for those who are good at public speaking. I want to say it’s NOT the case! Take me for example. English is not my first language, and after 4 years of study in the UK I still fear to talk to native speakers. I’m always concerned that they must be judging every single word coming out of my mouth—whether the grammar or pronunciation is correct. Whenever I need to do a presentation, I have to write a script, memorise every word and practise for several times until it sounds like there hasn’t been a script. I’m also very shy when talking to strangers. At networking events, I never introduce myself to others, but always wait to be introduced. So if a person like me can do it, you will definitely be able to deliver a good 3MT, as long as you dare to challenge yourself! “Take the challenge” was the sole reason why I entered the competition, as this is the only way, I believe, to beat my weaknesses and make improvements.

After handing in the form for entering, all you need to do is to practise, practise and practise! This is not a boring process, but actually was of great fun to me! The opening sentence of my 3MT was “I’m dying and fast”, which is a quote from a patient with motor neurone disease. I practised this sentence hundreds of times, trying different tones and ways of stressing, even when I was walking on the street. You could imagine how many people had been staring at me and worried that I might be crazy… I also presented my 3MT to colleagues and friends for several times to ask for feedback. One colleague joked with me when he heard my 3MT for the second time—“Chen, last time you said that you were about to die. Why are you still here?? You were lying!!”

Was I nervous when I presented at the competition? Of course! At the college heat, I was literally shivering, and presented extremely fast, finishing 20 seconds less than my usual speed during preparation. At the last week before the university final, I couldn’t fall asleep, as I kept thinking what I would be like if I stumbled during the competition. Thankfully, I found solutions to such stress—a run around The Meadows and Amy Cuddy’s TED talk about how power posing can shape people’s minds. These really helped me to PRETEND being confident at the university final.

Having finished the competition and reflected on my experience, I realise how much I’ve benefited from 3MT. Before entering the competition, I had just come out of my second-year blues, and stepped into my third-year blues… However, preparing 3MT forced me to take one step back from my daily detailed experiments to look at the big picture. It helped me to regain my motivation for doing research, because the importance of my project was exactly why I joined the group and started a PhD. After the university final, one girl came to me and said “I’ve learnt a lot from your presentation, much more than a 1-week course in neuroscience I once took.” This was really encouraging to me!

Since the competition, I’ve had several opportunities to give talks to big audiences, such as the Senate meeting, Postgraduate Inductions and the SCRM retreat. These experiences have made me less and less nervous about public speaking and more confident in communications. 3MT has also made me realise my great interest in education, and helped me to secure an intern placement which requires good communication skills. These will for sure be beneficial for my future career development.

So, give it a try! You won’t regret!

You can find out more about the competition here


Happy new year from the IAD!

Happy New Year and a prosperous 2016 from the IAD!  imagesCAJDXVCV

As a new year starts we continue to provide a range of resources and workshops for Postgraduate Researchers.  Take a look at some of the things we are offering this year:

  • Writing Workshops: We offer a range of writing workshops including Getting Started, Grammar, Writing for Publication and Writing Abstracts.
  • New courses: This year we have added several new courses to our programme, including: Introductory Statistics and a Beginners Guide to Imaging, as well as monthly ‘Just Write’ Sessions and a Writing Retreat
  • Gradschool: Each year we run an Edinburgh Local Gradschool for late stage PhD students.  This year’s Gradschool will take place on Wednesday 18th – Friday 20th May 2016
  • We have several international guest speakers this year, including Hugh Kearns from Flinders University Australia running a ‘Seven Secrets of Highly Successful Research Students’ seminar on the 4th March 2016
  • 3 Minute Thesis: The fourth annual 3 Minute Thesis Competition will take place on the 23rd June 2016.  Training is available to anyone interested in taking part in this competition, this will take place on the 18th and 25th February 2016
  • Follow us on twitter @iad4phd to keep up to date with the latest workshops and events

For more information on all of the above please see here