Places available: Upcoming IAD PhD Workshops

We have places available on the upcoming workshops, open to all postgraduate research students:

Managing Your Work, Yourself and Your Goals

Wednesday 8th November 2017

This interactive workshop explores how important our daily working practices, time management and goal setting can be to help us achieve our life and career goals More information here

Communications Toolkit for a Public Audience

Thursday 9th November 2017

This workshop is ideal for researchers who are new to engaging members of the public with their research.  More information here

Beating Writers Block

Monday 13th November 2017

This workshop will look at how writer’s block manifests, what causes it and what strategies you can adopt to re-connect with your research, your writing, your confidence and your voice. More information here 

Viva Survivor

Tuesday 14th November 2017

Viva Survivor is a session for postgraduate researchers close to submission who want to gain insight on how to be well prepared for their viva. More information here

For a full list of our workshops please see here




Think Strategically Respond Rapidly Workshop

We have places available on the following workshop:

Think Strategically Respond Rapidly – 25th October 2017

Research often moves very slowly, but sometimes we need to be able to move very quickly indeed. Last minute conference invitations, grant announcements and journal calls (amongst other demands) all require research teams to mobilize their resources and respond straight away. In this workshop we’ll examine how to respond quickly to opportunities as they arise. We’ll also examine how to write rapidly to a pre-specification and respond to policy consultations and other stakeholder requests.

By the end of this workshop, students should be able to identify strategies to quickly respond to opportunities.

For more information see here

IAD Action Fund

The IAD offers funding for University of Edinburgh staff and students to develop and support academic networks and communities and/or test ideas for creative learning activities. (Includes Festival of Creative Learning Pop-ups.)

The aim of the fund is to support applicants to:

  • Establish, develop or support internal interdisciplinary networks, particularly strategically important internal cross-School and cross-College networks.
  • Establish, develop or support internal academic communities within a discipline, School or subject area, particularly involving both staff and students.
  • Run innovative professional development activities which would support groups of colleagues or students to develop skills in leadership, communication, networking, writing and other generic transferable skills. We encourage you to explore experimental or creative approaches to professional development.
  • To run a Festival of Creative Learning Pop-up event outside of the main programme in February. Please refer to the Festival of Creative Learning website (link at bottom of page) for additional information about Pop-ups.brainstorming-300x300

There are two levels of funding available:

IAD Action Fund Small Grants

Small grants can be for up to a maximum of £500. You can apply at any point during the academic year

IAD Action Fund Regular Grants

You can apply to up to a maximum of £3000. Application deadline in October. The next deadline is 16 October 2017.

Find out more here

PhD Writing Courses for International Students

English Language Support for International Students

A wide range of courses are available to help international students with their English and academic skills. For first year PhD students, there’s “Writing a PhD First-Year Report”, which aims to help students to prepare the paper (or report, or proposal) that they will be writing for their first year review (or ‘panel’ or ‘progression board’), towards the end of the first year of their doctoral studies.   This course starts in the week beginning 23 October 2017, and the application deadline is Friday 13 October.


For second and third year PhD students there’s Writing your PhD: Reviewing the Literature.

This course starts week beginning 2 October 2017

Other workshops include:untitledgyh

  • Writing up Quantitative and Qualitative Research
  • Social Speaking Skills
  • Better Pronunciation
  • Academic Writing
  • Grammar for Academic Writing

Find out more here:


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, and catering is not provided, 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 you

•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

•Please bring your own refreshments with you

The sessions will take place as follows:



Date Time
Monday 7th August 2017 9.30am – 12.30pm
Monday 7th August 2017 1.30pm – 4.30pm
Tuesday 8th August 2017 9.30am – 12.30pm
Tuesday 8th August 2017 1.30pm – 4.30pm
Wednesday 9th August 2017 9.30am – 12.30pm
Wednesday 9th August 2017 1.30pm – 4.30pm
Thursday 10th August 2017 9.30am – 12.30pm
Thursday 10th August 2017 1.30pm – 4.30pm
Friday 11th August 2017 9.30am – 12.30pm
Friday 11th August 2017 1.30pm – 4.30pm

Find out more here




Dr. Kirsty Ross reflects on the experience and opportunities of Explorathon


It has been a while since I thought about EXPLORATHON, but the notification emails for 2017 have started coming in from the University and from Beltane, leading me to reflect on what happened last year and how we can make it bigger and better this year.

For those of you yet to join us at an EXPLORATHON event, EXPLORATHON is Scotland’s contribution to European Researchers’ Night. This is one night a year when researchers from across Europe come together the celebrate the wealth of research, EU funded or not, and try to engage with as many people as humanly possible.

Last year, our team of 21 researchers interacted with over 500 people over the course of 24 hours. By and large we were interacting with either children or family groups. As part of our engagement strategy, we always try to make sure we are engaging with hard-to-reach audience, such as those at WHALEArts.

My top tips for participants would include; counting interactions at each activity you organise vs just total number of people visiting your stand. Say you have 3 activities and 100 people visit your stand. That is 100 visitors, which is great. However, some of those visitors may have interacted with you once, twice or three times. In this example, you could have as many as 300 interactions or engagements, if you count visitors to each activity.

Another point is that it is worth breaking down your visitors into men and women, boys and girls. Obviously this is not perfect and doesn’t take into consideration the full diversity in society. However, it can be used as a short hand to work out if your activities are appealing equally to males and females, adults and children. It is important to consider whether you are deterring anyone in your audience by the way you are presenting and to make sure everyone has equity of access.

Finally, try not to fall into the habit of delivering the same old engagement activities to the same audience that you always do. EXPLORATHON is a fantastic opportunity to try reaching audiences you might never have considered, or using more collaborative and consultative methods. For example, we are going to try live drawing of scientists by comic books artists this year (not that sort of life drawing! No nakedness required). What new and innovative methods can you think of? Feel free to get in touch if you need any help to take your engagement ideas to the next step.


Registration to be part of Explorathon 2017 closes on Friday 30th June. You do not have to have any experience in public engagement to take part, as all participants will have the opportunity to attend specialised training that will help you develop engaging activities from your research interests. Further information, including the link for registration, can be found here:


Dr Kirsty Ross is the outreach officer for two groups of researchers; Bionanotechnology @ Strathclyde University, and the EPSRC/MRC Centre for Doctoral Training in Optical Medical Imaging (OPTIMA) which shared between the University of Edinburgh and the University of Strathclyde. Kirsty is a microbiologist by training, discovered her public engagement vocation during her postdoc, and jumped in feet first in 2011. She has been on the Glasgow EXPLORATHON committee for 3 years, but took a step back last year into a delivery focused role.

Academic Writing Masterclass

Academic Writing Masterclass Workshop – Thursday 1st June 2017 and Wednesday 7th June 2017.

A Masterclass is tutor-led group session for academic writers who would like to get feedback on their writing from a small, supportive audience.

Prior to the Masterclass you will be invited to submit an extract (approximately 1000 words) from your academic writing two weeks in advance. All submissions will be circulated, anonymously and in strict confidence, to other course participants.

If your writing is discussed at the Masterclass – something which depends on the number of submissions – your text will be approached as a ‘minimal viable product’ rather than a finished piece. Feedback will focus on the strengths of your writing as well as any writing patterns that may inhibit clarity or make your writing less effective.

Find out more hereuntitledgyh

University of Edinburgh 3 Minute Thesis Competition Final 2017

Audience tickets are now available for the University of Edinburgh 3 Minute Thesis Competition Final on the 22nd June 2017.  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:

Name College
Isobel MacGregor CMVM
Toby Gurran CMVM
Laura Glendinning CMVM
Lulu Tucker CSCE
Euan Doidge CSCE
Jennifer Dodoo CSCE
William Kerr CAHSS
Tim Squirrell CAHSS
Vanitha Subramaniam 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 IAD PhD workshops:


Three Minute Thesis – Competition Preparation Workshop

22nd February 2017

In this interactive workshop we will focus on the creativity and personal innovation required to enter the three minute thesis competition. Find out more and book a place here

How to be an Effective Researcher

23rd and 24th February 2017

This interactive and intensive 2-day course has been designed for first and second year PhD students and will look at practical ways to increase your effectiveness and meet the challenges of your PhD.  Find out more and book a place here

Practical Project Management for Research Students

7th March 2017

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

Simply Assertive

8th March 2017

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

Speed Reading

8th March 2017

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


How to be an Effective Researcher Workshop

What can you do to make yourself a more effective PhD researcher and get the most out of your PhD?

We are running the ‘How to be an Effective Researcher’ workshop on the 23rd and 24th February 2017

This interactive and intensive 2-day course has been designed for first and second year PhD students and will look at practical ways to increase your effectiveness and meet the challenges of your PhD.

The course will cover:

  • PhD project planning
  • Effective working practices
  • Working with others in the research environment
  • Maximising your impact
  • Managing your supervisor
  • Negotiating
  • Getting feedback
  • Making the most of your PhD – planning for the future

Participants work in groups to work on a range of activities. From this you will gain awareness of your performance as an individual and in a team. You will use and develop skills that are essential for a researcher such as communication, planning, time management, problem solving, leadership and assertiveness, as well as building a greater self-awareness of your learning and working styles. The course was developed at the University of Edinburgh with support from Vitae and has been attended by thousands of researchers at universities across the UK. It was devised with input from tutors from academia, industry and other sectors to ensure its relevance to PhD research and future careers.

Find out more, and book a place here