10 ingredients for a successful supervisor/PhD student relationship – A thoughtful commentary from Elsevier Connect

The PhD candidate-Supervisor Relationship is probably the cornerstone of academic research, at least in Western Europe. The relationship, which can last anything from 3 to 5 or more years depending on the type and location of the PhD degree, provides a key transition for the student from being a learned individual to one who enhances these attributes and becomes more or less independent in their pursuit of excellence.

Some of the more successful relationships last a lifetime particularly for those candidates that continue a career in academia or a similar domain. Prof Torralba declares 10 key constituents for developing this relationship successfully. How do these attributes/features resonate with your experiences as a supervisor or student?


Leeds: The Summer Careers Festival 2021!

This Summer, we’re excited to share with you a series of virtual events to help you discover opportunities in Yorkshire, the UK and globally. Join us from the 7 – 10 June for the Summer Careers Festival, where you can book 1-to-1 meetings and group sessions with a huge range of employers who are looking to hire now!

We have over 160+ employers with live vacancies waiting to talk to you! If you’re looking for a summer internship, placement or a graduate level job – then the Summer Careers Festival is for you.

See what events we will run during the Summer Careers Festival below and click directly on each event to book your exclusive place.

Summer Careers Festival fairs and events:

To attend the Careers Day fairs you will have to download the CareerFair+ app and get your profile ready! Read the top tips here to stand out from the crowd and make sure to attend the pre-events webinars.

Here are some tips on how to join us and make the most of the Careers Days:

  1. Download the CF+ app (Google Play & App Store)
  2. Create an account – watch this video to see how!
  3. Allow notifications & add the fair to your calendar
  4. Listen to How to prepare for the Summer Careers Festival | Top tips from Marc and Kiera – webinar recording
  5. Browse attending employers (https://cfplus.page.link/ZMm1)
  6. Research the companies and use filters to decide which employers you want to talk to
  7. Book 1-2-1 appointments and group sessions. Employers are adding their availability on daily basis – if you cannot book an appointment for a particular employer – make sure to log in to CF+ at a later date to check their availability again.

 

EU offers Global opportunities to Postdoctoral researchers

The EU’s Horizon Europe has begun and Sweden, Switzerland and UK, as an associate partner that has the same rights as full partners, will be actively engaged in research. As such we will be submitting grants in areas of medical engineering and biomechanics using both bottom-up instruments and top-down specified calls.

One of these instruments that allows collaboration development are through the Postdoctoral fellowships – which allow an overseas post PhD researcher to undertake research and research training in Europe (max 8 years research experience since their PhD).  The proposed call opens on 18 May 2021 with a proposed call deadline 15 September 2021 (tbc). These fellowships provide a substantial salary as well as a research support allocation managed by the host institution.

The consortium members, University of Leeds, Uppsala University, Lulea Technical University, ETH Zurich and Imperial College London,  have considerable experience of hosting and developing the types of fellowships providing an open and innovative environment for the Fellows to develop. The consortium have considerable EU experience through both large scale programmes (lifeLongJoints.eu), mentoring EU fellows and a number of MSCA ITNs (now called doctoral networks) and would welcome discussions developing EU postdoctoral fellowship proposals. If you have any students who may be considering a postdoctoral research position and might be interested in med-tech/biomechanics then perhaps we can chat about this.  These fellowships are useful for answering research questions that both the beneficiary and the researcher are interested in.

BioTrib/University of Leeds MSCA ESR/IF careers meeting – 26th April 2021.

BioTrib and the RIS EU office joined forces at the University of Leeds to deliver a careers orientated event for all MSCA Early Stage Researchers and Individual Fellows who are employed at the University.

The event comprised a panel session where 4 ESR and IF alumni provided an overview of their careers and provided advice to current MSCA sponsored researchers at the University of Leeds. The panel comprised:

  • Jayakrishnan Chandrappan, Head of Packaging, CSA Catapult, UK (MSCA IF Alumni),
  • Brandon Charleston, Head of Volunteering, Raleigh International (Leeds PhD Alumni),
  • Cecilia Persson, Professor at Department of Materials Science and Engineering, Applied Materials Science, Uppsala University, Sweden (MSCA ITN Alumni),
  • Anna Plotnikova, Assistant Professor of Strategic Change at VU University Amsterdam, School of Business and Economics, The Netherlands (MSCA ITN Alumni).

The panellists discussed the role of internationalisation in their career progression and the importance that provides through the demonstration of the attributes of an independent researcher, networking across national boundaries and being exposed to different cultures and research ideas.

The meeting also comprised speakers from the University involved in delivering opportunities for ESRs and IFs.  This included the RIS EU Office, The International Office, the Careers Service and the Organisational and Personal Development Unit.

These video clips can be now seen at the BioTrib careers event.

Training – What skills does a PhD student need for a successful career outside academia?

Melina Papalampropoulou-Tsiridou has recently written an interesting blog on the PLOS ECR community pages which poses the following question:

PhD training in the 21st century: is there something missing?

This is a difficult question with the myriad of skills required in differing jobs across the STEM sector, from a science policy adviser to a postdoctoral researcher in a laboratory at a prestigious global University.  Indeed some of the skills required of a PhD student in industry may be become less important than they were in actually doing the PhD, whilst others will come to the fore once in paid employment post PhD.  An example, may be the focus on the idea of being an independent researcher, a student pursuing their own research goals, sometimes linked to other projects as in ETNs, sometimes not.  However, in industry, or even in EU funded large scale projects such as LifeLongJoints, the research is often completed in teams with groups of people explicitly working towards a common goal.  In it is not to say that PhDs are not highly prized, they are! Employers seek researchers with skills in critical analysis, a greater degree of objectivity and adept at generating new ideas. It is to be remembered that most PhDs will end up outside the academic sector.  In a recent BioTrib meeting with industry on supervisory training it was suggested that PhD candidates lack Project Management and other organisational skills when entering industry, but that the core creativity was highly valued. Melina provides similar examples around Networking and Management skills which appears to reflect a wider observation.  In BioTrib the Early Stage Researchers will undertake some Research Management training including Project Management, Ethics and aspects of Regulation. However, more can be done to make this more effective and embed this within European Research (Training) Programmes without impacting on the valuable core research that these ESRs do whilst undertaking a PhD.

If you want to outline what skills you think are missing in a PhD programme, please contact us here at BioTrib.

BioTrib Kick-off meeting 15th January 2021

The kick off meeting of BioTrib took place on-line on 15th January 2021. The meeting involved representatives from the Beneficiaries as well as a number of representatives of the partner organisations.

The following outlines the agenda items for the KO meeting:

09:45-10:00 Arrival and virtual coffee Breakout Rooms
10:00-10.05 Welcome RMH
10:05-10.20 Overview of the BioTrib ITN RMH
10:20-10:30 Introductions ALL
10:30-11.20 Presentations by Beneficiaries (10 mins each):
Role in project;  Scientific, Training & Management.
Expected dissemination and exploitation.
RWH – Imperial, SJF – ETHZ, NE – LTU, KCP – UU, MB – LEEDS
11:20-12:00 Presentations by Partner Organisations (3 mins each) Role in project POs in attendance
12:00-13:00 Lunch
13:00-13:30 ITN Management
Obligations under the GA/CA/PA·
Management Structure:

  • Committees
  • Project Officer
  • Links to REA/EU

IP and Dissemination

RMH
13:30-14:00 Training including Network Wide Events and Secondments RWH
14:00-14:15 Break (Partner Organisations may leave at this stage)
14:15-14:30 ESR recruitment – updates EM
14:30-15:00 Project Reporting, Obligations in GA, Use of reporting tools, Finance KD
15:00-15.30 Project implementation and COVID RMH
15:30-15:45 Break
15:45-16:15 Deliverables; Scientific & Management/Implementation RMH
16.15-17.00 Roundtable on implementation in year 1: Challenges, Risks and Solutions? Chair – SJF
17:00 Closing Remarks RMH
17:15-18:00 Virtual Reception