Can you take part in training and activities that aren’t directly related to your research? You certainly can! The skills that you gain alongside those required for your research go towards your ‘researcher development’. As the Graduate School of Science and Engineering explains:
‘Research is not just about the work you undertake in your lab or in your fieldwork, but about wider engagement, developing new skills and meeting other PhD students from different disciplines’
The UofG states that any additional skills that count towards your research development fall into four main categories:
- Knowledge and Intellectual activities
- Personal Effectiveness
- Research Governance and Organisation
- Engagement, Influence and Impact
There is a wide range of things that you can do to develop your skills in these areas. The College of Science and Engineering provide lots of different training courses that you can take part in by enrolling through MyCampus. The college requires that you take 8 credits worth of training courses in your first year as a full-time researcher (4 if you are part-time).
Training courses give you the perfect excuse to learn something new, from presenting and project management, to public engagement and showcasing your research on the web, or even learning a new language. There is something out there for everyone, no matter how you would like to develop as a researcher and broaden your horizons. Additionally, if there are any topics that you would like to attend a training course on, or if other colleges provide a training course that you are interested in then you can contact the Science and Engineering Graduate School and they can help you get the training that you want.
For PGRs of Science and Engineering there are also a few compulsory courses that you must take in your first/second year: Research Integrity, Data Management, Equality and Diversity. From personal experience these topics don’t sound particularly exciting, but the information that you get from each of these is actually really important for your time as a researcher. Some of the issues discussed are also pretty integral to life beyond the PhD so make sure to schedule them in.
An additional training course that is particularly useful and important for PGRs thinking about writing their thesis is the IT training course titled: Using Word to prepare your Thesis or Dissertation. This course is well worth bearing in mind when you’re entering your 2nd or 3rd year.
If you’re stuck on which courses to take to supplement the training that you require for your research then you could ask your supervisor or your peers for advice. Some of the training courses are better than others, so it’s good to get some opinions from those who have attended various courses before.
Finally, be prepared to get involved during a course, if you don’t then you might not get the most out of the session. If you go in with an open mind you never know what you might discover! You can use researcher development as a chance to meet new people, make new friends and enjoy some time away from your research!
http://www.gla.ac.uk/students/researcherdevelopment/ – An introduction to researcher development and what it means for you during your PhD at the UofG
http://www.gla.ac.uk/services/rsio/researcherdevelopment/coursesandevents/ – How to access information and enrol on training courses
http://www.gla.ac.uk/colleges/scienceengineering/graduateschool/postgraduateresearchstudy/doctoralresearchtraining/ – Brochure of all training courses provided by the College of Science and Engineering
http://www.gla.ac.uk/services/rsio/researcherdevelopment/publicengagementtrainingforresearchers/ – Public engagement related training courses