transferable skills

Associate Tutoring – Discussion Group: 15 June

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Last week, the Sussex Research Hive’s scholars ran a drop-in discussion group on the topic of ‘Thesis writing: Sharing experiences, challenges and top tips’.  The event was full to capacity, and the scholars have posted the discussion on the Research Hive blog. The writing discussion proved popular and a waiting list resulted, so a second date will be sheduled shortly – watch this space, or follow the Hive on Twitter: @SussexResHive.

On the back of this success, the scholars have organised a second drop-in discussion with a new theme:

Associate Tutoring Drop-In Discussion Group – Sussex Research Hive, Wednesday 15 June 2pm

Have you thought about being an associate tutor while you research for your Doctorate?  Want to know what’s involved?

Are you already an Associate Tutor and want to share experiences, get tips from others and discuss the challenges and rewards of the job? Want to talk about associate tutoring with others that also have experience?

Then come along to the second Hive Scholar workshop/round table event on Associate Tutoring on Wednesday 15 June at 2pm – the group will be lead by Karen Burrows doctoral researcher and associate tutor in Media, Film and Music.  It will be a chance to share experiences and get tips from fellow tutors or just to find out what you can expect.  Also present will be Chris Kempshall and Craig Haslop both experienced associate tutors from History and Media, Film and Music.

If you would like to come along please let us know at

Media Skills training for Sussex researchers: 24th June

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Tell the world about it! Media skills training for researchersclapperboard

It is no longer enough to know a great deal about your research topic, increasingly researchers need to be able to communicate with the general public as well as specialist audiences at conferences. That is where the Media Skills Training workshop organised by the Teaching and Learning Development Unit as part of the programme of  Doctoral School Researcher Development Events can help.

Two ex-BBC journalists with 35 years’ BBC experience between them will be facilitating the next one-day workshop on Friday 24th June (9.15am to 5.15pm). The aim is to demystify the media, and help participants to learn what the media want, how to identify and present ‘media-friendly’ elements in research, how to formulate key messages and deal with difficult questions in interviews.

This will be the fifth time that this workshop has been run at Sussex and feedback has been very positive (see quotes below).

Thee day will be really useful for researchers who have some experience of presenting their work but who want to learn how to get the media interested in their research, or present their work to non-academic audiences.

Participants will be helped to develop transferable skills for presentations, business collaborations and conferences, as well as media work. The workshop is interactive throughout and culminates in an on-camera interview which is tailored to each participant’s research area.

So if you are a researcher or know someone who is, this could be a great opportunity for you or them to develop some important media skills.

‘I now feel much more confident thinking about media issues’

‘If you are offered  the chance to attend this programme then don’t procrastinate. Go for it!’

‘I liked the way the trainers researched everyone’s topic in order to develop realistic media scenarios. That was great’

Links and Contact

More details of the Media Training including booking

Other Pofessional Development opportunities for Researchers

The Doctoral School website

Doctoral Development pages from TLDU


Summer workshops for Sussex researchers

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Places are available on the following Summer term workshops for Sussex doctoral researchers and research staff:

Writing for Publication for Science Early-Career Researchers
Friday 13th May – 10:00 – 16:00

Winning Research Funding (for Research Staff)
Tuesday 17th May 10:00 – 12:30

Managing your career (for Research Staff)
Tuesday 24th May 09:30 – 16:00

Save a Life (First Aid Training from the Red Cross)
Wednesday 25th May 16:00 – 18:30

NVivo: an Introduction
Wednesday 1st June 10:00 – 15:00

Introduction to EndNote
Wednesay 1st June 10:00 – 12:00

Introduction to SPSS
Wednesday 1st June 14:00 – 16:00

Preparing for your Final Year
Tuesday 7th June 14:00 – 17:00

Intermediate EndNote
Wednesday 8th June 10: – 12:00

NVivo: Next Steps
Wednesday 8th June 10:00 – 15:00

Introduction to poster presentations
Wednesday 8th June 13:00 – 15:00

Intermediate SPSS
Wednesday 8th June 14:00 – 16:00

Impact and Research Communication Skills
Thursday 9th June 09:00 – 16:00

Conferences & Networking
Monday 13th June 14:30 – 17:00

Introduction to Unix
Wednesday 15th June 14:00 – 16:00

Measuring research impact using bibliometric tools
Tuesday 21st June 14:00 – 16:00

Becoming an Effective Researcher
Wednesday 22nd June 09:30 – 16:30

Presentation Design
Thursday 23rd June 13:00 – 16:30

Copyright issues in your Doctoral Thesis
Wednesday 29th June 10:30 – 12:00

Presentation delivery
Thursday 30th June 13:00 – 16:30

For more information or to book you place; please visit:

Sussex Staff Development: Summer courses

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The Staff Development Unit at Sussex offer courses for all employees at the university.  Many of these opportunities, though not research-specific, provide transferable skills training that is valuable to research staff and associate tutors.

Course menu for the Summer term:

Recruiting and selecting staff – 4 May
Dealing with difficult behaviour and situations – 10 May
Getting it write: techniques for business writing – 16 May
Negotiating skills (two-day course) – 18 & 25 May
Taking control of your time – 23 May

Solving problems creatively – 8 June
Cultural awareness and global communication – 15 June
Presentation skills (two-day course) – 20 & 17 June
‘Welcome’ new staff induction session – 22 June

Further details of times and course descriptions available in the Calendar of summer term courses 2011

From the Staff Development Unit:

All courses can be booked online on Sussex Direct (unless otherwise stated) and there is no charge for attending the courses.  You should discuss options with your line manager and have their agreement before booking.

If you need to discuss any issues about the courses we offer then please contact or ext 4806 for advice.

We look forward to welcoming you to our courses in the coming months.

Standing up for Science: media workshop 27 May (VoYS & Sense About Science)

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Sense About Science will be holding a Standing up for Science media workshop at the Institute of Physics in London on Friday 27th May.

This full day event is free and for early career researchers in the physical, chemical and engineering sciences (PhD students, post-docs or equivalent in first job).

During the workshop we combine discussion about science-related controversies in media reporting with practical guidance and tips for how to deal with the media. Please find further information at flyer 0511.pdf

Confirmed speakers include Paddy Regan, Professor of nuclear physics at the University of Surrey who has recently been commenting on the nuclear situation in Japan.

These workshops are very popular and places are limited. To apply send a CV and covering letter explaining your reasons for applying and stating any affiliations you hold to Rose Wu

Closing date for applications is Monday 16th May.

Researchers in Residence: a researcher’s experience

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Guest contributer Sophie Bisset, doctoral researcher in History at Sussex, writes about her experience participating in the Researchers In Residence scheme.  The R in R scheme is open to all doctoral researchers in receipt of research council funding.

Researchers in Residence, or Taking Your Research and Making It Interesting to a Bunch of School Students

I am a full-time DPhil student in the History department. I am currently in my third year of research and in the autumn term, I took part in a RCUK scheme called Researchers in Residence. RinR gave me the chance to present my research to a completely new audience – secondary school students – and work with them over a period of time to help them develop their own ideas from the starting point of my own research. Not only was it a great experience, but also it meets the elusive criteria of “impact” within the wider community. This is the case study that I submitted to RinR at the end of my current placement but more general information about the scheme is available at

Getting Started on the Project

I first heard about the Researchers in Residence programme at the Sussex Profolio DPhil training in the first year of my studies. Although I decided to wait until I was further into my research, I had immediately thought that it would be something that I wanted to do because it would encourage me to find a way to make my research accessible to a wider audience. RinR set up the initial contact with Dorothy Stringer High School but after that it was over to me and the Acting Head of the History Department to come up with a project. We soon settled on the idea of offering an extra-curricular programme for a small group from the current Gifted and Talented History GCSE students. This fitted in well with my own studies because it allowed me to go in and work with the same group of students each week at a time (after-school) that was convenient for getting on with my own work.

I wanted the topic to reflect my own research interests but also to be relevant to the students’ own studies too. At the time that I started the RinR project, my own research was centred on a specific text, Hugo Grotius’ Rights of War and Peace. As it is a classic text in the history of just war theory, it seemed like the perfect stepping stone to a wider survey of the historical and philosophical issues surrounding just war theory. Luckily, the school agreed that the topic would fit well with the students GCSE curriculum. The course itself ran for seven weeks. The first half focused on acquainting the students with the core ideas in just war theory and encouraging them to apply these core ideas to historical examples through lots of lively discussion and debate and the second half gave the students the chance to work on individual projects looking in more detail at a specific case study and exploring the limits of just war theory. In the final session, the students presented the findings of their individual research projects and I was blown away by the hard work (and hard thinking) that had gone into these final projects: everything from video projects in the style of Horrible Histories to discursive essays on whether the classic principles of just war theory can be applied to the contemporary war on terror.

But School Students Are Scary!

Before the placement started, I was very nervous about pitching the material at an appropriate level and coping with any behavioural problems that might arise. I talked this through with my contact at the school beforehand and they invited me to come in for a day and observe GCSE level lessons before I led my first session. It was really reassuring to get a sense of the student-teacher dynamic at the school and watch how the teachers dealt with any behavioural difficulties that arose. In the end, the students exceeded my expectations in terms of their ability to think critically and creatively and there were hardly any behavioural issues that arose, other than keeping the students calm during debates when they became over-enthusiastic about defending their position! After really positive feedback from the students themselves, we will be running the same programme again next year.

For me, the whole process encouraged me to look at my own research from a different perspective. Working out how to explain tricky conceptual ideas to a group of young students in a simple, comprehensible way made me clarify my own thinking on some of the big questions at stake in my own research. Best of all, however, was the feeling that the long, dense and solitary process of research came alive in the heated debates in the classroom.

(for research staff) Making Research Accessible: Writing for Non-Academic Audiences

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TLDU-Researcher Event: Making Research Accessible: Writing for Non-Academic Audiences

24th February 2011, 09.30am-12.30pm

Trainer: Richard Payne, BSPS Training Consultancy Limited

The aim of this half day workshop is to show research staff how to use popular writing as an effective and efficient way of disseminating their research to a wider audience, with the ultimate aim of contributing to the public understanding of their discipline.

As a result of attending researchers will be able to:

  • Approach editors of popular publications with effective article proposals
  • Understand the key differences between academic writing and popular writing
  • Be able to explain how popular writing can contribute to the public understanding of academic research and raise the profile of researchers


Places can be booked via the staff development pages in Sussex Direct, the workshop is listed under TLDU-Researcher, Writing Skills.

Any queries should be addressed to