ECR Conference 13/07 – Final sessions and round up!

Dealing with supervisors – Andy Jones (Psychological Sciences, University of Liverpool) 

Andy gave a telling and sometimes humorous talk on supervisors and how to work with them. He highlighted that the Postgraduate Research Experience survey found that supervision experience was rated by students as the most important part of their PhD, and 5 common themes emerged:

  1. Communication difficulties between student and supervisor
    2. Control – constant supervision controlling the direction of the PhD
    3. Academic bullying – supervisors showing superiority/abuse of student
    4. Desertion – moving jobs, ‘deserting’ the student
    5. Lack of trust – requesting data, using it and not acknowledging the student

Andy presented some pieces of advice from a blog post called ‘tough love’ by Chris Chambers in Cardiff (

At supervisor meetings – watch your

  • time management (supervisors are busy)
  • be clear in what you want
  • keep detailed notes of the meetings
  • be assertive (standing up for what you are and want without harming others), not aggressive (largely harming others)
  • use local (other PhD students) and wider support networks

Here are some useful online resources:

More information:

The experience of obtaining a fellowship, inspiration, hints and tips!  – Dr Ilze Bogdanovica (Senior Research Fellow, University of Nottingham)

Ilze was awarded a Cancer Research UK fellowship in 2016.

The benefits of her fellowship?
6 years, more stability, opportunity to develop career in the right direction, a step to becoming an independent researcher.

What makes a successful application?
Timing – in this case several tobacco control policies being implemented in recent times, therefore an evaluation of such policies was timely
Topic – must correspond with funder’s priority areas, which it did
Also the existence of support networks and senior investigators, if utilised by the fellow is a strong point in Fellowship applications.

The interview – make sure you:
Practice, practice, practice
Keep the language simple (avoid great jargon)
when preparing, ask others for their opinion
Practice mock interview
Be ready

At the interview, show passion, enthusiasm and confidence!

Ilze ended by emphasising – ‘it’s hard but worth it!’

UKCTAS Communication Strategies – Chris Hill (UKCTAS Digital Media & Centre Support Officer, University of Nottingham)

Chris gave a fascinating talk on media coverage and how best to utilise media such as Facebook, twitter and general internet resources and support networks, reminding those present too update him of any work they need disseminating to the wider network.

Did you know people spend on average at least 34 minutes watching/listening to news coverage every day? Most of which is consumed on a smart phone/device.

Overseas research collaborations case study: UK-Uruguay Tobacco and Alcohol Research Network – Graeme Docherty (Research Coordinator, University of Nottingham)

Graeme summarised a British Council sponsored workshop which take took place in Uruguay earlier in 2016 and for which new collaborations have started.

A research network has been created and more information on this and potential future areas of work is at


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