Reflect on and Develop your Skills
The PFDC provides an excellent range of support from courses, to individual support to help you develop your skills. Take all the opportunities that Imperial has to offer to help you develop your: communication skills (including outreach), teaching and supervision, people management, career management. Sign up to the PFDC newsletter so that you are always up to date with events across the College that are relevant to research staff.
Also be aware of the other excellent sources of support to develop your skills that are available across the College and elsewhere.
Skills development opportunities
The courses run by the PDC and Educational Development Unit have been very useful. In particular the one to one sessions and mock interviews were brilliant, as well as the Leadership in Research series of residentials: Managing your first research group. The Educational Development Unit’s course on Communicating knowledge, about teaching philosophies, was a very good introduction which I have also used in job applications, writing learning outcomes etc.– Dr Susie Maidment, former JRF, Department of Earth Sciences & Engineering
Reflect on and Develop your Skills
Education Management and Leadership
The Teaching Excellence Framework is coming. A fellowship prepares you very well for research in the UK, but we need to be adaptable, so getting training and experience of teaching is going to be helpful – Dr Andrew Telford, JRF, Department of Physics
As a fellow, you are likely to be involved in teaching and supervision but it will not be part of a probationary academics programme, so it is important to find support to ensure that you are aware of best practice and have the opportunity to reflect on and develop your skills. This will also equip you for future teaching posts.
Imperial’s Educational Development Unit (EDU) provides support and training for anyone involved in teaching at Imperial and has a selection of recommendations for postdocs. Many are relevant to you as a research fellow involved in teaching and supervision. In particular, the STAR programme workshops:
The STAR programme: If you wish to pursue a teaching role after your fellowship, it is well worth considering getting recognition by achieving Higher Education Academy (HEA) fellowship status. Achieving the fellowship will help you to demonstrate your commitment to best practice in teaching and potentially strengthen your CV and progress your career in this area. The STAR programme is open to fellows at Imperial and will give you the opportunity to be supported through the application process with workshops and drop in sessions for one-to-one advice.
With the help of the Educational Development Unit I was awarded fellowship of the HEA – they were very helpful and provided a structured approach through several workshops to enable me to build my teaching and supervision skills” – Dr Yasser Bhatti, Research Fellow, Institute of Global Health Innovation, Department of Surgery & Cancer
Below are selected workshops that may be of interest to fellows:
- Assisting with PhD supervision - aimed primarily at postdocs. It is for those who are not themselves official supervisors but who assist with PhD supervision
- Communicating knowledge – for staff who would like to review and develop their teaching practice and presentation style
- Making the most of one-off teaching – for those who lecture or teach on a 'one-off' basis, as a contributor to an undergraduate, postgraduate or short course
- Interactive teaching – for staff who want to explore ways of fostering interaction between teacher-student and student-to-student
- Your main source of information for research funding and management matters is the Research Office and your Faculty Research Services Team. The Research Office provides wealth of information as well as some training on topics such as costing grants using InfoEd. Also see our guide for fellows on the Funding Opportunities page.
- Research information management via Symplectic: user guides to get you started with the research information management system that Imperial uses to detail the publications, funding, equipment and professional activities of our researchers and faculty members
- ORCID: information about the ORCID, which enables you to ensure that your work is easily distinguished from that of other researchers by using this unique researcher identifier that can be added to your research outputs
Researcher career development
Your main source of career support at Imperial is the PFDC – they offer a range of careers courses and very popular individual support:
- One to one meetings. These are informal meetings where you can discuss any issues relating to your life as a fellow at Imperial. You may want to use these sessions to review your CV, job search, fellowship or lectureship applications
- Mock interviews - Preparing for an interview is vital if you want to succeed in securing a new position. Having a mock interview can be an important component of your preparation
- As a fellow you have full access to the PFDC courses. A full outline of the courses that we offer can be found on the Development Opportunities page. This page contains a suggested outline of how to use the PFDC throughout your fellowship. Of the courses that the PFDC offers, the following are specifically for fellows:
- Discovering Your Teamwork Strengths
- Interviewing for Lectureships
- Leadership in Research: Vision, Strategy and Team Culture
- Lectureship Applications: What You Need to Know to be Successful
- Lectureship CVs: What You Need to be Working Towards Now to Succeed in 5 Years
- So You’ve Got Your Fellowship, Now What?
- Voice Projection for Effective Lecturing
- Writing Retreat
As a fellow you are also welcome to access resources, events and guidance from the College’s Careers Service. Although available to all research students and staff, the following resources are available to and regularly accessed by research fellows:
- One hour careers consultation appointments
- Careers fair for PhD-holders – all companies attending the fair understand the value of doctorates and have positions available for holders of doctorates. Consider researching alternative careers at the fair
- A programme of workshops aimed at research students, but with advice relevant to fellows, as well as a programme of employer-led workshops from organisations such as GCHQ or representing careers such as patent attorneys or traders. These are advertised through the 'JobsLive' portal – sign up and set your preferences for alerts
- Online resources, case studies and hand outs (aimed at non-academic careers)
Other support at Imperial
- Organisational and Staff Development – A full outline of all the opportunities that are available to you
- Career Development Support –A range of provision which is open to all staff. It encourages personal awareness and reflection; facilitating the best use of all learning and development activities, and helps staff plan for the future
- Coaching at Imperial – Coaching is offered as an additional support for staff, helping them think through their options in relation to a range of situations they may be facing in the workplace
- Equality and diversity networks
- Recruitment and Selection Training – not only will this help you to better recruit staff to your group, it will be invaluable in reflecting on your own approach to applications and interviews
External sources of careers support and advice
There are some great sources of careers advice for fellows and anyone wishing to manage and develop their career as a researcher or academic.
- Jobs.ac.uk Careers advice – the careers section of this popular academic job-seeking website contains advice about academic careers including example academic CVs, job seeking and interview tips
- Naturejobs career toolkit – from the journal Nature, includes a variety of blogs and advice on CV’s interviews, salaries and networking
- Science Magazine Careers Section – has lots of news articles and blogs worth reading on careers advice, careers related policy and working life
- Times Higher Education Careers – blogs on current topics related to careers in academic and research