Too many things to do all at the same time? No time for organised, advance project planning? Need to improve collaboration skills? No opportunity to achieve your career goals?
If your answer is YES, then the effective researcher course is the one for you!
In February of this year a group of six QUB staff attended a two day “How to be an effective researcher” course run by Vitae. This course, coming to QUB in Autumn 2009, provided essential tools and skills for busy researchers. There were researchers from a wide range of disciplines from Universities throughout Scotland and specifically the course covered:
· project management - for your own projects, and in assisting others with their projects, including the creativity of developing new projects
· prioritisation of competing tasks and managing complex, diverse workloads
· people management - managing others and being managed
· communication about your research, your goals and yourself
· orientation within your longer-term career
This course was challenging both on a personal and intellectual level but extremely rewarding in terms of identifying personal goals, providing a greater self-awareness of learning and working styles, clarifying career plans, recognising strengths (and weaknesses!) and overall left me determined to take control of my career. Personal development or soft skills often fall by the wayside for busy researchers with the demands of the job taking priority, but this course was an excellent opportunity to get away from the work environment and have the time to really reflect on working practice and relationships as well as personal goals. The course was delivered using experiential learning via a series of tasks and although I found some of the situations difficult and challenging, the benefits were clear. The facilitators made sure there was a good mix of fun and serious activities and we finished by writing down a set of personal goals to be addressed – these were posted back 3 months after the course and provided very interesting reading! I could not recommend this course highly enough to all contract researchers, in particular for staff early in their career, to develop personal and practical skills required for effective job performance and career progression. I would also recommend that researchers check out the Vitae website for other courses on offer ( www.vitae.ac.uk ).