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Effective Researcher Programme

The Effective Researcher, 16-17 June 2011, ECIT Building, Titanic Quarter

As part of the research staff development programme a two-day workshop on ‘How to be an effective researcher’ was be held on the 16th and 17th June 2011 in ECIT at the Titanic Quarter.  This was delivered by staff from Vitae, a national researcher development organisation, Queen’s and the Northern Ireland Science Park. 

14 researchers from across the University attended the programme.  Schools and centres represented include:

· Pharmacy
· Music and Sonic Arts
· Chemistry and Chemical Engineering
· Centre for Cancer Research and Cell Biology Research
· CenTACat
· Geography
· Management
· Biological Sciences
· Electronics Communications & IT
· Civil Engineering

This programme is aimed at early career staff researchers within the first two years of a research contract with project management responsibility and who plan to move into a research manager position.  It has a very practical and group-based format, no powerpoint!

Specifically it covers:
• 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 (students, technicians, etc) and being
managed (PIs, department heads, etc)
• communication about your research, your goals and yourself
• orientation within your longer-term career.

Also, Norman Apsley the Northern Ireland Science Park CEO facilitated a session on Innovation in Research.  During which participants investigated how their research could link to one of the companies based at the Science Park.  He highlighted a number of resources that would be beneficial for Queen’s researchers, including NISP CONNECT.

During one of the exercises participants for different subject areas developed plans for interdisciplinary research projects which brought together their collective knowledge and research skills, with participants keen to follow-up on these after the course!




Feedback from participants

A. Did the course meet your planned objectives?  If yes, in what way?  If no, why not?

1. Yes, they gave examples and relevant information to improve the effectiveness of me as a researcher. 
2. Yes, thinking about basic skills: prioritisation etc.
3. Yes, it made me think and rethink in a new way.
4. Yes – helped me to recognise different working styles and ways to overcome obstacles.
5. Yes, in some way.
6. Yes – good at highlighting common themes in being an effective researcher and problems which prevent this.
7. Examples in the training program helped in understanding methods to prioritise work.  The group sessions helped in work in a team and identify common goals.
8. Yes, very much so.  Talking with others and learning how they experience similar problems was very helpful.
9. Yes and no.  It gave me some tips – But I enjoyed a lot and brought much more topics to the table than the one I came for initially
10. Yes.  Gave me a different perspective.
11. Yes, enjoyed the course.  Worthwhile and useful.
12. Yes.

B.  What aspects of knowledge or skills gained will particularly help you improve in your job?

1. Development of framework of achieving research outcomes including creativity, collaboration etc using varied examples and methods.
2. Research and innovation, need to think more on commercialisation of the research.  Interdisciplinary research.
3. To work inside out.  It is what I can do to improve, not expecting others to change.
4. Prioritising work load.
5. Prioritising tasks to use my time more effectively.
6. Look at prioritising workload in order to be more efficient at my job.
7. Work prioritisation.  Team work.
8. Time management and prioritisation of important tasks.
9. How to communicate with people in a research environment. 
10. Prioritisation of tasks (I hope!)
11. Sections on time management, seeing the bigger picture were useful.
12. Thinking in other ways.  Tips for management.

When is the next session?

We hope to run another Effective Researcher course in early 2012, let me, , know if you are interested in attending.

Some pictures of effective researchers.  The course does not cover drawing skills!!








And our very effective and friendly facilitators.

Contact Information

Staff Training & Development Unit
7 Lennoxvale
Telephone: (028) 9097 6590/6601
Fax: (028) 9097 6591

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