- Online networking allows you to build your network internationally. Sites such as academia.edu provide opportunities to link with other researcher within your field. If you are considering roles outside of academia-linkedin.com can be a useful platform to link with potential employers and promote your skills.
- A blog is a great way to get your ideas out into the public domain. You should think about linking your blog to other accounts, such as your LinkedIn, Facebook or Twitter accounts. In this way, you are maximising the chances of your research being disseminated as far afield as possible. However, be aware of the obvious potential problems with intellectual property issues and linking professional to personal accounts. Amend/restrict viewing access as necessary.
- Attending conferences - local, national and international - is an important academic and professional development strategy. If you feel unready to present a paper, attendance is still beneficial, providing you with an excellent opportunity to hear about the cutting-edge research being done in your area and to network both with academics and with other research students.
- While conference attendance alone is beneficial, you should aim to present your work as often as possible, and to do so at an international conference at least once during your PhD candidature. This is an excellent way to ensure your research reaches a wide audience, which will include established academics already working in your area, nationally and internationally.
- Make the most of the networking opportunities provided by conferences. Other research students may provide you with interesting insights on alternative ways to conduct your research and on further resources to consult. Developing such relationships may provide an opportunity for a collaborative project, either now or in the future. The academics you meet at conferences are also useful contacts as, for example, they may be editors of journals to which you are hoping to submit work or have information on potential postdoc opportunity.
- Your supervisory team should be able to identify relevant and beneficial conferences in your area of study. Keep an eye out for ‘Calls for Papers’ e-mails which are regularly circulated within and across universities. Consult the home pages of your discipline’s professional association. Try signing up to websites such as ‘Conference Alerts', a free service which alerts you when conferences are being held in your area of interest, anywhere in the world.
- If you are focused on careers outside of academia look for opportunities to share your research with relevant organisations or opportunities for public engagement e.g. professional practice conferences or voluntary sector organisations who may be interested in your research.
- You might also consider attending shorter off-campus academic events, such as external seminars and doctorate colloquiums.
- Consider enrolling on the following related PRDP courses: ‘Preparing and Delivering a Conference Paper’ and 'From Conference Paper to Publication'. There are also a course on 'Presentation Skills'.
- Conferences can be expensive to attend, but there are opportunities for financial assistance available:
- Some funding bodies offer an annual stipend to cover conference and related expenses; if you are a funded research student, consult your funding body and/or School PGR secretary for further information;
- The research support office within your School may also have money assigned in their budgets to assist students with conference-related travel expenses. There is no guarantee that your application for financial assistance in such cases will be successful, and non-funded students will usually be given precedence. The amounts available and criteria for eligibility vary across Schools, so consult your School PGR secretary for further information;
- Student travel bursaries are sometimes offered by conference/seminar organisers; you should consult the organisers before applying to attend the event;
- There are also a number of travel scholarships offered by the University; please note, eligibility criteria can vary, with some scholarships applicable to particular disciplines only;
- QUB students have on-campus access to the Research Professional through QOL. You can access this by going to "Research" and selecting "Research".
Special Interest Groups (SIGs)
Most research disciplines have one or more official ‘bodies’ dedicated to promoting knowledge and understanding of research in their field through conferences, discussion groups, seminars and/or Special Interest Groups. Special Interest Groups (SIGs) provide an opportunity for PhD students to share their ideas and communicate with other members of the group, which often includes distinguished academics. The advantage of a SIG is that they are normally free to join and are therefore a good starting point for raising your research profile. Your supervisory team should be able to advise you on the professional and academic associations which operate in your discipline.
Publish Papers in Academic Journals
Credibility as an academic is partially based upon research output. The period of a PhD, while stressful, is a unique one in the life of a (burgeoning) academic as it constitutes at least three years dedicated entirely to a research project. As a research student try to make the most of this time by publishing work in your chosen research discipline at the earliest opportunity. There are two main reasons for this:
- Firstly, one of the criteria upon which a PhD thesis will be judged by the examiners will be its ‘publishability’; if you have already published some of the work from the thesis prior to submission, fulfilment of this criterion is already evident.
- Secondly, for those wanting to pursue a career in academia immediately after completion of their PhD, it is often necessary to already have at least one publication to your name, although the expectations vary accordingly to discipline, university and role.
- Some students publish chapters of their thesis as a single academic paper. Advice on how to do this is available on the PRDP course ‘From Conference Paper to Publication’. You may also think of incorporating segments of your thesis chapters to create a paper.
- Consult your supervisory team for advice on how to begin a research paper for publication. They should also be able to advise you of the best journals to submit to, depending on your field, career stage and journal reputation.
- Each journal will have its own guidelines for article submission; these should be consulted before you write your article and adhered to closely.
Further Information and Online Resources
Vitae is also a good resource, particularly the following pages on publishing and networking: