Spark Training

Cohort Development Week

Cohort Development Week

The entire SPaRK cohort of 20 Early Stage Researchers came together week commencing Monday 13th May for the first of two annual development weeks.  The theme of the week was “Impact and Collaboration” and the content was developed in consultation with the cohort.

Below is an outline of the programme.

Day 1:

Working in Partnership- Impact outside academia

This session was delivered by colleagues from the Science Shop, Dr Emma McKenna and Eileen Martin with input from John Eversley, an external consultant and examined The Value of Partnerships to Address Global Challenges. The group looked at partnership models and how to make it work.

Gender Balance in your Research Career

Professor Karen McCloskey of Queen’s Gender Initiative delivered a presentation on the QGI Initiative and Athena Swan. Karen also examined how to achieve gender balance when organising conferences and events

"The Conversation-How to Pitch"

Judith Rance from Strategic Marketing and Communications delivered a session on how to Pitch to the Conversation. This included some group work around pitches on current news headlines and has already led to some submissions form the cohort!

Day 2:

Engaging as a Researcher

Paul Monahan from Staff Training and Development and Dr Eimear Barrett, Impact Office from Research and Enterprise delivered this session on Research Impact which gave the researchers some practical tools including preparing a research statement and tweet. The session also included a multi-disciplinary panel with Professor David Johnston from the School of Arts English and Languages, Professor Alistair Ruffell from the School of Natural and Built Environment and Dr Claire McEvoy from the Centre of Public Health.

Influencing Policy

In this session, Kevin Fearon from QPOL, Queen’s Policy Engagement blog, gave the Cohort an overview of the blog and a guide to Policy papers including formatting. Kevin then invited the cohort to develop some policy paper concepts in interdisciplinary groups.

Day 3:

Careers Insight Panel

Day 3 kicked off with a Career Insight Panel from some Early career researchers from the University. The panel included Dr Elton Santos from the School of Maths and Physics, Dr Stephen McMahon from CCRCB (both Queen’s fellows) Dr Alice DuBois from the Postdoctoral Development Centre, MHLS and Dr Ali Fitzgibbons from the School of Arts English and Languages. Chaired by Heather McGregor the panel allowed the cohort to get answers to pertinent questions around mobility, stability and other key issues in their early career.

Activism and Neutrality as a Researcher

Dr Michael Pierse delivered a fascinating talk on activism and neutrality as a researcher which included practical examples and tips of how to achieve a balance, particularly in early academic careers.

The Art of Public Speaking

The day ended with a voice workshop with Rosie Pelan with some fun exercises to improve our voice with breathing, relaxation and resonance practice.

Day 4:

Mid Term Review

On Thursday 16th May we hosted Daniela Radu, Project Office from the REA, European Commission for the SPaRK Project Mid Term Review. 10 of the fellows presented their projects, background and the impact on their future career of the action.

Day 5:

Student Led – Culture Exchange

On Friday Cohort 2 organised a day of cultural activities for the entire cohort. These included a scavenger hunt, noise activities, a talk on Myths about Spain and Myths about Ramadan and some games to end the day. This day of fun proved the perfect way to end the immersive training week and blow off some steam!

A huge thank you to all of the speakers and contributors who gave their time to the programme!

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Leading Across Sectors

Leading Across Sectors

The second cohort took part in their last Cohort specific training session On Monday 25th and Tuesday 26th March. The theme of the training was Leading Across Sectors.

The session was delivered by Heather McGregor and began with framing the term Leadership with discussions around the definitions of leadership and images of leadership.

 

An outline of the Kouzes and Posner Leadership model was given and these five practices shaped the content for the next two days. The researchers had also completed a Leadership Practice Inventory in advance of the training session by asking contributors to rate their own leadership skills and were each given a report on the feedback they had received and an opportunity to reflect on this.

Following this each of the five practices were examined in more detail.

The first practice, Model the Way was discussed after which the group examined Inspiring a Shared Vision.

At this point, RNIB came along to set the cohort a Leadership Challenge around getting more people with sight problems into employment. The cohort was split into two teams and given sessions throughout the two days to address the challenge using the five practices.

Following lunch, Professor Marco Borghesi of the School of Maths and Physics delivered an interesting session on Leadership in Academia, sharing his career journey to date, challenges he has met, lessons learned and his own guiding principles on being a good leader.

Next the group looked at Challenging the Process and examined some creative thinking techniques and the teams participated in the “Marshmallow Challenge” to put their creativity to success, to varying degrees of success!

On Tuesday morning the group enjoyed an interactive session on Design Thinking, delivered by Claire Harris of the Graduate School.

After this we returned to the Kouzes Posner Model and looked at the final two practices of Enabling Others to Act and Encouraging the Heart.

To end the day, the two teams delivered their feedback on the Leadership Challenge to Olive Roberts from RNIB.

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Ethics Training

Ethics Training

On Monday 25th February the second Spark cohort took place in s Research Ethics Training session.

 

For research funded by the European Union, ethics is an integral part of research from beginning to end and ethical compliance is pivotal to achieve real research excellence. 

The session was delivered by Heather McGregor alongside Kathryn Taylor from the University’s Governance Ethics and Integrity team.

The session began with a review of learning outcomes which included; considering ethics as a branch of philosophy and specifically research ethics and integrity; enabling SPaRK Fellows to share ethical issues and questions in relation to their current research projects and disciplinary areas and creating a learning environment which supports dialogue and diversity of opinion in relation to ethical questions, through the use of case-studies and ethical dilemmas.

The group looked at some real life case studies of malpractice including the Milgram Experiments 1961 before discussing how the focus of ethics has shifted from malpractice to integrity.

Following this the group took part in a debate where they argued a real life ethical dilemma before looking at ethical choices and the difference between Consequentialism, Deontology and Virtue ethics.

The Concordat to Support Research Integrity was examined more closely with the values of Honesty; Rigour; Transparency and open communication and Care and respect discussed in relation to research.

Kathryn Taylor then presented on Ethics policies within Queen’s University Belfast and the group examined the Cambridge Analytica Case Study,

To end the day, the group formed an Ethics Committee and two of the fellows presented their research and answered ethical considerations posed by the committee which gave the researchers a great insight into this process.

The next training session will be on Leading Across Sectors on Monday 25th and Tuesday 26th March.

 

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What does it mean to be a 3i Researcher

What does it mean to be a 3i Researcher

Unlike other doctoral training programmes, SPARK recognises that game-changing intersectoral, international and interdisciplinary collaboration does not happen simply by making opportunities for mobility available. Rather, the SPARK programme is designed to offer a dynamic and innovative model of professional and scientific development at doctoral level that proactively trains researchers in the skills and competences necessary to maximise the potential of these 3i partnerships.

 

The SPARK project funds PhD places which focus on leadership, innovation, creativity, and mentoring by sectoral leaders at their core.

Every SPARK project is interdisciplinary, involves training and development programmes, and involves meaningful engagement with a non-HEI partner.

 

Intersectoral dimension

Mentoring of doctoral candidates by researchers and/or experts from the non-academic sector; all researchers will have a third supervisor from an external partner

Inviting researchers working in industry or other organisations from the non-academic sector to deliver workshops on leadership, innovation, creative thinking, entrepreneurship, exploitation of research results, ethics, patenting etc

Exposing researchers to various socio-economic actors gathered in the Graduate School, which will act as an intersectoral hub for the SPaRK cohorts

Offering placement opportunities fo to enable researchers to develop their projects through contact with/immersion in non-academic partner organisations

Interdisciplinary dimension

Each ESR will have a co-supervisor from a different discipline

ESRs from different disciplines will benefit from high level cohort training in which skills development programmes are delivered across disciplines

Opportunities for laboratory rotations and visits

Training research leaders in all areas of knowledge, from physical sciences to humanities, from social sciences to life sciences

International dimension 

Candidates will be selected with the support of international experts as evaluators

Candidates will be internationally mobile in line with the mobility requirement

Promoting engagement with the international community at Queen’s University Belfast

Opportunities to take courses abroad to acquire specific skills

Developing partnerships and collaborations with research institutes, companies and other relevant socio-economic actors in different countries

Supporting ESRs’ participation in international conferences and events

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Myers Briggs Type Indicator Training

Myers Briggs Type Indicator Training

On Friday 25th January the entire Spark cohort took place in their first whole cohort training session on Myers Briggs Type Indicator(MBTI).

 

On Friday 25th January 2019, the SPaRK cohort participated in their first group training session on Myers Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) 1.

As an interdisciplinary and international group, this training provided an opportunity for the SPaRK researchers to reflect on their personality type and how that influences working together successfully.

The training was delivered by Joan Connolly of the Graduate School who is a certified MBTI practitioner.

The session entailed:

  • a brief history of MBTI;
  • an introduction to the MBTI framework;
  • mindfulness exercise using ‘chocolate mediation’; and
  • completion of individual assessments to reveal reported personality types.

During the session, each of the four preference pairs were explored in different scenarios and brought to life with activities that demonstrated the potential strengths and pitfalls of the preferences.  One such activity involved the cohort discussing their ideal work environment to highlight the differences between a preference for introversion or a preference for extroversion. The workshop concluded by highlighting the importance of understanding one’s own preferences and those of others.

1 “The Myers-Briggs Type Indicator assessment is a self-report questionnaire designed to make Carl Jung’s theory of personality types understandable and useful in everyday life. MBTI results identify valuable differences between normal, healthy people, differences that can be the source of much misunderstanding and miscommunication.”

Isabel Briggs Myers, 2015, Introduction to Myers-Briggs Type, Seventh Edition, CPP, USA

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Collaborative Working Training

Collaborative Working Training

On Tuesday 22nd January the second Spark cohort took place in their first training session since their formal induction in December.

As a multidisciplinary group with Early Stage Researchers spilt across 3 Faculties at Queen’s University Belfast, collaboration and interdisciplinary working is central to the ethos of the Spark programme and thus provided an excellent starting point for the groups training.

 

The session entitled Collaborative Working was delivered by Heather McGregor at The Graduate School and began with a definition of Collaborative working followed by a challenging group exercise which tested the groups ability to work together as well as their influencing skills.

This opened a wider conversation around why collaboration is so important in research and who researchers should collaborate with. The group discussed Wicked Problems and Complex Adaptive Systems using mental health as an example.  They recognised the importance of interdisciplinary working in addressing these problems, an approach which is increasingly supported by funding bodies and looked at a model of interdisciplinary working.

The group then reflected in pairs on their own “personal readiness to collaborate” identifying strengths, weaknesses and strategies to open them up to more collaboration opportunities such as building their visibility, identifying ambassadors and tuning into the big research questions.

In the next session the group looked further into influencing skills including some fun interactive activities where they had to influence one another after which they identified important skills in influencing such as verbal, non-verbal, power and push and pull strategies.

The day ended with a Global Challenge! The cohort was briefed with a Transformation of Urban Living project and challenged to develop an impact statement and research questions. After one hour they presented their findings to Professor Margaret Topping, Dean of the Graduate School and Project Director of the Spark Project and received feedback on their group work, influencing strategies and a challenging multi-disciplinary group discussion concluded the day.

The next training session will be on Research Ethics on Monday 25th February.

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Spark Training Programme

Spark Training Programme

The Spark Training programme has been developed for the next 3 years and includes 2 week long cohort development weeks in May and November. These weeks will be themed within the 3i Training framework.

The timetable of training is outlined below.

 

 

Spark Cohort Training Programme- COHORT 2 TRAINING 2019

Event Title

Theme

Attendees

Date

Time

Venue

Collaborative Working

3i- Interdisciplinary/Intersectorally mobile/internationally mobile

Cohort  2

Tuesday 22nd January

9.30am-5pm

TR4

The Graduate School

Research Ethics

 3i - Interdisciplinary

Cohort  2

Monday 25th February

9.30am-5pm

TR4, The Graduate School

Leading Across Sectors

 3i- Intersectorally mobile

Cohort  2

Monday 25th and

Tuesday 26th March

9.30am-5pm

25th TR4, The Graduate School
26th TR5, The Graduate School

Academic Writing

 3i - Interdisciplinary

Cohort  2

Wednesday 10th April

9.30am-5pm

TR4, The Graduate School

One -to- Ones

3i - All 3i areas.
Personal Development Planning

Cohort 2

June- Exact Dates TBC

1 hour slots

Meeting Room 1, The Graduate School

Other Upcoming Events

MBTI Training

Successful collaboration

Cohort 1 and Cohort 2

Friday 25th January

10.00am-4pm

TR6, The Graduate School

Spark Launch Event

Celebrating Spark

Cohort 1 and Cohort 2

Wednesday 27th February

6.00pm-8.00pm

Canada Room, Lanyon Building

Spark Cohort Training Programme- WHOLE COHORT TRAINING WEEKS

Event Title

Theme

Attendees

Date

Time

Venue

Cohort Development Week Semester 2 2019
Student Led Conference Day 4

3i – Interdisciplinary/Intersectorally mobile
Impact/Engagement and Policy
Collaborative Working
Presentation Skills/Networking

Cohort 1 and Cohort 2

May 13th , 14th, 15th, and 17th 2019

9.30am-5pm

 14th, 15th and 17th TR4, The Graduate School
 13th TR6, The Graduate School

Cohort Development Week Semester 1 2019
Student Led Conference Day 4

3i- Internationally Mobile
Cross cultural competency/Virtual Collaboration

Cohort 1 and Cohort 2

Nov 18th , 19th, 20th, 22nd 2019

9.30am-5pm

The Graduate School

Cohort Development Week Semester 2 2020
Student Led Conference Day 4

3i – Interdisciplinary/intersectorally mobile
Innovation- Creativity/Problem Solving/Product Development

IP/ Commercialisation

Cohort 1 and Cohort 2

May 11th, 12th, 13th and 15th 2020

9.30am-5pm

The Graduate School

Cohort Development Week Semester 1 2020
Student Led Conference Day 4

3i – Intersectorally mobile/Internationally mobile
Future Ready- Strategic Thinking/ "Mini MBA"

Cohort 1 and Cohort 2

Nov 16th, 17th, 18th and 20th 2020

9.30am-5pm

The Graduate School

DIG MY DISCIPLINE/ SPARKSHARE

QUARTERLY STUDENT LED INITITAIVE TO SHOWCASE DISCPLINE TO FULL COHORT IN AN INFORMAL SETTING.

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Contact Us

For any questions relating to the SPaRK Programme, please contact, SPaRK Project Coordinator Adele Ward on sparkproject@qub.ac.uk or 00 (44) 28 9097 3078.

 

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