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Early Careers Network Past Events

Click on the tabs below to view summaries of each of the events we have run since our launch in September 2014. Our schedule of events for 2021/22 will be listed on our 'upcoming events' page.

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2021 Events

Successful Fellowships: Tips for Early Career Researchers 2021 - Oct 2021

Watch the event recording herePasscode: %0hE?j68

Dr Olesya Ajnakina is a Research Fellow in Genetic Epidemiology at the Department of Behavioural Science and Health (UCL Institute of Epidemiology and Health).

In this talk, Olesya discusses her experience of applying for an NIHR fellowship and provides some tips for a successful fellowship application. 

ADAPT to Thrive with Health of the Public ECN - June 2021

The Academic Careers Office partnered with the Health of the Public ECN to host a virtual event as part of the ADAPT to Thrive event series on failure and resilience. By sharing the experiences of researchers at different career stages the ADAPT to Thrive event series provides early career researchers with support by showcasing how failure and success walk hand in hand.

Speakers:

Prof Rob Aldridge, Professor of Public Health Data Science Dr Marcella Ucci, Associate Professor in Environmental and Healthy Buildings  Dr Jenny Woodman, Associate Professor in Child and Family Policy

Code sharing as an Early Career Researcher: the good, the bad and the ugly - June 2021

In this session, speakers shared their experiences of code sharing (the good, the bad and the ugly!) and invited discussion around how code sharing can be encouraged at UCL, recognising the unique challenges that Early Career Researchers face. 

UCL Professional Careers Beyond Academia Conference - June 2021

This conference explored professional careers beyond academia focusing on the fields of life and health sciences and related areas.

ECN Yoga - led by Rachel Hall

An opportunity to create space, to turn inwards and focus the mind.

Public Engagement - Early Career Researchers - May 2021


Helen Craig (Public Engagement Manager for Life and Medical Sciences, UCL Culture) and Kim Gurwitz (ACCELERATE Translational Training Manager, UCL Academic Careers Office) discussed how UCL supports Early Career Researchers to engage patients and public groups with their research.

Reimagine Research Culture Festival - March 2021

This free online festival brought together the research community to take action and help reimagine research.

Careers in the Life Science Industry Week - March 2021

A week of online talks, career forums, and experiential sessions designed to help you learn more about the diverse array of opportunities in the Life Sciences sector. 

IRIS Profiles: Why you should have one - Feb 2021 

This short seminar covered:

1) What an IRIS profile is

2) How to set yours up

3) What to write in it and what people are looking for in yours!

4) How collaborators use IRIS profiles 

UCL Health of the Public ECN Mentoring and Coaching - Feb 2021

MediaCentral Widget Placeholderhttps://mediacentral.ucl.ac.uk/Player/Jjg9Ibja

 

Kasia Bronk, Development Manager at UCL Innovation and Consultancy, Dr Julie Lanigan, Principal Research Associate at UCL Great Ormond Street Institute of Child Health and Vicki Baars, Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Manager in the Office of the President and Provost

 

2020 Events 

Succesful Fellowship: Tips for Early Career Researchers 2020

YouTube Widget Placeholderhttps://youtu.be/qZqjpMxcH5I

Dr Claire Garnett has recently become a Senior Research Fellow in the department of Behavioural Science and Health - only three years after completing her PhD in Health Psychology!
In this talk, Claire discussed her experience of applying for grants (both "successful and many unsuccessful!"), and what it takes to become a PI.
Get that Grant Workshop for Early Career Researchers - Sept 2020

Invited speakers included Professor Graham Hart, Co-Director of UCL Health of the Public, advisors from SLMS Strategic Research Facilitators and pre-awards finance teams, as well as funding bodies representatives who will be providing information on the available fellowship and grant applications.

Event Outline 

14:00 Workshop start, Introduction and Welcome (Dr Dorina Cadar & Professor Graham Hart)

14:10 Grantsmanship Introduction (Pascale Fanning-Tichborne, UCL Strategic Research Facilitator)

14:20 Grants submission process (Claire Bensusan, UCL Pre-Award Team)

14:30 Funder perspective Wellcome Trust (Kate Emond, Grants Adviser, Wellcome Trust)

15:00 Funder perspective MRC (Kristina Harrison, Senior Programme Manager for the Fellowships programme)

15:30 Panel discussion: an opportunity for questions and informal chats with the speakers (Chair Professor Graham Hart)

16:00 Close

Wiley workshop: Authorship and feedback - 25 June 2020

A unique opportunity to learn about how you can make your research open, while benefiting your skills and career. 

Mental Health First Aid - June 2020

 

Careers in Industry - 11 June 2020

London Postdoc Network and London Biopharma Network present: Careers in Industry, afterwork networking event. Six former academic PhD/Postdocs shared their stories of how and why they transitioned to jobs in the industry

Speakers:

AMALIA MARTINEZ SEGURA, PhD (Computational biologist, GSK) CAROLINA BARCELLOS MACHADO, PhD (Pharmacologist, BenevolentAI) CHLOE ROSE, PhD (Strategy and Operations Manager, Novartis)

Professional Careers Beyond Academia Conference focused on Life & Health Sciences - 9-10 June 2020

The UCL Health of the Public Early Careers Network and UCL Careers hosted their annual life and health sciences conference as a series of online webinars, featuring three panel sessions. Our amazing global employers were represented by speakers covering careers throughout the life and health sciences pipeline, not-for-profit and government research careers alongside industry research management and a special session on the future of research careers.

Blackboard session - 18 May 2020

The previous 'How to use Blackboard session' which explains the main features of Blackboard can be viewed here.

2015-2019 Events 

Get that Grant: Grantsmanship Workshop - 28 November 2019

 

Early Career Researchers Writing Retreat - 7-9 November 2019

 

Professional Careers Beyond Academia - 6 June 2019

2019 saw the fifth consecutive annual “Professional Careers: Beyond Academia” Conference jointly organised by the UCL Populations and Lifelong Health Domain Early Career Network and UCL Careers. The event was generously supported by a Researcher Led Initiative award from UCL Organisational Development.

The daylong event was aimed at research staff and students to allow them to explore careers in life and health sciences sectors beyond an academic environment. The day kicked off with a welcome from Dr Catherine Roberts, co-chair of the Populations and Lifelong Health Early Career Network highlighting the role of the ECN in helping to support research staff within the Domain. This was followed by an introduction to the services provided for researchers by UCL Careers by Careers Consultant Dr. Sophia Donaldson.

The first session of the morning was an introduction to life and health science covering four key areas including: industry research, clinical trials, science communication and consultancy. The session consisted of a series of excellent talks from speakers recounting their own career paths and the value of transferable skills learned during their research training to their current roles. We first heard from Dr. James Porter describing his role as an investigator in the Novel Human Genetics Research Unit at GSK. He gave the advice that scientific techniques are generally the same in industry and academia. Those considering a career in industry should think about what specific skills you can apply in an industrial setting. We then heard from Dr. Stephanie Millin, who took a break after completing her PhD to assess her potential options. She then took a Project Coordinator post at clinical trial company Medpace, and found that her PhD contributed to her fast tracking to her current role as Clinical Trial Manager within a year, a transition that would normally take several years. Stephanie’s advice to searching for a new career was not to let failures get you down; they are disheartening and inevitable, but each one takes you a small step closer to success. Next up was Dr Lucy Eddowes from Costello Medical, who provide scientific support in the analysis, interpretation and communication of clinical and health economic data. After delivering a wide variety of projects, she now heads a Division dedicated to providing multidisciplinary support. Lucy shared that “in terms of taking the first step outside of academia, deciding what to try can be challenging. But, don’t forget that you are surrounded by colleagues having the exact same thoughts and facing the same dilemmas so group together to share, learn and keep each other motivated on your career searches.” The final talk of the morning was given by Dr. Sami Jaffar, a senior consultant at EY Parthenon. Sami gave an insight into his experience in life science strategy consulting, highlighting that consulting is a difficult industry to enter requiring appropriate preparation that can be daunting, but not to be afraid of failure and see it as an opportunity to learn. The talks were followed by a lively and interesting panel session with each of the speakers, where it was revealed that changing careers from academia often required applying for multiple position before success.

After lunch,the event split into a series of concurrent breakout sessions allowing attendees to learn more about specific areas of life and health sciences that were of particular interest to them. For those interested in a career in public health, or becoming an advisor, the session on careers in UK and global health provided advice from a range of representatives covering areas including research, public protection, global health and public health monitoring. Useful advice was provided from Lukasz Aleksandrowicz, a portfolio manager at the Wellcome Trust, Dr Elziabeth Goodburn, a senior technical advisor at the Soapbox Collaborative, a NGO working to prevent infections in mothers giving birth, and Dr Laura Webber, co-founder and COO of HealthLumen, a global population health company that models the long-term impacts of different policy, screening and treatment interventions. The breakout session on Government and policy was aimed at those with an interest in devising policy or working to support the healthcare system. Attendees of the session were treated to talks and discussions from Dr Susannah Cleary, a policy advisor at NHS England, Dr Sara Correia Marques, a senior researcher at The Health Policy Partnership, a specialist health policy consultancy, and Dr Francisco de Matos Afonso Pereira, a pharmaceutical assessor at the MHRA. For those interested in creating spin-outs or their own start-ups, UCL Innovation and Enterprise provided a workshop with practical advice and insight on how to move an idea forward and help provided by UCL to do so.

The Conference was rounded off by Dr. Dan Kelberman, co-chair of the Lifelong and Population Health ECN who highlighted the UCL vision for Research Staff Development and opportunities available at UCL. The event ended with a networking cheese and wine reception and careers fair, offering the opportunity to engage directly with employers, learn more about their organisations and hear more about what career opportunities they have for postdoctoral researchers.

The event was attended by 145 research staff and students from across UCL Post-event feedback was excellent with 100% of respondents satisfied they had gained valuable insight from the day and would recommend to a colleague.

How to Get Published in Top Journals - 8 April 2019

 

Spring Early Career Researchers Writing Retreat - 3-5 April 2019

 

Get that Grant: Grantsmanship Workshop - 24 January 2019
Interdisciplinary Research Event - 21 September 2018

The UCL Populations & Lifelong Health Domain Early Career Network (ECN) held this interdisciplinary event for early career researchers keen to find out more about the challenges and rewards of working as part of an interdisciplinary team. 

Dr Cath Mercer, Reader in Applied Statistics in the Institute for Global Health (IGH), opened the day with an overview of interdisciplinary research in a talk entitled 'Interdisciplinary research: what, why & how'. She gave several examples from interdisciplinary work that she had been involved with, and then went on to discuss the benefits and challenges for individual researchers, finishing with advice for early career researchers. 

Professor Ann Blandford, Director of UCL Institute of Digital Health, then spoke about the 'Seven lessons for interdisciplinary research: the case of interactive digital health interventions'. She spoke about the challenges and benefits of working in digital health which involves health and human computer interaction/technology researchers to make interaction engaging and effective. She discussed the lessons that she has learnt from her experience of working in this domain, taking the best from both disciplines and cultures.

This then led into a lively insightful panel discussion, where the speakers were joined by:

Dr Ed Fottrell, Senior Lecturer in Epidemiology, IGH Dr Guy Harling, Senior Research Associate in Social Epidemiology, IGH Dr Aneesha Singh, Lecturer in Human Computer Interaction, UCL Interaction Centre Dr Sonali Wayal, Senior Research Associate in Social Epidemiology and Public Health, IGH.

Professional careers beyond academia - 11 June 2018 

This extremely popular event now in its fourth year was organised jointly between the UCL Populations and Lifelong Health Early Careers Network and UCL Careers. The event was a full day of talks and workshops to highlight career opportunities for researchers outside of a university setting.

Jana Dankovicova from UCL Careers kicked off the event by highlighting the range of career sectors that many researchers leaving academia have gone to. Also, the importance of remembering that for many people the course of their original studies at university doesn't dictate the career they go on to do afterwards. She emphasised that Researchers have a breadth of transferable skills that are extremely valuable to employers. She went on to list some of the challenges faced by doctoral graduates seeking employment in the non-academic sector and the breadth of support offered by UCL Careers. 

We then heard a series of talks from speakers recounting their own career paths and the skills they took from their research training to their current roles. Firstly Edoardo Giorgi gave an account of his roles in public engagement at the Science Museum, starting as an "explainer" in the museum after completing his PhD in Engineering. He then described his role as an Outreach Developer working in partnership with Google to develop demonstrations and talks bringing fun and interesting science to KS1 and KS2 school children. We then heard from Dr Tim Dallman, who, after training as a bioinformatician at UCL, then joined Public Health England working in infectious disease surveillance. He gave a fascinating account of a typical project using bacterial genomics to trace an outbreak of food poisoning from a restaurant in the UK to the source from a food provider in Germany. The final talk of the morning session was given by Dr Rosie Webster. She recounted how her career path had evolved based on her desire to follow her personal interests in digital health and effecting change. This had taken her from a PhD in health psychology and postdoctoral research in digital health, followed by a brief role in a cancer charity before her current post as a user experience researcher at Zava, an online doctor service. Her role now involved improving products based on understanding the needs and behaviours of patients using those products. The talks were followed by a lively and interesting panel session facilitated by Jess Barber, UCL Careers.

After lunch the event split into a series of concurrent sessions allowing attendees to focus on areas that were of most interest to them. Healthcare consultancy Gerson Lehman Group (GLG) provided a dedicated and highly interactive workshop on CVs and job applications. For those interested in hearing more personal accounts of different job roles there was a series of further talks. Dr Billy West from IQVIA gave an account of his role as a consultant in therapy development. Dr Oliver Armitage then recounted his combination of research and entrepreneurship skills to take his research into developing his own company, Cambrdige Bio-Augmentation Systems (CBAS) producing medical device solutions. Anne McDonough was representing the European Medical Writing Association, highlighting the skills and typical roles for a career in medical writing. Finally, Dr. Anna Schultze gave an account of the similarities and key differences she has experienced between her epidemiological research and her current role as a consultant designing and managing large multi-national studies evaluating drug safety and efficacy.

The concurrent sessions were followed by another fascinating and engaging panel discussion focussed on scientific consultancy, a sector that always generates high interest. The panel was chaired by Sylwia Waslak, UCL Careers, and represented a range of consultancy experience from Dr Billy West (IQVIA), Tatiana Papkovskaia (GLG), Dr Binara Rupasinghe (Navigant) and Dr Derek Annan (Vivid MedComms). Useful advice was provided from this session on the importance of focussed and tailored job applications and CVs, and how to make yourself and the skills you have to offer stand out from the crowd. The event ended with a networking wine and cheese reception offering the opportunity to engage directly with several employers represented throughout the day.

The event was sponsored by the UCL Populations and Lifelong Health Domain ECNUCL Organisational Development and UCL Careers.

Medical Writing for Early Career Researchers - 16 May 2017

The UCL Populations & Lifelong Health Domain Early Career Network (ECN) in collaboration with the European Medicine's Agency (EMA) and the Bartlett Real Estate Institute UCL (BREI) held a medical writing seminar for early career researchers. 

Professor Andrew Edkins, Head of the BREI UCL welcomed the attendees and Dr Evangelia Chrysikou, member of ECN Committee and Lecturer at BREI UCL made the introduction, saying a few words about the work of the ECN Committee and the Institute.

The speakers were Dr Elena Petelos (Public Health Specialist & Regulatory/HTA Expert) and Lecturer in EBM and EIP (University of Maastricht and University of Crete) and Dr Dinesh Mehta from the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA), seconded too and representing the European Medicines Agency (EMA). They created an interactive workshop, presenting common and individual segments over a full three-hour session. Providing an overview on medical writing (MW), encompassing MW basics, publishing in journals, regulatory writing, communication, in general from different angles, i.e., professional requirements and opportunities, technical considerations and regulatory requirements, they showcased the multifaceted work of the EMA in MW and in the context of its importance in public health. Dr Petelos elaborated on the evidentiary requirements of submissions to the EMA up to the Marketing Authorisation, with Dr Mehta explaining in detail the output of the Agency, incl. processes and communication with healthcare professionals, patients and citizens.

The seminar was highly interactive with attendees having the opportunity for questions during the seminar and informal discussions with the presenters after the event. Attendees went away with an understanding of what this diverse particular path is, what is its' importance from a public health perspective, learning tricks of the trade and generating an interest in post grant/post-doc people considering this career. 

A quick evaluation was conducted with participants commenting very favourably on the content, delivery and relevance of the workshop, with comments indicating that their needs and expectations extend well beyond a career event to writing workshops with similar focus, more interactive session on MW and communication. The provision of insight into regulatory aspects was also favourably commented upon, as information on evidentiary requirements and processes was very welcomed, particularly considering this remains a largely neglected aspect in biomedical education.

Grant writing mentoring workshop for early career researchers - 20 February 2018

We ran this small group event to help prepare early career researchers (ECRs) for submission of grant or fellowship applications. 

Before the event, ECRs submitted a two-page outline proposal to be reviewed by senior academic mentors and the other attendees of the workshop. 

On the day, they delivered a short presentation about their proposal, were asked questions and provided with constructive feedback

Get that grant: introduction to grantsmanship for early career researchers - 28 November 2017

The UCL Populations & Lifelong Health Domain Early Career Network held this grantsmanship workshop for those keen to learn how to make successful grant applications. 

Speakers included advisors from SLMS Strategic Research Facilitators, funders, experienced academics talking about their grant application experience and UCL Research Finance staff. 

There were also opportunities for questions and informal discussions about funding applications. By the end of the workshop attendees had an understanding of what factors they should consider when developing grant proposals. 

Speakers included:

Dr Melanie Bradnam, UCL Strategic Research Facilitator Rachel Smith, Finance Manager UCL ICH Ivan Pavlov, Programme Manager for cardiovascular and respiratory medicine, Population & systems medicine, MRC Dr Pia Hardelid, NIHR postdoctoral fellowship holder Dr Erin Walker Daniela Bultoc, Organisational Development Consultant, UCL.

Grant writing mentoring workshop - 20 June 2017

We ran a further grant writing mentoring session for Early Career Researchers to coincide with the Autumn round of fellowship deadlines. 

At this mentoring workshop, early career researchers (ECRs) had the chance to present and receive feedback on a two-page outline grant or fellowship proposal. 

On the day, ECRs delivered a three minute presentation to senior academic mentors who then asked questions about the proposal and provided constructive feedback.

The mentoring sessions run for 3 hours and early career researchers sit in for the whole session in order that they can learn from their peers and vice versa. 

Read all about it! Media relations for early career researchers - 13 June 2017

You've planned the research, collected your data, and written the paper. Now what? How can you get the story out to the right audience? What role does the media play in effectively sharing your findings with the wider public?

Communicating your research with a wider audience is a key part of the research process, and frequently required by funders or stakeholders. But often, it's hard to know where to start. Who should you approach first, how can you create an effective plan for dissemination and package your research findings in a way that will attract an audience? In an era of 'fake news' and 'post-truth', communicating science can be a challenge.

This event, organised by the UCL Populations & Lifelong Health Domain Early Career Network, brought together a range of speakers from media relations teams at UCL, research funders, and media organisations, as well as researchers with extensive experience of disseminating research findings through the media. 

The talks included:

  • Support available for researchers at UCL to help plan and disseminate their research findings to various audiences
  • The funders' perspective on how impact can be achieved through efficient planning and media engagement
  • What are journalists looking for? What makes a good story?
  • Using media to communicate research findings in the digital era

Speakers:

  • Rowan Walker, UCL Media Relations
  • Ryan Bradshaw, Media Team, Centre for Longitudinal Studies,
  • UCL Hannah Isom, Lead Media Manager, Wellcome Trust
  • Miriam Frankel, The Conversation UK
  • Rosie Bartlett, Global Alliance for Chronic Diseases
  • Geordan Shannon, UCL Institute of Global Health
    Get that grant: introduction to grantsmanship for early career researchers - 31 May 2017

    The UCL Populations & Lifelong Health Domain Early Career Network held this grantsmanship workshop for those keen to learn how to make successful grant applications. 

    Speakers included advisors from SLMS Strategic Research Facilitators, funders, experienced academics talking about their grant application experience and UCL Research Finance staff. 

    There were also opportunities for questions and informal discussions about funding applications. By the end of the workshop attendees had an understanding of what factors they should consider when developing grant proposals. 

    Speakers (and PowerPoint slides):

    Professional careers beyond academia - 15 May 2017 

    For this event, the UCL Populations & Lifelong Health Domain Early Career Network has teamed up with UCL Careers and the UCL GOS Institute of Child Health Post-doc Society to run a careers day that focused on career paths for researchers outside of academia in the life science sector and other closely related sectors.

    The event featured a series of careers talks where attendees had the chance to hear from employers who are PhD holders themselves. The careers talks were followed by a networking fair in the morning and a second networking fair in the afternoon.

    Attendees explored their career options with talks and a careers fair with networking opportunities from a range of companies including:

    Grant writing mentoring workshops - 8 and 21 March 2017

    At these mentoring workshops, early career researchers (ECRs) had the chance to present and receive feedback on a two-page outline grant or fellowship proposal. 

    On the day, ECRs delivered a three minute presentation to senior academic mentors who then asked questions about the proposal and provided constructive feedback.

    The mentoring sessions run for 3 hours and early career researchers sit in for the whole session in order that they can learn from their peers and vice versa. 

    Networking drinks reception - 'Thriving and surviving in academia' - 23 February 2017

    At this event attendees enjoyed a networking drinks reception and short presentations giving early career researchers advice on "thriving and surviving" in academia. 

    Speakers included:

    • Professor Eric Brunner, Professor of Social and Biological Epidemiology, PI of Whitehall II
    • Dr Abi Fisher, Lecturer in Physical Activity and Health Professor George Ploubidis,
    • Professor of Population Health and Statistics / Research Director and Chief Statistician
    Grant writing mentoring workshop - 6 July 2016

    At this mentoring workshop, early career researchers (ECRs) had the chance to present and receive feedback on a two-page outline grant or fellowship proposal. 

    On the day, ECRs delivered a three minute presentation to senior academic mentors who then asked questions about the proposal and provided constructive feedback.

    The mentoring sessions run for 3 hours and early career researchers sit in for the whole session in order that they can learn from their peers and vice versa. 

    UCL ABC - entrepreneurship for postdocs - 26 May 2016

    At this event, attendees heard from specialists from UCL AdvancesUCL Business and UCL Consultants offering advice, tips  and showing whats on offer for using postdoc skills beyond the lab. 

    This event was organised by the UCL Population and Lifelong Health Domain Early Careers Network and UCL Institute of Child Health Post-doctoral Society. 

    The UCL Consultants in-depth session covered the consultancy life-cycle, tax and payments and finding and starting consultancy projects. 

    The UCL Business in depth session focudes on patent attorney, successful spin-out, early-career researcher, and medical regulation / device manufacturer.

    The UCL Advances workshop featured an entrepreneurial dragons den-style workshop where participants split into teams to pitch an idea, before hearing feedback from the dragons. 

    Navigating peer review - 9 May 2016

    Peer reviews are an essential part of a researcher's career, whether you are being asked to write them, or receiving them back on your own work. Yet, few researchers seem to have had formal training on how to do peer-review effectively, and it seems that we often learn through just getting on with it. This UCL Populations and Lifelong Health Domain Early Careers Network (ECN) event set out to explore what editors are looking for from peer reviews.

    On Monday 9 May 2016, the ECN hosted a workshop to give some insight into the black box of the peer review process. We were delighted to welcome editors from two of the top UK (and international) journals, The BMJ and Nature to speak to over 70 early career researchers who joined us for the event.

    Dr Trish Groves (Head of Research at The BMJ and Editor in Chief of The BMJ Open) opened the day with an overview of the peer review process. She took us through the basics (what is peer review and why do we need it), different types of peer reviews and the benefits of open access publishing. She closed the morning with an exercise challenging us all to become an editor for the day, which got us all thinking about what makes a helpful review.

    Dr Francesca Cesari (Chief Biological Sciences Editor, Nature) then presented a practical guide to the process, from how reviewers are assigned, to what editors want from a review. She also gave us an insight into the life of a journal editor, for those of us with editorial career aspirations. The day ended with a lively question and answer session with both speakers.

    The feedback received was extremely positive and we hope to see both speakers back at future events!

    Some of the feedback from attendees:

    • "I thoroughly enjoyed this meeting"
    • "I really enjoyed the day and thought the speakers were very good indeed. Very interesting morning."
    • "I found it very interesting and it definitely helped me for my research."
    • "I thought the initiative was excellent, thank you so much for organising it!"
    • "The session was very interesting, especially the first talk of the day".
    • "Overall I think it was a great workshop!"
    • "Overall the event was very useful and interesting"
    • "This event was exceptionally good - Trish and Francesca complemented each other very well and the panel discussion was above all expectations. I hope they will be invited for other events as well."
    • "The overall guide to peer review process from both speakers was very good - it was useful to hear the editors' points of view and understand how and why parts of the process happen."
    • "Was unable to attend the whole day, but clearly this has great value."
    • "Great overview and speakers"
    • "Both speakers were very good; Trish Groves in particular was engaging and approachable".
    • "Great session!!"
    Professional careers beyond academia - 27 April 2016

    Back by hugely popular demand following last year's event, the UCL Populations & Lifelong Health Domain Early Careers Network and the UCL Institute of Child Health Postdoc Society co-organised this second Professional careers beyond academia event. The aim of the event was to highlight the wealth of career prospects relevant to PhD graduates and postdoctoral researchers beyond the limits of a university environment.

    The event was opened by Professor Dame Anne Johnson, Chair of the UCL Populations & Lifelong Health Domain, who highlighted the importance of considering all possible career options available in the current academic climate. Dr Calum Leckie (UCL Careers) then presented survey data highlighting non-academic researcher destinations from SLMS postdoctoral alumni; the majority of which reported that having a PhD was either essential or proved highly desirable for their new role. In addition, he also gave advice on how to obtain additional skills relevant to different careers and highlighted the services offered by UCL Careers.

    We then heard several examples of the importance of transferable skills developed during a PhD and postdoctoral research. Dr Sandra Diebold from the National Institute for Biological Standards and Control recounted her transition from running an academic research group to managing a team in a Government lab facility. Dr Jamie Muir Wood then gave an account of how an analytical approach and the ability to read and research around a subject were instrumental in progressing his career as an intellectual property barrister in a highly competitive environment. This was followed by a fascinating description of the career path of Dr Tim Nugent who shunned a career in the City to use his computer science training in the development algorithms to mine Twitter for information on drug outcomes for Thomson Reuters. The final talk of the morning was provided by Sam Coxon from life science recruiters TayloRollinson, who provided an overview of career options, requirements and salary scales in the life sciences industry both in and out of the lab.

    After lunch, the industrial theme was continued by Dr Conrad Vink who joined GlaxoSmithKline following postdoctoral training at UCL. He gave an overview of the working culture and nature of research in his group and addressed some of the popular myths regarding moving from academia to industry. This was followed by an outline of the training and career path for clinical scientists by Dr Amanda Lam from the Chemical Pathology Service at Great Ormond Street Hospital for Childen NHS Foundation Trust.

    The final talks of the afternoon moved back to roles out of the lab. Alessia Errico from Cancer Research UK gave a presentation highlighting how skills developed as a postdoctoral researcher involving project and financial management, communication and supervision facilitated her role as Research Funding Manager for CRUK. Catherine Risebro from global healthcare communications company, Mudskipper, further illustrated how her aptitude for understanding, conveying and presenting scientific content in different formats from her postdoctoral training was essential in securing her job in medical communications. The day was rounded off by Dr Darran Yates, who provided an in depth insight into his role as chief editor at Nature Neuroscience Reviews and advice on a career in scientific publishing.

    Feedback on the event was again strongly positive with demand to continue as an annual cornerstone in the ECN calendar. One of the major take-home messages from the symposium was the value of a breadth of transferable skills and experience gained during PhD and postdoctoral studies, many of which are taken for granted but play an important part in the day-to-day roles of a multitude of quite varied careers.

    This event was sponsored by the UCL Populations & Lifelong Health Domain ECN, UCL Institute of Child Health Athena Swan  and UCL Doctoral Skills Development Programme

    Media relations and public engagement at UCL - 10 March 2016

    Public engagement and media relations are important aspects of the research process, and increasingly, an essential requirement for successful funding applications. However, it's often difficult to know where to start, especially for those at the beginning of their research career. What resources are available? What are the essential ingredients of successful public engagement initiatives? How can researchers most effectively work with the media to disseminate their findings?

    To answer some of these questions, on 10 March 2016, the UCL Populations & Lifelong Health Domain Early Careers Network (ECN) held an event at the Grant Museum of Zoology. Five speakers from within UCL as well as those outside academia presented differing perspectives on the topics of public engagement and media relations. The morning began with Tess Harris, from the Ciliopathy Alliance, who gave her 'Top Tips' for Patient and Public Involvement and Engagement (PPI/PPE). She set out the rationale for PPI/PPE, gave practical advice on how to get started, and presented some example of successful PPI/PPE initiatives, such as the Young People's Forum at Great Ormond Street Hospital. Tadhg Caffrey, from UCL's Public Engagement Unit, then introduced the resources available to researchers within UCL, including help with PE training, venues, help with external funding applications, and access to further sources of support. Rosamund Yu, PPI Manager at the Joint Research Office, described how public engagement fits into the grant application process, and how PPI is increasingly expected by funding bodies.

    After the coffee break, we heard from two speakers about how ECRs can communicate their findings via the media. Rowan Walker (UCL Media Relations Manager for the Built Environment, Institute of Education, Population Health Sciences) spoke about the role UCL's Media Relations team plays in supporting researchers to publicise their findings, for example, by distributing press releases, responding to requests for expert comments or by coordinating responses to negative stories. She gave tips on what makes a good news story, and how the press release process works. Lastly, we heard from David Matthews, reporter at Times Higher Education, on how TES discover new stories (often, via social media) and about their coverage of topics central to the research process, such as how academic spend their time or the impact of the REF in the UK.

    Grant writing mentoring workshop - 9 March 2016

    At this mentoring workshop, early career researchers (ECRs) had the chance to present and receive feedback on a two-page outline grant or fellowship proposal. 

    On the day, ECRs delivered a three minute presentation to senior academic mentors who then asked questions about the proposal and provided constructive feedback.

    The mentoring sessions run for 3 hours and early career researchers sit in for the whole session in order that they can learn from their peers and vice versa. 

    Get that grant: introduction to grantsmanship for early career researchers - 9 Feb 2016

    This grantsmanship workshop, held by the UCL Populations & Lifelong Health Domain Early Career Network (ECN), included speakers from the UCL Finance and Research Facilitation teams, funders, and academics talking about their grant application experiences.

    Attendees had the opportunity to ask questions and take part in informal discussions about funding applications, and went away with an understanding of what factors they should consider when developing grant proposals.

    Speakers:

    Resilience: how to learn from initial attempts to success and move forward - 25 January 2016

    The life of a scientific researcher is full of competing demands, rejected papers, rough grant reviews, conflicting deadlines, overwhelming workload and workplace issues that require flexibility and adaptability. However, many Early Career Researchers (ECRs) do not get any training in how to develop resilience and make the best out of their setbacks. The UCL Populations & Lifelong Health Domain Early Careers Network (ECN) therefore held their first 2016 event on Resilience. This ECN event aimed to inspire, guide and encourage UCL Early Career Researchers by talking about resilience, the ability to properly adapt to stress, trauma from facing failures and adversity.

    The event was attended by around 100 ECRs and included speakers from the UCL organisational/researcher development and leadership teams, from UCL Careers as well as academics talking about their setbacks and wisdom they gained from them. Dr Ed Fottrell and Dr Anastasia Kalea greeted the participants and introduced the speakers and Dr Sarah Chapman introduced the upcoming ECN events.

    Speakers focused on practical advice and inspiration. Ms Charlotte Croffie (Director of Organisational Development & member of Leadership team, UCL Human Resources) kicked off the session by exploring strategies to build personal and professional resilience. She stressed the importance of being able to adapt to change and manage stress in an increasingly competitive environment. Charlotte also talked about what UCL offers to ECRs and how they can take advantage of their networking opportunities, resources for professional support and training and access to learning and development.

    Some of the advice from the speakers clustered around common themes, such as the need to see how a failure can lead to new career prospects. Dr Richard Freeman (Senior Lecturer; Programme Leader for the Online MPhil/PhD; Programme Leader for Researcher Development; Deputy Director of the Bloomsbury ESRC Doctoral Training Centre) talked about how to fail better quoting Beckett, explaining that it is very important to learn from failures in order to bounce back. He explained that it is unrealistic to expect a linear career path in academia, and change our focus towards the "good enough" model in order to be more effective.

    Dr Sophia Donaldson (UCL Careers Consultant; responsible for our Early Career Researcher careers provision) presented data on how competitive academia is, on the need to network, think like an entrepreneur and look at the big picture and she talked about the services her team offers to ECRs at UCL Careers that may help in developing resilience.

    Dr Jennifer Rohn (Principal Research Associate and group leader, UCL Centre for Nephrology) offered her inspiring personal story and lessons she learned in this journey. Her reassuring talk underlined that most of the times things do not go as we planned, failures may lead to unexpected opportunities and that you can reinvent yourself at every turn.

    Dr George Grimble (Principal Teaching Fellow, UCL Division of Medicine; Course Tutor for MSc in Clinical and Public Health Nutrition) shared his personal career journey explaining that "Nothing is ever wasted. He emphasized the need to act swiftly in opportunities, to network, to be prepared to reinvent yourself and to always remember that you are as good as you were at your best.

    Dr Jessica Buxton (Senior Research Associate, UCL Institute of Cardiovascular Science) shared her experience on "Staying in science as a 'returner'". She highlighted the fact that due to the intense competition for fellowships and lectureships, rejection is the norm. She emphasized the need for time for reflection after a set back and to take opportunities to gain new skills and experience and the immense role of social support.

    The event was followed by a panel discussion where the audience asked the speakers a lot of questions, which were around how one recognises when they should divert their path, on what is the process of reflection and recovery from a failure, how one can manage their time and when to say no to things, on how to network when this is not encouraged by ones superiors, on how individuals could control how much some events will affect them. The participants commented on how this event was inspiring, positive and reassuring and a good way to start the new year with some more optimism!

    Note: Dr Anastasia Z. Kalea (Research Associate, UCL Institute of Cardiovascular Science) organised this event on behalf of the ECN.

    Becoming a lecturer - 8 December 2015

    This seminar was aimed at Early Career Researchers thinking about, or in the process of, applying for their first lectureship position.

    Attendees heard a series of informal talks from UCL postdoctoral alumni who have recently taken up lectureships recounting their experiences of application, interview and their day-to-day roles.

    Speakers:

    • Dr Masahiro Ono, Imperial College London
    • Dr Dan Osborn, St George's University of London
    • Dr Jean Marie Delalande, Queen Mary University of London
    • Dr Anna Furmanski, University of Bedfordshire
    • Dr Jennifer Tullet, University of Kent

    This event was organised by the UCL Populations and Lifelong Health Domain Early Career Network and the UCL Institute of Child Health Post-doc Society.

    Careers seminar: meet the recruiters - 23 November 2015

    In an increasingly competitive jobs market with a continuous supply of fresh PhD graduates, recruitment professionals may be able to provide valuable assistance for the next step in your career. During an afternoon of seminars aimed at science PhD holders interested in a move to industry, specialist scientific recruitment consultants from TayloRollinson gave advice and details of their expertise recruiting in the life sciences sector. 

    Led by scientific recruitment consultants Tom Fowler, Sam Coxon and Richard Taylor, the opening talk highlighted the key differences between working in industry versus academia. Within the lab, the emphasis was put on experience of specific technologies often being required as companies seek specific skills rather than a "jack of all trades," with protocol development and troubleshooting skills often important. However, industry also offers many roles out of the lab including: regulatory and medical affairs, quality assurance, sales and marketing, management consultancy, medical communications and law highlighted as possible avenues. Each of these areas requires particular skills and personality traits and comes with specific demands and salary ranges.

    The second talk provided general guidance regarding applying for jobs and how to sell yourself via your CV and job application. Advice on writing a CV was provided with useful tips, importantly to tailor the CV for the job being applied for so that your skills and strengths mirror the requirements of the role. In addition to the talks, individual one-to-one CV clinics were run throughout the afternoon, giving people confidential feedback on their CVs with personalised advice. These were extremely well received and very popular from those that took the opportunity.

    The final presentation of the afternoon gave advice on what to do once you have secured an interview and how to manage a job offer that may result from it with an emphasis on progressing your career. Interview preparation is essential. Give yourself knowledge of the company and the role you are applying for; how you fit with the role, your ability or knowledge and your personality. Additionally the importance of understanding the wider market and insight into common questions asked.

    Grant writing mentoring workshop - 27 October 2015

    At this mentoring workshop, early career researchers (ECRs) had the chance to present and receive feedback on a two-page outline grant or fellowship proposal. 

    On the day, ECRs delivered a three minute presentation to senior academic mentors who then asked questions about the proposal and provided constructive feedback.

    The mentoring sessions run for 3 hours and early career researchers sit in for the whole session in order that they can learn from their peers and vice versa. 

    Feedback was extremely positive, including the following:

    "The mentoring feedback session on the submitted grant outline by Professor C. was absolutely excellent. Having to assess the work of others in a formal fashion made me critically re-assess by own work in a very useful fashion."

    Get that grant: introduction to grantsmanship for early career researchers - 6 October 2015

    This grantsmanship workshop, held by the UCL Populations & Lifelong Health Domain Early Career Network (ECN), included speakers from the UCL Finance and Research Facilitation teams, funders, and academics talking about their experiences of applying for grants. Attendees had the opportunity to ask questions and take part in informal discussions about funding applications, and went away with an understanding of what factors they should consider when developing grant proposals.

    Speakers:

    UCL IRIS and consultants - 21 May 2015

    All research staff are acutely aware of the competition for funding, consultancy and jobs in higher education and beyond. As a result, there is real and growing pressure on early career researchers to invest time and energy in raising their professional profile as a means of career progression. UCL offers a number of tools to help with this, so in May 2015 50 PhD students, research assistants, research associates and lecturers from across the UCL Populations & Lifelong Health Domain attended the Early Careers Network's lunchtime seminar on making the most of the UCL Institutional Research Information System (IRIS).

    IRIS is the research portal for UCL and can be used to identify the activities of researchers, research groups, research centres, and interdisciplinary networks across the university - essentially an online tool for presenting oneself and one's work to the world. All research staff have an IRIS profile and it is up to individuals to add information to these profiles. Tom Couch and Neena Goward from UCL Research IT Services gave a joint presentation to explain the benefits of IRIS and the technical processes involved in updating and managing one's profile and linking publications to profiles through the UCL Research Publications Database. Björn Christianson from UCL Consultants also delivered an extremely useful discussion, providing the perspective of potential collaborators, funders and employers. A key message from Björn was to write one's IRIS profile with a specific purpose and audience in mind: those hoping to attract consultancy work should prepare their profile differently from those seeking academic collaboration, for example.

    Examples of 'good' and 'bad' IRIS profiles were presented and followed by a lively discussion. The event was followed by a reception where there were further opportunities to meet and talk with the speakers. Feedback from the event was very positive and we hope to run the event again in 2015/16.

    How to get published and get your paper noticed - 22 April 2015

    As seen in THE

    You and your team have been tirelessly working on your latest project and finally the research is done, data are analysed and now it's time to let the world know what you've been up to for the past few years. Great! Now what?

    We've all received emails about REF requirements, and if you've applied for grants and fellowships, you'll be familiar with the requirement to have published in high impact journals. But how does the publishing process work? And once your research is published, how do we let people know about it?

    On 22 April 2015, the UCL Populations & Lifelong Health Domain Early Careers Network (ECN) held an event to address these questions. The event focused on publication and dissemination of scientific research, and was attended by around 100 early career researchers from across UCL.

    The morning began with a presentation by Dr Sarah Linklater (Deputy Editor, The Lancet Diabetes & Endocrinology), who spoke about the early stages of publication: the do's and don'ts of writing the cover letter; manuscript preparation; how to respond to reviewers and how to decide where to publish. Catherine Sharp (UCL Open Access team) followed with a very informative presentation about open access; what it is, why we should do it, and how UCL can support it.

    The second half of the morning focused on dissemination. We were very fortunate to have Trish Groves (Head of Research at The BMJ and Editor in Chief of The BMJ Open), and a prolific tweeter, to talk about using social media to make our research accessible to the wider public. The morning closed with a mini-workshop on engaging with the media and writing headlines, run by Kate Hoyland and Rosie Bartlett, of UCL. We all had a go at writing a magazine headline about the results of our most recent research, which many found was easier said than done!

    The morning was well received and we hope to see lots of papers from UCL Early Career Researchers in the near future.

    Professional careers beyond academia - 13 March 2015

    It is becoming widely acknowledged that as things currently stand, the majority of Early Career Researchers (ECRs) will not have a long-term career within academia. However, skills developed during PhD and postdoctoral training can open a wide variety of career options in employment sectors outside academia. To raise awareness of these possibilities, the UCL Populations & Lifelong Health Domain Early Careers Network (ECN) joined forces with the UCL Institute of Child Heath Postdoctoral Society to organise a one-day symposium in March 2015. 

    The day began with a warm welcome from Dr Ed Fottrell (ECN Chair), outlining the reasons for ECRs to contemplate a change of career direction. Dr Kathy Barrett (UCL Careers Service) highlighted a variety of tools with which to consider career and work-life balance requirements in her excellent presentation 'Where am I going and why?'. Bjorn Christanson and Nadja Race (UCL Consultants) then revealed the career-building opportunities consulting can provide. For those considering a move into the wider world of teaching, Ross Neilson presented the Researchers in Schools (RIS) initiative - the only teacher training programme exclusively for post-doctoral researchers.

    After the coffee break we heard about opportunities in finance. Professor William Shaw (Winton Capital) gave a well-targeted talk describing the importance of their uniquely scientific approach to investment management. Tom Stoddart followed, explaining the role recruitment companies such as Eximius can play in a financial sector career. He also gave some useful advice on job searching and interview techniques.

    Following lunch, Dr Jonathan Best (Grant Operations Manager, the Wellcome Trust) gave a video presentation followed by a Q&A session on job prospects at the Wellcome Trust, a global charity which aims to improve worldwide health by supporting research. Dr Penny Sarchet (New Scientist news reporter and editor) then provided a fascinating insight into careers in science journalism.

    In the final session Dr Tom Fowler, Director of Public Health at Genomics England, which works to support the science stream around rare diseases, described his career path from his PhD to his current position and recruitment at Genomics England. In the last presentation of the day, Dr Mike Brownleader, formerly of Generon now of Protein Ark, discussed 'Getting a job' relating his path from academia to entrepreneur in the arena of protein science provision and suggested approaches for those considering similar career moves.

    The event was held in the Kennedy Lecture Theatre, Balcony and Winter Garden at ICH, the perfect venue for the 200 ECRs that attended from across the UCL Populations & Lifelong Health Domain. Speakers and stands were in high demand during the refreshment breaks, with lunch and a wine reception allowing plenty of time for everyone to interact. Feedback on the event was strongly positive; the symposium provided constructive food-for-thought about career choices and generated a high demand for future events. Planning for the 2016 symposium is now underway and we look forward to another successful event.

    This event was sponsored by the UCL Populations & Lifelong Health Domain ECN, UCL Athena Swan and Winton Capital.

    Get that grant: introduction to grantsmanship for early career researchers - 21 January 2015

    In today's cash-conscious universities, finding funding for research is vital for building an academic career. But many Early Career Researchers (ECRs) do not get experience and training in how to apply for grants as part of the PhD programmes. The UCL Populations & Lifelong Health Domain Early Careers Network (ECN) therefore held a series of grantsmanship events in 2015 to inspire and support ECRs applying for grants.

    The first event, held on Wednesday 21 January, was attended by around 100 ECRs, keen to learn how to make successful grant applications. The event included speakers from the UCL research facilitation teams and pre-awards finance teams, as well as funding bodies and academics talking about their experiences of applying and assessing grants.

    Speakers focused on practical advice and inspiration. Dr Claire Westwood (Strategic Research Facilitator, UCL SLMS Research Coordination Office) kicked off the session by talking about grant writing. She stressed that successful projects tended to be strong across all three 'P's - Project, Place and Person. Claire also explained that getting the timing of fellowship applications right was vital.

    Some of the advice from the speakers clustered around common themes, and one thing which nearly all speakers cautioned against was leaving a grant application to the last minute. Stavroulla Stavrou and Charlene Perrier from UCL Finance explained that getting grant costings right and approved by UCL can often take longer than ECRs expect.

    Dr Peter Thompson (NIHR Trainees Co-ordinating Centre) gave tips for applying for NIHR fellowships, including how to behave in interviews. His advice was to strike a balance between confidence and overconfidence. He said that successful interviewees knew their projects inside and out and were able to articulate exactly why and how the fellowship would help them in their future careers.

    Finally Professors Steve MorrisNishi Chaturvedi and Andrew Steptoe all spoke about their experience of applying for and reviewing grants. One of their most surprising pieces of advice was that often review committees have only a few minutes to spend discussing applications. So they said it was very important for grant proposals to spell out what the project was and why it should be funded.

    The audience ask the speakers a lot of questions, and covered a wide range of issues. One which prompted some discussion and laughter was what to do when applications were not successful, something which even the speakers admitted that they had sometimes experienced. Their advice was to be open to feedback and self-aware about a proposal's flaws but also to be persistent.

    The event was followed by small group workshops in which ECRs got the chance to present their outline grant or fellowship proposals to senior academic mentors. A total of five workshops were held for 17 ECRs. Feedback on both events was extremely positive and we look forward to running them again in the 2015/16 academic year.