Workshops for AHSS Postgraduate Researchers March 2021 by AHSS Graduate Research Centre.

Dr. Niamh Nic Ghabhann, ADR and Dr. Niamh Lenahan, Research Co-ordinator As part of the AHSS Professional Development Programme for postgraduate researchers, a seminar on Understanding Research Impact, PhD by Publication, Articulating Transferable Skills and Viva Preparation was held on MS Teams on Tuesday 9th March 2021. Dr. Nic Ghabhann spoke about Research Impact and encouraged students to seek out interdisciplinary projects and to learn from these. Also, students should think about themes rather than topics. These different examples may assist in opening up new options and avenues for postgraduates in future pathways in both academia and beyond academia. Students who wish to apply for funding will be required to include evidence of their research and be able to highlight their research impact.

Students were encouraged to look at Research Excellent Framework (REF), a research measuring tool as well as other useful resources such as Shape-ID. Dr. Nic Ghabhann encouraged students to get better at communicating the full range of AHSS Research Impacts and to think about other ways of communicating their research such as films, performances, exhibitions and projects. Dr. Nic Ghabhann also provided an information session for students who are interested in pursuing a PhD by Publication and for those already registered.

Elaine Kiely, Careers Advisor, Cooperative Education and Careers Division spoke about how to recognise and document transferable skills. Taking time to reflect on the skills students accumulate during the time in UL is extremely important. Students should practice how to verbalise their skills by ‘telling your research story’ and to write down their skills and create a system to store and update this information. Think of this process as a ‘self-audit’. It is important to think ahead and look at career opportunities, to look at job advertisements, this can inform students and help them to work at gaining the required new skills that will assist their future career. Elaine provided links to sites to assist students with planning and developing transferable skills. The afternoon session was given by Dr. Niamh Lenahan and looked at preparing for a viva voce in a virtual environment. The seminar reminded students to consider all timelines and paperwork involved in the process of undertaking a viva voce. Students should trust their supervisor’s advice about when they are ready for their exam. Once the thesis has been submitted, students should take a short break before they prepare for their oral examination. There are several methods students can employ in preparation such as practice the art of answering generic and specific questions on their thesis. Students should consider publishing houses where they hope to publish. Being well prepared is key to a successful viva voce.

It was great to hear from two AHSS graduands on their viva experiences, Dr. Felix Morgenstern (IWAMD) and Dr. Stephen Griffin (History). Dr. Niamh Lenahan thanked all the speakers for giving up their time and speaking to early career researchers. Dr. Lenahan also thanked the attendees and reminded students of the importance of keeping in contact and encouraged students to attend the AHSS PhD Development Seminars and the AHSS PhD Virtual Coffee chats. 

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The AHSS Virtual Coffee Chat Sessions for AHSS Postgraduate Researchers provided a platform where general discussions could take place and also a sharing of research-related topics.
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