The Ideation fund is a 7-week experimental learning programme, (running between the 2 November- 14 December), which provides applicants with specialist training, support and funding for founders who want to explore and test out an early-stage start-up idea. This programme is sponsored by The Bristol Grid.
Having explored whether postgraduate study is an option for you, and weighed up the pros and cons, you’re now ready to submit your application… but where do you start?!
We often meet students and graduates that find making a start to this process overwhelming. This blog gives you a checklist to inspire you to make a start and provide you with resources that can help you to complete your application. (more…)
The Bristol PLUS Award is the University’s employability Award, open to students across all years of study – including Postgraduate Researchers (PGRs). In fact, PGR achievers speak so highly of the Award process, we thought we’d share highlights from their feedback: (more…)
This blog is the first of two exploring how using the Careers Service can benefit you as a PhD researcher, each of which consists of an interview conducted via email. This first part was conducted with a History PhD who recently graduated from Bristol and secured a role in Professional Services at the University of Bristol.
Remember that all of our services are available to our PhD researchers, both whilst you are registered here and for up to 3 years after you graduate.
Basecamp Enterprise Team caught up with Growth Stage, New Enterprise Competition finalist Dr Michael Dicker from start-up Actuation Lab to talk about their progress since winning 12 month SETsquared membership from the competition. Here’s what Michael had to say:
Actuation Lab is now 4 months into its year long membership of the SETsquared Bristol incubator that it won as runner-up in the New Enterprise Competition. We have developed greatly as a business over that time and continue to refine our technology and market focus. We recently received a place on the Innovation to Commercialisation of University Research (ICURe) InnovateUK program which is providing us with funding and the ability to further explore market opportunities. (more…)
Update: The Outstanding Award process closed after the 2020/21 academic year. Current students who have made an outstanding contribution to their PLUS Award activity may consider engaging with the Outstanding PLUS Award, which launched in the 2021/22 academic year.
Postgraduate Research students; why not challenge yourself this year and develop a range of skills and experiences to enhance your career prospects and opportunities after your research? Last year PGRs from all faculties took part in the Bristol PLUS Award. The feedback was fantastic, as these case studies show:
Hannah Barber: Part-time Medicine PhD
As a part-time PhD student, my schedule can be very busy. The PLUS Award provided me with a great opportunity to enhance my employability skills and CV without consuming too much time. The award encourages you to take part in extra-curricular activities which will help you seek out a career. The experience enhances your reflective skills which I found could also be transferred to my daily research.
Through the PLUS Award I learnt about career opportunities beyond research. It taught me how to lay out my CV in a clear and concise manner which will attract a future employer’s attention. I found the whole experience very useful and would recommend it to anyone who is keen to make their CV stand out from the crowd.
Ji Youg Li: PhD: Philosophy
Doing well in postgraduate research is not only about academic success, it is also important to develop transferable skills. In signing up for the Bristol PLUS Award I wanted to engage in activities that would be beneficial for my career. I branched out in the variety of activities for my work experience and had fun as well! I also became more productive in my academic work, as I learnt skills in maximising my time and effort.
Through PLUS I gained insight into how to articulate my skills to others, how to reflect on my experiences and how I can apply transferable skills to career-related opportunities as a PGR student. The employability workshops were especially helpful, breaking down the key points needed to enhance my CV and prepare for interviews. The great thing about the PLUS award is that it encourages you to try new things and go outside of your comfort zone. Bristol PLUS was not simply an ‘award’ but a source of inspiration for me to keep being proactive, and to continue to practice and apply my skills. I really enjoyed my experience; the award offers an invaluable experience for PGRs so I would definitely recommend it.
David Dewar: MPhil: Music
Though a somewhat mature PGR, the Plus Award seemed a useful and potentially helpful achievement. I started thinking about how I could use the award in my own situation.
The workshops were relevant to my future aims, and were also interesting and not too time consuming. Reflection on what one has achieved was a further rewarding feature. More recently I have learnt from interviewers in academia, industry and music that the record of such an achievement on a CV stands out and demonstrates your abilities, achievements, and self-endeavours; very valuable skills to advertise when backed up by formal recognition from the University of Bristol. I would recommend it to everyone, particularly PGRs; it’s enjoyable and meaningful.
Visit the Careers Service website to find out more about the Bristol PLUS Award and book on to an Introductory talk before 9 February 2018. Intro talks are open to all students and PGR tailored Intro talks are offered on 19 October and 19 January.
I am a postgraduate researcher in an arts subject (not Law!) but last October, at the Careers Service Law Fair, I managed to get a week’s work experience in a mid-sized City firm – the Holy Grail of the would-be lawyer. I got this purely through chatting to the people I met on each stand. As networking and meeting people is a great way to get a foot in the door, especially for law, I thought I’d share a bit on the blog about how I went about it.
I chatted to a few employers at the firm, and got (alongside a lot of free stuff) 2 business cards, and 1 offer of work experience. At the stand of the firm in question, there were a partner, a trainee and an HR person, and I tailored my questions to each of them. After talking to all three for some time, I asked the lady from HR if there was any possibility of a week, or even a day, of shadowing. She’d already offered to take my email address, and suggested I drop her an email with my CV and the practice areas I’d be interested in. She actually emailed me with a reminder before I’d had a chance to get in touch with her, and once I’d sent my CV, she arranged for me to sit in my preferred department for a week in January.
The lesson here is an old one, but it’s true: if you don’t ask, you don’t get. If you feel a conversation is going well, then why not ask? Some firms, of course, will say no, but you’ve lost nothing, and it’s worth it to get even one yes.
Research, research, research
You’ll probably have heard this already, but research is key to securing legal work experience – even informally. And preparation is vital for law fair success:
- Before the fair, I made a list of firms I was interested in, why I was interested in them, and what questions I wanted to ask in order to find out more.
- I also had a think about more general questions I could ask. For example, it’s always good to ask about the structure of a firm’s training contract, as this differs from firm to firm.
- As I mentioned, I tailored my questions to each person – when talking to a partner, I wouldn’t ask about the structure of the training contract (put that to trainees or HR), but I would ask about practice areas or the firm’s structure.
I met this firm for about 15 minutes and impressed them enough to get a place, and I can only assume this was because of my research. I was enthusiastic and interested, and it showed that I had prepared beforehand.
For more on researching employers, see the Careers Service pages about how we can help with your research. You can come into the Careers Service in person and talk to Information Specialists at our Resources Help Desk, who can help with this.
The Careers Service also runs talks on how to prepare for the Law Careers Fair. You can read our blog post about preparing for Careers Fairs and our blog post with tips for becoming a solicitor or barrister.
Don’t forget to come along to the Law Fair this year: 5 and 6 November at the Wills Memorial Building. See a list of the different firms attending each day on our website.
Lucinda, a previous Careers Service Information Assistant Intern
Being a productive and successful PhD student is not easy. There are a multitude of distractions and procrastination activities to fill up any long day in the office. As I am now in the final 12 months of my PhD, attending a seminar that promised to provide practical tips on how to finish my PhD on time and still enjoy the process sounded highly appealing.
The event, organised by the Bristol Doctoral College and the University of Bristol Careers Service, was run by Hugh Kearns and focused on being a successful research student. He presented hints and tips to help PhD students work more effectively and gave a lot of practical advice on how to get through the PhD process. Overall, I found the event really useful and I would highly recommend the event to other PhD students. Since the event, I have been putting some of Hugh’s tips into practice and found myself to be more productive in the office.
For students that were unable to attend the event, here is my overview of Hugh’s seven secrets:
- Meet regularly with your supervisor.
- Write and show as you go.
- Have realistic research goals – try not to be a perfectionist.
- Say no to distractions – checking your email first thing in the morning decreases daily productivity.
- Set regular hours and take holidays – reward yourself with a break.
- Make full use of the available help – you’re not on your own!
- Persevere – you can do it!!
For more information, take a look at the informative careers columns from Hugh Kearns in the journal Nature, with topics on ‘The Motivation Fairy’, ‘The Care and Maintenance of your supervisor’ and ‘Turbocharge your writing’.
Gemma Coxon, PhD student
Further information and support of how to manage the PhD process can be found on the Vitae website. The Balanced Researcher offers some useful strategies and techniques to keep your work and the rest of your life in balance.