Interested in working in the Rail Industry.. conference opportunity

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Where does your journey take youResearch has identified a major gap is likely to develop in the rail industry, especially in engineering skills. They are therefore looking for the brightest candidates to join this exciting sector and build the community of future rail leaders and educators.

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Library Boot Camp for Researchers: training and tips from the Library information fitness squad

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I was just at the SAgE faculty Researcher Board, where Moira Bent from the Library gave us an overview of a ‘bootcamp’ that the team are running for researchers.

Perhaps I don’t spend enough time on the library’s website, but every time I click through, or talk to one of their staff, I am genuinely amazed by the services that they offer for researchers. A few months ago, for example, I was delivering a workshop for the Staff Development Unit on using social media for career planning, and came across this absolute beast of a resource on social media for researchers, with tips from working remotely with colleagues around the globe to disseminating your research. I saw some great research from LSE on social media as a dissemination tool, and the impact that just tweeting your work can have on your full-text downloads, so I’d strongly recommend that you give the library’s resource a good read!

But back to boot camp: Moira talked us through the range of activities on offer to help PhDs and research staff ‘get fitter’ when it comes to finding resources for your research; from gentle ‘warm-ups’, to ‘personal training’ through individual feedback, to a bit of ‘speedwork’ for those quick-hit queries.

It runs for five weeks, and would be well worth a look. Information resources are developing so quickly these days, that I think even the most experienced of us would benefit from a refresher.

Library Boot Camp

Running from February 24th to March 28th, Library Boot Camp is a programme of training, advice and tips to help you tone up your information skills and head for a podium finish. It includes the following elements:

• Personal training: book a one-to-one consultancy with us for search tips and in-depth advice on resources within and beyond the Library. We’ll give you a personalised search plan to help you get organised.

• Virtual gym: visit our online ‘dissertation station’ for a thorough skills workout. Packed full of useful tips and resources.

• Specialist workshops: we’ve invited guest trainers to deliver workshops on various specialist topics and resources.

For full details and online booking, visit the Boot Camp now:

Here’s what other users have said about their recent consultancies with library staff:

“Thanks very much for this, it’s really useful. I realise I have so many more things to research now!”

“Thank you for the work you have done: it will be a massive help… The service provided is excellent.”

“Thank you ever so much for your help and the tidied version of the research plan! I feel I am well on my way now to finding some good resources.”

Using social media (or not?) in your career

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One thing the Careers Service has been learning a lot about lately is social media – your digital footprint is becoming increasingly important to your career development it seems. I’m sure that you have all hear about prospective employers googling shortlisted candidates (and sometimes changing the shortlist based on what they’ve found), so it’s always worth checking your online profile to see what pops up.

I’m pretty sure that it goes without saying that you need to check what your Facebook and twitter feeds say about you and adjust your privacy settings accordingly. We’re not yet in the situation that some American jobseekers are in, where employers are asking for login details to their Facebook pages – let’s hope that it’s one trend that doesn’t make it across the Atlantic!

But just how savvy are you when it comes to social media? Lots of us now have LinkedIn profiles (6 million UK users and counting), but are you making the most of the resource? According to one survey, 80% of employers use LinkedIn as part of their recruitment process (Jobvite Social Recruiting Survey), but that was conducted in 2010 and surely numbers can only have risen since then. And it’s not just employers making use of social media  – we’ve recently seen job-hunters using creative digital CVs instead of the traditional format (what do you think of these CVs on Pinterest?), as well making speculative applications via twitter, amongst other things.

However, social media shouldn’t just be seen as a tool for recruitment or finding a job; it’s also a great way to research careers and organisations before you apply (as well as being a handy networking tool). We attended a presentation recently where the speaker also highlighted the benefits of social media for:

  • Exploring job roles e.g. what job titles are there in an organisation? What kinds of organisations do people with that job title work for?
  • Researching career trajectories: you can use tools like LinkedIn and the Careers Service’s own Graduate Connections resource to see how people’s careers have developed
  • Finding organisations: joining groups on LinkedIn is a great way to see who’s who in your sector
  • Identifying contacts both in the UK and overseas

(Thanks to Helen Buzdugan from the University of Manchester for her AGCAS webinar!).

It seems pretty easy, right? And yet I read a scienceomega article recently which suggested that researchers, in particular, fail to capitalise on the benefits that social media can bring to their careers. Recruiters used to feel that they were failing to talk the language of a techno-savvy Generation Y and have been using social media to keep up, but is Gen Y now starting to fall behind the recruiters by barely making it past Facebook?

I’ve certainly found twitter useful for hearing about jobs and career development opportunities like science writing competitions, and enjoy having easy access to what can seem like monolithic institutions like the NHS; and as a shy person I quite like using tools like LinkedIn, blogs, and the Guardian Careers webchats for networking with people, but I’m not sure that I like the use of Facebook for job/careers stuff as, for me, it’s very much a social (rather than a work) space. But then I see the Civil Service Fast Stream’s FB page, which is really useful, and think that I should make more use of it in spite of my reservations.

What do you think? How do you use social media and the web to aid your career development? Do you think you need more support to help you get the most out of it (or are you the techno-savvy Gen Y-er that all the recruiters have been hearing about)?


LinkedIn Groups for Academics

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You may have created a profile on LinkedIn and invited some people to connect to you, but have you joined any groups? Joining groups can develop your network, offer opportunities for collaboration and extend your understanding of a topic or field. Have a look at these 50 Great LinkedIn Groups for Academics and see if any interest you.


Are you digitally literate? Vitae want your views

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How digitally literate are researchers?

How is digital technology being used for research and to develop researchers?

At what rate are higher education institutions embedding digital literacies in researcher development?

Vitae invites researchers (doctoral and research staff) to complete a short online survey that focuses specifically on the digital literacy of researchers and institutional staff in researcher development roles. This significant cross-institutional baseline study is part of the Developing Digital Literacies programme, funded by JISC and supported by Vitae along with a number of other professional associations.

The purpose of Vitae involvement in the Developing Digital Literacies programme is to promote the development of coherent, inclusive and holistic institutional strategies and organisational approaches for developing digital literacies in higher education.

Results will be made anonymous, then published in an aggregate public report in February 2012. The results will enable Vitae to refine sector activities that focus on digital literacy such as the extremely popular Digital Researcher event for researchers and research staff, and will be used to support the researcher development community to establish new approaches for developing digital literacy for researchers and the researcher development community in higher education.

The closing date for submissions is 24 January 2012.

Please support us and complete this short survey.

Embedding Impact Analysis – grant funding available

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Do you have skills and expertise in impact analysis…

…or, are you a researcher looking for support embedding impact analysis in research?

Grant Funding Call now available…….

JISC is funding an opportunity for researcher groups to develop their capability to analyse and articulate the impact and benefits of their work, by working in partnership with FE and HE staff who have expertise in impact analysis. The objective is to stimulate the cross-pollination of existing expertise and technology to enhance capacity in the impact analysis of research across the sector.

Funding of up to £30,000 per project is available to support three-way collaborative partnerships comprising:

  • Research groups seeking to develop their capabilities in analysing and articulating the impact and benefits of their research;
  • Business and Community Engagement (BCE) practitioners with expertise in identifying external impact and benefits, and designing institutional services for this purpose; 
  • Leading research information management expertise and resources for impact evidence.

Full text of the call is available.

The deadline for proposals is 1 March 2012.

Funded projects will run from May to October 2012.

An online matching site has been launched by the National Coordinating Centre for Public Engagement to support the formation of these partnerships.  Interested researchers, impact analysts and research information management experts can sign up and find out more.



Proposals may be submitted by HE institutions funded via HEFCE, SFC, HEFCW and DEL Northern Ireland, and by FE institutions funded via BIS, SFC, DFES Wales and DEL Northern Ireland.

The Digital Researcher

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Vitae Digital Researcher

On 14 February 2011, Vitae and The British Library are running the Digital Researcher 2011 to help researchers make the most of new technologies in their research.

The interactive event, which will be held at the British Library, is for postgraduate researchers and research staff. It will include presentations and interactive sessions on subjects such as microblogging, RSS feeds, social networking and social citation sharing. Participants will explore and develop the skills needed for research in an increasingly digital world and gain ideas for managing information.
The event is free for postgraduate researchers and research staff. For more information and to book a place, click here.