HASS Solvers Session: Unleash your creativity and enterprise!

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There will be an opportunity to unleash your creativity and enterprise during an Intensive Solvers Session on Tuesday 6th March 2012, 10am until 1.30pm working with award winning playwright, actress and singer-songwriter Yasmine Van Wilt.
PGRs need to be creative, enterprising, resourceful, able to solve complex problems and address challenging issues in innovative ways, build networks and win support. This Intensive Solvers Session seeks to develop your skills as a researcher as well as giving an insight into what is involved in creating a business – helpful information, if in the future you might consider freelancing, setting up a social enterprise or being self employed, based on your creativity, your research, your transferrable skills or your interests.
During the session you will come up with some creative ideas in response to some real life issues and opportunities, and create a hypothetical business to test out your enterprising skills in a friendly and supportive environment.
The problem being solved will be set by Yasmine Van Wilt, playwright, actress and singer-songwriter – and current HASS PhD student. She was a 2001 WordBridge Playwright and a 2007 Soho Young Writer. She has performed internationally for theatre and radio. She is a director and founding member of Immortalis Vox Productions. She recorded her debut album, Ex-Pat Reveries, with National Public Radio (US) in 2007 and went on to tour 40 venues in 4 countries performing music from this and her most recent album, The Big Smoke (2010). She has performed at such venues as Cafe de Paris and the George Square. Her most recent play, We’re Gonna Make You Whole was published by Oberon Books. Yasmine has numerous upcoming theatre, film and music commissions.
The Session is being led by Jane Nolan MBE, an Entrepreneur in Residence with Newcastle University Careers Service, a graduate of the School of English, a successful business woman and a current HASS PhD student. Booking:


How to write a CV for Academia – workshop

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How to write a CV for Academia

22nd February 2012


Bamburgh Room, King’s Road Centre

Applying for research opportunities, lecturing posts or a PhD? Find out about the key indicators of success in an academic environment, what to prioritise and how to make yourself stand out in an academic CV.

This workshop is aimed at postgraduate researchers and other students who need an academic CV because they are applying for university-based research posts or a PhD. Research staff are also welcome to attend.

No need to book – just turn up – starts at 1pm prompt.


Job Vacancy – Scientific Consultant – Quintessa

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Scientific Consultant, Quintessa Ltd

Quintessa is seeking a well-qualified and self-motivated individual to work on environmental and energy issues, including the management and disposal of radioactive wastes and the remediation of nuclear sites. The new recruit will work as part of a team that focuses on the development and application of quantitative and qualitative techniques and associated software for integrated environmental assessment and decision making, providing advice to regulators, industry and government agencies.

Closing Date: 31/03/2012

Location: Henley-on-Thames

Person Requirements: We are interested in hearing from students who have recently graduated, or will be graduating in 2012, and have: – Demonstrable academic excellence in relevant scientific areas; – Strong quantitative capabilities; – Excellent written and verbal communication skills; – The ability to conceptualise problems, develop associated mathematical models and implement these in existing software tools.

Degree Discipline: MSc/PhD in either Earth Sciences, Physics or Mathematics.

How to Apply: If you are interested in a challenging and rewarding career applying your problem-solving skills at Quintessa, please email your CV with a covering letter to:

Starting a journey of discovery…..

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So…..I have made it through the Portal….. and now a whole new landscape is opening up. Embarking on a PhD does suggest an innate curiosity – so I am finding it exciting, if somewhat daunting, as I start exploring this interesting territory. The mountains look very beautiful though extremely high. What is beyond them? Where is my final destination?  It will be a five year journey of discovery.

I am a new part time PhD student and over the last couple of weeks have been receiving a very comprehensive induction. HASS Faculty  and School PGR staff are extremely supportive, happy to help make the map of this strange new world comprehensible and to enable us to learn the language of the research process. There are so many options on offer, so many things to learn, so many interesting people to meet – I have heard about some truly amazing research topics from an incredibly diverse group of students.  A wonderful richness of people, knowledge and potential .I am feeling very happy and excited about this opportunity, looking forward to working with my supervisors and to a whole new world of learning.

Up to now I have navigated the world of the university using a different map – as an Entrepreneur in Residence with the Rise Up team in the Careers Service, delivering workshops on enterprise and entrepreneurship as part of the PGR Development Programme. So now I am both a workshop deliverer, aiming to help people on their journey in the world beyond the university, and a PGR.

I experienced this very vividly last week – attending an intensive day of induction, and venturing out in the midst of everything to deliver a workshop to support entrants to the Biotechnology Yes competition. On 25th October I will be presenting SAgE Solvers – so if you are interested in developing your entrepreneurial and enterprise skills, please sign up through the PGRDP booking system– everything that is covered in the workshop, from creative thinking and idea generation tools, to elevator pitching is helpful in a range of contexts, not only business. Given the challenging economic times we live in, with portfolio careers, self employment and freelancing on the rise as ways to make a living, developing enterprise skills could help you successfully navigate your way in a very competitive world.

I’ll be reflecting on my progress as I contribute to this blog over the months and years to come, and I very much look forward to meeting and hearing from other researchers along the way,


Life as a research assistant

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Just to introduce myself, I am currently a Research Assistant at Newcastle University Business School. I joined the world of academia in May 2011, having previously worked in commercial (public sector) research and consultancy for the last 10 years ish. More about that another time, but my experiences may be of interest to others, hence sharing through this blog. 

Part one of my experience has been to quickly get reacquainted with academic literature, learn qualitative data management software (NVivo), and remember how time-consuming and slow the process of transcription is. Part two has been to understand the place of research in the university context, understand my place within it and figure out a new career path.

It’s this last element which has been much on my mind recently, and taken time to understand (not sure I’m there yet). Things I know for sure- 1) PhD is a must if I want to become a lecturer 2) getting work published is vitally important 3) getting work published in the right places is vitally important (3* and 4* journals). Things I still don’t know- 1) how to get PhD funding for a topic that both interests me and interests the funders 2) how to respond to multiple reviewers who may disagree 3) why some journals are considered a higher star rating than others and what difference this really makes.

My current position is managing a short term contract, hourly paid seminar work, and paying the bills. Despite this juggling, things are going well so far! More to follow, if you’re interested. Comments, advice, tough love welcome.

Job Vacancy – Experimental Scientific Officer, Newcastle University

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Salary: £27,428 – £35,788
Closing Date: 11 September 2011
The Bioinformatics Support Unit is a successful cross-Faculty service providing high quality scientific support for a range of bioinformatics projects. You will have experience of a range of Bioinformatics techniques, to work in the Unit on the development and delivery of scientific projects and liaison with relevant academics. You should have at least a first degree in a relevant science related subject and preferably a PhD.  You will have previous experience in bioinformatics support and an understanding of UK research funding procedures.
For an informal discussion on this opportunity, please contact either Dr Simon Cockell (Senior Experimental Scientific Officer), 0191 222 7253,; or Professor Anil Wipat (academic lead), 0191 222 8213,


NHS Scientist posts – open for applications and encouraging researchers to apply

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The NHS Healthcare Scientist Training Programme is a new and comprehensive work based training programme, introduced as part of the UK Modernising Scientific Careers programme. It replaces the Clinical Scientist entry programme and is the most direct way to work as a professional scientist in the NHS. Those with a PhD or research experience are encouraged to apply. Closing date for applications is 13th March 2011.

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