On 6th June 2018, the Whitaker Institute hosted its annual forum for NUI Galway PhD students, in the Hardiman Research Building. Targeted at students at all stages of their PhD, the event was fully subscribed, with 65 students registered for the one-day event.
The forum was opened by the Director of the Whitaker Institute, Professor Alan Ahearne. The day comprised two morning and two afternoon sessions. The first morning session was ‘Coaching yourself to success: Managing the PhD journey (and beyond)’. Run by Dr Alma McCarthy, this interactive session encouraged peer-to-peer learning and discussed challenges faced by PhD students, including time management, work/life balance, imposter syndrome and motivation. Following this, a session titled ‘Research funding during and after your PhD’ featured presentations from Dr Gary Lupton (Research Office) who provided invaluable advice about research funding opportunities and applying for research funding; Ms Angela Sice, (Development Officer, Whitaker Institute), who outlined the support for research funding applicants available through the Whitaker Institute; and Dr Danny Norton (SEMRU) who spoke about his experience of applying for Postdoctoral research funding. This session also featured a Q&A where attendees were invited to ask questions about research funding.
The first afternoon session focused on advice about the PhD Viva. The presenters were Ms Anna Marie Leonard (Graduate Studies Manager), who provided helpful guidance about the Viva regulations and procedures; Dr Amy Mc Carter (Management Discipline), who spoke about her recent successful Viva experience; and Professor Mary Cawley (Adjunct Professor of Migration and Rural Societal Change, Whitaker Institute), who presented a PhD examiner’s perspective on the Viva. This session concluded with a Q&A, where students’ questions about the Viva and regulations were addressed to the panel of presenters. The final session of the day focused on two areas. First, ‘Introduction to Research Data Management’ by Ms Trish Finnan (Digital Publishing and Data Management Librarian, James Hardiman Library), addressed the NUI Galway Research Data Management Policy and draft LibGuide. Second, ‘Creating Research Impact’ by Mr Joe Reilly (Research Impact Librarian, James Hardiman Library), offered practical advice for preparing and announcing research to create maximum research impact, as well as excellent advice for measuring research impact.
PhD posters were on display throughout the day, and poster sessions took place during coffee and lunch breaks. The poster sessions also facilitated interaction and networking. Attendees were provided with an online set of supporting materials from the speakers, as well as a copy of the recently updated PhD Viva Guide.
Feedback on the day was extremely positive. As many of the students were attending the event for the first time, it provided them with an opportunity to meet other PhD students, and to learn more about the Whitaker Institute and its supports. For PhD students wishing to learn more about the Whitaker Institute, please contact Angela Sice, Development Officer, Whitaker Institute, at firstname.lastname@example.org, or telephone (091) 492817.