All 16 entries tagged Research Exchange

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May 13, 2012

Preparation for Euro heartache talks and game! – by Ian

Hi all. On Thursday week 7 (also known as June 7th) the PhD network is going to host an event with 3 short talks (5 mins) loosely based around the impending Euro 2012 competition, followed by a Euro (not all football!) based game.

We are calling for people to send us a title for the talks and would be interested in any topic, from your favourite Euro moments, how much Southgates penalty miss has destroyed your life to how stupid and over paid footballers are (in your opinion!).

In terms of the game, we plan to give each group a choice of 5 research areas, a choice of 5 Euro nations and a choice of 5 random pictures and teams have to come up with a research title. For example:


So for this example, Borris likes to ride his bike, the Netherlands is known to be flat. Therefore one title could be 'Calculating how much energy Britain would save if we flattened our landscapes and all rode bikes!' Obviously not a well thought through example! However on the day teams will have 15 minutes to make choices, come up with a title and prepare a 3 minute presentation, with prizes for the best!

What do you think about this idea? Any volunteers for a football themed talk? Please look out for the chance to register and hope to see you at the event, with drinks and nibbles as usual!

May 02, 2012

My Adventures on Tweet Street – by Tom

I was, until recently, a Twitter virgin. Shameful, I know, but for all my Web 2.0 wisdom, Twitter had long seemed like a strange, foreign land, full of tweets and hashtags, trending and linking. Friends of mine would sometimes travel there, even perhaps choose to stay, but when they invited me along to the wild climes of the Twitterverse, I would politely decline. After all, I reasoned to myself, what could I possibly say in one hundred and forty measly characters?

However, when I started my PhD back in October, I soon began to hear of a strange twist on the Twitter game. Some people, it seemed, were using it to promote their research, and – shock horror – it seemed to be working. I heard stories of people finding jobs, opportunities, and connections. But still I kept my distance from the Twittersphere, always wondering in the back of my mind whether it wasn’t time to get involved.

In the end, all the encouragement I needed was a Wolfson Research Exchange workshop, run by the veritable foundation of experience that is Charlotte Mathieson.

The workshop was split into two halves, a practical session to get us onto Twitter and tweeting like pros, and then a discussion of the possible uses and issues of this exciting new toy. Signing up for Twitter was simple, and after a few clicks here and there, we were all soon taking our first 140-character steps. Soon I was following everyone whom I had ever met or remotely heard of, academic or otherwise, and tweeting my every thought, which usually considered of something like ‘I’m on Twitter. Woah.’ Of course, Charlotte is herself an avid Twitter-er, with, at my last count, just under forteen hundred tweets, so she knew all the tricks and shortcuts. Seen something you want to pass on? Retweet it. Want to squeeze in a link to a webpage? Shorten that URL. I soon found myself gleefully using hashes, probably for the first time outside of an automated telephone service. #ifinallyunderstandwhatthismeans

After a quick break for tea, coffee, and further tweeting, the group sat down with Charlotte and Peter Murphy to exchange our thoughts on and first-impressions of the strange world of Twitter. The biggest theme was how to best utilise Twitter to help our own research, disseminate our ideas, and get in touch with those people who would want to hear what exactly we were up to. There were some simple tips here: make sure to tweet regularly, to keep things coherent, and perhaps most of all, follow if you want to be followed. In the end, we all felt that Twitter was just a new form of blogging, with many of the same advantages and risks. Some people asked whether there was any danger of having their ideas stolen, perhaps one of the nightmares of the hardworking research student. Others raised concerns about the time needed to plough through the many tweets floating around, not to mention devising your own scintillating contributions. The problem of balancing the personal and the professional was another worry discussed. Ultimately, it was a case of practice and discretion. Twitter is a great tool, but it can be easily abused. Done properly, however, it’s a gateway to a new and exciting way of networking. Your next collaborator, inspiration or mentor might be only 140 characters away.

Since the workshop, I have found myself wandering through the Twitterverse with relish. Quite simply, there is a whole world to discover, and I personally have only scratched the surface. Perhaps my biggest problem has been finding things to tweet about: whereas with Facebook I was recommending videos of cats and commenting on the weather, Twitter was different. Here I actually wanted to give my avid followers (nineteen so far, not quite the fourteen and a half million who follow social critic Kim Kardashian) something to think about, some proper academic sustenance. After a while, however, I realised that it was really about reflecting the ups and downs, ins and outs of research, about creating your own narrative of PhD life. That might sound a little heavy: in the end, Twitter is really just a way of chatting to the world, and if the world thinks your research is the best thing since bread came sliced, then so be it. Tweet, tweet away. The Twitterverse is waiting.

Oh, and by the way, just sayin', nudge nudge wink wink, you can follow me @ThomasBray12, and even better, you can follow the Research Exchange @Researchex. #averygoodideaindeed

February 10, 2012

Our birthday party + awards ceremony – by Anna

Follow-up to TODAY – It's our birthday! First annual blogger/reader meetup – by Anna from PhD Life: a blog about the PhD student experience

Tuesday night was our fantastic, lovely birthday party and first annual awards ceremony!

After a more businessy meeting in the Research Exchange, we headed over to the Dirty Duck for drinks. The atmosphere was great - there were about 16 of us and we were all very merry as we pulled tables and chairs together. It was so nice seeing everyone and celebrating our fantastic blog!

And now, the awards! Drumroll please.....

Most Original Post: Lauren Thompson

For her fantastic post You're no fun anymore.

lauren award

Peer Support Award: Ceren Kaya

For her great attitude, willingness to get involved, and always being the first to put comments and supportive feedback on others' posts!

Ceren wasn't there, so here is my extremely sophisticated photographic representation of what it would have looked like:

ceren award

Most Interactive Blogger: Faisal Azhar

For always writing posts that get loads of comments and discussion!

faisal award

And finally:

Blogger of the Year: Bernie Divall

For all her dedication and fantastic writing! She was the popular winner too, as bloggers voted on this award.

Bernie award

Big round of applause for our award winners, and all of our fantastic bloggers!

Love to you all. xxxx

February 07, 2012

TODAY – It's our birthday! First annual blogger/reader meetup – by Anna

Happy birthday PhD Life! Today's the day!!!!

To celebrate, we'll have our first annual BIRTHDAY BLOGGER-READER MEETUP - TODAY at 5:30PM at the Dirty Duck. All are invited, and we sincerely hope you can make it!

Some history of the blog:

Last January, we started the PhD Life blog as a way to create a sense of community amongst PhD students at Warwick - one that would go across all disciplines and departments. We all have a lot in common as budding researchers, yet it seemed like there was no way to talk about the stuff we all share and can help each other with - stuff like how to manage your time or how to deal with a difficult supervisor.

We count 3 February as our birthday (OK, it was actually last week), though, because on exactly this day was published the first entry that I didn't write myself! Pete Kirwan, who hung around the Rex a lot, graciously offered to start blogging with me, and our community blog was born. (He has since moved on to a faculty position at Nottingham.)

The PhD Life blog over the past year has turned into a great forum for sharing our experiences of this PhD Life of ours, and I love, love, LOVE having the privilege to be the editor. Thanks so much to all our bloggers and readers for making this blog the great resource it is! Keep those posts and comments coming.

Finally, just to make today extra special, here's some R-Patt for y'all:


January 22, 2012

PhD networking events – by Sruti

Wolfson research exchange organises a couple of PhD networking events throughout the year to provide excellent opportunity to the PhD students for finding their research soulmates. The events are committed to provide a common platform where effective conversations blossom leading to a successful prospects of collaborative research. The beauty of the event is that it brings the PhD students belonging to different departments under one umbrella, where they can share their experiences, research methodologies and make new connections.

One such event was held on 19th January, 2012 in the Wolfson research exchange, and it was a success as usual. As a research student ambassador, I find great enjoyment in planning and organising the events with other ambassadors and helping set up for this. Participation in this event has helped me to find many friends whom I can help and get helped by in need. I have gained lots of valuable information from them which has brighten my days here at the Warwick in terms of both academic and nonacademic activities.

Also dear friends, when you get bored with your research work and need to delocalise your focus from the computer screen, these events are highly participatory. Effective socialising, networking and sharing your research in the broad domain have the capability in maximising our productivity. Do you know how it has helped me? A prblem was uppermost in my mind for long, but I was not able to find an answer for it. The proble was surprisingly solved by my research soulmate out there in few mins!

So, my friends, come and join us. Lets have fun together and chat for a while with nibbles and drinks. Additionally you might get your perfect research partner in the event exclusively designed for you!

January 18, 2012

Blog anniversary meet–up!

Happy birthday to us!

To celebrate, we'll be holding an informal meet-up for our readers on 7 Feb.

Meet the Bloggers event

What: An informal meet-up for readers and bloggers to greet and chat over drinks.

When: Tuesday 7 February, 5:30pm

Where: The Dirty Duck

Who: All are welcome!

Why: Because we are the best PhD blog ever! Also because we love our readers.

Hope to see you all there!

January 10, 2012

Thanks to PhD life blogging facility – by Sruti

This is to thank you PhD life blogging facility provided by Research Exchange! Thank you very much for providing me with the opportunity for sharing personal experiences in broad domain and allowing very intimate conversations to blossom. Its very personal, just like talking to someoneface to face about my research life here at the University of Warwick.

I have got many important ideas from the blogs posted by others, which hasgiven a direction to my research. For example, I am really motivated by Bernie's recent blog post about her successful completion of PhD within three years funding period. Sheconsiders three years to be enough for a PhD, which seems to be very inspiring.

Like all others, I also enjoy blogging with the thoughts that are uppermost in my mind, not that which is uppermost in my heart--besidesI should wish to give a picture of my research life here whenever by a touch I can do it. One of the best thing about it is that it has brought mecloser to many researches, even with someone I haven't met face to face yet. While blogging, we must not say "This is too small a thing to put down." Rather we should say, "This is just the sort of small thing we talk about at home. If I tell them this they will see me, as it were, they'll hear my voice, they'll know what I'm about."

To me, its familiarity is not its weakness, but its supreme virtue. When I get bored with my work, it acts like a refreshment to read others' blogs, or to post my own. Rex blogging facility says to all, "I will listen to you very carefully, your problems, your entertainments, your research, yourpersonal experiences, your life here being away from home. I always love to see new faces with new ideas as well."

So dear friends! Lets enjoy blogging - as it annihilates distance; helpsto continue the personal gossip and the intimate communion.

October 28, 2011

Times Higher Ed loves us :) – by Anna

Hey, guess what everyone?

Our blog is discussed in the most recent issue of the Times Higher Education!

Check it out here.

Kudos on Bernie especially, who is quoted at length in her Supervision and a minor panic post.

We rock, go us, it's our birthday, etc. :) :)

October 22, 2011

Technological experimentation is FUN – by Ruth

A little while back I wrote about my experiences planning a videoconference as part of what we believe to be the world's first international gathering of researchers in the new field of asexuality studies. With the event - organised by a shiny new research network - rapidly approaching, I can think about little else!

I've ended up taking on the bulk of the technological organisation: becoming familar with the videoconferencing software in the seminar rooms, performing a couple of "dry runs" to test for glitches, looking into employing various screens, cameras and the Creative Wall within the Research Exchange. I think I'm gaining something of a reputation for being a tech guru, but in all honesty I don't really know what I'm doing - at least at first! I figure we have all of this amazing equipment sitting around for a reason, and have set out to employ it productively.

It's a learning experience quite different to my sociology research, but there's something deeply satisfying about it. Maybe it's moments such as that which took place last Monday, when I found myself sitting on the floor of Seminar Room 2 in front of a giant screen and surrounded by five laptops, giggling to myself with quiet glee as I hooked a number of programmes up with one another. Or maybe I just need a bit more fresh air.

As I mentioned in my previous post though, there's no point in doing any of this for the sake of it (unless your idea of fun doesn't really extend beyond my aforementioned inanity, of course). We're using the video-conferencing technology to connect with reseachers in the United States and Canada and to broadcast the event live on the internet, we're using the cameras to capture it for podcasting so that those who were unable to attend can still watch the event, and we're using the touchscreen to project traditional powerpoint presentation and to (hopefully) maintain a live Twitter feed that is visible to participants. Also, all of the above will look really cool. Yikes, my serious face is slipping again.

I'll see about posting an update in a few days to let you know how it went, and what lessons we learned. Even better - why not drop by yourself?

asexuality poster

Some shameless publicity: Spotlight on Asexuality Studies will take place in the Research Exchange from 1pm to 6pm on Monday, 24th October. All are welcome! We will livestream the first part of the event here from 1pm to 3pm.

October 20, 2011

Video – Introduction to the Rex facility

Thought I'd share yet another excellent video made for the Rex by Will Thomas! :)

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