Highlighted this week:

  1. WriteFest 2020
  2. Let’s talk about managing supervisory relationships (PGRs)
  3. RDF planner drop-in (PGRs)
  4. Social & Economic Research Institute (SERI) Doctoral Student Colloquium (PGRs)
  5. Independent Chair/Examiner Workshop for Doctoral Supervisors (supervisors)
  6. Regular opportunities to engage with your doctoral community (PGRs)
  7. ESRC Festival of Social Science 2020



  1. WriteFest 2020 | Throughout November

November is Academic Writing Month, an academic write-a-thon that happens every year, inspired by NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) but catering to the specific needs of academic writers. We will be taking part in WriteFest (#AcWriFest20) again alongside partner universities: Bath, Bristol, Edinburgh, Exeter, Keele, Liverpool, Manchester and the University of Sheffield. This is a great month-long event to bring together people from across the university to recognise and celebrate writing. Please see the WriteFest pages on the Doctoral School Blog site for further details and follow our Twitter feed @SHUDocSchool.



  1. Let’s talk about managing supervisory relationships | Friday 13 November | 10:00-12:00

Working with research supervisors is an integral part of doctoral study and the quality of the relationship(s) with your supervisor or supervisors can be crucial to the progress of your doctorate. This session forms part of our rolling induction programme for new PGR students and will draw on scenarios to stimulate discussion and signpost to a range of resources to support the management of the supervisory relationship. It will be led by Professor Doug Cleaver / Dr Nicola Palmer from the Doctoral School Team and Professor Lisa Hopkins from SERI with input from SHU Postgraduate Research Tutors in a range of subject areas.


This session is open to all doctoral students (separate sessions are available for supervisors) and further information can be found on the Managing supervisory relationships Eventbrite booking link. This session will be delivered online and repeated later in the academic year.



  1. RDF Planner drop-in | Tuesday 3 November | 14:30-15:00

As a follow up to the Planning your development as a new researcher session earlier this week, we are offering an RDF planner drop-in via Zoom next week Future dates can be added as needed. Contact doctoralschool@shu.ac.uk for the zoom link.



  1. SERI Doctoral Student Colloquium | Wednesday 11 November | 15:00

The Social and Economic Research Institute (SERI) Doctoral Student Colloquium is approaching fast. This is a great opportunity to engage in 3 practical, hands-on short sessions led by doctoral students from social and economic research areas and may be of interest to PGR students at all stages of study.

  • Deepali Brahmbhatt: 5 things I wish I’d known before I started my PhD
  • Fides Matzdorf: How to get TOO much consent from your participants: participant information and consent forms
  • Sarthak Mondal: Transcribing interviews faster and cheaper: using software (NOT just for geeks!)

Contact doctoralschool@shu.ac.uk or refer to the Friday email for the zoom link.



  1. Independent Chair/Examiner Training for Doctoral Supervisors | 30 November 2020 | 14:00-16:00


Do you want to develop your doctoral examination skills? The workshop is intended to be of benefit to Sheffield Hallam academics with an interest in, or responsibility for, research degree student examinations.  It will be of particular interest to inexperienced research degree examiners and inexperienced independent chairs and academic staff who are considering putting themselves forward for either or both roles. We will also be addressing the changes to vivas necessitated by the Covid-19 Pandemic. The workshop will be facilitated by Professor Doug Cleaver and Professor Lisa Hopkins with contributions from experienced chairs and examiners.


This session is for staff only (please note that if you are a member of staff currently studying for a doctorate, you will not be eligible to act as an Examiner or Independent Chair until after you have received your award). Further information can be found on the Chair/Examiner training Eventbrite booking link.


Supervisors may also be interested to watch the UKCGE Q&A video of Prof Christine Le Maitre being interviewed by Prof Doug Cleaver about the influences on her supervisory practice, her collaborative approach to supervision and how reflection helps to enhance her practice.




  1. Regular opportunities to engage with your doctoral community


A reminder that as restrictions on face-to-face meetings continue there are several opportunities for you to join online social and research-focused activities as a means of connecting with others.


Weekly Focus Thursday (SHU PGR Society) via Zoom Thursdays 09:30-11:30

Join the society to receive the link

Every Thursday the SHU PGR Society meets on Zoom to work in 30-minute blocks interspersed with opportunities for quick chats/short conversations.  Thirty minutes is a good time frame to keep focused.  You can spend the time reading, writing, or thinking, and chatting with fellow students in the break can be a great way to acknowledge your progress or get tips on how to ‘get out of a rut’ or shift ‘writer’s block’.  Peer motivation can make a massive difference to our study practices. The Focus Thursday initiative offers a means of supporting your productivity in a social setting.  You can attend as often or as little as you wish.


PGR Café (Doctoral School) via Blackboard Collaborate Fridays 10:00-11:00

Join via the RESEARCH DEGREES blackboard site.

The virtual café offers an opportunity to network with other members of the SHU PGR community in an informal online setting. You can drop in for a short time or stay for the whole session between 10.00 and 11.00 am on Friday mornings to say “hi”, share ideas and experiences or just have a chat with other PGR students. It’s a very relaxed space so don’t be afraid to join in, everyone is very welcome. We are still looking to theme future café sessions. If you have any ideas about topics you’d like to discuss or if you would like to host one of the café sessions, please let us know.


Student-led initiatives are key to PGR community-building and we are indebted to the hard work and energy provided by the SHU Students’ Union PGR Society and others who have opened up their events to the broader PGR community. Please let us know if you are organising relevant events that you want us to promote.



  1. ESRC Festival of Social Science 2020 | 7-15 November

The annual ESRC Festival of Social Sciences is a week-long series of engaging events. Social Sciences have never been so important. A global pandemic has changed the way we live all our lives and raised some pertinent questions about society and economy, well-being, standards of living, livelihoods and citizenship. You can find out more about Sheffield Hallam’s digital ESRC Festival of Social Science events here: https://festivalofsocialscience.com/events/partner/sheffield-hallam-university/



If you would like to share any good news stories, highlight any events that might be of interest to the SHU PGR community or wish to request any specific development sessions that would appeal to cross-disciplinary PGR students or supervisors, please get in touch via doctoralschool@shu.ac.uk  We’re always pleased to hear from you.

You can find upcoming events in the doctoral school calendar https://blogs.shu.ac.uk/doctoralschool/events/

Looking after our physical and mental health remains important. You can find help and information about supporting your wellbeing via the University website on https://www.shu.ac.uk/wellbeing


Best wishes,

Nicola, Elizabeth and Liz