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Advanced Workshop Attendee
About the placement/internship

Why did you decide to do a placement/internship?

-To further develop my knowledge of the research area I am in -Discuss my project with leaders in the field -Learn how to critically analyse new information, and how I can apply this knowledge to my own work -Identify improvements to my own experiential plan that could be adopted -Network with other researchers in the field -Set up the potential for future collaborations -Identify future job opportunities or directions post-PhD

How did you find your placement/internship?

A colleague forwarded the details of the course to one of my supervisors.

Application process

Much like an online job interview. The following was needed: -A current CV _references -A covering letter -A detailed description of my research project, and why this course would be beneficial to me The course operators then made you a formal placement offer if you met their criteria.

Main responsibilities

Attending lectures by researchers on their work, and the current techniques they are using.
Participating in debates about how best to design experimental plans.
Networking and seeking potential collaborative opportunities for both myself and Sheffield university.
Discussing my research to get input from others that will aid my experimental planning and delivery.

Typical day

Morning session - Two 90 minute lectures were given in the morning, with participants allowed to stop the lecture at any point to discuss the work conducted and how this impacts the field. Other discussions involved how to conduct techniques, and how this could be applied to my research in the future. Practical skills were also discussed, such as how to correctly analyse big data sets to get the correct information out of raw data. Afternoon session- the discussion of the speakers work continued before attention was turned towards participants’ work.
Evening- networking and gaining potential collaborations.

What did I enjoy about my placement/internship?

Interacting with others in the same field as I am in. The area I work in is very niche, so it is difficult to find others who are doing similar research, or who use the same techniques as me. Having the opportunity to have all of these people in the same place at the same time helped me to better form a plan for my own work, and also use other participants as a sound board for future work.

Challenging aspects

Taking in so much information from many speakers as well as other attendee's areas of interests was overwhelming at times. To combat this, I wrote down key facts and then revisited these notes to fill in the blanks at a later date. This helped consolidate my understanding.

Did you use any skills learned from your course?

Critical analysis - understanding why a technique was used by a researcher, but also developing the ability to challenge this logic by suggesting alternatives and giving sound reasoning for this.
Defence of my own work - having field leaders challenge your understanding of your own project and techniques used was difficult. However, this was a useful skill to learn, as this will prepare me for presenting to other audiences.

Has your time on placement influenced your future career choice?

It has opened my eyes to the possible career paths I can take in the future. It has also reaffirmed that I want to continue on in research and has given me information on where I am likely to gain employment post-PhD.

Advice to students

My piece of advice to students

Be brave! This is a golden opportunity to get the most out of your work. Make contacts, make friends, learn new and exciting things!

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Form completed: 30 Aug 2017

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