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Showing posts with the label #phd

Online engagement and learning in practice at Harvard and MIT

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For the  next part of my journey I visited the beautiful Harvard campus. I met with a number of scientists that use social media and a number of social media managers. Harvard Harvard is really easy to get to on the T line and is a beautiful campus to explore. The graduations had taken place the day before. There were lots of tents and food-trucks set up around the campus and a really vibrant atmosphere. It helped that the sun came out too! Here's a video round-up of my visit - no hair in my face this time! Between meetings I took a quick tour of the Harvard Museum of Natural History which has some incredible collections. My favourite exhibit in the museum is the  glass flower collection, which I stumbled upon by accident. I thought these were persevered flowers but they they were all made from glass for the teaching of botany. Yep, not a real flower... Cabinets of glass flowers at the Harvard Museum of Natural History The museum is really acti

Friday Favourites 15 May

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A round up of the best things that I have discovered online this week. Covering everything from posts on public engagement with research, how we use social media and other good stuff. I posted this week about PhD students and their use of social media. Are they really as 'switched on' as people seem to think? You can read it here . 1) LIFESAVING TOOL:  TRIPIT   This app is incredible if you travel quite a lot. It can; collate your itineraries, automatically plans routes from place a to b (e.g. if you arrive at Airport X and staying at Hotel Y it plans a route between them), sync with your diary and can include meeting details and locations. By far the best bit about this app is that YOU DON'T HAVE TO INPUT ANY INFORMATION!! You can either forward booking confirmation emails to Tripit or give Tripit access to your email account and then TA-DA!, you have a list of where you are going, how you are traveling, the times and your ticket details all in one place. PERFECT.

Are PhD students 'switched on' to social media?

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Do you presume that all PhD students are using social media to network and talk about their research work? In March I presented at the 2nd International Conference on Developments in Doctoral Education and Training about the use of social media by PhD Students.   by    Jhaymesisviphotography   The conference focused on all elements of studying for a doctorate around the globe but this year they included a focus on  'Doctoral Candidates in the Digital Age' . There were a number of really interesting presentations and talks on this theme (all linked to below). We presented a talk based on a small study of social media use by researchers here in Aberdeen. For this we focused on the results from the PhD students about their social media use. Many presume that the current cohort of students are using social media proficiently for their own benefit. I don't think that tells a true story so wanted to explore what they were doing in more detail. Are doctoral cand

Friday Favourites 8 May

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A round up of the best things that I have discovered online this week. Covering everything from posts on public engagement with research, how we use social media and other good stuff. I posted this week about my upcoming trip to North America to look at the communication of science via social media. If you missed it, you can read it here .  1) LIFESAVING TOOL:  Freedom thanks to @DrMRFrancis for this one. It's an app that blocks the internet so you can concentrate when you need to. You just let the app know how long you need to stay offline and that's it, work away. I think this might be one for the thesis writers!  2) ONLINE DISCUSSION:  The #NASINTERFACE discussion on trust in science This roundtable discussion with academics and journalists looked at aspects of trust and public perceptions of science. There were some interesting side conversations on Twitter and you can view the talks online. It was focused on the life sciences (just to add some context).

How much does technology determine our behaviour? My experience of an accidental digital detox.

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I've been thinking about the usefulness of technology and digital tools and how, when these fail it completely effects how we behave. Does switching off really improve our lives? I found out by accident. I've had a MacBook since 2009. It's travelled where ever I've been, I've blogged on it, wrote my thesis on it and contains all of my wedding photos. The reason I bought it was because of the inbuilt webcam so I could Skype my other half when we lived apart. As you can probably tell, I love my MacBook. I don't think I am overstating when I say my life wouldn't be the same without it. But, over the past two years it's been struggling. The hard drive was full, programmes wouldn't run or update and it became extremely difficult to use. My phone also filled up with photos as I had no-where to save them. Unintentionally I was carrying out a digital detox . The only time I was connected was when I was at my desk. I didn't feel great about this,

My Winston Churchill Memorial Trust Fellowship about Science on Social Media

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Image from: https://www.flickr.com/photos/dirkb86/8444929253/ This January I visited London for an interview. I was feeling nervous and excited and, as I usually handle challenging situations, I tweeted about it. People on twitter offered words of encouragement and support. Some of the people that tweeted I have met and know well, others I only know through twitter (and I don't even know their real name). With all of these people I have built relationships completely online and we have shared advice, interesting news stories and silly memes. The tweeting helped, I found at the end of February that I was successful. The twitter conversations I had just before the interview helped me get through the interview, and reinforced my feelings about why I was there. The interview was for a project focusing on how science is shared via social media with the Winston Churchill Memorial Trust . The project is a Travel Fellowship and I'm going to be meeting with people across the US

'Careers' in Science Communication

Last week I was invited to speak at a Biomedical careers event at the University of Aberdeen about Careers in Science Communication. I thought others might find the presentation useful (especially some of the links) so I have included it below. I put a post out on twitter for gif's and images that encapsulated the 'field' of science communication. The brilliant Matthew from Errantscience.com  created these two gems. Ways to do #SciComms comic based on extensive research :P pic.twitter.com/Gh01122Rjn — Matthew (@MCeeP) February 11, 2015 . @hapsci and this is one I just drew on a whim pic.twitter.com/w20vB64BVL — Matthew (@MCeeP) February 10, 2015 I only had a limited amount of time for the talk so I gave a little background about what I did as a student (Editor and co-founder of Au Science Magazine) and how I have worked at science festivals and present the Talking Science radio show with the team in my current role. I spoke about the field

Academic Productivity app review: Buffer

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This is a series of review posts focusing on apps and tools which may help people navigate the digital landscape and the masses of information out there. I focus on tools which might help academics and those that work with research, especially those that will save people time. This post lists more tools and tricks.  Buffer  sells itself as 'Social Media Management' application and that is pretty self explanatory about what it does. You can schedule posts, post from multiple accounts simultaneously and generate statistics such as the number of clicks on a link and audience size, allowing you to refine you content, post at the best times and generally be better and more active on social media with minimal effort. I am finding Buffer incredibly useful and enjoyable to use. It was really simple to integrate it into my posting and social media use and has allowed me to better manage my posting schedule and saved me lots of time. I've been using Buffer for just over

Integrating social media into researcher careers

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Following my post on measures of success on social media I read a paper on 'A critical evaluation of science outreach via social media: it's role and impact on scientists' published on the F1000 website which is well worth a read. The authors come to a similar conclusion my previous blog post, that the measurement of social media success needs to reach beyond simple number metrics in order to fully understand how beneficial (or not) social media channels are to academic researchers for outreach and their careers. The paper suggests three important elements which would allow the integration of social media for outreach (SOSM) into a scientists career which are: 1) It must be valued (by research funders and by universities) 2) It must be measured (the jury is still out on what this would look like) 3) It must be manageable I agree with the three elements but would also suggest that the efforts on social media must also feedback into the research to be truly usef

The Age of Discovery (How old are people when they do their best scientific research?)

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Science is an extremely competitive field, getting research funding requires an excellent track record and researchers judge themselves against their peers. I wrote a blog post about the number of publications scientists are 'supposed' to have per year in order to be competitive on fellowships and grant applications a few years ago. I am surprised at the number of people that find that post by  searching for 'How many research papers should I have?'  . It's a worry or thought most researchers have throughout their careers. There is of course no magic number and there's a need for a track record of quality publications vs a quantity of publications. The ultimate accolade for a scientist is being awarded a Nobel Prize and I came across an interesting infographic about the age of Nobel Prize winners (when they completed their prize winning work) and also how that relates to the age at which they wrote their PhD dissertation. I have included it at the bottom of t

Can Research Groups communicate as a collective rather than as individuals?

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Image courtesy of  jscreationzs  at FreeDigitalPhotos.net I'm speaking to more and more research groups about how they can get online and share their work via social media. I used some of the thoughts and diagrams from 'An introduction to social media for Scientists' published in PLOS Biology 2013 to illustrate some of the thoughts, barriers and journeys to engaging online in a short talk I gave.. I'm looking to speak to more people and read more case studies about how collective research groups have shared their science openly online - rather than the science being communicated by single individuals -  which I see to be more commonplace. Research rarely exists in isolation so I see more groups moving to this collated model. Communicating as a group is, in theory, easier than as a single entity as there is potentially more to discuss and potentially less onus on one individual to provide all the narrative. That said, it is more difficult for people to com

Academic productivity app review: Habit RPG

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In my previous post I asked people to share which digital tools and apps they use to help them work faster (and smarter). Lots of them sounded useful and interesting so I thought I would try some of them out and write some short reviews. @java7nerd recommended HabitRPG . The habit changing app that turns your life into a COMPUTER GAME. The aim of the app is to help you ditch bad habits and pick up good ones. The app sounded like great fun and perfect way to help me get more into a work/life balance (by that I mean not sitting at my desk when I should be at the gym). I signed up and tried it out. The app is FREE (whoop), easy to use and fun to look at. It takes some setting up as you decide what tasks you want to set where (and decide on which points to reward yourself). The app works by assigning points for tasks which accumulate until you earn enough for a reward. Points do get taken away for bad habits though.... As you can see on this list you can include anything you

Which digital tools do you use to make your life easier?

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I've been thinking this week about all the apps, tools and plug-ins that I use to make my digital life easier. I use a variety of tools to catch up with digital conversations, save things for later and to make sure I don't miss blogposts.  I also use them to manage my own digital footprint so I can update blogs and twitter when I am away from my desk and laptop. There are lots of options out there so I want to collect a round up of what people use and for what. I'm particularly interested in hearing from researchers. 98% of the tools I use are free and I am reluctant to pay for something new without a really good review first. New tools are launched on a what seems like daily basis and older apps and tools get changed, removed and updated frequently. Here's a run down of what I use (and for what). I would be really interested to hear from others about what they use and how it makes your life easier! - Twitter - I use twitter.com from my desktop and laptop and

How to help someone that is writing up their thesis

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Writing a thesis is a lonely and it can be a very stressful time. I found it extremely difficult to keep up with friends and family. Holding normal, conversations that lasted longer than two sentences without my mind drifting away to thesis related thoughts was also a challenge. Quite a few of my close friends have gone through their thesis too and I thought it might be useful for those that haven't experienced the joys, highs and lows of thesis writing how they can help support those that are writing up. A few things that you can do to help... See if they would like to go out for food or a walk but don't get annoyed if all the said person does is talk about their thesis. Getting writers away from their computer can be a welcome distraction. Send them some nice smelly soaps/shampoo - I stopped all shopping when writing up You could also send fruit and healthy snacks. Confession time. I once spent a weekend at my desk writing up and ate all of my desk mates food becau

Read my thesis and let's chat about sharing research

Follow my blog with Bloglovin So my thesis has been published online on the University of Aberdeen Library page. You can read it by clicking here .  It has the very snappy title 'GPR30 and ERĪ±36 and their potential role in breast and endometrial cancers' This is my lay abstract: Oestrogen is a hormone that is mostly associated with the development of sexual organs and the female monthly menstrual cycle. However, it is also known to play a role in breast cancer. The presence of oestrogen can make some breast cancers grow and in the 1970s ‘anti-oestrogens’, like tamoxifen, were developed which have successfully prevented the growth of some breast cancers by blocking the action of oestrogen. Oestrogen causes this growth by binding to specific ‘receptors’ in the body. The anti-oestrogens work by blocking the oestrogen binding to the receptor. Some breast cancers do not have the receptors and therefore can’t be treated with anti-oestrogens. These types of cancers tend to be