Report on Workshop 4 at Staffordshire University

Midlands Philosophy Research Training Network

Birmingham, Birmingham City, Keele, Staffordshire, Warwick


Event 4: Employability for Early Stage PhD Researchers

Staffordshire University, 11 March 2009



Attendance: 4 PhD students (Staffs : 3, Warwick : 1)

Quantitative questionnaire scores (averages, marked out of 5):


Comparative National systems of doctoral training   5.0

Reading and understanding job advertisements         4.5

What to expect in application & interview:                4.5

How to start preparing your CV now.                                    4.5


Content of the workshop:                                           4.8

Presentation of the workshop:                                                4.8

Overall satisfaction:                                                    4.8


Everyone said they were ‘very likely’ to change some aspect of how they approach their PhD/professional development activities as a result of the workshop.


Some comments from participants:

  • “Very pleased with the discussions and concrete advice”
  • “[This] helps me reflect on the wider professional context of my work”


Suggestions for improvement/additions from participants:

  • “I’d like it better if the workshop started in the morning and finished earlier in the afternoon”
  • “It would have been nice to have longer discussion periods at the end of each session”


Comments from workshop presenter:

Professor Douglas Burnham: The aim of this session was to work backwards from what a well-qualified candidate looks like to the steps that a PhD researcher can take now in order to reach that point. I think this went down well, and there was some revealing, detailed and practical discussion. I picked up on the idea of looking at real job advertisements from the feedback to event 1. The international dimension to the presentations was welcomed.

I believe I made a mistake in timetabling, in not quite leaving sufficient time in each session for discussion – once the ideas and examples start flowing, in fact, each session could have been double the length – and in running rather too long into the afternoon. The latter decision was to try to encourage more part-time PhD students to come along,

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