Postgraduate Research Network events

logo2The Postgraduate Research Network (PGRNet) have announced a series of useful workshops and events for our research students over the next few months.

All events are FREE to attend and will include refreshments and food. Register now to secure your place at each event, as places are limited.

Thursday 15 May
Discover your Library & Blitz your Literature Review

4pm-5.30pm, Kenrick Library Training Room, City North Campus
Library & Information Services will demonstrate ways in which they can assist you during your research. In the second half of this session, learn some handy tips on tackling your literature review.
Register for this event

Tuesday 27 May
Ask Paul Ivey & CultureFest
4pm-6.30pm, Millennium Point Room 388, City Centre Campus
Our Pro-Vice Chancellor for Research, Enterprise & Business Engagement Paul Ivey will be on hand to answer your questions about research at the University and his future plans. This is followed by CultureFest, an evening to learn about the diverse cultures of our postgraduate research students at the University!
Register for this event

Tuesday 10 June
Doctor, doctor, where are you now? PhD alumni panel evening
6pm-8.30pm, Baker Hall, City North Campus
Hear the success stories of some of our previous PhD students, working in a range of academic and non-academic careers.
Register for this event.

Tuesday 24 June
Kick Your Supervisor into Shape – PGRNet football match
6pm-8.30pm, Doug Ellis Sports Centre, City North
PhD students v supervisors football match! Men and women, all ages and fitness levels welcome! We need at least 11 students and 11 staff so spread the word!
Register for this event

Tuesday, 8 July
Making an Impression 
4pm-7pm, Millennium Point Room 388, City Centre Campus
This is the final PGRNet workshop of the summer and it’s not to be missed!  This session is divided into four sections, which have been designed to boost your employability. The first segment will provide information on everything you need to know about academic CVs and the interview process. Followed by Communicating Transferable Skills, this is ideal for those seeking work in industry. Then hear useful conference presentation tips. This session ends with questions and networking opportunity.
Register for this event

My PhD experience, second year in

By Alison Edwards, Faculty of Health

My journey towards commencing a PhD at Birmingham City University was filled with trepidation and questions. Amongst many others I questioned whether would I cope doing a full time job too? What exactly was expected of me? and would I look stupid because my knowledge of research is pretty limited?

I’m not sure that two years in I can answer any of these questions but what I do know is that I have been caught up in the desire to make a difference, no matter how minor.

To have come up with an answer to a question, which adds to the body of current knowledge is no small thing and the journey to that point is in itself both challenging and daunting but at the same time exciting.


Life as a PhD applicant began with the somewhat bewildering concept of choosing what to study. I had some vague ideas around my choice of topic, but what I have learnt through the previous months is that you needn’t stress about it as the vagueness actually isn’t a problem. If anything, it’s an advantage, as the study I am now embarking on bears little resemblance to where I started initially. It’s actually beneficial to be able to toss ideas around with others and be able to adapt.

It’s also proved invaluable to access the knowledge of those around you. Apart from the basics within my master’s degree and various modules, my in-depth knowledge of research was lacking. You soon however, begin to develop your skills in this arena, not least from reading the copious amount of literature already out there. The main driving forces supporting me through this however, have been my supervisors. Without their knowledge and support I wouldn’t have got to the point of registration to undertake the study for real.  Access to an expert and very approachable statistician was also incredibly helpful if not essential and especially important to my chosen methodology.

Balancing work and study

Working a full time job alongside study has been the most difficult aspect. It hasn’t been possible to fully engage with the activities that go along with doctorate study, let’s face it getting even free time to read can occasionally be impossible, and so you can expect to feel a bit isolated and lost at times.  You need to look for alternative routes of support and keep the goal in sight. Having a picture of myself in a borrowed graduation out stuck in my folder just gives me the right kind of reminder why I’m embarking on this adventure.

Next steps

My next steps are into the foggy world of ethical approval. Yet another complex and tangled web of forms and new terminology.  It’s yet another process which scares me, but I know once I’ve got over the hurdle I’ve made the next step towards my ultimate goal and it’s that thought I’m holding onto.

Alison is a senior lecturer in midwifery. For more information about research in the Faculty of Health visit their dedicated research website

If you’re a research student and would like to share your experiences with our research community, email Karen Patel