Throughout the programme there are a number of training activities for students to undertake, otherwise known as ‘cohort activities’. These activities bring all students together from across the partnership and provide excellent opportunities for networking, peer-to-peer learning and sharing of knowledge. These events are mainly held at venues within the DTP institutions/cities but may also involve visits to other places across the UK.
These activities will take place during key points of the year and may include events such as the following:
Annual Student Conference
This conference provides a fantastic opportunity to see the breadth of PhD research taking place across the DTP (through 3 Minute Thesis Style-talks and an interactive poster session), broadening your research training. This is complimented with year-specific workshops such as ‘How to start your PhD, ‘How to Engage Critically with the Literature’ and ‘How to Start Writing your Thesis’, as well as talks from keynote speakers and a well-being focused session.
Only the new cohort of students are invited to Day 1 of the conference, giving you the opportunity to meet your new cohort and be introduced to the DTP.
Taught first year
Following meeting your new cohort at the Annual Student Conference, you will be brought together throughout the first year for co-localised teaching for short intensive periods of time (1-2 weeks) at the different SWBio DTP institutions.
Feedback from our students is that this creates a strong student cohort from the start of your studies and an excellent chance to visit the different partners, seeing first-hand/utilising the expertise, resources and facilities available at each of the institutions.
Annual Careers Conference
The aim of this conference is to introduce you to the PIPS scheme, provide guidance for PIPS and CASE placements and to support your career and professional development. This is through workshops/support sessions (such as ‘How to Market you and your Research Skills’, ‘Low-stress Job Hunting’), student experience presentations, a Careers Fair and insight talks from people within different career sectors.
Following on from this conference, we also host our leaving dinner for final year students. It is a time to reflect on your past years with the DTP and an opportunity to share advice and guidance ahead of the final stage of your PhD journey.
Research Theme Activities
There are three research themes, with each theme having an academic Research Theme Champion who organises an annual research theme event. This is to promote networking opportunities between those undertaking research in similar areas and to expose you to current methods and challenges within these areas.
Past events include ‘The Plant Power Station‘ exhibition stall (Green Man Festival), a visit to Longleat Safari Park to discuss animal behaviour and a visit to a local microbrewery to tackle the grand challenges associated with industrial fermentation.
Student-led Away Day
This is a student-only event that is organised by the SWBio DTP Student Representatives. The theme of this event is working collaboratively and team-building (often through fun activities which we hope you will continue outside of your PhD – for example a cookery class).
Past events include an interdisciplinary research problem-solving workshop, a day with bioscience entrepreneurs and a workshop on how to work collaboratively as an interdisciplinary researcher.
Thesis Boot Camp
A 3 day intensive writing session for final year students, dedicated to getting words down, help you get over the hurdle of starting to write your thesis or help address any writer’s block. Alongside, there are sessions on goal setting, strategies for writing quickly and well, how to edit effectively and motivational talks. This Thesis Boot Camp has been designed and developed by the internationally renown Dr Peta Freestone.
Of note: Costs associated with attendance at cohort activities will be covered by the DTP (subject to following institutional/DTP policies).