Workshop your grant

Poster advertising the event; no new information

Dr Jenny Culbertson will be running a second grant workshop on Tuesday 24 August 2021 (11:10-13:00). It is intended for LEL staff and students who are currently working on putting together a grant and have a draft of at least some part of that grant they would like to workshop. You’ll work together on improving your draft and thinking through next steps.

If you’re interested, you can register now in the “Workshops” tab at

Digital Skills Festival

Just over three days from now, the University of Edinburgh will be holding the Digital Skills Festival. It involves over 50 workshops on a variety of topics, including choosing a reference manager, using the library, publishing articles, building your online profile, and teaching online. And if you’re interested in brushing up on your programming skills, check out Code Dojo, which is being run by our own Alisdair Tullo.

CVs and Academic Websites

On April 14th, Dr Itamar Kastner will be holding a workshop aimed at PhD students in MGRG. It will be about getting CVs and academic websites ready. If you’ve got something already (even if it’s just a draft), you can bring it along for discussion. But it’s fine to come just to talk — no preparation is required. The workshop will be held on the MGRG Skills Workshop team in Microsoft Teams. If you’re in MGRG but have not joined that team, please send Itamar a message.

IAD PGT Dissertation Workshops

PGT dissertation writers will find some of the upcoming workshops from the Institute for Academic Development to be of interest. Relevant titles include:

  • Being Critical for your Dissertation (Mar 24)
  • The Art and Craft of Editing (Mar 29)
  • Dissertation Planning (Mar 30)
  • Dissertation Writing (Mar 30)
  • Critical Reading (Apr 1)
  • Critical Writing (Apr 1)
  • How to Plan, Run, and Complete Your Project (Apr 1)

The full collection is available at

PhD/PGR Online Writing Retreats

It might surprise you at first that writing retreats have moved online. After all, some of the key benefits of in-person retreats (the provision of a quiet space & various delivery vehicles for caffeine) are no longer relevant when you’re sitting in your own room.

But there are good reasons to give online retreats a try. There’s the camaraderie, of course, but also externally imposed structure. You might be less likely to wander off to check the news if you know that other people will see you.

If you’re interested in attending, consider signing up for a session. There are two retreats held by the Institute for Academic Development on Nov 16th and 27th. There are also regular sessions every Monday and Friday held by Dr Mirjam Eiswirth, who worked for the PPLS Skills/Writing Centre for four years before moving to the University of Duisburg-Essen. She has held over 150 hours so far this year!

Both of these sessions are aimed at PGR and PhD students. Postdocs and other staff are welcome, too.

Something to do while we’re waiting

Eager for the semester to start? There are plenty of ways to build up your skills and knowledge in preparation for the upcoming year.  You could watch a recorded workshop on how to write an essay in philosophy, read about the different ways of conducting psychology experiments online, or learn how to use your computer to keep track of your notes and references. 

All of this and more is available to UoE students at the PPLS Learning Resources site.

Learn a new skill: Referencing software

Every year the number of publications you have to track will grow. This will become unmanageable around the same time that you will no longer have time to learn new software: when writing your dissertation. That’s why it’s a good idea to start using a reference manager as soon as possible. You’ll find that writing becomes much easier when your brain isn’t occupied with worries about tracking citations and updating your bibliography.

When I last surveyed staff members, Mendeley and EndNote were two of the most popular choices. Mendeley has ample documentation at their site, and there’s a LinkedIn Learning course called EndNote Essential Training.

For more on essential academic skills, visit “Developing your skills” at PPLS Learning Resources.