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18 fellows from one of the largest research and training networks ever funded by the EU, the Liverpool-coordinated oPAC (‘Optimization of Particle Accelerators’) gathered in Liverpool for a week-long researcher skills school, which was held at the University’s graduate training suite between June 3rd – 7th 2013.
Gaining of complementary skills is considered highly important for postgraduate researchers across Europe before they enter the global job market. This course aimed at providing all trainees with the necessary skills base for their future career in both, the academic and industry sectors.
The school provided both, training in specific skills they can apply immediately on their research projects within oPAC, such as presentation skills, project management and scientific writing, and more ‘generic’ skills that shall support them in their future career.
All fellows had to give presentations and write about their research projects during the week. They then received feedback from their peers and professional trainers with the aim to identify best practice whilst giving every participant the opportunity to identify a presentation and writing style that works best for them.
To promote work between the fellows, small groups of 6 people were asked to develop a grant application for a 10 k€ innovative outreach event. They worked on this throughout the week with theory sessions on risk assessment and project management basics, such as the definition of milestones and deliverables, interleaving group work sessions. All groups developed a concept for an event that shall promote research to the general public. They worked on resource planning, had to identify all stakeholders, decide on a marketing concept, characterize the potential impact and put together both, an actual grant application and a presentation with which they competed against the other teams.
The intense training which was found stimulating and enriching by the participants was complemented by a tour of Liverpool on Monday, a visit to the Cockcroft Institute and Sci-Tech Daresbury on Wednesday, followed by a fun-packed race event at Warrington karting, and a formal dinner at Alma de Cuba on Thursday.
This course would not have been possible without the invaluable support from Prof. Peter Butler, John Schofield, Drs. Rosa Letitia, Robert Walgate, David T Joss, David Newton, many ASTeC staff who organized an interesting and informative lab tour on Wednesday, and the QUASAR Group’s EU TEAM. The oPAC project and this skills school were initiated and are coordinated by Prof. Carsten Welsch, one of Cockcroft Institute’s Associate Directors.