AVA Complementary Skills School

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AVA and LIV.DAT Fellows participating in the AVA Complementary Skills School.

From 8th January, AVA Fellows attended their first formal training event organized at the University of Liverpool. They were joined by Fellows from the STFC funded LIV.DAT Centre for Doctoral Training (CDT). The intense, week-long training programme focused on complementary skills and included team-building activities.

The first day began with Professor Carsten Welsch presenting the basics of scientific presentations and communication, to be used later in the week. This included a getting-to -know you session. The day ended with a presentation on the do’s and don’ts of outreach activities from Sarah Annand, the UoL physics outreach expert, after which the students were given their challenge for the week – to prepare an outreach project proposal and presentation that would be peer reviewed and potentially funded for up to £10k.

On Tuesday, training on project management was delivered by Dr Fraser Robertson from Fistral. The Fellows learned how and why to apply project management methodology to projects including their own research and their outreach project ideas. The day ended with a presentation from Dr Alexandra Alexandrova who shared her experiences as a former LA³NET Fellow and director of the spinout company D-beam.

Wednesday started early as the participants set off to the Cockcroft Institute in Daresbury. The morning training session focussed on presentation skills, which included video recording and feedback from both fellows and trainers. After lunch the group had a talk on the history of the Daresbury facility and a tour of the accelerator and vacuum labs. 

On Thursday, the Fellows were introduced to Intellectual Property Rights by Richard Bray, Patent Attorney from Appleyard Lees, which was followed by a busy Q&A session. The Fellows then spent most of the day working in their sub-groups, finalizing their proposals and presentations within a very challenging time frame. At the end of the day, AVA & LIV.DAT Project Manager Martin Bellwood and OMA Project Manager Magda Klimontowska gave a presentation on practical aspects of ITNs and CDTs. 

The final day of the school was focused on presentations of the outreach projects by each group and a peer-review process. In the morning Professor Dave Joss from the University of Liverpool gave a talk about the rules of peer-review, which later helped to discuss and evaluate each project, as well as vote for the best outreach proposal.

Indrajeet, Tricia, Ronald, Phillip and Robert - The Winning Team!

The school was concluded by Prof. Welsch, who summarised the Fellows’ achievements of the whole week. Fellows from both AVA and LIV.DAT networks are looking forward to their next training event.

The Liverpool Physics Department has outstanding experience in the delivery of postgraduate training courses, gained from offering similar courses to a large number of local and European student cohorts over the past decade.