KESS 2 is about preparing and training individuals to contribute to research as professionals. We also aim to promote higher-level skills amongst the Welsh Government’s priority R&D sectors. Hence there is a skills development element embedded in every KESS 2 scholarship. The Postgraduate Skills Development Award (PSDA), supported by an annual skills development budget, has been a very successful aspect of the KESS 2 project as a whole.
KESS 2 participants are tasked with completing a number of ‘KESS credits’ which count towards the PSDA through completing a total number of hours of agreed training. We set the target of 60 ‘KESS credits’ for the PhD scholars at the outset, but are pleased to find that most scholars are actually completing, on average, three times that number.
A Typical Pathway
‘KESS credits’ can be accrued through completion of a wide range of training and development activities, as appropriate to the individual and to the phase of study they are in. A typical pathway through may look something like this:
|· Research skills
· Specific methodologies
· Refreshing or extending skills
|· KESS Grad School
· Data analysis techniques
· Presentation techniques
|· Writing for publication
· Presenting at a conference
· Career based workshops
There are a huge range of training and development opportunities on offer, and both academic supervisors and company partners offer advice and direction as to how to prioritise these in order to enhance project completion.
A detailed example pathway through the KESS PSDA:
Training within company partner
Pecha Kucha challenge
Stats training [r]
Refworks / information searching
Use of social media in research
Specialist methodology training
|KESS Grad School
Thesis Writing 1
Postgraduate research group presentation
Teaching / demonstrating
Conference poster presentation
Copyright permissions / IP training
Thesis writing 2
Presenting a conference paper
Working with the media
The compulsory KESS Grad School ideally sits at end of early phase, beginning of mid phase and offers KESS 2 participants the opportunity to work together with others, outside of their research environment. This ‘cohort building’ has been much appreciated and is hugely beneficial. We take the opportunity to look at interactions with multiple stakeholders and how to manage that scenario. The KESS Grad School looks at the business-facing side of the project and also incorporates the Sustainable Development training, in order for that to be a common thread throughout.
KESS Grad Schools are residential events, offered at venues in North, Mid and South Wales throughout the year. KESS Grad School cohorts tend to stay in touch with each other, acting as mini support networks, peer reviewers and friends. We often see these groups reunited around a table (and in photographs) at KESS 2 events.
We also offer our students the opportunity to participate in the KESS Transnational Grad School annually as part of our European Industrial Doctoral School (E.I.D.S.) network.
If you are a KESS 2 student and would like to find out more about the PSDA, KESS Grad School or Transnational opportunities, please get in touch with Dr Penny Dowdney at firstname.lastname@example.org or on 01248 382266.