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ACCIS CDT World Café event II

The CDT cohort enjoying breakfast under the wings of the Concorde.

Current and former CDT students discussing the challenges of networking, conferences, and international placements.

CDT alumnus, Simon Bates (left), shares his table’s top-tips for publishing research.

30 August 2018

ACCIS CDT students share knowledge about doctoral research at World Café event.

On the morning of 6 August 2018, members of the EPSRC Centre for Doctoral Training in Advanced Composites for Innovation and Science (ACCIS CDT) arrived at Aerospace Bristol to attend the second ACCIS CDT World Café Knowledge Exchange event.

The World Café gives doctoral students across the entire CDT student cohort (ranging from first years to final years and recent alumni) an opportunity to share ideas about the different facets of doctoral study.

Discussions on the day covered such important topics as: networking, conferences and international placements; maintaining a public profile and publishing papers; research and self-management; skills development, outreach and teaching; experimental PhDs and using the labs; and writing up.

Facilitator of the event Emily Derbyshire commented that: “Witnessing the cross-pollination of knowledge across different groups within the CDT cohort was inspiring”.

Discussions on the key topics were facilitated by CDT alumni and students more advanced in their studies, meaning that they could share their experience and knowledge with those in the earlier stages of their PhDs.

A second-year doctoral student, reflecting on the day, indicated that: “The opportunity to hear advice from alumni” was the most useful part of the morning; in a similar vein, a table facilitator referred to the "spectrum of opinions and experiences across the cohort" that they observed.

An algorithm dictated the order in which the participants rotated around the tables, each of which was themed on a key topic and hosted by two facilitators who recorded key questions that were raised and answers that were provided. Each discussion built on the last, meaning that by the end of the event a selection of top tips had been collated by the table facilitators. This information will be distributed among the CDT cohort so that they can continue to benefit from the discussions held on the day.

One noticeable advantage of running the World Café was that it gave students at an early stage in their doctoral research the chance to reflect on the process of completing their PhD. One first-year doctoral student commented that: "It's useful to know what to look out for in the future years of my PhD".

In response to positive feedback, this event will continue to be run biennially so that future years can benefit from the opportunity to share knowledge about managing doctoral research and learn from each other within a supportive environment.

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