1. I’ve got many contributions i could make to this, possibly as many as i can make for the thesis whisperer – having just put in my first sets of funding as a grown up would love to give some ideas on that


  2. Hi Research Whisperers,

    I’m an ECR with the chance to bring some really good professional development to my campus, and was wondering if you had any advice, either on specific PD programs, or on general skills, etc that should be developed in the early stages of one’s career?


    • Hi Theresa – Great that you have the opportunity to get some PD onto the campus! I’m assuming you mean PD in terms of building a research academic career? If so, then I would suggest you have a browse over the topics we’ve covered in the blog so far. They’re often things that universities assume their academics already know, or that they’ll just pick them up on the job, but this isn’t often (or consistently) the case. I think some of the key things for ECRs and research are:

      * time-management (specifically: making time for research),
      * publishing (review processes, protocols) and presenting (making the most of conferences, best ways to address questions, what to do with your work afterwards),
      * grant writing (introductory, budgets, associated: basic project management skills), and
      * career-planning (including a component on how to be an academic leader, or mentoring/supervising).

      These are just my thoughts. There’s plenty more out there! 🙂

      ^ @tseenkhoo


  3. This site is great. Do you have any recommendations for researchers who are unaffiliated with an institution or large company? I have heard about a new service called Udini from ProQuest. Have you any experience with it?


    • That new service looks and sounds a lot like a few other programmes that are already out there (the one I’m most familiar with is Evernote).

      Re researchers who are not affiliated with an institution or large company: that sounds like a blogpost we should write! Do you mean independent researchers (as in, people who don’t want an institutional affiliation), or those who are working to position themselves within institutions?

      ^ @tseenkhoo


  4. I was wondering if you could discuss the issue of PhD students applying for Postdoc fellowships (or perhaps you have already and I’ve just missed it). I’m a humanities PhD candidate aiming to submit my thesis and be finished by the end of the year. Yet, I’m not sure exactly what the next step is to move to the Postdoc stage and have had little help from my Dept/School regarding that.

    I have one journal article published right now, a book chapter under contract (to be published next year), a book review forthcoming and potentially another piece that I can try to publish as an article. On top of that, I have not had any regular tutoring but have organised and taken a handful seminars, participated in a number of conferences (including international) and worked on curriculum development for another University.

    Is there anywhere that can give an idea of the minimum standard required for Postdoc fellowships? “Relative to opportunity” is a very vague and unhelpful term when it comes to trying to see if you *actually* have a chance in heck of being successful!

    I’m surely not the only PhD student wondering about this next giant step once we actually finish the thesis…

    Keep up the great work, your site is an amazing resource.


    • Hi there! Thanks for your encouraging comment!

      You are actually the third person to ask about postdoc fellowship information. I have a really long post I wrote a while back about ‘how to apply for a research fellowship’ – maybe it’s time to update it and publish!

      Thanks for the ideas, and good on your for being prepared for the post-PhD process.

      I’m afraid that is no public/recognised “minimum standard” for postdocs – what constitutes a strong track-record can be v. discipline-specific.

      ^ @tseenster


  5. Hi, there I am a Library student in Dublin and we have a blog as part of our Contemporary Issues in Professional Practice module, this blog is brilliant as the topics you pick up on are relevant to what is happening within academic libraries.Cheers 🙂


  6. Hi Whisperers, I’m doing some work in a funding agency trying to improve the feedback we give researchers who have just completed some work for us. Although there is usually a review and feedback process, at the moment this is fairly ad hoc and doesn’t necessarily include any comment on meeting the aims or objectives of the work. I wondered if you had any thoughts on what kind of feedback would be useful for researchers? Thanks.


      • Feedback after funding – and perhaps throughout at key milestone points. As a policy agency I’m pushing that our research funding should be helping us reduce uncertainty around longer term policy questions. I appreciate its a bit of a two way street and agencies aren’t always clear about the questions they want addressed and what they want to do with the findings, but consider that clearer feedback may help create points for discussion throughout the project life cycle and hopefully improve the final outputs (both in the eyes of the funder/end users and researchers).

        Things like timeliness etc spring to mind, but I’m not sure how useful they are since research providers are usually just trying to respond to agency timeframes regardless of reasonableness.

        Appreciate your help – I do enjoy reading your blogs, which is why I posted my question here. I mean if we’re building this process in, it would seem important to make it relevant and useful for the researchers also, otherwise its just us ticking boxes.


      • As a quick answer, the best process I’ve seen is the Australian Housing and Urban Research Institute (AHURI). They have a very clear, tight research agenda at the start. This is set in consultation with the housing ministers in each Australian state, so it directly responds to the policy agenda of the funding stakeholders.

        Their final reports are substantial pieces of research – somewhat like commissioned reports. They receive a desk review by AHURI and are then sent out for double-blind peer review, so they count as refereed papers from the academic’s point of view. They provide bonus payments for reports that are received on time and then don’t need substantial revisions. They also have penalty payments for work that is overdue. As a form of ‘feedback’, you can’t get more direct than bonus / penalty payments. 🙂 It also means that the real feedback takes a form that the academics are familiar with – peer feedback from assessors.

        All final reports published on their site, which builds a body of knowledge that informs future research agendas and research projects. If you want to talk to them directly, e-mail me on jod@jod.id.au and I’ll send you their details.


    • Thanks, Dean

      I’ve also put the question onto our F’book page.

      I don’t know that we will get much discussion from our followers, but anything might be handy. Do you have a deadline?


      • Thanks Jonathan – no deadline, its work in progress/initial thinking at this stage and I’ll be testing/trialling any first drafts we do anyway, so can respond to later thinking/suggestions as it comes in. Really appreciate your responsiveness on this!


  7. Hello! I have no idea if this is something you would be interested in, but I’m a former PhD student (it was a struggle, but I got that coveted Dr title in the end!) that now works in publishing. I’m really passionate about giving publishing opportunities to PhD students/early career researchers. I’m commissioning for a project at the moment and I want to get the word out to as many social science researchers as possible. Would it be appropriate to share the information here? Let me know and I will send on details. Thanks so much.


  8. Hi, I was in a middle of giving up on my assignment trying to create a gantt chart and came across the 5 steps to follow and it opened my mind and eyes. thank you


    • No problems, Sehanele. Happy to help. Don’t forget to reference the post for extra marking goodness.

      Here’s hoping that you get the marks you deserve.



  9. Hi, was wondering if you have had any posts in the past on dealing with human research ethics committees, all you would plan on doing any in the future? In undertaking research for my masters and now for my doctorate, I find that dealing with such committees is one of the most difficult areas I have encountered. Especially, when dealing with government human research ethics committees.


  10. Hi Just wondering if anybody has any more quick and dirty tricks for saving time in research. I have picked up a few. When critiquing a study make use of the limitations section within the study. Use secondary data. Publish in regional journals. Anything else? I want to start a phd by publication and just wondering if there is a way of saving time. For example choosing the type of papers to be written, the type of studies and where to publish.


  11. Hi

    I am hoping to start a phd by publication soon and seeking some good time saving tips for desgning studies and writing papers for publication. I will write an first paper will be an arguementative paper not analytical. The second paper will focus on a qualitative survey. The third will focus on thedevopment of a quantative intrument.



  12. Hi,

    I was just reading your article -https://theresearchwhisperer.wordpress.com/2012/06- an awesome read and noticed that you recommend funding4learning.com to readers.

    As you may have heard, funding4learning recently shut down their businesses.

    You may want to remove their URL from your article, as it is no longer suitable for readers.

    I’m part of the team at gogetfunding.com – one of the largest and most successful crowdfunding sites, who has funded many educational centred campaigns

    We might be a suitable replacement in the article 🙂

    Anyway, keep up the awesome work.




  13. Hi – As a fellow Research-Whisperer type, I am wondering if you have any posts or recommendations on a Project Management software that allows you to (1) track applications (in various stages of submission) to various funding bodies, (2) create an internal library of submitted applications, and (3) track a few other indicators relevant to our institute.

    I appreciate your work here.



    • Hi Kelly

      Thanks for this. I’ve queued two tweets to go out to our Twitter stream and Facebook page.

      We will see what people say.

      I use Google spreadsheets to track grant applications, as I can get people to enter information via Google forms (which are simple) and can share the information with others in our organisation.

      Our successful grants sit on an internal Web page, which isn’t very satisfactory. I tried to get the Library to put them into the research repository, but it didn’t quite fit.



  14. Hi Research Whisperer,

    I’m seeking some advice about gender, equity and research.

    I’d been working on a research project for +12 months when a new (male) colleague was recruited to the project. Since he came on board – I found myself ‘bumped’ – left off a grant application submitted whilst I was on leave / bumped down the list of authors on joint papers – & when I got pregnant and took maternity leave (even though I returned to work when bub was just a few months old) – he was offered the ‘juicy’ bits that count in academia whilst I was left the bits that don’t count (e.g. journal article writing vs project admin). We were recruited at the same academic level.

    He now has an ongoing 2 year position out of the research project whilst my contract wasn’t renewed. I had positive performance reviews and feel that this was about my carer’s responsibilities/gender but of course- there is nothing concrete that I can show is discrimination per se.

    I would like to see some advice / posts about this issue and how other researchers addressed it without burning their bridges.

    Yours in Anon

    Liked by 1 person

  15. This video could be added to your posts, as it relates to the same topics of your nice blog: https://vimeo.com/128539582

    An introduction to transdisciplinarity. It has been greatly appreciated all over the world from International institutions of social/anthropology/transdisciplinarity scholars.


  16. Dear colleagues,
    First I would like to thank you for this blog and all the work involved. Also, I would like to thank all those who comment. I’ve learned a lot.
    I would like to ask/know if it is possible to develop research and apply for funds affiliated in a faculty different from your field – that is, following a logic of interdisciplinary work, can we be affiliated in medicine and develop research in psychology, for example? Or be affiliated in philosophy and develop research in medicine? I understand that, of course, we need to know about the filed we are developing. In the examples above, that would mean we need to understand and have a PhD in psychology or medicine, even if we are affiliated in other faculties. But is this possible? I may have a more favorable environment to my work (things turned out bad in my faculty) in another faculty – philosophy but I would like to continue developing work in my own field. Combining the two seems great but is it done?
    Can you give opinion and examples?
    Sofia Berger


  17. I’m Cristina Deptula, working with Laurence Bianchini and Abigail Tabor at the San Francisco startup MyScienceWork. I appreciate the service that the Research Whisperer provides to those seeking professional development.

    And we have a suggestion for a new tool for networking that would be useful to members: the Polaris platform associated with MyScienceWork’s database of research findings and journal articles. This has proved valuable to many postdocs who will need to reach out and market themselves in order to find positions in industry as well as within academic institutions.

    Below is a press release describing how Polaris and MyScienceWork have assisted emerging researchers at Stanford University to find work and build professional connections.

    Laurence, Abigail and I would be glad to have this tool mentioned on the site and are more than happy to provide any information that would be helpful. You may reach us at laurence.bianchini@mysciencework.com, abigail.tabor@mysciencework.com or at 415-579-6125.

    Thank you very much,

    Cristina Deptula


    MyScienceWork provides young researchers at Stanford and other universities with platforms to connect to industry

    Easing the transition from academia to industry, POLARIS, the new networking tool by MyScienceWork, offers a direct line between researchers from labs and recruiters in industry and at corporations.

    San Francisco, September 9, 2015 – MyScienceWork, a San Francisco-based startup, provides researchers with networking platforms to increase the visibility of their work and to help them build their network. In March this year, the startup collaborated with the Association of Industry-Minded Stanford Professionals (AIMS) to provide a new tool for science career development.

    According to a recent article in Nature, only 15-20% of postdoctoral researchers will go on to hold tenured positions in academia.Many of the rest are drawn to industry or entrepreneurship, but the transition is often challenging. Even people with advanced degrees must network and actively seek career opportunities, which requires a different set of skills from those learned in the classroom and lab. That is why MyScienceWork, addressing the needs shared by research institutions everywhere, developedPOLARIS: tailor-made, online platforms for enhanced dissemination and communication of research. Polaris is a multifunctional tool enabling research communities to make their work discoverable, communicate their latest results, establish collaborations, and make informed decisions about research priorities.

    The partnership with Stanford’s AIMS bridges the gap between academia and industry. AIMS invites guest speakers to share with its members (nearly 300 today) valuable, first-hand information about transitioning to industry, be it at the bench or in non-research roles. Their Polaris platform includes novel digital tools that help this community take the next step, thanks to greater visibility, communications and networking opportunities.

    Members upload the products of their research (publications, theses, presentations, patents…) to their AIMS profile, where recruiters, potential collaborators and others in search of scientific expertise easily find them. A researcher’s individual dashboard provides metrics about profile visits, publication downloads and more. Connecting with interested visitors is done in a click.

    “With its scientific profiles and research archive, our platform is like a showcase for all of the talented scientists in our postdoc community who just don’t see themselves continuing in academia, or even in the lab, and want to learn about different career options” explains Rolando E. Yanes, co-president of AIMS. “We really need to prepare to make that move, now, by networking as much as we can, and the visibility of the platform helps with that.”

    AIMS also manages its event organization through the Polaris dashboard. Registrations for the monthly biotech seminars are handled by the platform, which returns essential information on the community that AIMS serves. For a recent event featuring a professional in regulatory affairs, co-president Jinfeng Shen noticed that over half of those registered were first-time attendees.“We could see that this talk was targeting a different group, as it focused on an alternative career option, and this was the first time that we’d touched on this topic.” AIMS will use such information to adapt its future offerings to the needs and interests of its community.

    Navaline Quach, co-founder of AIMS, confirms the value of the initiative: “ It was certain that we needed a dynamic platform to start uniting our community and capitalize on the events we have organized and network we have built over the past 5 years to enhance career opportunities for postdoctoral fellows. It is great to work with a start-up like MyScienceWork to increase engagement and interactions between industry-minded scientists.” After discovering a new career path, the researchers of AIMS can continue to ask questions of the speakers via Biotech Q&As on the platform, watch videos of past events, and extend their network by searching for relevant profiles in the larger MyScienceWork community, half a million strong.


  18. Hiya. I love the site. I actually had no idea it existed… I knew about The Thesis Whisperer, but didn’t realise that this one was also out there. (hey remove this if it feels like advertising!) So… I’m Director of Research at Batchelor Institute in the Northern Territory. We’re looking for a Director of our Graduate School. Usually these possies are either not academic/research or they are very senior. In our case it’s a Level C (circa 100K), and as a small place we’d be happy to consider someone with a newly minted PhD with a very modest track record if they are keen on building their research and highly organised (it’s not an admin position, but you’d be supporting the creative build of the space). Education, Creative Arts and Languages are the main focus for our research (and welcome researchers across these areas), and it’s across Indigenous contexts – they are all really broadly imagined. We have 14 candidates (both Indigenous and non-Indigenous) and they all have supervisors!

    Please consider applying… we advertised a few weeks ago and didn’t get a bite, Darwin or Alice Springs are both possible locations.



  19. Hi – i tried to confirm your subscription e-mail from my Uni e-mail address but received a 404 error – is there a correction for this?


  20. You have a fantastic blog site, and the content is easy to maneuver and read through. I’ve appreciated reading through and hearing your advice. I’d love to have you stop by my blog if you have time, and hear any advice you may have for a new-startup research administration blog!

    Thanks, Holly


    • Thanks, Holly.
      I’ve subscribed, added you to our blogroll and we are now following you on Twitter. Great stuff! Keep in touch, and keep doing what you are doing.



  21. Dear Editor,

    Attractive science illustrations can become popular and help improve scientist’s visibility in the scientific community and beyond.

    However, more than often, scientists lack the right resources to create the figures by themselves and rely on the unprofessional work of students. Isn’t it true?

    That’s why we just launched a platform that allows educators, scientists and health professionals to create stunning infographics to use in classes and presentations.

    The platform is called Mind the Graph (www.mindthegraph.com) and allows scientists and students to create professional-looking visual content, while keeping the “self-made” feeling.
    Furthermore, it follows the global tendency of using “graphical abstracts” to summarize scientific content.

    The prototype was tested by more than 1000 beta-users and we are now confident to launch it globally. It’s of great interest for people in Science and Academia.

    Would you connect us with your audience writing about it in your rafael ?

    Thanks in advance, and please do not hesitate to write me if you need additional information.

    Best regards,

    Mind the Graph co-founder


    • Thanks, Fabricio

      I’ve lined up a tweet for this. Good luck with a venture that could be really helpful for a lot of people.

      Is this a ‘for-profit’ or ‘not-for-profit’ venture? I couldn’t tell from the Web site.



  22. Hi Jonathon/your friends, I’m keen to join a Shut up and write session asap in 2016. I’m local to Melbourne but my Uni is interstate, Ta Angela


  23. Hi, I subscribed to your newsletter a while back.

    While some of these posts are interesting and useful to me, I would like the email newsletters to stop. I’m not able to change this as a wordpress setting for some reason. ResearchWhisperer is not listed as someone I was ever subscribed to.

    How can I change the freq. of these updates?


    • Hi Christine

      We can’t change your subscription preferences for you.
      Wordpress provides some advice on their support page about Following Blogs. You want the sections at the end entitled “How to Unfollow a blog if you’re a WordPress.com user” or “How to Unfollow a blog if you’re not a WordPress.com user”.

      I hope that this is helpful.



    • Hi Christine

      I just realised that I can remove subscribers, and I have done this for your email address.



  24. Hi

    I recently became aware of a Uni that uses quite a lot of research publications that were published by academics while working at other unis overseas to boost their research output for the ERA ranking. I am talking about 50% of publications for the ERA 2012 round and 25% for the ERA 2015 round. Are you aware of this type of thing happening regularly?


    • Hi Frank

      I am aware that there are specific date ranges for including staff and counting their publications in ERA. The 2018 ERA collection will include any staff that were working at your institution on 31 March 2017, and count their research outputs (publications) from 1 January 2011 – 31 December 2016.

      A consequence of this is that there were a lot of staff changes in the final days of March 2017 at Australian universities. This would almost certainly have included some international academics moving to Australia. The universities would have worked hard to make that happen before 31 March 2017.

      I don’t work on Excellence in Research for Australia, so I’m not aware of the levels of staff movement or on the particulars of any specific university (not even my own, RMIT University).

      We have published two articles on ‘Excellence in Research for Australia’ (ERA), but neither of them address the issue that you raise.



      • Hi Jonathan
        Thanks for the quick response. There is indeed a specific date range but let me give you an example. I worked at Leiden University from 2006-2012 and joined UWS at the end of 2012. So for the ERA 2015 which range is everything that was published between 2008-2013 they used some of my papers published in 2008 – five years before I joined UWS. Obviously, those papers in 2008 does not list my affiliation as UWS but as Leiden. According to the guidelines they cannot do it, but unfortunately they did. I’ll try and figure it out. Thanks


      • Hi Jonathan Please have a look at my latest article. It details WSU’s ERA ranking and how they managed to, in my view, play the system in order to get the highest ranking. I just wonder if this approach is more widespread at Australian universities


    • Hi Ely

      We don’t have the resources to answer individual questions here. However, we could encourage our readers to provide their thoughts, if you want to put that question to us on Twitter or Facebook.

      Hope this helps.


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