Vania Almeida: How to combine your research interests and a well-balanced training program

Marie Curie Individual Fellowship program is an interesting opportunity for those who aim to reach and reinforce a position of professional maturity in research, particularly through the exposure to complementary skills training.

The quality and appropriateness of the training is one of the items evaluated within the excellence, one of the three criteria score. It is essential to delineate a reliable plan with your supervisor and the local HR team. If you are doing it for the first time you can find useful the Vitae Research Development Framework (RDF) that can help you to identify your strengths and the training needs.

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I am working at Aston in two main working packages:

Research skills: My supervisor is helping me with most of the required training. However, I have decided to attend specific training in statistics, namely the Academy for PhD training in Statistics (APTS), a course designed to support research PhD students, but useful from those from other transferring in to statistics from other disciplines. APTS organises four residential weeks of training each year, this year in the University of Cambridge, University of Nottingham, University of Lancaster and University of Glasgow.

The Royal Orthopaedics Hospital is providing me the essential clinical training to facilitate good working practices while on secondment, namely training on the assessment, measurement and monitoring of vital signs and mandatory training sessions (including infection control, information governance and data protection, dignified treatment of patients, health and safety).

Complementary skills training: Aston offers a great number of versatile courses and excellent mentoring support for early career researchers, e.g. communication, project and finance management, IPR and copyright.

Additionally, Research & Enterprise Office runs several sessions along the year covering specific funding calls and several workshops specific to take researchers through all the steps they need to take to make a successful funding application. I find this really useful for the researchers moving from another countries, it is an interesting way to become familiar with new opportunities and developments in the funding landscape.