23 August 2017
As an NIHR CLAHRC PhD student I was invited to attend a (gruelling) training camp; the Eighth NIHR Infrastructure Doctoral Research Training Camp last month in Leeds. The focus of this “camp” (don’t let that friendly word fool you…) was on “The Art of Communication”.
The premise of this, quite rightly, was that a successful career in research relies on the ability to communicate your research effectively to a wide audience.
We were given access to workshops and inspirational speakers, and a task… The task consisted of working with a multi-disciplinary group of fellow researchers (all previously unknown to one-another), to put together a comprehensive communications plan. This comprehensive plan had to be submitted and presented to an expert (i.e. scary) panel, and an audience. I’ve never quite seen a group of strangers pull together, working night and day for a fictitious document before, but by heck did we do it!
Each team of 6-8 NIHR Trainees were given a paper in which to create this plan around. Most of the time the paper was far-flung from our own particular field of expertise, perhaps purposively designed so as to add to the pressure, the excitement or the challenge…or maybe all three! It was tough, but it certainly hit home some crucial health-research-related-points:
I hadn’t quite anticipated the breadth of our mission. But in the end this was a bona-fide training camp in every sense of the word; we ate, slept and breathed “The Art of Communication”, and I highly suspect that I won’t (and don't wish to) forget any of these fundamental lessons any time soon. Oh, and I won an award for a “Highly commended poster” too!