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  • Jun 16 / 2016
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Academia, Siobhán O’Connor

British Federation of Women Graduates (BFWG)

By Siobhán O’Connor

To all you ladies out there who might be looking for some additional support and networking opportunities during your postgraduate studies – check out the British Federation of Women Graduates. It was established in 1907 to help women in all countries fulfill their potential by supporting women’s opportunities in education and public life and fostering local, national and international friendship, thereby improving the lives of women and girls across the world. BFWG specifically supports female students at universities across the United Kingdom by: Continue Reading

  • Jun 09 / 2016
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Anna Isaacs, Methods, PhD Experience

Fieldwork Reflections

Photo by Telco Kruidenier © 2005. Used with permission under the license of Creative Commons: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/2.0/

Photo by Telco Kruidenier © 2005. Used with permission under the license of Creative Commons: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/2.0/


By Anna Isaacs

Recently, during one of my PhD interviews, a participant discussed with me her reluctance to engage in preventive health screenings. Part way through the conversation she asked me if I had ever had a cervical smear test and, if so, how I had found it. I paused for a second and then replied that yes, I had, and while it might not have been in my top ten most enjoyable experiences, it was relatively quick and not unduly painful. “Oh”, she responded. “Well if you’ve had one, then maybe I will too….” Continue Reading

  • Jun 01 / 2016
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PhD Experience, Ruth Agbakoba

The Benefits That Voluntary Work Can Bring To Your PhD

By Ruth Agbakoba

No one has ever become poor by giving” – Anne Frank

This inspirational quote illustrates the value of generosity. In this post I would like to share my personal voluntary experiences as they have positively impacted my PhD Research. Moving to a new city can be a very daunting prospect for students. For me, having a close bond with my twin sister Faith, I knew that the adjustments would take time. However, what we do share close to our hearts is our charitable works from childhood. Glasgow is very much a cohesive and friendly city to live and study. The “People Make Glasgow” slogan was unveiled as the new brand name for the largest city in Scotland. It represents distinct warmth with the people of Glasgow being at the heart of this brand. During my time in Glasgow, I have come to experience this warmth for myself, most notably in a volunteering capacity. Continue Reading

  • May 20 / 2016
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Academia, Siobhán O’Connor

Making the Most of Social Media



By Siobhán O’Connor

So you might think that PhD land and social media don’t have much in common but it’s safe to say that without utilising the benefits online, interactive platforms like Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn have to offer you might miss out on quite a lot during your postgraduate studies. Here are my top reasons to use social media right throughout the PhD process. Continue Reading

  • May 06 / 2016
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Academia, Siobhán O’Connor

What is REF and is it relevant?

Photo by Dustin Lee ©. Unsplash. Used with permission.

By Siobhán O’Connor

As a doctoral student eager to make the most of my research experience, I am surprised that the Research Excellence Framework (REF) doesn’t really appear anywhere in the process of postgraduate student especially when undertaking a PhD. In the United Kingdom, REF is the process by which research from academic institutions is judged in terms of its quality and impact on society and importantly, it determines how much public money is allocated to higher education institutions that submit their research outputs to REF. The most recent REF results were published in 2014 and the process is currently under review, with the next iteration of REF expected around 2020 (http://www.ref.ac.uk/). REF is conducted by the four agencies responsible for funding higher education, which in Scotland, is the Scottish Funding Council (SFC). Its main aim is to ensure that “public investment in research produces evidence of the benefits of this investment” and it also “provides benchmarking information and establishes reputational yardsticks, for use within the higher education sector and for public information” (REF, 2011). Continue Reading

  • May 05 / 2016
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Current Affairs

Health, Wellbeing and the 2016 Scottish election


In the days running up to the Scottish elections IHAWKES has been asking the question: what are the most critical policy issues for health and wellbeing?

Here is a selection of the tweets we received in response:

Andrea E Williamson‏@aewilliamsonl

@IHAWKES1 Single disease models OUT! The role that mental health has in engagement in care -INEXTRICABLY linked to multi-morbidity.

8:07 AM – 4 May 2016

********** Continue Reading

  • Apr 13 / 2016
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The Profcast: Professor Rory O’Connor


In today’s Profcast we speak to Professor Rory O’Connor, Chair in Health Psychology and Head of Mental Health and Wellbeing at the University of Glasgow.

Why did you become an academic?

That’s a good question.  From pretty early on in my life, I wanted to be a psychologist. As an identical twin of an identical twin I’ve always been fascinated by nature vs nurture and psychology more generally.  Yes, to clarify, my father was an identical twin and I am an identical twin and my twin, Daryl, is also a professor of psychology – at Leeds University (we’re mirror twins actually).  Also, when I was 11, I met a clinical psychologist, who really impressed me and I have been pretty much hooked on psychology ever since (I had the good fortune to meet said same clinical psychologist more than ten years later while doing my PhD at Queen’s University Belfast which was great).  It was some time later before I decided that I wanted to become an academic rather than a clinician. I remember really enjoying doing a group research project during the 2nd year of my undergraduate degree; this really whetted my appetite for research, which was further reinforced by doing my final year dissertation (an experimental study on learned helplessness and depression). I loved the process, thinking of a problem, formulating it as a question and then systematically attempting to answer it.  I have also always enjoyed teaching and again, I had really positive experiences of teaching/supervision as a postgraduate and of developing an extra-mural course on mental health at Queen’s with two colleagues during my PhD. Continue Reading

  • Mar 30 / 2016
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The Profcast: Professor Kate O’Donnell


For our first Profcast of 2016, we speak to Kate O’Donnell, Professor of Primary Care Research and Development at the Institute of Health and Wellbeing, University of Glasgow.

Why did you become an academic?

I never consciously “became” an academic; I think I rather fell into it. My first degree was a BSc in Immunology at Glasgow University. It was an exciting time in immunology (probably always is) –  T cell receptor being identified, HIV was isolated. So there was a real buzz and I wanted to be part of that, so I went on to do my PhD in Immunology. What I then gradually realised over several years was that I loved research and the academic tasks of writing and communicating, but I wanted it to be nearer “people” than bench research allowed me to be. So I took a couple of career turns and finished up as a primary care researcher. It’s taken me a long time to feel I can say I am a primary care academic and not feel a fraud. Continue Reading

  • Mar 23 / 2016
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Academia, Olivia Kirtley

We need to talk about the ‘hum’

Photo by Sergey Zolkin ©. Unsplash. Used with permission.

By Olivia Kirtley:

Recently, I watched a superb TED talk by doyenne of Primetime TV, Shonda Rhimes. In the talk she discusses ‘the hum’; this sense of perpetual drive, passion and industriousness. She loves the hum, she is the hum. One day, the hum stops. She feels restless, exhausted, disconsolate and, in a sense, grieving for the loss of joy in her work. Unlike many episodes of Grey’s Anatomy however, this story has a happy ending. Shonda takes a breath, she plays with her children, she keeps putting one foot in front of the other, and one day, the hum returns. She had a dip, a temporary period of being lost in the wilderness, then once rested and restored, she returns to her path. Continue Reading