‘The Feel Good factor’

Many people don’t realise how making small adjustments to their everyday life can make a real difference and help them feel more able to tackle those overwhelming projects.  With this in mind, the next talk in the Life Tools programme (the last one this term) is particularly designed to help students make those changes to help them ‘feel good’ again.

‘The Feel Good factor’ is on Thursday 3rd December at 1.00pm in Palmer building, room 103.  At this talk, students will be able to learn how ‘Mindfulness’ can make a difference in daily life, no matter how busy they are.  As part of the talk students will also be encouraged to take the ‘Wellbeing M.O.T.’ to see if there are areas they can work on to feel good.

Students were asked what they thought of this talk last year and the following comments come from their feedback:


“It showed me how really improve everyday living as a student

“It was really great.  I came in thinking I was going to listen to just the normal things I hear every day…. but I really did gain a lot from this talk”

“Really useful.  Loved the ideas about meditation”

There is no need to book a place – it is open to all students and they should just turn up on the day.

feel good



Research Councils announce an unconscious bias training programme for peer reviewers and funding decision-makers

The Research Councils have announced on their website that they are ‘launching a new programme for all peer reviewers and decision-makers to raise awareness and reduce the impact of unconscious bias. Over a period of three years, beginning in January 2016, more than 1,300 people involved in peer review from all seven Research Councils will be given access to high quality training…..’


Female academic leaders suffer more from ‘workaholic’ hours culture

Published in the Times Higher today – ‘About two-thirds of female academic leaders are unhappy with their work-life balance, with 85 per cent regularly working beyond normal contracted hours each week, a major survey indicates…… Some 23 per cent of female academic leaders who responded to the poll said that they felt unable to cope with the pressure and stress caused by their jobs – roughly double the proportion of men who expressed this view……’

Is this how you feel? What can be done about this?

What time do you think it's safe for me to leave work?

What time do you think it’s safe for me to leave work?


Chairing: Not as Easy as it Looks

Posted this morning, Athene Donald discusses leadership skills and chairing committees:

‘Having recently taken on a new chairing responsibility, in a new sphere, I am mindful of the challenges such a role entails. Every committee is different and young leaders have to learn that the way one approaches the task has to suit the specific group of people sitting round the table, whilst keeping one’s goals clearly in mind. New committees bring new dynamics………’

What advice do you have?


Presentation Skills

The next speaker in the ‘Mind the Gap’ event series is TV body language expert, Judi James. 3 December, 6:30pm – 7:30pm Café Mondial, RUSU

Judi is one of the UK’s leading body language/behaviour experts with a high TV and radio profile.  She is a regular face on TV news channels and a body language expert on ‘Big Brother’s Bit on the Side’ and ‘It Takes Two.’ Judi has over fifteen years’ experience training and speaking to businesses on issues such as presentation and communication skills, body language and positive image.

Judi is also a former catwalk model and fashion writer and has published six novels and sixteen non-fiction books, including: ‘More Time, Less Stress’, ‘BodyTalk’, and ‘The Body Language Bible.’ Come to this session for tips on how to deliver a convincing presentation, including the best ways to make an impact.










Student booking information

Students and Reading graduates can book via My Jobs Online by using the following link: My Jobs Online

Early booking is recommended.

Staff booking information

There will be a limited number of spaces available for staff.  Please email jacqueline.payne@reading.ac.uk to request a staff place.



Choosing your Path, Seizing Opportunities

On 11th November Athene Donald posted an interesting blog post about basic rules for taking control of your career.  I have picked just one to highlight below.  Read the full blog post to see all 10.

Rule number 5 – ”Don’t assume other people are ‘better’ than you because they act confident.Some people’s way of coping with difficulties and novelty is bluster. They cannot lose face by admitting they haven’t a clue what’s going on and so they look ultra-confident. If you yourself are shaking in your shoes, this can be very dispiriting. However, a loud voice does not mean the content is right; answering a reasonable question by raising eyebrows and looking shocked that you don’t know the answer already is almost always a sign of someone who doesn’t know the answer either but isn’t prepared to let on…………………………”

your career


Royal Society announces new Athena Prize Diversity Award

Published today on the Royal Society website:

”The Royal Society, the UK’s national academy of science, has announced a new national award which recognises individuals and teams in the UK research community who have contributed towards the advancement of diversity in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) in their institutions and organisations. The award aims to inspire innovation and leadership in diversity issues.

The Royal Society Athena Prize, to be awarded biennially, will join the Society’s prestigious set of medals and awards announced each summer. Nominations for the inaugural 2016 round of the Royal Society Athena Prize will open in the new year, with more information on the selection criteria and nominations process to be provided nearer the time.

Speaking about the award, Sir Paul Nurse, President of the Royal Society, said, “It gives me great pleasure to be able to announce the establishment of the new Royal Society Athena Prize.

“I would like to encourage everyone in the research community to look around their institutions and organisations and think of who they might nominate for the Athena Prize. Do you know someone who has set up an innovative project that is contributing to the advancement of diversity in science, someone who is persistent in the face of adversity and limited funds, someone who is inspirational and has kick-started a culture change and should be recognised for their efforts? If so, we’d like to hear from you when we open up nominations for Royal Society Athena Prize in early 2016.”

The top project will receive a medal plus a cash prize of £5,000 and runners-up will receive a cash prize of £1,000. Prizes will be presented at the Royal Society’s annual autumn diversity conference, where the winners will talk about their projects.”



Life Tools talk: Overcoming Perfectionism: Wednesday 25th November, 4.00pm, Carrington 101

It’s likely that universities contain a higher proportion of perfectionists than most environments.  Many of the positive aspects of being a perfectionist such as conscientiousness and self-reliance equip students well for university life.  At the same time there are aspects of being a perfectionist that can undermine both work and general well-being.  One of the most common of these is procrastination, which is often the result of setting oneself impossible standards of perfection.

With this in mind, the next talk in the ‘Life Tools’ series is particularly useful for students who struggle to hand in their work on time.  ‘Overcoming Perfectionism’ will offer practical advice to students on why good enough is good enough, and give guidance on getting work done.

Students who attended this talk last year gave us the following feedback about the talk:


“It will help you study more efficiently”

“It is only an hour, you don’t have to actively participate and the advice really makes sense. “

“It is very helpful and you are bound to learn something that will help you in your studies.”

“A must go to!”

Open to all students, the talk is on Wednesday 25th November at 4.00pm in Carrington building, room 101.  There is no need to book a place – students should just come along on the day.


Dorothy Hodgkin Fellowship

This scheme is for outstanding scientists in the UK at an early stage of their research career who require a flexible working pattern due to personal circumstances such as parenting or caring responsibilities or health issues. Please see the Royal Society Website for more information

Am I eligible to apply?

The scheme covers all areas of the life and physical sciences, including engineering, but excluding clinical medicine.

You must be able to demonstrate a current need for flexible support due to personal circumstances at the time of application. This can include current parenting or caring responsibilities (such as raising children or looking after ageing or seriously ill family members), clinically diagnosed health issues or other personal circumstances that create a need for a flexible working pattern.

Applicants must take a leading role in the project.

You can apply for this scheme if you:

  • are at an early stage of your research career (have completed your PhD but have no more than 6 years of research experience post PhD by the closing date of the round)
  • do not hold a permanent post in a university or not-for-profit organisation in the European Economic Area (EEA) or in Switzerland
  • are a citizen of the EEA or are a Swiss citizen (or have a relevant connection to the EEA or Switzerland)

The European Economic Area (EEA) consists of the European Union (including the UK) plus Iceland, Norway and Liechtenstein.

Before applying, please ensure that you meet all the eligibility requirements, which are explained in the scheme notes.

What is the application process?

Applications should be submitted through the Royal Society’s electronic grant application system (e-GAP).

Applications will initially be reviewed and then shortlisted by members of Dorothy Hodgkin Fellowship Selection Panel. You will be notified if you have reached the short listing stage by March.

The shortlisted proposals will be reviewed by three independent referees suggested by the panel members and successful applicants will be shortlisted for an interview. You will be informed of the result of this stage in May and interviews will take place in June.

The final decision is made at a meeting of the Panel in June, and you will be notified of the result in July.

Please note that interviews for the fellowships will be held at the Royal Society. You are asked to keep the third week of June free. Only applicants that pass the other stages of assessment will be invited.


The Royal Society crest

The Wellbeing Cafe

Deadlines… Deadlines…  It’s that time of term again!

Are you struggling to meet your deadlines?

Do you feel as if you will never get the work finished?

Would you like to find ways to be better organised?

If the answer to any of these questions is yes, why not come along to the Peer Support Wellbeing Café on Wednesday between 1- 2.30pm to find out how other students are managing,  share the struggle and swap ideas.

THE WELLBEING CAFE – this Wednesday (and every Wednesday in term)

1 to 2.30 in the RUSU Study (behind Cafe Mondiale)

Pop-in for a chat, have a coffee , try their famous home-made brownies…