5 Reasons Networking is a Great Idea

Written by Dr Nigel Eady

Networking is a bit like Marmite – you love it or you hate it! Yet, if you really want to progress, in almost every walk of life, it’s absolutely invaluable. Hear me out, even if you’re getting sweaty palms and starting to hyperventilate just at the thought of having to talk to someone you don’t know!

1. Stay at the forefront. Networks allow you to keep your finger on the pulse. What new funding scheme has been launched? Who is looking for collaborators? Which         interesting seminars are happening? Your network will help you know what’s going on.

2. Find effective solutions. None of us have a monopoly on creativity. If you maintain a broad network you will be able to tap into a wealth of experience, knowledge and ingenuity, especially when problems arise.

3. Discover career options. Many jobs are never advertised on the open market. If you have an effective network, you significantly increase your chances of being in the right place at the right time to seize those opportunities.

4. Give as well as receive. The fastest way to grow your network is to be helpful to people. When you then need help yourself, you’re much more likely to find someone who’s willing to help you out.

5. Develop your confidence. Making the active choice to cultivate your networks is time well spent. Over time, your confidence will increase and you’ll become a more natural communicator.

If like me, you need time on our own, then networking can easily stay at the bottom of your ‘to do’ list, although some extroverts still need encouragement to network. Remember your networks don’t have to be huge. Start small. Cultivate a few connections with people whose backgrounds, skills and attributes you value, and who complement your own skills. I promise you that, in time, you’ll be glad you made the effort.

Research Staff Community Highlights: Inaugural Research Staff Event Final Plenary

Written by Nudrat Siddiqui 

Didn’t get a chance to attend the Inaugural Research Staff Event last month? Read on for a round-up of the concluding plenary. Research Staff collaborated in interdisciplinary workshop groups to devise ideas to tackle local and global challenges with a £2K budget. The groups reconvened in the final plenary to present their solutions and go head to head for fantastic prizes…

The Presentations

Each group was allocated 3 minutes to present their proposed solutions – a time limit we meticulously tracked with a live timer!

Creating a World-Leading Research Environment

The ‘Researcher’ app, if created, would connect you with colleagues who have the expertise you’re seeking in project partners. You would search for potential ‘matches’  using filters, and swipe left or right depending on whether or not you like what you see. While it would initially be for King’s staff, it would be expanded nationally and internationally.

Diversity & Inclusion

The key for this group is to better understand and raise awareness for aggression and micro-aggression in the workplace. The group proposed the £2K should be provided to the Diversity & Inclusion team, with the aim of spurring on college-wide training on aggression.

Global Health & Wellbeing

We’ve all heard the age old saying that children are the future. This was the motto for this group who proposed an educational film should be broadcast to children worldwide. It will be a community implemented initiative and designed by an inter-disciplinary team drawing upon students from various facets, from medicine to film studies. It will dispel myths such as being fat is healthy and promote best practice in health and wellbeing.

Informed Urbanisation

This group focused on illuminating the invisible aspects of London by profiling the night workers who make London’s streets and structures function by day. The project will track their journeys from their homes to their workplaces and their movement across the city. It will shed light on their work through films and by introducing meeting points enabling day and night workers to meet.

Social & Distributive Justice

Education influences many of our values and behaviours. This group proposed a mandatory course aimed at ensuring children are better socially, economically, and emotionally equipped.  It would be designed in collaboration with children and cover topics from financial information to emotional well-being. As technology changes rapidly over time, the course will also change accordingly.

And the Winner Was…

The plenary audience voted for their favourite workshop solution. While all the ideas proposed were innovative, there could only be one winner… And the winning group was Creating a World-Leading Research Environment, who happily accepted their prizes of chocolate filled Centre for Research Staff Development (CRSD) mugs from the President and Principal, Prof Ed Byrne.

2K Funding up for Grabs

The CRSD invites proposals to address any of the workshop topics by applying for the £2K King’s Community Fund by 28th November 2016. If you didn’t attend a workshop, you must apply with a colleague who did attend. So convert your great ideas into reality! Learn more here.KC-CRSD Event October 2016

Welcome to Research Staff Community!

Written by Dr Kathy Barrett 

What does community mean to you?  Many King’s research staff have said that they would like to build a community, but what would that community be, what would it do, how would it be started, how would it be maintained?  I have some thoughts about this that I will share with you, but I’m very curious to find out what your aspirations are so that we could work together to make it a reality.

To start addressing these questions I turned to The Oxford English Dictionary.  The OED has several definitions of the word community, the most relevant being “a group of people who share the same interests, pursuits, or occupation, especially when distinct from those of the society in which they live”.  Dictionary.com has a similar definition but adds “usually preceded by the” as in “the business community”.  So that leads us to a name, The King’s Research Staff Community.

The definition talks about people who share the same interests or pursuits.  Is this true of research staff at King’s?  What do you all have in common?  There is a lot in the literature about the frustrations of life in an academic environment but I would like to think that this is not the only thing that would bring you together.  I remember a lot of positives from my time as a researcher as well.  Very often within an academic community there is the shared pursuit of new knowledge and the excitement a new discovery or theory can bring.  That was something that kept me in the lab late at night, once even ignoring a fire alarm. I won’t be doing that again – there was a real fire!

Is the pursuit of new knowledge something that motivates you?  Even if it is, would this shared excitement be enough to bring the community together?  I am now conjuring images of an annual event in which new findings are celebrated, however small.  This brings to mind Radhika Nagpal’s feelgood email folder described in a blog post featured in our newsletter of Nov 11th.  How positive, to remind ourselves that we are contributing, even if it is a tiny fragment, to the enormous jigsaw of knowledge.  I imagine though that there might need to be more than this to bring together a truly solid community.

We started to build the King’s Research Staff Community at the Inaugural Research Staff Event 2016 in October, during which we encouraged you to meet and work briefly with people you don’t know.  We hoped that you would keep in touch with the new friends you met there.  I acknowledge that it might be hard to do so without that shared purpose and over the distances that separate our campuses. So what purpose would a King’s Research Staff Community serve that would give you reason to keep in touch?  Could it just be to celebrate success, or would it need to be more than that?

We invite you to discuss these questions via our LinkedIn group, King’s Research Staff. It isn’t hard to join and by doing so you might find that the community begins to grow and flourish through these conversations.