Are you new to the PhD experience? Having attended the annual British Society of Geomorphology (BSG) Windsor Workshop as a new PhD myself, I might have a recommendation for you!
The BSG post-graduate workshop aims to introduce new PhD students to the world of academia and inform them of what to expect over the course of their PhD. Hosted in the lovely venue of Cumberland Lodge and costing only €160 for accommodation and 3 meals a day for the 4 day workshop, the trip really does provide value for money.
The first day of the workshop provides students the opportunity to mingle and discuss their research topics with each other through the use of ice-breakers and short (1 slide) research summary presentations. This was the first time I’d been able to talk to other new PhD students and it was nice to hear other students had the same worries as me about undertaking a PhD (especially after we were informed that statistically, 1 in 3 of us would not finish our doctorates!).
In the following days, we received talks from several academics on the subjects of social media use, research philosophy and practice, modelling, experimental design, data sets (python) as well as other guest lectures in areas such as work outside of academia.
Although the content provided at the talks was largely non-technical, it did provide an excellent overview of issues which students might run into during the PhD process. For example, the talk on modelling did not provide detailed information on how to model or what software is available for use, but instead supplied us with first-principle ideas of how to model and what problems might arise from the use of these methods. This was one of the best aspects of the workshop. Any niggling questions I had about the PhD process were answered, though completing a doctorate did feel a little more daunting by the end of the few days.
Most importantly, however, the workshop gave us the opportunity to communicate with other students studying the same field and find out how they were going about their respective projects. When all the above is considered, it is very tough not to recommend the Windsor Workshop!