Dr. Richard Huysmans' Podcast
By Dr Richard Huysmans
Dr. Richard Huysmans' PodcastSep 24, 2020
How to Build a Research Group
The steps for building a research group or lab are vague and unclear. For people with a great idea, hoping to build a business on it, there are coaches, start-up programs, business information sessions, incubators, co-working spaces, mentors, seminars, workshops, and more. Yet for research there is very little. In this blog I look at the business advice and translate that into advice for researchers.
Link to transcript: https://drrichardhuysmans.com/how-to-build-a-research-group-2/
Turning Your Research into Your Business
Have you turned your PhD topic or experiences into a small business? How did you do it?
I was an entrepreneur before it was cool. Before being an innovator or being agile was a thing. I was an entrepreneur when it was called owning your own business. Being self-employed. For some, there’s an attraction to the idea of turning some or all of your PhD into your job. And that was what I did. Here, I talk about the steps that I think are necessary to go from PhD to business.
Link to transcript: https://drrichardhuysmans.com/turning-your-research-into-your-business-3/
Six Steps to a More Competitive and Organised Grant Application
What are your tips for being more competitive and organised when it comes to writing a grant? Here are 6 from me:
- Know your funding sources.
- Prepare your application based on those funding sources and their preferences.
- Say “no” – Not all people, grants or situations are equally worthy.
- Plan ahead (a year calendar will help).
- Practice – You cannot improve without practice.
Link to transcript: https://drrichardhuysmans.com/six-steps-to-a-more-competitive-and-organised-grant-application-3/
Twenty Questions for Humans Who Are Studying a PhD
We are constantly told to self-reflect. But if you’re not in the practice of it, reflection can be really hard. In his book 20 Questions for Humans, Craig Harper helps readers do just that – answer 20 questions that will help them self-reflect. In this blog, I look at each question Craig poses and suggest the equivalent in the context of your PhD or research.
Link to transcript: https://drrichardhuysmans.com/twenty-questions-for-humans-who-are-studying-a-phd-3/
Why You Should Write a Good-bye Letter to Academia
Are you thinking about leaving academia but finding it hard? Why not write a good-bye letter?
The transition from one sector to another is difficult. So is a change in job or a change in a career. But when you’ve had your heart set on a career – like many in academia – that transition is even harder.
Link to transcript: https://drrichardhuysmans.com/why-you-should-write-a-good-bye-letter-to-academia-2/
Five Skills I Can Use to Develop My Career Beyond My PhD
Five transferable skills for all PhD students:
- Problem solving.
- Project management.
- Written communication.
- Oral communication.
- Presentation skills.
Be careful when identifying your transferable skills from your PhD – not all are created equal.
Link to transcript: https://drrichardhuysmans.com/five-skills-i-can-use-to-develop-my-career-beyond-my-phd-2/
How to Get a Mentor
So you’ve been told to find a mentor. Take these four steps:
- List the traits you’re looking for.
- Note who in your network has those traits.
- Meet with them.
- Confirm the relationship
Link to transcript: https://drrichardhuysmans.com/how-to-get-a-mentor-2/
How to Select a Social Media Channel
As an academic, at some point you’ll need to take your research social. If you like pictures, use Instagram. If you like writing, use LinkedIn. If you like video, use YouTube and then share. If you want to connect with other academics, use Twitter. If you want to engage with the general public then Facebook or Instagram will be better. LinkedIn will be best for getting industry partners.
How did you come to choose the social media channels you are on?
Link to transcript: https://drrichardhuysmans.com/how-to-select-a-social-media-channel-2/
Five Forgotten Transferable Skills
How do you identify transferable skills? One way is a time in motion study or a skills audit. Or, you can google “transferable skills” and see what the internet tells you. Here are five skills - tenacity, collaboration, comprehension, qualitative and quantitative analysis, and software use – and why I think they are transferable.
Link to transcript: https://drrichardhuysmans.com/five-forgotten-transferable-skills-2/
Six Things to Do to Increase Your Resilience
PhD students have some of the poorest mental health of ANY professional – inside or outside research. Even worse, the turbulence associated with science and research careers does not make things easier. Thus, building resilience and copying strategies before you need them will be important to long-term health and success. Here are 6 strategies - note your thoughts, analyse your thoughts, be mindful, note good things in your life, have a balanced life, live in alignment with your values.
Just Because You Can, Doesn’t Mean You Should
As researchers, it is easy take on everything. Writing, researching, promoting. The lot. However, doing it all is probably not the most effective use of your skills. In this blog I challenge you to take a closer look at the work you do and ask yourself, “Can someone else do this?”
If I Were a Vice-Chancellor
With all of the trouble being faced by universities and researchers, I go thinking about the things I would do if I were a vice-chancellor for a day. I made a list of 11 items. The cover gender equity, PhD training and recruitment, staff development, and the allocation of IP ownership. You can hear more on my podcast.
Link to transcript: https://drrichardhuysmans.com/if-i-were-a-vice-chancellor-2/
Should My PhD Supervisor Be a Mentor, Colleague or Boss?
PhDs are large undertakings for both the student, and their supervisors. Yet, not much time is spent considering the type of supervisor a student might need or want. Furthermore, little thought is devoted to how this might change throughout the process. In this blog I look at three approaches – boss, colleague, mentor – and how each might be beneficial at different stages of the PhD.
Link to transcript: https://drrichardhuysmans.com/should-my-phd-supervisor-be-a-mentor-colleague-or-boss-2/
Thirty-Eight Things to Help You Transition out of Academia
Leaving academia isn’t easy. Especially if that’s what you’d thought you’d do your whole life. So, although this post won’t help you deal with the emotional side of leaving, it does offer 38 practical things you can do to help make the transition easier.
Link to transcript: https://drrichardhuysmans.com/thirty-eight-things-to-help-you-transition-out-of-academia/
People can think you’re either “good” or “bad” at presenting.
But I think the truth is that you can get better (or worse). And, through practice you can improve.
In this podcast, I went through some of the things I do when preparing a talk. I covered what I think is important when it comes to presenting your research work, and suggested an approach to try, next time you give a talk.
Using Your Network to Establish Industry Connections
Competitive research grants aren’t getting any easier. One way to address the problem is through finding and working with an industry partner. Imagine if you spent the same time building an industry connection as you did write a grant….? What would that world look like? How could/would you make that happen?
Link to transcript: https://www.drrichardhuysmans.com/using-your-network-to-establish-industry-connections-2/
Are You Addicted to Academic Life?
In this podcast I go through 12 questions that might indicate you're addicted to academic work, and it's time to change your habits.
Academics tend to portray themselves as working all of the time and in all places. However, that’s not sustainable IMHO. In a recent group coaching session we discussed both approaches. Both seemed successful for those in the group. However, I don’t believe both will be useful long term. Making academic life the centre of your life, might be fine for short bursts or distinct periods in your life. But, at what point does that become an addiction? Maybe it is time to ask yourself – Am I addicted to academic work?
Link to transcript: https://www.drrichardhuysmans.com/are-you-addicted-to-academic-life-2/
Building Your Career by Leaving Your Employer
Different people will have their own ideals. What and how they want to build a career. But what I can say in all cases, making the opportunity (rather than waiting for it) will be a faster path to your success. And, in many instances leaving a job and an employer has FAR more upside than downside..
So, if you’re wanting more from your job, career or business, start making it happen.
In this podcast I go through three career building cases studies.
Link to transcript: https://www.drrichardhuysmans.com/building-your-career-by-leaving-your-employer-2/
Improving Your Productivity
Rather than working more hours, one of the best things you can do to ensure your PhD finishes on time is to improve your productivity.
But, knowing how or where or when can be hard.
In this Tuesday Talk, I ran through some of the things I do to stay productive. I also covered the advice I give academics and how different approaches have worked (or not) for them.
COVID has taught us so much. Including the value of a good plan. And the value of getting rid of old plans when they no longer suit us. One planning technique often named, but rarely implemented well is the strategic plan. If you’ve often wondered what’s the difference between a plan and a strategy. Or what the differences are between a strategic, business or operational plan – come along to to this workshop!
What Is Coaching, and How you Can Use It?
Most people have experienced coaching in some form or another in their life. From sports, to music, to art, and to life. People are coaching and being coached all of the time. However, most people assume coaching is telling – by an expert to a novice. But if that were true, no elite performers would have coaches. Instead, think of coaching as asking. And to be an expert coach you need to be an expert at asking good questions.
Link to transcript: https://www.drrichardhuysmans.com/what-is-coaching-and-how-you-can-use-it-2/
When to Change Your Research Plan
Four responses to things changing in research:
- Turn around and go home – Essential forget the goal for now.
- Wait it out – Do nothing.
- Take a different path – See if someone can help fill the gaps.
- Adjust your goal and therefore your route – Change approach.
All 4 are valid. All 4 are useful. And all 4 need to result in a change to your research plan.
Link to transcript: https://www.drrichardhuysmans.com/when-to-change-your-research-plan-2/
Writing Grants – Nov 2021
Grants and grant writing is boring. I get it. So, we’re all looking for a way to make it better. More fun. Easier to get funded. I’m not sure I have any magic answers. But I do know we’ll cover some of the things that help make grant writing less difficult. That help turn a good application, into a great one. That help improve the quality and reduce the time it takes to write grants in the long run.
Lifting Your Project Management Game
If you're finding your current project or planning approach is not effective. If you're finding you're not getting the stuff you want to do done, then you need to change something. Change what you do or change your plan. If you want to improve your project management and planning game try these 3 things:
- Have plans that cover different timeframes.
- Follow routines to make progress (rather than setting goals to hit).
- Make tasks small and easy enough that it is hard to not do.
Writing Faster and Better
Four tips for writing faster and better:
- Summarise using sentences.
- Write as if no one is reading.
- Write, just write.
- Join a writing group.
Link to transcript: https://www.drrichardhuysmans.com/writing-faster-and-better-2/
Networking for Career Success
Networking is probably the MOST valuable skill for your career. It will be the one thing that gets you a job, a role, an opportunity – consistently. But what does it even mean ”to network”? And how can I make sure the networking I’m doing is helping my career.
Manage Your Energy Not Your Time
Just like managing the time you use your phone is useless once the battery is dead, so too is managing your time once your batter is dead. So, if you’re trying to improve your productivity, and time management isn’t working, try energy management. How? Observe what drains or sustains you. Alternate those tasks. Re-observe.
Link to transcript: https://www.drrichardhuysmans.com/manage-your-energy-not-your-time-2/
How I Run My Social Media (and How You Can Do the Same)
Eight things I did to get better at social media:
- Attend workshops and training on being better at social media.
- Build a follower persona.
- Develop a strategy.
- Use scheduling tools.
- Create a “social media post ideas” folder.
- Let go of perfection.
- Watch and learn from others.
- Watch and learn from my own social media performance.
Link to transcript: https://www.drrichardhuysmans.com/how-i-run-my-social-media-and-how-you-can-do-the-same-2/
Taking Time Off
It can be hard to take time off. But it is essential for our physical and mental wellbeing. To make matters worse, our role models – aka supervisors and bosses – can appear like they don’t need, nor take annual leave. EVER! In this workshop, I talked about the value of taking time off, setting a good out-of-office message and avoiding the humps of work that arise before you leave and when you return.
Eight Ideas on Improving Your Productivity
Eight tips to increase your productivity:
- Important stuff first.
- Boot up routine.
- Shut down routine.
- Three items to-do list.
- Strive for productive not efficient.
- Set work schedule.
- State your intent.
- Do the difficult stuff first.
Link to transcript: https://www.drrichardhuysmans.com/eight-ideas-on-improving-your-productivity-2/
What If We Knew What Reviewers Said About Other Grants
On Amazon you can see the reviewer history. You can see what other products they’ve reviewed, and what they said. Would a similar approach be useful in academia? Would that make receiving a negative review easier?
Link to transcript: https://www.drrichardhuysmans.com/what-if-we-knew-what-reviewers-said-about-other-grants-2/
Looking for Work
Looking for work is one of the hardest career activities you will do. Despite the so-called resilience of researchers and being used to grant or journal rejections – the job-hunting process can take things to the next level. Richard went through some key aspects when looking for work. He covered a process you can follow. He also talked about some things within the process that might be new or news to you.
Building a Reading Habit
Six steps to building a reading habit:
- Trigger the desire by making the reading material obvious (i.e., place articles around the house/lab/office).
- Acknowledge the positives you’ll gain from reading.
- Make it easy to succeed (e.g., easy material, short time or small number of pages).
- Reward success.
- Publicly state your reading intention (the crowd can help hold you to account too).
- Stack reading with other positive habits (e.g., reading and morning coffee/meal).
Link to transcript: https://www.drrichardhuysmans.com/building-a-reading-habit-2/
Writing Your Resume (Sep 2021)
No matter what you want to do or become, you’ll need to write a resume. Versions will end up in grants. Versions will end up on websites. Versions will be submitted to promotion panels. Versions will be sent to prospective employers. In this workshop, Richard helped you work out what should be include and what should be avoided. He also talked about strategies that can help you write a better, more accurate and comprehensive resume – EVERY TIME.
Should I Do a PhD Thesis by Publication?
The best thesis is a submitted thesis. This by publication could make this faster or slower. Be aware of the pros and cons. If you’d like to know more, comment, DM or shoot me an email. I’ll send you some content.
Link to transcript: https://www.drrichardhuysmans.com/should-i-do-a-phd-thesis-by-publication-2/
What's the Easiest PhD?
Six tips for an easy PhD:
- Have a good research question.
- Use known research tools.
- Have accessible data and/or samples.
- Build your analytical skills.
- Be skilled at word processing.
- Stop scope creep.
Link to transcript: https://www.drrichardhuysmans.com/whats-the-easiest-phd-2/
How to Fall in Love with Your PhD
Three tips to help you (or you students) fall in love with your PhD:
- Take time away from and deprioritise the PhD.
- Get to know your student/supervisor.
- Host and participate in department, school and faculty activities.
Link to transcript: https://www.drrichardhuysmans.com/how-to-fall-in-love-with-your-phd-2/
Career Planning Strategies
So much of our lives are planned. School. University. Further study. Marriage. Birth. Heck, even death and funerals are planned. But how many of you plan your career? How many of you have an idea of what you want to be in your career in 5 or 10 years? In this workshop, Richard guides you through 3 different approaches to help plan your career. And they’re useful regardless of your desire to do more study; stay in academia; or look for other options.
How I Build My Endurance Muscle
A PhD is probably the longest single project one individual is continuously responsible for. Thus, building your endurance muscle is important for PhD success. Three things that have helped me build my endurance muscle are:
- Running long distances – I learnt to make and implement a plan to get better.
- Meditation – I learnt to be comfortable with myself and my thoughts and feelings.
- Fasting – I learnt how to be comfortable postponing gratification. I also realised how strong the connection between my feelings and eating.
Link to transcript: https://www.drrichardhuysmans.com/how-i-build-my-endurance-muscle-2/
Leaving Academia (Aug 2021)
The famous line from the song Hotel California, “You can check out but you can never leave” applies to so many things. Academia is one of them. Leaving seems so hard for so many reasons. You’ve invested lots of time, effort and money. You’re passionate about research and the work you do. You love the people. But, when 95% of all PhD graduates end up outside an academic research career, leaving is inevitable. In this workshop, Richard went through what he did to leave academia. He also covered what others have done in the recent past to leave.
How I Apply the Run-Walk-Run Strategy to Work
There are lots of things we can learn from other people and other disciplines and sectors. Me, I’ve taken the run-walk-run strategy and applied it to work. Yep – that’s the pomodoro technique. Followed the timer STRICTLY. I learnt:
- The app matters.
- My endurance increased.
- My satisfaction increased.
- Stop-start was initially difficult but now easy.
- Flexible break activities are important to the break → work transition.
Link to transcript: https://www.drrichardhuysmans.com/how-i-apply-the-run-walk-run-strategy-to-work-2/
How Running Builds My Resilience at Work
There are anecdotal and published links between running very long distances (ultra-marathons) and various psychological measures of resilience. I can definitely relate to aspects of these reports. The idea of reaching and pushing through physical barriers. Barriers of pain or exhaustion. Barriers of distance or time. Barriers of motivation or inspiration. These concepts all resonate with me, and how endurance running builds my resilience.
Link to transcript: https://www.drrichardhuysmans.com/how-running-builds-my-resilience-at-work-2/
Making Most of Your Conference Presentation (Aug 2021)
Although COVID changed the way we conference, presenting at an in-person, virtual or mixed conference is still one of the best ways to grow your research skills. It is also one of the best ways to grow your network. And with so much of what we do reliant on networks, it is important to make the most of these kinds of opportunities. In this workshop, Richard went through some of the things you can do to help make your next conference presentation a success – beyond the individual presentation itself.
Planning Your (Ideal) PhD
Having a structured PhD plan can help you make progress when you lack motivation. One of the easiest things to do is to create a plan for your PhD that covers the years, months, weeks, and days. Each has a relevant level of detail. But they are referred to separately. So what does that look like:
- Years – Broad goals.
- Quarters – Specific data collection, collation and reporting activities.
- Months – Things that might enhance or derail your progress.
- Weeks – Repeatable structure, giving you a weekend.
- Days – Defined schedule that sets limits on starting and finishing each day.
Link to transcript: https://www.drrichardhuysmans.com/planning-your-ideal-phd-2/
Metrics for Measuring Research Outputs
There are many metrics that researchers and associated administrator use to measure and report success. Here are 6 that might be useful for you:
- Impact Factor – average citation count per article per journal over a rolling 2-year period
- Citation count – absolute number of citations for an individual article.
- H-index – maximum number of citations for same number of publications.
- RG Score – Restricted to ResearchGate measuring your participation on research gate, including uploaded and referenced articles. Can be directly compared to all ResearchGate members.
- ResearchInterest – Restricted to ResearchGate. Includes RG score, but also more weight given to citations and publications. Can be directly compared to all ResearchGate members.
- Altmertic – Combines citations from a range of sources across the web – social media, government reports, as well as academic journals.
Link to transcript: https://www.drrichardhuysmans.com/metrics-for-measuring-research-outputs-2/
Five Conferences You Should Be Attending During Your PhD and Why
Five conferences you should attend during your PhD:
- Leading international conference in your field – to get to know the experts.
- Leading national conference in your field – to find local experts.
- Local special interest group – to solve your specific programs.
- University conference – to know you are not alone.
- Leading local industry conference – to find new users or problems to solve.
Link to transcript: https://www.drrichardhuysmans.com/five-conferences-you-should-be-attending-during-your-phd-and-why-2/
Launching Your Post PhD Career
PhDs are a lot like weddings. We spend forever worrying about this one event, but the real challenge is the lifetime that comes afterwards. So, if you’re interested in planning for what happens after you graduate your PhD come along to this recorded workshop. I talked about career planning and job search strategies. There were also time for Q and A.
Reporting Your Success
It is great to measure yourself. But the next step towards improvement is to report. I don’t think it matters who or where you report to. It could be a friend, colleague, partner, family member, staff member or the public. But it is important to report. It creates an accountability framework. It also ensures that your goals and targets are still relevant to you and what you want for yourself.
Link to transcript: https://www.drrichardhuysmans.com/reporting-your-success-2/
How Are You Measuring Your Success?
One of the most important things we can do to help others positively assess our work and progress is to collect data and report on our success.
But not all measures are equal. Furthermore, some measures can be collected without our knowledge or input.
So, if you want to manage your reputation, the first thing you need to do is understand how you or others measure your success.
Link to transcript: https://www.drrichardhuysmans.com/how-are-you-measuring-your-success-2/
Instagram for Researchers (Jul 2021)
Instagram is the perfect tool for people who produce good looking images. And, if you ask me, researchers (academics) produce heaps of images. Images in the form of figures for papers and presentations. And these images could also be used on Instagram. If that’s something you’d like to know more about. Or perhaps you want to dip your toe into the Instagram pool. I covered some of the fundamentals of Instagram as well as answer your questions about using it more effectively.