10 top tips on how to organise your own research event – lessons from Doctoral Discussions

Last Thursday (28/01) the Research Hive and the Doctoral School hosted the first Doctoral Discussions of this term, on Organising your Own Research Event.

We had the pleasure to welcome a range of speakers: Anne Templeton (Psychology – organiser of the Five Minutes Thesis Competition); Chelsea Louise Olsen (English – current organiser of Ngender events); Beatrice Chateauvert-Gagnon (International Relations – past NGENDER organiser) and Jack Miler (SPRU – organiser of the last SPRU DPhil Day). We also heard a few words from Helen Hampson (Doctoral School) on how to apply for Doctoral School`s founds. The session was chaired by Hive Scholar Katherine da Cunha Lewin, who also organised her own conference last year.

In a very informal and conversational way, the speakers shared their experiences of organising successful events. Here are 10 very useful tips they gave:

  • Build on the experience accumulated in previous years if you are organising a recurring event (NGENDER and SPRU DPhil day, for instance).
  • Start planning your event as soon as you can. Especially if you are inviting keynote speakers from abroad, the sooner you can plan, the better.
  • Use apps for event management (ASANA was recommended).
  • Wisely divide the tasks between the people in your team, mobilising the best skills each organiser can offer without overburdening anyone.
  • Find the things you can use for free in order to make the best out of your necessarily limited budget (room booking, department support, volunteer students, etc.).
  • Think in advance about how you will make the transition between different parts of your event.
  • Try to anticipate possible difficulties in order to be prepared if anything goes differently from what was planned.
  • Use the event to create/strengthen research networks. Social media is especially useful for that purpose.
  • Increase your budget by using different funding sources. The Doctoral School`s Research-Led Initiative Fund (RLI) may be a good option.
  • Be prepared but try to take it easy during the event day. If you have planned well, everything will be fine.

The Research Hive and the Doctoral School will be hosting three more Doctoral Discussions sessions during the Spring Term: Teaching (March); Supervision (April) and Viva (May). Check out our blog for dates.

Thank you everyone who participated in this first session!

A recording of this session is available here.





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