Getting a job outside academia

Katja Lubina (Leiden)

The academic employment market is highly competitive, as the number of annual PhD graduates exceeds the number of available academic openings.It is therefore important for PhD students to make the most of their personal opportunities and prepare for a greater diversity of career options. Pursuing your career outside academia is by no means a failure. Nor does it mean that you wasted your time by doing a PhD First. The skills and competenciesyou develop in doctoral research are of great value in today’s complex workforce.PhDs work inresearch, writing, public service, consulting, advising, teaching,publishing, and more. In this workshop, we will look at different opportunities, how you can explore the job market and how to build your network outside academia. 

Aims and objectives:

-You will learn about the range of job opportunities outside of academia

-You will learn about how to use LinkedIn as a tool for networking

-You will learn the essentials of networking and that it can be fun! 

-You will learn how to write good application letters


Getting a job inside academia

Katja Lubina (Leiden)

The academic employment market is highly competitive, as the number of annual PhD graduates exceeds the number of available academic openings. It is therefore crucial for PhD Candidates who would like to pursue an academic career, to be aware of the different path ways, the challenges, and what they can do to enhance their chances to stay within academia. During this workshop we will discuss the different opportunities that will allow you to continue your academic career after your PhD: getting funding yourself, becoming a post-doc on a project, combining research with teaching obligations. We will also discuss how you can enhance your chances by making yourself indispensable for an institute or faculty. ​

Aims and objectives:

-You will understand how challenging it is to pursue a career within academia

-You will learn about the different career paths within academia

-You will learn about strategies to make yourself indispensable

Measuring the efficiency of executive functions

Patrycja Kałamała & Kalinka Timmer​

Executive functions (EFs) play a fundamental role in shaping our behaviour that requires planning, reasoning, problem solving, conflict resolution and so on. There is a debate among scientists on how EFs are related to multilingual experience. The overarching goal of this workshop is to provide a timely discussion of the paradigms used to measure EFs and demonstrate how research at both behavioral and neural levels has informed models of EFs. That is, we will present the most common assessment instruments, and we will also delineate some of the major difficulties that challenge the valid and reliable measurement of EFs. Finally, we will present practical recommendations on how to overcome the problems related to the measurement of EF

How to write a grant (focus on post-doc grant)

Katja Lubina (Leiden)​

It is essential for young researchers to be able to obtain independent research funding in order to advance in their career. This workshop will provide you with insights on how to prepare and write competitive research proposals for individual grants, with a focus on Marie Skłodowska-Curie Individual Fellowships.​

Aims and objectives:

We pay special attention to the purpose of the grant as envisioned by the grant organisation and how to make the proposal fit perfectly.​

  • You will learn how to present your research project in the best possible way. This involves making the proposal both structured and concise, presenting yourself and the envisioned host institution properly and emphasising aspects such as innovation, uniqueness and relevance.

  • You will learn how you can accommodate the reader(s), in order to leave a good impression on the judging referees and committee.

The fate of the native language in second language learning: A new hypothesis about bilingualism, mind, and brain

Judith F. Kroll​​

An enduring question about second language (L2) learning is why there are apparent constraints on the ability of adult learners to understand and speak the L2. Past research suggests that these constraints reflect characteristics of adult learners and the nature of the language learning contexts available to them. We propose a new hypothesis that shifts the focus to consider how a model of proficient adult bilingualism may provide new insights into late L2 learning. The critical observation is that proficient bilinguals are not monolingual-like in their native language. The new hypothesis is that successful adult L2 learners are individuals who are able to effectively change the native language to accommodate the L2 and to negotiate the cross-language competition that characterizes proficient bilingualism. The hypothesized changes may involve processing costs that initially slow the native language and make performance more error prone, make learners less sensitive to some features of the native language, and that open the native language to the influences of the L2. We review evidence from studies of language processing and brain imaging in bilinguals and L2 learners. High levels of cognitive resources and immersion in the L2 may enhance successful learning but what is hypothesized to be fundamental is change to the native language that functionally allows the L2 to develop as part of the language system. That process also gives rise to the ability to regulate the native language in a manner that may provide a basis for understanding some of the cognitive and neural consequences of bilingualism.​

You can find the recording of the lecture here.

How to succeed in science and survive

Judith F. Kroll

Mental health during PhD and after

Katja Lubina (Leiden)​

t's important to acknowledge the importance of your own well-being. This is often neglected while being in the PhD loop: conducting experiments in the lab, attending weekly meetings, obtaining and analysing data, preparing presentations, writing papers, writing the thesis, the fear of not being good enough and so forth. There is great uncertainty and many PhD Candidates feel unsupported, isolated and stressed out. Self-sabotaging thought

processes, poor coping strategies, and little work-life balance render these high-achieving individuals susceptible to burnout and a raft of mental health issues.
The latest survey by the journal Nature in 2019 revealed that no less than 36% of PhD Candidates had sought help for anxiety or depression related to their PhD. That response echoes other investigations into the mental-health status of students. Thus, it becomes more important than ever to take care of ourselves during this busy time.

In this workshop we look at how stress arises and how you can recognize its symptoms. We map out what you can do to deal with it. What is relaxing for you? How do you ensure that you practice healthy habits (more)? A post-doc will share her [?] experience on how to cope with the constant pressure.​

Aims and objectives:

  • You will understand why PhD Candidates are more vulnerable than other young starting professionals in terms of mental health

  • You will learn about habits to keep you happy and healthy

  • You will learn what to do when feeling overwhelmed and depressed


First draft to published draft. How to edit your papers?

Marta Marecka​

"For many of us editing is the most difficult part of the writing process. This workshop teaches how to tame the chaos of the first draft and how to edit papers in an organised, step-by-step fashion. 

The workshop is very strongly oriented towards the writing technique and the principles of good style. It dispels many myths around academic writing. It teaches the basis of clear, precise style that is reader-oriented and improves the author’s chances of publication. It is based on a wide range of teaching resources on academic writing, as well as my experience as the as reviewer and a successful academic writer. The workshop has been prepared with Maria Kula - an experienced editor and a creative writing teacher.

The workshop is highly practical and focused on editing rather than theory. During the workshop participants work on their own papers or thesis sections.

The topics covered include:

Writing as an exercise in empathy - focusing on the reader in the process of edition

Writing on topic

Structure - especially paragraph structure - and the logical flow of text

Language - sentence structure and length, grammatical constructions, vocabulary and precision of language”


The effects of bilingualism on brain and cognition

Christos Pliatsikas​

It has been shown that all languages that bi-/multilinguals speak are active and available at any given time. This means that individuals are constantly faced with the challenging task of selecting the appropriate language over the others for a given context. This has led to vivid, and sometimes heated, discussions on whether bilingualism affects cognition a broader way, including functions that are beyond those closely or traditionally related to language processing, such as cognitive control. This series of lectures will review contemporary literature investigating how bilingualism affects domain general cognition, including executive functions, and the brain correlates of these effects. Moreover, we will go over long-term effects of bilingualism on the brain, including how it affects brain structure and brain function at rest. These effects will be viewed through the perspective of experience-based neuroplasticity, similar to the effects caused by other types of long-terms experiences and/or training. The implications of these effects for older age will also be discussed, including proposals for cognitive and neural reserves in older bilinguals

Infants learning from social worlds. Is bilingual learning special?

Ágnes M. Kovács​

A fundamental task of young infants is to learn from and about their social environment. However, these environments may be relatively different, and one interesting case is that of bilingual infants. While the most obvious difference between monolingual and bilingual environments is that in the latter infants have to learn their native languages from their social partners via linguistic input that contains two linguistic systems and it is likely more noisy, possible effects may go well beyond language and affect learning differently in various domains. For instance, bilingualism may also come with a need to sustain two alternative representations of the same reality or to realize that some people share external or internal characteristics (e.g. knowledge structures), while others do not. In the first part we will address the changes or adaptations bilingual environments may elicit in language and cognitive processing, while in the second part we will focus on possible differences on how infants learn about their social partners (their group membership, their intentions, or knowledge).

How to write a grant (focus on ERC)

Ágnes M. Kovács​

Being successful in academia heavily relies on being able to secure external research funding. The aim of this session is to discuss some crucial issues that worth consideration when writing a grant, via some personal examples from an ERC Starting grant, with a special emphasis on when to apply, how to apply and what to keep in mind during the writing process (e.g., putting oneself in the mental shoes of a reviewer, always having in mind the evaluation criteria, the groundbreaking aspect of the proposal, its theoretical advancement, conciseness, intelligibility, methodological details (e.g. warranted methodology), and feasibility).

Making research relevant to diverse audiences

Prof Antonella Sorace (University of Edinburgh, UK) and Dr Katarzyna Przybycien (Bilingualism Matters Edinburgh, UK)
During the interactive webinar you will learn how to adjust your communication style when engaging diverse audiences: families, health professionals, press, radio, policy makers with research on bilingualism. The session will feature examples and a practical exercise evolving around participants’ own research

BM network - academic collaboration beyond research

Dr Katarzyna Przybycien (Bilingualism Matters Edinburgh, UK) and Prof Antonella Sorace (University of Edinburgh, UK)​

The webinar will introduce participating to the Bilingualism Matters Network, its history, inner workings and selected projects. Participants will be invited to create a simple dissemination strategy for their own research using opportunities available within the Bilingualism Matters network


This project has received funding from the European Union's Horizon2020 research and innovation programme under the Marie Skłodowska Curie grant agreement No 765556.

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