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Developing my Research Vision

What is your research vision? Young scientists don't always find this question easy to answer, but it is crucial, especially for those who aspire to a career in academia, and for those who may soon have to demonstrate their scientific independence, (international) visibility and ambition for a tenure track.

This course is meant for these people, post doc’s and junior lecturers who want to stay in science and must work on developing, formulating and communicating their personal research vision.

This course is offered in collaboration with Wageningen Graduate Schools (WGS).

Programme objectives

You will attend a number of workshops and group discussions, and then spend time activating what you have learned, to clearly identify:

  • What your research vision is & why it is YOUR vision;
  • Why it is important, both scientifically and societally;
  • How you can implement your vision (SMART plan of action);
  • How you can communicate your vision, appealingly and effectively.

In addition to developing your research vision, you will learn to effectively communicate your vision. By clearly explaining why you do what you do, you bring both yourself and your research in the limelight. You will feel much more confident when presenting to the tenure track committee, at conferences, in (social) media, and to cooperation partners.

Please note: this is not a writing skills training but a personal development training where you work in small groups on finding your research niche, profiling yourself, and distinguishing yourself with your vision, ideas, expertise and personality.

Content and design

The programme is a stepwise process in which you work intensively on developing yourself, your research vision, and your presentation. You’ll enjoy the varied approach; online tests, self-analysis & personal reflection, skills training, group work, brainstorming sessions, and making action plans.

You will process and analyse the acquired information as you move through the programme. You reflect on yourself, your viewpoint, and your vision of the future. Developing these elements often takes time, so that's why we ask you to plan enough time between the sessions, and keep a personal workbook/file to document everything you discover about yourself on the way.

Day 1: What is my dream? & Where am I now?

“If you can dream it, you can do it.”

Developing a vision is a process, from dream to reality. Your personal research vision make you aware of what’s important to you, translated into a concrete image of what you want to achieve in the long and medium term.

In this session you search for your why, your ideal, your dream. What are my ambitions? What do I want to have achieved with my research in 10 years' time? Who am I doing it for? And why?

In the next step, you assess how realistic this dream is. You complete an on-line self-analysis (e.g. about working values as well as a personality assessment (Big 5 Personality Traits). You then analyse your strengths and weaknesses in the context of opportunities and threats (SWOT) to identify the challenges that lie ahead and how you can tackle these. The self analysis is the start for your vision development.


Day 2: What will my research look like in 10 years' time?

In the first session, you look at yourself in your role of researcher; your goals, motives, and ambitions. In this second session, you take a step ‘outside’ to look into the future of your research field.

In today’s world of rapid changes and increasing complexity, optimising creative potential is of critical importance. You will learn to use creativity techniques to recognise and select the most creative and innovative ideas. Working together with other participants, you will be encouraged to look at yourself and your work from other perspectives, using ‘out-of-the-box’ ideas to refine your focus on: what will my research look like in 10 years' time?

You then start putting your vision into words. By discussing the results with people both inside and outside your field, you test whether your ideas pass the reality test. You also check your scientific impact and societal value, and search for partnerships and funding opportunities.

Day 3: My research vision in detail

Now your vision’s on paper and has found approval, you translate this into a clearly written research vision and discuss this with your fellow participants in subgroups. You look for similarities, but above all for differences in your mutual visions. The feedback from this session will help you sharpen your vision and better define your research niche.

In this third session, a successful researcher shares his or her own journey to inspire and support you and the group.

Day 4 & 5: How do I communicate my vision?

Now that you’ve formulated your vision in detail, in these final sessions you develop the skills and tools to present your vision is an appealing, convincing way. You determine how you can approach and convince new and promising stakeholders. You will be helped to build a solid and captivating story that you can use to convincingly present yourself and your research to a tenure track committee, potential partners and stakeholders, and/or the media.

You will learn to develop and improve your skills in:

  • pitching your research vision (day 4)
  • personal branding / profiling (day 5)
  • writing for social media & online networking (day 5)

Day 4: Pitching: my research vision (1/2 day)

You make your vision concise and easily communicable. The reformulation and especially tightening of your 'pitch-proof' vision takes a half-day.

Day 5: Personal branding / profiling (1/2 day)

In this session, you learn the art of selling yourself as a distinctive researcher in a competitive environment. You gain the necessary knowledge and skills to promote yourself as a personal brand in your field of interest.

Day 5: Online networking & writing for social media (1/2 day)

In this session you learn what online networking really entails and the returns it can generate. You develop a social media news strategy for different target groups, and you improve your online profiles (LinkedIn, personal website). The session is very hands-on, and you leave with an improved social media profile and/or a written blog.

Day 6: My next step? (1/2 day)

In this final session, you translate your vision into a concrete strategy to achieve your longer-term ambitions. In other words: what do you need to do (actions) after this training programme?

  • Focus on knowledge and skills: what do I need to know and manage?
  • Focus on cooperation: who can help me (along)?
  • Focus on profiling: how and where do I put myself on the map in a distinctive way?

The output forms a concrete action plan for your future academic career.

Course duration

  • 4 full days and 2 half-days
  • The following course will start on October 17, 2019.
  • Please be aware that apart from the training days sufficient time must be reserved to work on the assignments and research vision document in your own time.

Dates and times

Schedule PhD courses

Course material

The course material is included in the course fee and will be distributed in the first session.

Course Fee

Postdocs of the Graduate schools of Wageningen University € 650
All other post-docs and staff at Wageningen University € 1300
All other participants € 1500