Developing my research vision (face-to-face)

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, especially for those who may soon have to demonstrate their scientific independence, (international) visibility and ambition for a tenure track.

This course is useful for those people. The focus will be on post doc’s and early state tenure trackers who want to stay in science and like to work on developing, formulating and communicating their personal research vision.

Programme objectives

Through various workshops, group discussions and self-activities, you will be able to clearly identify:

  • What your research vision is & why this is YOUR vision
  • Why this is important: scientifically and societally
  • How you can translate your vision to SMART activities
  • How to communicate your vision in an appealing and effective way

By having a clear view of your vision that you can communicate in an appealing and effective manner, you bring both yourself and your research in the limelight when presenting to the tenure track committee, at conferences, in (social) media, and to cooperation partners.

Note that 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. The working methods are varied; consisting of online tests, self-analysis & personal reflection, skills training, group work, brainstorming, writing and presenting sessions and action plans.

You will process and analyse the acquired information as you move through the programme. You reflect on yourself and your view and vision on the future. Developing these elements takes time, that's why we will ask you to plan time between training days and to keep a personal workbook/file to document all findings and discoveries on the way.

As the process takes place over a longer period, it is suggested that at the beginning of the programme participants form small groups that meet weekly at a fixed time to discuss the personal files and share ideas with each other.

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

Developing a vision is a process, from dream to reality. 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? 

You will assess how realistic the dream is. You will be asked to fill in an on-line self-study about working values and a personality assessment (Big 5 Personality Traits). Accordingly, you perform a SWOT analysis to identify the challenges that lie in front of you and how these can be tackled. The self-analysis is the start for your vision development.

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

In this session day you will step ‘outside’ to look into the future of your research field. In today’s world of rapid changes and increasing complexity, optimizing creative potential is of critical importance. We will use creativity techniques to recognize and select the most creative and innovative ideas. With help from colleagues you will be stimulated to look from other perspectives and use ‘out-of-the-box’ ideas to refine focus on: What will my research look like in 10 years' time?

You will start writing your vision and will be asked to discuss the outcome with people inside and outside your field to test if your ideas can pass the reality test. You will further check the scientific impact and societal value and look for partnerships and funding opportunities.

Day 3: My research vision in detail

You will make the translation into a clear written research vision that will be discussed with fellow participants in subgroups. You will determine possible similarities but above all differences in your mutual visions. You will receive feedback to sharpen your vision and define your research niche. 

A successful researcher will be invited as a guest speaker to share his or her own journey to inspire and support you and the group.

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

After the formulation of a clear research vision you will obtain skills and tools to present this vision is an appealing, convincing way. You determine how promising stakeholders can be reached and convinced. You build a solid and captivating story that you can use to firmly present yourself and your research to a tenure track committee, potential partners, stakeholders or media.

After this part of the process, you are trained in the following skills:

  • Pitching my 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 place in a half-day training session. 

    Day 5: Personal Branding / Profiling (1/2 day)

    This session deals with the art of selling yourself as a distinctive researcher in a competitive environment. You gain 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 will learn what online networking really entails and the returns it can generate. You will develop a social media news strategy for different target groups and you will improve your online profiles (LinkedIn, personal website). The session is therefore hands-on, and you will leave with improved social media profile or a written blog.

    Day 6: My next step?

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

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

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

    Practical course information

    • This course is taught face-to-face.
    • 5 full days and 1 half-day.
    • The start time of the course is between 09:00 hrs and 10:00 hrs each session.
    • 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.
    • The maximum number of participants per group is 14.

    Dates and Times

    The course Developing my Research Vision is offered twice a year in the first and second semester. Please click below for the course schedule.

    Schedule PhD and Postdoc courses 2024

    If you would like to take this course but it is either full or does not list a starting date that suits you, please subscribe to our notification list by filling in the registration form. You will then be kept updated on new sign-up opportunities and dates.

    Course materials

    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 €700
    All other post-docs and staff at Wageningen University €1400
    External participants €1900

    Cancellation conditions

    You may cancel free of charge up to four weeks before the start of the course. After this date you will be charged the incurring course fee. Unless:

    • You can find someone to replace you in the course and supply the course coordinator with the name and contact information of your replacement. In this caseyou will only be charged a €50 cancellation fee.
    • You (PhDs and postdocs of Wageningen University) have a valid reason to cancel (illness or death in the family 1st or 2nd degree). In this case you will be charged the reduced fee and your supervisor/PI must send a mail indicating the reason for cancellation.