The Resilient Researcher: Connecting to the Core of Researcher Life

Date(s) - 22/07/2019 10:00 am - 5:00 pm

Lancaster University

Doctoral Students, Early Career Researchers

Course overview

The challenges of research life can make it hard to sustain a sense of personal resilience and well-being.  Research life can be unpredictable, precarious and challenging.  Research life can feel chaotic and throw up a whole barrage of challenges that can include feeling overwhelmed at the tasks in hand; insecurities about funding uncertainties; self-doubt in a world of knowledgeable experts; confusion about the best way forward; and the impossibilities of balancing research and the rest of life.  The list could go on. It can be easy to lose yourself, your sense of direction and well-being. Indeed, it can be hard to sustain your personal resilience when you’re feeling insecure about the next stage of your work and yet resilience can be key to maintaining your research effectiveness.

Unique to this workshop, you are not going to be told what resilience is, and what you SHOULD do to build it.  Resilience comes in many shapes and forms, generally pointing to the ability to recover from setbacks, to adapt to changing circumstance and keep going in the face of adversity.  However, the workshop is designed to build on your experience and the collective wisdom of the group, to develop an understanding of what resilience means for you and how you can develop strategies to nourish and sustain it in everyday life.

This one-day, experiential and interactive coaching-based workshop will create an opportunity to re-engage with your own sense of personal resilience and well-being, and be challenged with how to bring that into your everyday life.

Who is it for?

Being resilient is for academics and researchers at any stage of their career, who could benefit from exploring how to nourish their personal resilience: for example they may feel out of balance, overwhelmed and over-stressed, or lacking confidence in some way.  The workshops have been attended by PhD students, researchers, lecturers and Professors, sometimes at the same time.  They have been attended by people from all disciplines – from physicists to creative writers, sociologists to mathematicians, health researchers to economists.

What’s involved?

The day is designed to build on your experience, identify what resilience means for you and explore possible approaches you might use to nourish and build your resilience and well-being.

  • Setting up: introducing a coaching approach and the relationship between performance, potential and interferences; sharing current experience of research and life; identifying what we want from the day and agreeing how we’ll work together.
  • Experiential exploration: exploring what it feels like when we are ‘resilient’ and when we don’t feel ‘resilient’; locating a sense of personal vision and values, how in balance they feel, and the implications for personal resilience; learning what knocks you off balance and how to come back to your centre; identifying personal strategies to sustain everyday resilience.
  • Throughout the day we’ll be moving between whole group exercises and discussion, small group exercises and personal reflection time (the balance will depend on the group and what we collectively agree).  When appropriate, there will also be individual interventions from the coach.

Beyond the day

Through their own reflection, participants will identify insights throughout the day that they will want to take forward into their work and the rest of life.  Approximately 6 weeks after the workshop participants will be invited to attend a webinar to ‘check in’ on their progress since the workshop.

The webinar will be held in a coaching format, working through themes that participants bring to the call.  Participants who want to go further can sign up for 1-1 coaching or explore other options with Will to participate in group coaching sessions.

About Will Medd

Will has a highly qualified coaching skill set uniquely combined with an intimate understanding of academic life. He has a track-record of demonstrating expertise in delivering coaching to an academic audience, including specialist development of effective group coaching and a collaborative approach to co-design which ensures learning from an integrated process of evaluation and review.

As a professional certified coach, coach supervisor, and meditation trainer, and a former academic with an international research reputation, Will brings a highly qualified coaching skill set uniquely combined with an intimate understanding of the experience of academic life. Will is passionate about enabling people to be at their best while recognising the need to balance academic work with the rest of life.

Will is deeply committed to ensuring all participants gain from the experience, offering an appropriate balance of professionalism, emotional sensitivity and humour to develop the right conditions of challenge and support conducive to participant engagement and learning. His sessions are regularly scored as ‘excellent’ by participants and comments have included: “respectful, sensitive to needs of the group”, “Fantastic, created really safe atmosphere to expose the issues raised”, “Excellent. Very patient when dealing with quite a few of us, kept us on track “, “Exceptional – humane, forgiving, thoughtful and able to bring out the best in a diverse group” and “Excellent, professional, honest and inspiring”.


The morning session will run from 10.00am – 1.00 am, with a break around about 11.15am. The focus will be on setting up, what resilience means to you, developing an inner resource, identify values and personal vision.

The afternoon session will run from 1.45pm – 5.00 pm, with a break around 3.30. The focus will be on what knocks you off balance and how to regain it, the power of different perspectives, developing personal strategies and identifying commitments.

The remainder of the programme remains relatively flexible as Will adapts this to the needs of the group.

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