The DST biennial cohort building retreat took place in April 2018 at Gregynog Hall. Students from all four cohorts were split up into two different groups, giving everyone a chance to meet other diamond researchers from different universities.
On the first day, and the morning of the second day, the two groups swapped activities. The first of these was a team building workshop with Michele Underwood, (Researcher Development Manager, University of Warwick). She taught us about The Learning Cycle and how to categorise the different types of learners - activist, pragmatist, reflector and theorist.
Later, we got outside for a challenge - learning how to build a rope structure in 40 minutes, and then rebuilding it from scratch in just 2 minutes! Seeing how everyone approached the challenge helped us to understand how different people learn in different ways.
The other activity was a visit to Lake Vyrnwy (Bethania Adventure), with an opportunity to canoe on or walk around the lake.
Group B were fortunate enough to do this on the sunnier day, but it was an enjoyable experience for all. And despite some nervy moments, no one got lost, and no one fell into the lake!
Impact to Innovation
During the second and third days, Theresa, Simon and Gerard from Warwick Ventures ran their workshop, Innovation to Impact. This included sessions that looked at: The Entrepreneur Mindset, Creativity, Marketing and Business and Networking.
Each session included different activities around the area, ranging from building a Business Model Canvas to thinking of as many potential uses for a pencil as possible! Particular focus was on how to discuss PhD projects and applications with non-scientists, especially within the context of networking.
In the evenings...
In the evening of day one, Jenny and Martin (cohort 4) hosted a pub quiz that included a diamond inspired music round and a curious anagrams round. After a tense finale, The Diamond Geezers took home the prize - and the bragging rights.
For our second evening at Gregynog, Molecules with Silly or Unusual Names, a light-hearted lecture, was brought to us by Prof. Paul May (University of Bristol). He introduced us to chemicals such as selene dione (not actually named after the singer), showing us that scientists will often see the funny side of their own research.
We are very grateful to everyone who took time out to be a part of the retreat, to those who planned it, to the staff at Gregynog, and for the opportunity to meet and chat to students from every cohort.
Article by Daniel Coxon (Cohort 3)