What is ACES?
The ACES (Academic Competencies Enhancement Series) course is based on King's College London's award-winning THRIVE programme for early career researchers, and covers a range of non-technical skills needed to build a career in today's competitive international research environment.
ACES comprises the following workshops (most are one day):
- Mentoring: fellows learn the skills and techniques to be an effective mentor before entering into a year-long peer mentoring scheme with another AMARI fellow. Our mentoring consultant is Alexis Hutson.
- Work-life balance: activity management techniques are discussed along with testimonies, stories and Q&A with experienced African researchers who have coped with the challenges of finding balance.
- Teamwork: fellows take the Big Five (personality) or Myers-Briggs (preferences), and Thomas-Kilmann (conflict) questionnaires, before being taught teamwork theory and engaging in role playing difficult situations with colleagues.
- Career strategy: fellows learn how to set strategic goals for themselves, then how to build and mobilise networks to reach those long-term aims. This module is led by international expert on research and academic careers Prof Shelda Debowski.
- Presentation skills: fellows learn how to give effective verbal presentations, including pitching proposals and describing research work, and how to create strong visuals to support their talks. Our presentations consultant is Simon Cain.
- Digital media: this sessions shows fellows how to use digital platforms to disseminate their work, build their profiles, and engage in online debate. Our digital media consultant is Dr Vaughan Bell.
- Engaging policy makers: this workshops opens up the discussion on how best to translate research findings into practice by working with policy makers to influence and guide their decision-making on health service delivery.
- Teaching: fellows learn the theory of teaching adults, and how to tailor lectures and classes to a range of audiences, including working online and in low-resource settings.
- Academic writing: this five-day residential and experiential workshop teaches the theory of effective written communication, before giving dedicated time to fellows to write up part of their research for publication. They receive individual facilitator input and peer feedback. The academic writing course is led by Helen Jack of Harvard University.
- Grant writing: fellows learn the basics of developing a grant proposal and how to 'think like a reviewer' when writing and submitting an application. Our workshop focuses on smaller grants for early-career researchers.