Early Career Researchers Forum


What is the ECR Forum?

The ECR Forum provides training opportunities for researchers in early stages of their careers - from PhD students and RAs to postdocs, teaching fellows, and first-position lecturers!

Since being founded by Paula Clarke and Claudine Crane, the ECR Forum has continued to thrive in the department. Over the past few years the ECR Forum has had a strong committee of volunteers who have given their time to help plan and organise events for ECRs in the department. We look forward to planning many events for the ECRs in the upcoming term, to enrich both their professional and social life in the department.

The aims of the ECR Forum are:

  • To explore the practical aspects of a career in academia
  • To discuss methodological issues/innovations in research methods
  • To be a social forum for research staff and students
  • To receive careers advice from senior members of staff/alumni
  • To form links with a view to potential research collaborations


ECR newsletter

Download a copy of the latest ECR Forum newsletter:

There are multiple ways in which you can find out about ECR activities:

  • The 'News' tab of this website is regularly updated with the details of upcoming events.
  • The ECR mailing list is used to inform ECRs of event details and other relevant information. (New PhD students and postdocs are automatically added to the list. If you don't think you're on the mailing list and would like to be added, please email the ECR Chair.)
  • The Departmental Display Boards around the Psychology Department display information about upcoming events.
  • The annual ECR newsletter provides a summary of ECR activities from the previous academic year (see right for the most recent newsletter).

Open meetings

Each Autumn, we hold an open meeting to discuss ideas for the upcoming year. This is a great opportunity for all early career researchers to come along, have some tea/coffee and biscuits, and discuss what activities would be valuable for early career researchers!

For the dates/times of upcoming open meetings, please check the 'News' tab. Please come along - everyone's welcome!

Contact Us

If you have any questions or queries related to the ECR Forum, please contact any member of the committee (contact details above).



Jet Sanders




Janine Oostenbroek


Faculty Representative


Karla Evans


Faculty Representative


Heidi Baseler


Postdoc Representative


Bruce Keefe


Postdoc Representative


Kay Ritchie


Postdoc Representative

Robin Kramer


RA Representative

Holly Brown


Postdoc Representative

David Robertson


PhD Representative

Eilidh Noyes


PhD Representative


Christopher Pease


PhD Representative


Huarda Valdes-Laribi


PhD Representative


Alexandra Levine


PhD Representative

Charlotte Murphy

Charlotte Murphy


PhD Representative

Niamh Mcloughlin


PhD Representative


Lucy Spencer


Website Manager


Justyna Sobczak




On-going Events

Tea/Coffee Club

Towards the week, everyone tends to need a break over tea/coffee and cake! We meet on Fridays at 3pm in the staff room – everyone’s welcome! Bring a mug of tea/coffee. Coffee club is a great way to meet other Early Career Researchers in an informal setting. Hope to see you there!

ECR Forum Library

The library holds a variety of books relevant to Early Career Researchers. Books are kept in the staff room and can be borrowed by filling in the sign-out sheet, which is kept on the wall of the staff room.

Current titles:

Happy Reading!

Events Autumn Term

Academic Events

EventDescriptionTime & Place
PhD Induction and Buddy System

The co-chairs of the ECR presented a brief presentation to the new PhD students of 2015 on what the ECR is and what events are planned for this academic year. This was followed by “Meet your Buddy” where 1st year PhD students were allocated a buddy from the Department to answer any questions they had about doing a PhD and living in York. New PhD students also received a welcome pack from the ECR including a welcome letter, annual newsletter and a 4GB USB.

Wednesday 30th September, 11am, B204
Psych 101

This event is particularly aimed at first year PhD students and new members of the department to help settle in to life at York Psychology. This event pooled together a list of resources that veteran ECRs had suggested when asked “what do you wish you had been told when starting at York”. This included advice on PEEBS, cash advances, stationary cupboard, printer locations, TAP advice etc.

 Thursday 15th October, 3pm, C108
Open Meeting The ECR Forum starts the academic year by collecting ideas for activities and events from early career researchers. This session is open to all forum members and is used as a platform for shaping the upcoming year's agenda. We usually have a good turn out and some excellent ideas for new events and activities are shared! Thursday 22nd October, 3pm, C108
Interview Skills Workshop

This event will include tips and advice on how to prepare and execute a successful interview for postdoctoral and first time lectureship positions. Head of Department Professor Quentin Sommerfield will be sharing his experiences and Senior Careers Advisor Janice Simpson will explain to ECRs what services the University provides when preparing for an interview.

Thursday 5th November, 4pm, A202
CV workshop

The ECR Forum have hosted several CV Workshops in the past. We are hoping to run this event again in the Autumn Term. ECRs will have the opportunity submit their CVs to members of the faculty to receive personalised feedback. We will then meet together to talk about what to include in and how to structure your academic CV.


Social Events

EventDescriptionTime & Place
Welcome Drinks

On the 8th October, we held a welcome drinks party in York town centre at Kennedys. All new and existing post graduates, post docs and early career lecturers were invited to attend. The turn out was fantastic and it was a fun and relaxed informal evening! It was a great opportunity to put names to faces and to make new friends.

Thursday 8th October, 7.30pm, Kennedys
Video Games Night We are hoping to host a video games night in Week 5 where ECRs will be invited to come and play new and retro video games! TBC!
Learn How to Juggle One of our staff members is a professional juggler! We are planning to hold a “Learn how to juggle” event in Week 7 or 8. Please come along if you want to have some fun and learn some top tips on juggling from a professional!
Christmas Party The ECR forum organises an annual departmental Christmas party. This year the Christmas party will be held at the York Marriott Hotel! The event provides a great opportunity for postgraduate students, postdoctoral fellows, RA's, faculty and support staff to socialise in a non-work environment. We’re looking forward to a fun night on the 2nd December!! Wednesday  January 21st, in the new Ellis Suite (C003)

Suggestions for Events

The ECR Forum Committee are always open to suggestions for events, however novel! Contact any member of the ECR Forum Committee with your ideas (Committee members can be found under the ‘Introduction’ tab).

Past Events

Here you can find details of previous ECR Forum events. If you'd like us to run any of these again, please let us know!

Academic Events

Annual Events

  • ECR Forum Open Meeting
    The ECR Forum starts the academic year by collecting ideas for activities and events from early career researchers. This session is open to all forum members and is used as a platform for shaping the upcoming year's agenda. We usually have a good turn out and some excellent ideas for new events and activities are shared!

  • ECR Forum Library
    As an accompaniment to the MATLAB classes, the ECRf purchased six MATLAB books open for loan by early career researchers. At the end of the academic year 2012-13, we extended the library by purchasing six books on R, three on event-related potentials, two on structural equation modelling, and one on SPSS. We hope that these books will be useful for a wide range of researchers. These books continue to be available and should be an invaluable resource in future years. ECRs are welcome to borrow these books by signing one out from the staff room. We hope to have the resources in the future to continue expanding the library with useful books!

One-off Events

  • 'MATLAB for Experimental Psychology' workshop

    Eighteen delegates (a mixture of postgraduates, postdocs, and RAs) attended an intensive, three-day workshop which taught the MATLAB programming language to those with no previous experience. Lunches and refreshments were provided throughout the workshop, courtesy of the ECR. We received very positive feedback and everyone seemed to benefit from the course. As such, we hope to run follow-up courses on this and similar topics in the coming years

  • Resilience Training Workshop The Challenge of Change (CoC) Resilience Training programme is a one-day programme, preferably split over two half-days to enable participants to gain experience in using The CoC Resilience tools and to further develop their skills in an informed way.


  • Photoshop and Illustrator Tutorial Dr Rob Jenkins will demonstate some useful techniques for creating stimuli and figures in Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator! There will be an opportunity to ask questions too.


  • Photoshop Tutorial
    A recent poll suggested that many ECRs wanted additional training on Adobe Photoshop for their research. Rob Jenkins provided lots of useful tips for editing photos in Photoshop to use as experimental stimuli. We learnt lots of shortcuts and tricks for ensuring good quality stimuli. Rob also showed us how to merge images together, using an example of adding a tattoo to an existing photo.

  • Brain dissection Workshop
    On 18th June 2014, the ECR Forum held a brain dissection workshop at the Hull-York Medical School with help from Professor Tim Andrews. The workshop included a  tutorial on brain anatomy from Tim Andrews, as well as the opportunity for hands-on experience of human brain dissection! The event was very popular and provided an immensely rare and incredibly valuable opportunity for psychologists to improve their understanding of the anatomy of the human brain. This is the third time that the ECR Forum has run a Brain Dissection event: first in July 2010 and second in June 2012. This event has always been very popular and well-attended in the past!

  • Social Media Workshop
    A fantastic overview of social media, such as blogging, Twitter, and Google+, by Tom Hartley and Sally Quinn in June 2014. The workshop began with a description of the positive and negative aspects of social media in academia and gave us a chance to try out some relevant websites for ourselves. The second part of the session involved a live Google Hangout with Professor Dorothy Bishop, Dr. Katie Wheat, and Dr. Cedar Riener, who were very helpful in answering our questions and telling us about their personal experiences. Many thanks to everyone who contributed to the session! Some useful social media links have been made available to us by Tom Hartley on the Psychology Department Wiki Pages (login required).

  • Skin Conductance Workshop
    This workshop on the method of measuring skin conductance took place in March 2014. Thanks to Gary Lewis for kindly letting us use his lab to learn about this equipment!

  • Academic CV Feedback Event
    The ECR Forum have hosted several CV Workshops in the past. In Spring 2014, we decided to provide a new twist on this important aspect of careers. ECRs had the opportunity to re-write their CVs and submit them for personalised feedback from the Department of Psychology faculty. Faculty were very helpful in writing comments on each CV and providing general feedback that could be summarised in a CV Feedback Event. This event was incredibly useful for all involved and the ECR Forum would like to thank the members of faculty who contributed to the success of this workshop: Sven Mattys, Karla Evans, Heidi Baseler, Gerry Altmann, Beth Jefferies, and Rob Jenkins!

  • Writing Your Thesis Using Word
    Due to popular demand, this workshop was run for the third academic year in a row in February 2014. In collaboration with IT services, this workshop provided everyone with tips on how to use Microsoft Word effectively to write a long document such as a thesis. Advice included how to automatically number table and figures, instantly create a contents page, and use templates for master documents. Even experienced users learnt something new and the incredibly helpful people from IT services were on hand to answer any questions. Previously, this event was run in November 2012 and also in 2011.

  • TMS Workshop
    In December 2013, this workshop introduced attendees to the method of transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS). The workshop started out with a brilliant introduction to TMS by Ed Silson and included a demonstration of the equipment by Ed and Mark Hymers. This event was well-attended and enjoyed by all!

  • Academic and Non-Academic Careers Event
    During Autumn term of 2013, the ECR Forum held a Careers event with invited speakers from academic and non-academic careers. Speakers included Dr. Padraig Kitterick (from Nottingham Hearing Biomedical Research Unit), Dr. Yvonna Lavis (from Unilever), Clare Sutherland (talking about research in the Govenment), and Georg Rueschemeyer (science journalist). The event was very well-attended and gave plenty of valuable insights into different types of careers!
    On Monday 5th March, 2012, the ECR Forum held a careers event providing advice on job hunting. The Research Development Team kindly provided information on seeking jobs and destinations of PhD and Post-Doc leavers. Insightful talks were given by Alice Cruickshank, and Bruce Keefe regarding tips on finding and being Post-Docs, and Nick Barraclough provided very useful information regarding how to make oneself marketable for lectureships. The Careers event also provided information on potential psychology-related jobs outside academia, including a talk given by a former PhD student, Claire Moody, regarding being a psychologist in industry. The ECR would like to thank all those that contributed to make this a thoroughly worthwhile and succesful event.

  • Reference Manager Workshop
    The reference manager workshop first ran in Spring term of 2013. This workshop highlighted the benefits of using reference manager software, which is relevant to early career researchers across the department. We compared 3 different reference managers: Zotero (presented by Chris Racey), Papers (presented by Bruce Keefe) and Mendeley (presented by Emma Holmes). While the aim of the workshop was to compare different software, rather than recommend a specific one, papers crumpled under the pressure on the day in terms of timely responding. Note that an introduction to Endnote is provided by the University's RDT.
    This workshop ran again in Autumn term 2013, aimed at new PhD students and researchers who missed out on the previous workshop. This time, we focussed on Zotero and Mendeley.

  • MATLAB Fortnightly Classes
    The ECR MATLAB classes started based on suggestions from the ECR open meeting and a department-wide poll. The classes were run once every 2 weeks in the Spring and Summer terms of 2013 and were facilitated by Dr Garreth Prendergast. Garreth made the sessions very hands-on and discussion based, encouraging everyone to consider how MATLAB can be applied to their research field. The Summer session concluded with a focus on using MATLAB to generate graphs. Feedback from attendees was very positive and we hope to be able to run similar sessions next year!

  • Qualtrics Event
    The Qualtrics event (Summer term 2013) aimed to give people an insight into online data collection. We discussed the types of stimuli that can be presented and data that it's possible to collect with the free version of this software. Attendees filled out their own Qualtrics survey, rating the event as useful and the presenters delightful! (Feedback not at all influenced by the fact that data collection was carried out during the workshop, of course...)

  • Women and Families in Science
    On the 21st of May 2013, the ECR organised an hour-long panel discussion entitled ‘Women and Families in Science’.  The panel consisted of 7 parents at different stages of their academic career, ranging from PhD students to professors.  After a brief introduction highlighting the need to address gender equality in academia, questions from the audience fuelled an enriching discussion around both the challenges and the positive aspects of raising a family and working in academia.  The open and informal exchange provided invaluable insight into the motivations, life and career choices of the panel members, relevant to all academics whether or not they are considering having a family. In future events of this kind, we are looking forward to seeing as many men as women in the audience, as it is an issue that has an impact on us all.‌  
  • EEG Workshop
    Due to popular demand, the ECR hosted an EEG Workshop as the final academic event of the year of 2013. The workshop began with a symposium of talks covering different topics in EEG acquisition and recording. Next was a live practical demonstration of an EEG cap being set up. Thanks to all of our speakers and demonstrators for an informative and enjoyable event. The slides from the talks are available on the Department's EEG wiki page. This was the second time that the event was run, the first being back in June 2011.

  • Research Governance and Ethics Workshop
    On 11th June, 2012 the ECR held a workshop on Research Governance and Ethics. Marcel Zentner and Tony Morland gave informative and stimulating talks on issues concerning ethical recruitment, treatment and debriefing of participants. The workshop was well attended and lots of thought-provoking questions and answers were provided!

  • CV Workshop
    On Friday 10th February, 2012, the ECR held a Job Applications workshop, led by Prof. Andy Ellis. The event covered possible job avenues, academic life, making the decision to apply for a job, marketing your CV accordingly, and providing an effective covering letter. Giving an effective job talk and interview skills were also discussed. The event was well attended with 30-40 ECR attendees, and was found to be very informative. This was the second time that a CV Workhop was run by the ECR, the first being in July 2009, which proved to be a very useful event.

  • Grant Writing Workshop
    On the 17th November, 2011, Gerry Altmann hosted a grant writing workshop where he divulged some useful tips on how to write (good) grant applications. The workshop was well attended and provided valuable information on what can be a very difficult task!

  • Study Visits Workshop
    On the 11th July the ECR forum held a workshop designed to offer practical advice about planning study visits. The talks covered different types of funding opportunities, including Fulbright, ESRC, EPS, BPS, and BBSRC. Silke Goebel also gave an interesting talk about study visits from a supervisor's perspective, and offered advice on how best to approach a potential supervisor when planning your visit. If interested please see this leaflet for the main information: ECRstudyVisits (PDF  , 419kb)

  • Supervising Students and Giving Effective Lectures
    About twenty people attended the ECR forum event on 'supervising projects and giving effective lectures', held on 14th March 2011. The event ran for two hours from 1 till 3, with lunch provided beforehand. Julian Oldmeadow started the session with a presentation on supervising undergraduate projects, which focused on highlighting some key issues faced by supervisors. These were managing the balance between providing direction and structure on the one hand, and allowing student autonomy on the other, and also on how to get students' initial research ideas into the form of a researchable question. After a short break around 2pm Annelies Vredeveldt, a third year PhD student and recipient of a university teaching award, gave a half-hour session on running tutorials. She provided a wealth of ideas about how to maintain student interest and encourage participation, and these excellent points were clearly appreciated by the attendees. The final half hour was delivered by Katie Slocombe, who talked about similar issues of maintaining attention and concentration in lectures. She also gave excellent tips and advice drawn from her own experience lecturing on the subject most difficult for maintaining student interest - statistics. Overall the session ran smoothly and was considered worthwhile by the attendees.

  • YNiC Workshop: ‘Where Mind Meets Brain’
    This event was an introduction to the York Neuroimaging Centre and was held on 26 January 2011. We welcomed anyone interested in finding out more about neuroimaging and its applications to Psychology. Michael Simpson of YNiC started off the event with an overview of the neuroimaging methods used at the centre, summarising the basics of MRI (magnetic resonance imaging), MEG (magnetoencephalography) and TMS (transcranial magnetic stimulation). Heidi Baseler, a research fellow in Psychology, showed how functional MRI can be used to uncover the mysteries of face processing in the brain. Tours of the MRI and MEG scanners followed, in which YNiC’s André Gouws gave a live demonstration of visual brain mapping using functional MRI, impressing even hard-nosed neuroimaging skeptics. Pádraig Kitterick, a Psychology research fellow, gave a fascinating talk on how MEG could be used to reveal the neural correlates of listening in multi-talker environments. Carin Whitney, another Psychology research fellow, gave an excellent presentation on applying TMS to investigate semantic control processes in the brain. The event ended with an invitation to chat informally with YNiC staff and presenters over wine and nibbles. We had a fairly good turnout, with interesting and lively questions from our audience, and I think everyone would agree it was an overall success.  Many thanks to all who participated, including organizers, presenters and attendees!

  • Sleep Lab Tour
    On the 20th October 2010, the ECR Forum organised a tour of the new sleep lab here in the department. The tour was held after an informative talk by Prof. Gareth Gaskell in which he covered sleep research and plans for future research here in the sleep lab.

  • Rob Kail Talk
    Rob Kail, from Purdue University visited the Department on Monday 7th September. Rob was for many years Editor of the Journal of Experimental Child Psychology, and is currently Editor of Psychological Science (the flagship journal of the APS). Rob gave two 30 minute talks. In the first talk "Advice to young writers from an old editor" Rob shared his wealth of knowledge and experience of publishing both from the point of view of an editor and a writer. Rob talked about the differences between writing for a thesis and a paper and the resilience required by ECRs when starting out on their publishing career. In the second talk "Psychological Science: past, present, and future" Rob talked about the journal 'psychological science', its vision, publication policies and procedures and their plans for the future of the journal. Both talks were well received by audience and there was ample time to ask Rob questions about publishing.

  • Alumni Event
    On the 22nd April five ex post graduates visited the department to talk about life after York. Each speaker talked about their career so far, their current job and their research interests. There were opportunities throughout the day to chat informally with the speakers and after each talk there was time for questions. The event was well attended and speakers had the chance to meet with old colleagues over lunch and coffee. Feedback has been very positive. The speaker's experiences varied considerably and we heard a range of different perspectives, opinions and ideas. It was an interesting and thought provoking day. We would particularly like to thank Tom Hartley and Katie Slocombe for chairing the sessions.

  • Structural Equation Modelling Course
    Arne Lervåg from the University of Oslo gave a 3 day course on 31 March to 2 April. The course covered the basic theory and practice of Structural Equation Modelling (SEM) through a mixture of lectures and hands' on computer exercises. Participants also had the opportunity to try out analyses on their own data. The course was attended by a large number of graduate students and research fellows from a range of research groups and was very well received.

  • Publishing Workshop
    On 17th March 2009, Gerry Altmann kindly gave a talk on "Getting Published: An Editor's Perspective". This was well attended and appealed to postgraduate research students, research fellows and lecturers alike. Gerry summarised and elucidated the peer-review process, and offered helpful advice in terms of both submitting and reviewing papers for publication. The talk was well-received as a useful insight into the publication process.

Social Events

Annual Events

  • Whisky Tasting The event involved presentation on whisky tasting techniques, the definition and history of Scotch Whisky, the production techniques, and the variables that help develop its distinct flavour.


  • Film Night Around a dozen people came along to our showing of the film 'Groundhog Day' to celebrate this annual event. We enjoyed drinks and snacks, provided by the ECR, as we watched this classic comedy. Everyone had a great evening, especially those who had never seen the film before.


  • Gr8 escape Solve a series of puzzles and codes in order to escape from the room. Team-work, common sense, creativity, and observational skills are needed to solve everything and escape!


  • An Evening with Wine Around 40 people attended an evening of wine tasting and activities with our guest speaker Renée Lefebvre, who works at Pillitteri Estates Winery in Ontario, Canada. We were fortunate enough to experience three reds and three white wines, as well as a Canadian icewine! Pillitteri Estates sponsored this event, providing several of the wines, as well as a number of prizes that were awarded throughout the evening. Many people voiced their enjoyment of the evening, and we believe that it was a resounding success.


  • Welcome Drinks
    Every October, we hold a welcome drinks party in York town centre. All new and existing post graduates, post docs and early career lecturers are invited to attend. The turn out is usually very good and a range of research groups came along. It is a relaxed informal evening; a chance for putting names to faces and making new friends.

  • Christmas Party
    The ECR forum organises an annual departmental Christmas party. The event provides a great opportunity for graduate students, post doctoral fellows, RA's, faculty and support staff to socialise in a non-work environment.

  • Pub Quiz
    This event provides an informal setting for PhD students, RA's, post docs, faculty and support staff to mix in a fun and informal setting. A bit of friendly competition is engendered with some fun and challenging questions spanning all sorts of knowledge!

  • ECR Coffee/Cake Club
    Each Friday, we meet in the staff room for coffee, cake and chat. We have a (voluntary) cake rota where people can bring in a homemade creation (or a shop-bought treat for those who are less keen on baking). The club is well attended by PhD students, PostDocs and some staff members. This year, we've welcomed many new ECRs over coffee and cake! The coffee and cake club is open to all, so next Friday, grab a cuppa and come and join us in the staff room at 2pm!

One-off Events

  • Film night
    In the middle of Summer Term 2014, the ECR Forum held a film night, fuelled with plenty of popcorn and other snacks! We watched 'The PhD movie', which many of us could relate to! We're looking forward to more film nights in the future and have lots of interesting suggestions for psychology-themed films!

  • Wine Tasting
    Back due to popular demand, we hosted another wine tasting event in April 2014. This time we had 9 different wines to try, including some produced in the UK! A fun evening where we could consider the more sophisticated aspects of wine tasting and put our tastebuds to the test! Many thanks to Peter Thompson and Tim Andrews for sponsoring the event.
    The first wine tasting event took place in Summer 2013. We had 6 different wines to identify from different parts of the world! Guests learned how to sample wine in order to unlock their aromas and flavours. The tasting was followed by a quiz of fun wine facts, which was won by Sven's team of wine connoisseurs. Thanks to ViperLib for sponsoring the event.
  • Chocolate Tasting
    In March 2014, the ECR Forum ran a chocolate tasting event! Taste buds were awakened with four different types of chocolate-themed drinks to try: Belgium hot chocolate, chocolate tea, an iced chocolate drink, and chocolate stout. Next were solid forms of chocolate, with a variety of different types to choose from, including some unusual flavour combinations! At the end, we tried to guess which chocolate was more expensive and were provided with some great tips for assessing the quality of chocolate. This event was sure to delight even the most experienced chocolate eaters! Many thanks to Tim Andrews for sponsoring the event.
  • International Food and Karaoke Night‌ ‌
    After the success of the food and karaoke night in 2013, we decided to run this event again in Spring Term 2014! It was a great evening of entertainment, with lots of enthusiastic singing.
    We first ran the food and karaoke night in March 2013. We heard many talented singers and some great group numbers! A great variety of food was brought to the table, including American peanut butter cookies, Chinese deserts and European snacks!
  • Sports Day
    During the last week of Summer term 2013, we hosted a very ‘demanding’ sporting event, with the department’s athletic elite competing for the coveted sports day trophies (or at least a picture with one). A BBQ (cooked by Professor Thompson) provided the competitors with sustenance in the face of the physical challenges they met (and there were many). The athletic prowess of our students (and their offspring) is demonstrated in the photos taken on the day!

  • Summer Trip
    In June 2013, ECRs and their families descended on Balloon Tree Farm, ready to pick some strawberries.  Unfortunately, due to the poor weather this year, the strawberry crop had been delayed so there were no strawberries to pick! Instead, as it was a lovely day, we walked around the farm and saw the different types of fruit and vegetables the farmers grew. We were able to buy vegetables, free range eggs, and fruit (including strawberries!) from the farm shop. Children and ECR members fed the horse, pig and goats in the animal corner, before walking to a nearby village to enjoy a relaxing Sunday Roast.

  • Bowling and Burritos
    This event has been run several times and always has a good mix of postgraduate students, RA's and research fellows. A bit of friendly competition on the bowling alley is usually followed by some Mexican cuisine!

  • Paintballing
    An energetic day of fun!

  • Day at the Races
    The forum organised a day at York races on Saturday 11th June, 2011. The event was well attended by the ECRs and their families. We enjoyed sunshine (mostly), a picnic, and winnings (well, some of us!). A great day was had by all and we look forward to it again over the years!

New Members

ECR Welcome Letter

Download a copy of the latest ECR Forum Welcome Letter:

Welcome to the Department of Psychology, University of York! We hope you settle in quickly and enjoy being part of this thriving department.

Meeting people

Meeting other people in the department can be important when you first arrive. Any of the ECR Committee members will be happy to show you around the department and introduce you to everyone! Just email any of us and we’ll be delighted to meet you! (Committee members can be found under the ‘Information’ tab).

During term time, the department holds weekly seminars, which are always followed by drinks in the reception area. This is also a great way to meet people!

If you’re a PhD student, the GSA hold regular events where you can meet PhD students from other departments.

There are also a number of clubs and societies run by the university (some of which have their own groupspaces), which can be a great way to get involved.

Getting around Campus

Finding your way around campus can be difficult to start with! University maps are available to show you the location of the university in relation to the city and also the buildings on campus. The Psychology department is located on Heslington West campus and is often referred to as the Henry Welcomme Building. The Psychology department is located in the lower left hand portion of the campus map near the Sports Centre and running track.

There are a number of food and drink outlets on campus, many of which are only open during term time. The location of food and drink outlets are shown on the campus map and opening times can be found here. The Roger Kirk Centre (RKC) is the nearest university canteen and Edge bar in Wentworth is only a 5 minute walk away. There are also 2 different pubs and Browns sandwich shop located in Heslington village.

University information

Employment information

Visit the University Human Resources website for information about contracts, pay and employment.

Information for Families

For families with children, there is a nursery on campus. There are also a number of other nurseries in York that are close to campus.

Many ECR social events are open to families and children!


The main University Library is located on Heslington West campus, close to Market Square. Opening hours can be found here.

Most journal articles can be accessed online through e-Journal or YorSearch. Multimedia resources are also available via the Digital Library.

The VPN can be used to access online library resources from off campus.

IT Services

Help and support can be found through IT services. They can provide IT training and additional software.

Sports Centres

There are 2 main sports centres on campus. York Sport Centre can be seen from the Psychology Department and is located next to the running track. York Sport Village is on Heslington East campus and has the draw of a swimming pool. There are several other gyms located in York, such as David Lloyd gym, off Windmill Lane.


On campus, there are a series of concerts and public lectures, which run regularly. Also look out for the annual York Festival of Ideas.

Travelling to Work


Many people in York own a bike – and there are many bike shops to go with it! Here are a few examples:

  • Halfords
    Foss Island Road, York, YO31 7UP, 01904 611844
  • Get Cycling
    22 Hospital Fields Road, York, YO10 4DZ, 01904 636 812
  • Cycle Heaven
    2 Bishopthorpe Road, York, YO23 1JJ, 01904 636 578
  • Fulford Cycles
    98 Main Street, Fulford, 01904 620 349
  • York Cycleworks
    14-16 Lawrence St, York, YO10 3WP, 01904 626 664
  • Acomb Cycle Centre
    79 Beaconsfield Street, York, YO24 4NB
  • Bob Trotter Cycles
    13-15 Lord Mayors Walk, York, YO31 7HB, 01904 622 868

For second hand bikes, visit York Bike Rescue. The University also offers a salary sacrifice scheme called Cycletowork Extra that will give you a loan to buy a bike. You repay the loan directly from your salary, tax-free.

The University has a covered cycle parking area outside the new building and the A block. There are other cycle stands dotted around.

Cycle routes in York are well-mapped out so it’s fairly easy to cycle safely around York.


The bus numbers 4 and 44 both operate around campus, travelling to the city centre and railway station. Subsidised bus tickets are available.


There is parking right outside the Psychology Department. To park on campus, you will need a University parking permit.

The York Car Share scheme offers a way to save money and the environment when driving to work.


It is easy to reach the university by foot from any direction. The walk from Southbank over Millenium Bridge and through Walmgate Stray is particularly nice!


The Accommodation Office on campus is located on the lower ground floor of the Information Centre in Market Square.

The University website contains some information about University accommodation on campus. There is also a small ads service where students can advertise available rooms in University accommodation or in a shared house.

Here is a list of some of the letting agents in York, although note that these change frequently.

Freecycle is a York community who give away items for free that would otherwise be thrown away. Very useful for furniture and household goods.

Services and facilities in York


Groceries can be bought on campus from CostCutter. Alternatively, there are Co-Op stores in Broadway and on Hull Road and a small Tesco metro on Picadilly. There are large Waitrose, Morrisons, Sainsbury’s and Asda stores on Fossgate Road and more superstores on the outskirts. There is a Chinese Supermarket in town and on Hull Road and another International Food Store (Freshways) on Hull Road.

In addition to the shops in town, there are additional shops in Monk’s Cross Shopping Park and the Designer Outlet Centre.


York University Health Centre is situated on campus and you need to register with the practice in order to make an appointment there. You can also find other doctors (and dentists) close by through NHS Choices. If you are not registered with a doctor, you can visit the NHS walk-in centre on Monkgate at any time and without an appointment.


If you are coming to the UK from overseas, you will need to open a UK bank account to receive your salary. We recommend that you go to one of the banks in the village of Heslington to do this, as they are experienced in helping overseas staff and students to open an account. Be patient - you will need to make an appointment and return with lots of documents and proof of identification and employment. Ask the bank what you will need to bring.

Banks in Heslington:

You will also need to get a National Insurance number before you can be paid. For information about National Insurance numbers, and how to get one, visit the Department of Work and Pensions website.

Sports facilities

In addition to the sports centres on campus, there are also a number of other gyms in York. Additionally, there are several swimming pools.


The Tourist Information Centre is located in the centre of town, close to the Minster.

You can find out about events in York through the Visit York and What's on York websites.

York residents are entitled to get a YorkCard, which acts as a library card for the City Library and also offers discounts or free entry to all kinds of activities - from swimming to art galleries and museums.

Around and outside of York, there are a number of National Trust sites, which make excellent day trips. There are also a number of properties owned by English Heritage that are worth visiting. If you’re looking to get away to the coast, Whitby, Scarborough, and Robin Hood’s Bay make excellent destinations and can be reached by bus or train from York. During the summer months a number of pick-your-own farms are located around York. Many tourists often like to visit the famous York Races.


When travelling outside of York, there are a number of Bus services that start in York.

Train information can be accessed via the National Rail website.

Several Cycle Routes also operate in the Yorkshire Area.

When travelling overseas, the nearest airports are Manchester and Leeds.


University Careers Service

The University Careers Centre is located on campus, next to Market Square. The careers centre can provide feedback on CVs and job applications/interviews. They also have links with hundreds of graduates who are working in a wide variety of different careers. These people are happy to be contacted by people like you, and will share their inside knowledge of the sector. Additionally, they have copies of psychometric tests used by all of the big employers.

The Careers Service website contains information resources and an interactive site (requires University login).


Vitae provides advice about Creating Effective CVs. The website provides information specifically about creating Academic CVs and provides an Example CV. It's also worth glancing over the The Guardian article that lists 10 Irritating Mistakes on Academic CVs (some of these apply to non-academic CVs too!). They also have an article on Writing Academic Cover Letters.

If you're leaving academia, see this article about How to Sell Yourself to Employers.

Useful Careers Links

Searching for Jobs

The following are a list of websites that show current job vacancies in psychology-related disciplines:

Signing up to targeted mailing lists can also reveal job advertisments. Here are just a couple of examples of vision-based mailing lists:

In the case of postdoctoral research positions, it's also possible to obtain your own funding for carrying out research (not limited to a particular institution). These are called Postdoctoral Fellowships. For some links to Postdoctoral Fellowships, please see the 'Funding' section under the 'Research' tab.

The following links are for more general job searching:

Alumni Profiles

The department has an ever increasing number of alumni, who after completing their PhDs here have gone on to start careers either in academia or elsewhere. A number of alumni PhD students have kindly agreed for us to include some information about their careers and research interests which we hope will an inspiration for current ECRs particularly PhD students currently in the department.

Katya Krieger-Redwood

Katya came to York after completing her undergraduate degree (double major in Psychology and French) at Loyola University Maryland (USA) and an MSc in Cognitive Neuroscience at Durham University. Her PhD was supervised by Prof. Beth Jefferies and titled "An Investigation of Phonological and Semantic Control Using TMS and fMRI". After completing her PhD, Katya stayed in York to continue to work for Prof. Beth Jefferies until June 2013. Upon leaving York, Katya took up a short post doc at the ICN at UCL, however decided to explore options outside of academia. She is currently working as a support worker in Birmingham. This role involves helping to enable people to live independently, by helping them to set goals and manage challenges that might otherwise prevent them from living an independent life. She also volunteers with NSPCC's ChildLine as a Schools Service Volunteer, teaching children about abuse so that they are better able to protect themselves.

Fiona Duff

  • Department of Experimental Psychology, University of Oxford

After graduating with a BSc (Hons) degree in Psychology (2004) from the University of York, Fiona continued at this institution as a Graduate Research Assistant for 2 years.  She subsequently completed her PhD research at the University of York under the supervision of Professor Charles Hulme.  Her thesis focused on the role of oral language skills in learning to read, considering different reader profiles (typical and atypical reading development) and different learning contexts (long-term reading interventions and short-term orthographic training studies).  During her PhD, Fiona received the BPS Postgraduate Award (2008), and completed a 3 month secondment to the Parliamentary Office of Science and Technology.

Fiona has since completed a 3-year position as a Post-doctoral Research Fellow, during which time she co-managed two randomised controlled trials evaluating the effectiveness of combined reading and language interventions: one for children with Down syndrome, and one for children considered at-risk of developing dyslexia.  This work was also completed at the University of York under the supervision of Professors Maggie Snowling and Charles Hulme.  As of October 2012, Fiona has been working as a Research Associate at the Department of Experimental Psychology at the University of Oxford, under the supervision of Professors Kate Nation and Kim Plunkett.

Rachel Kowert

  • Department of Communication Studies, University of Münster

Rachel moved to York in 2009 after obtaining her B. A. in Psychology from the University of Texas and her M. A. in Counselling from Santa Clara University.  Her PhD was supervised by Julian Oldmeadow and was entitled “Gaming in a Social World: Examining the Relationship between Social Competence and Video Game Involvement. After completing her PhD in 2012, Rachel took up a researcher position at the University of Münster, where she is now working with Professor Thorsten Quandt working on the EU funded project exploring the social aspects of digital games.

Gina Humphreys

  • The Neuroscience and Aphasia Research Unit (NARU), School of Psychological Sciences, University of Manchester

Gina completed her undergraduate degree in Psychology at York in 2008 before moving on to do an ESRC funded 1+3 combined MSc in Cognitive Neuroscience and PhD. Her PhD was supervised by Silvia Gennari, and was titled “Linking sentence production and comprehension: The neural mechanisms underlying production and comprehension control processes”. After completing her PhD in 2012, Gina took up a postdoctoral position at the University of Manchester, where she is now working with Matt Lambon Ralph. Gina continues to pursue her research interests in semantic cognition and language processing using neuroimaging techniques.

Jodie Davies-Thompson

Jodie moved to York in 2006 after completing her undergraduate degree in psychology at the University of Wales, Bangor. From 2006-2007 she completed her MSc in Cognitive Neuroscience, and went on to pursue a PhD on 'the neural correlates of familiar face recognition' under the supervision of Tim Andrews (funded by ESRC). After completing her PhD in November 2010, Jodie moved to Vancouver, Canada, where she is currently working with Jason Barton as a postdoctoral fellow at the University of British Columbia. Jodie continues her research on face recognition in healthy subjects, as well as investigating ways to rehabilitate individuals with acquired prosopagnosia - the inability to recognise faces following brain damage - and which areas of the brain are required for successful rehabilitation.

Paula Clarke

Paula Clarke was an undergraduate on the BSc (Hons) Psychology degree at York (1996-1999) before taking up an eighteen month research assistant post with Kate Nation and Maggie Snowling in the Centre for Reading and Language, University of York. The projects Paula worked on included an investigation of the incidence of Hyperlexia in Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) and an analysis of individual differences in RAN responses.

Then, between 2001 and 2005 Paula conducted her PhD research (funded by BBSRC and supervised by Kate Nation and Graham Hitch) which investigated memory strengths and weaknesses in individuals with ASD. For this she was awarded the K.M. Stott Prize for the best thesis in Psychology 2004/2005.

From 2004 to 2006 Paula was employed as temporary lecturer in the Department of Psychology at the University of York and she received a Vice Chancellor's Teaching Award, in recognition of her contribution to teaching and learning.

Between 2006 and 2009 Paula completed a post doctoral research role with Maggie Snowling and Charles Hulme on an ESRC funded project which evaluated three intervention approaches designed to improve the reading and language skills of poor comprehenders. During this time she also co authored the York Assessment of Reading for Comprehension (YARC), assisted with the development of the REVI+ intervention for children with Down syndrome (joint project between CRL and DownsEd International), helped to set up the Early Career Researchers Forum and jointly (with Maggie Snowling ) supervised Lisa Henderson’s PhD.  

In 2009 Paula joined the School of Education at the University of Leeds as a Lecturer in Psychological Approaches to Childhood and Inclusive Education. She currently teaches on BA (Hons) Childhood Studies, MA Special Education Needs, MA Teaching and PGCE courses. Paula is part of the Childhood and Inclusive Education Academic Team at Leeds and her research continues to be focused on understanding, assessing and supporting individuals who experience difficulties with reading for meaning. At present she is developing projects on reading comprehension in deaf children, children with ASD, and children with Down syndrome, with a view to developing and evaluating theoretically motivated evidence based interventions tailored to specific profiles and needs. 

Research Resources

Research in the Department

The Psychology Department website contains lots of information about research in the department. There is also a Deprtmental Wiki, which provides information about who does what in the department, what research resources are available, and administration information.


During undergraduate term time, internal and external seminars run on Tuesday afternoons, followed by a drinks reception. The Psychology Seminars Page provides details of upcoming seminars. The York Neuroimaging Centre also runs Neuroimaging Seminars on a range of topics. Additionally, there are a number of seminars within individual research groups.

Recruiting Participants

The Department makes use of the Psychology Electronic Experiment Booking System (PEEBS) to recruit participants for experiments. This consists of an electronic advertisement system and a mailing list of potential participants. The mailing list reaches psychology undergraduate students, who are required to take part in a set number of hours of experiments each term, as well as other members of the university who have voluntarily signed up to use the system.

Each year during the Fresher's Fair, the department aims to recruit additional individuals to become members of the mailing list.


All experiments require ethical approval. Information about the Department's ethics system can be found on the Departmental Wiki.

When recruiting clinical patients, NHS approval may need to be sought. The NHS IRAS is the current system for submitting an NHS ethics application.

Printing Posters

Posters can be ordered from Print , which is on the top level of the Market Square shops on campus. You have the option to go into the shop itself with a USB stick and collect your poster in-store, or order electronically via the order form and have your poster delivered to the Department.

A price list (pdf) is available on their website. If you order your poster in the store, you can either pay with cash or with a workorder number (you might have one of these yourself or be able to ask your supervisor for one). If you order online, you will need to provide a workorder to cover the cost.

It is recommended that you order your poster at least one day in advance to make sure that it is delivered in time. The best format to send your poster is as a pdf, which can easily be created directly from a PowerPoint document or from other software. There is some more information about poster printing on their website.

If you wish, there are several free online resources available to create QR codes to put on posters and use in presentations.

Psychology Associations and Societies

Peer Review

Once you've started publishing, journals might sometimes contact you asking you to peer review an unpublished article that has been submitted. This might seem daunting the first few times you are asked to review articles. The PeerJ blog discusses How to Become Good at Peer Review, which provides tips for both new and established peer-reviewers.


There are several conferences that can be of interest to multiple research groups in the Department. Listed below are some of the conferences (not necessarily exhaustive) that might be of interest to multiple research groups. Each conference contains a link to the conference website where you can find more (and the most up-to-date) information. For each conference, we have tried to list some members of faculty who have previously attended these conferences, although these lists are probably not exhaustive. Please note that there will also be lab-specific conferences that are attended regularly by particular lab groups each year, which are not listed here.

Funding to cover travel expenses incurred during conferences (e.g. trains, flights, or accommodation costs) can be applied for from external funding bodies. Some of these funding opportunities are listed below, under the 'Funding' section.


Below is a list of organisations providing grants and awards to support postgraduate and postdoctoral research. For each organisation a brief description of the awards offered is included, as well as a link to the organisations website where further details can be obtained. The department also has a webpage with up to date information regarding sources of funding. Note that the University of York has a team that can help with European funding applications.

  • The Experimental Psychology Society (EPS)
    Offers a number of grants and awards to support postgraduate PhD students. Grindley grants (up to £500) are available to finance conference attendance at EPS organised events and there are no limits to the number of times an individual can apply for these awards. Grants are also available for attendance of non-EPS conferences that fall within the society's domain of interest; however, such grants are restricted to one award per individual (for the duration of the applicants PhD) and will be given only to applicants making an oral presentation. Study visit grants (up to £1, 200) are also available to help finance travel to and maintenance at a U.K. academic institution other than the applicants own. The purpose of the study visit may be to collect data, design future studies or receive training, but awards will not be given for work that is part of the applicants PhD. Grants to finance postgraduate and postdoctoral workshops are also available from the society.
  • The Psychology Postgraduate Affairs Group (PsyPag)
    Offers a domestic bursary award (up to £100) and an international bursary award (£300) to assist postgraduate students with the cost of attending conferences. The international bursary awards are restricted to only four per year. Up to 10 awards are also available each year for individuals wishing to attend and present at the PsyPag Annual Conference.
  • The British Psychological Society  (BPS)
    Website contains a database listing funding opportunities for psychology students. The database is updated periodically so be sure to make regular visits.
  • The Cognitive Section of the British Psychological Society
    Offer postgraduate bursaries (up to £250) to contribute towards travel and accommodation costs as well as registrations fees, for individuals wishing to attend and present (either a poster or oral presentation) at the sections conferences. Individuals must be postgraduate members of the BPS Cognitive Section to benefit from these awards.
  • The European Society for Cognitive Psychology (ESCOP)
    Offer an Early Career Stimulus award (£1000) to help postgraduate students initiate research that is currently in early development. PhD students from all areas of Cognitive Psychology are eligible to apply for these awards.
  • Brain
    Provides travel grants (£400-800 depending on destination) for neuroscientists to attend scientific meetings that relate directly to their research area. The journal will also consider applications for research visits to laboratories or clinical departments other than the applicant's academic base. To be eligible for these grants applicants should normally be under the age of 40, be based in the United Kingdom and be presenting original work (if the grant is to support conference attendance).
  • The Nuffield Foundation
    Offers around 450 undergraduate science bursaries each year to enable students to take part in a research project during the summer vacation. Students receive a bursary of £175 (£185 London) per week with research projects typically lasting between six and eight weeks. The bursaries are offered to allow undergraduate students to gain an insight into scientific research careers (as such only individuals contemplating pursuing a research career should apply). Applications from all areas of the sciences will be considered.
  • The Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC)
    Provides additional training and funding opportunities for recipients of the councils +3 awards. This includes the opportunity for an overseas study visit with an award entitlement of up to £3000 for a visit period of three months maximum. ESRC funded students should consult the ESRC handbook and/or website for more details.
  • British Academy
    Small Research Grants provide up to £7500 (min £500) to support primary research. Funds are available to facilitate initial project planning and development; to support the direct cost of research; and enable the advancement of research through workshops or visits from/to other institutions. The British Academy also offers the Sir Ernest Cassel Educational Trust Fund which supports travel costs up to £1000 relating to a research project (note: mainly aimed at recent post-docs), and the Sino-British Fellowship Trust which provides funds up to £7500 to support collaborative work between Britain and China.
  • Royal Society
    For postdoctoral researchers, the Royal Society offers the International Exchange Scheme which provides funding for UK based researchers wishing to undertake collaborative work with researchers overseas through either a one-off visit or bilateral travel. The Royal Society as discontinued the International Travel Grants scheme and therefore no longer funds travel to overseas conferences.
  • Fulbright
    Fulbright provide funding for study visits to the US. They offer the Postgraduate Student Award to pursue a postgraduate degree or attend a US University as a "special student researcher" in any subject. For Post-Docs they also offer the Scholars and Fellows Award to lecture, study or conduct research in the US.
    The ESPRC operates a selection of small flexible funding schemes. These include Doctoral Training Grants, Fellowships and a First Grant Scheme.
  • Wellcome Trust 
    Offers the Henry Wellcome Postdoctoral Fellowship for new Postdocs and the Wellcome-Trust-Massachusetts Institute of Technology Postdoctoral Fellowship for research at MIT.
  • Medical Research Council (MRC)
    The MRC offer a range of Postdoctoral Fellowships. You can try their Eligibility Checker to see which you qualify for.
    Offers Postdoctoral Fellowships, including the David Phillips Fellowship and Early Career Research fellowships.
  • Daphne Jackson Fellowship
    The Daphne Jackson fellowship is aimed at individuals who have had a career break of more than 2 years. This fellowship was featured in the University of York news section.
  • The Royal Society
    Offers a University Research Fellowship.
  • National Institutes of Health
    Offers a few different opportunities in the US, including Individual Postdoctoral National Research Service Award and Pathway to Independence Award.
  • National Science Foundation
    Offers opportunities in the US, including the International Research Fellowship Program and SBE Postdoctoral Research Fellowship.
    Human Frontier Science Program
    Also offers Postdoctoral Fellowship opportunities.
  • Dr Hadwen Trust for Humane Research
    Offers several different funding opportunities.
  • International Brain Research Organization
    Provides funding for research fellowships, travel grants (up to 1500 Euros or 2000 USD), and for scientists returning to their home countries.
  • Marie Curie
    Offers European Research Fellowships.
  • Fight for Sight
    A more specialised organisation who fund pioneering research to prevent sight loss and treat eye disease.
  • Dunhill Medical Trust
    Provide funding for research aimed at improving care for older people.
  • Pivot
    Pivot is a website where you can register your details, which allows you to search for funding opportunities.
  • Research Professional
    Another website where you can search for fellowships and funding opportunities.

Tips for applications

For some of the awards advertised above, the application process requires minimal effort and the likelihood of funding is high. For example, applications for Grindley Grants for attendance of meetings of the Experimental Psychology Society require little more than your name, university address and a confirmation by your supervisor that you are a registered postgraduate student in psychology. Applications for these awards are rarely unsuccessful. On the other hand, applications to other societies and for larger awards (e.g., overseas conferences, research bursaries, study visit grants) require considerably more effort and involve greater competition. Here are some useful tips for preparing such applications:

Before applying

  • First, make sure that the organization from which you are seeking funding is suitable for your proposal. You don't want to spend hours writing your proposal only to find that it does not fall within an organization's sphere of activity.
  • Check how many awards the organization offers and the likely competition for places. Try to identify the number of applications and the success rate of those applications in previous years. If competition is stiff and places are few, you may wish to consider submitting your application elsewhere.
  • Once you have identified an organization read the guidelines for applications thoroughly. Remember, the reviewer(s) will be well acquainted with these and you don't want to be disqualified for a trivial error that could have been circumvented by reading the guidelines with greater care.
  • Set deadlines for completing the various components of your application. This is particularly important if other individuals have to contribute to the writing process. For example, an application for a study visit grant might require supporting comments from your departmental supervisor, your supervisor for the visit and the head of department of the institution hosting the visit.
  • If anything in the guidelines is unclear then contact the funding organisation and query it before you begin writing.

Writing the application

  • Make sure your application has a clear and coherent structure. Use informative headings and consider including figures to illustrate important data and diagrams to help explain difficult concepts.
  • Write clearly and avoid technical jargon. The reviewer will probably not be familiar with the language of your field so choose your terminology sensibly.
  • Ensure that the level of detail provided is what is requested in the guidelines. A vague and underspecified proposal will not receive funding.
  • For applications for training, or research, provide a clear and realistic timeline for the work. Don't be too ambitious as this will show and you may be penalised for it. The proposed work needs to be feasible within the specified time frame.
  • If the application is to support a research study then make sure that the rationale is stated clearly, that you highlight the need for the study and its potential implications, both empirical and theoretical. Try to convey your expertise in the area by citing literature thoroughly and by citing your own relevant published manuscripts, technical reports, posters, or oral presentations.
  • If the application is for training then justify why it is important that you receive it and specify how it will benefit your career. You may wish to consider a collaborative proposal with fellow students since organizations may be more willing to fund training opportunities if several students will be the recipients of that training.

Before submitting

  • Proofread your application more than once and ensure that you have followed the guidelines.
  • Once you have finished your application leave it for a few days and then come back to it with a fresh mind.
  • Ask your supervisor and some fellow students to read your application. If they can't understand it, then the reviewer probably won't be able to either and you will have to simplify it. If the reviewer is potentially someone outside your discipline (check whether this may be the case) then it may be useful to have someone from another academic department read your application also.

Skills Resources

The ECR Forum runs workshops every term to help early career researchers develop academic skills. Check the ‘Upcoming Events’ tab to find out about the workshops that will be running for the current term.

The ECR Library stocks a range of books to help with academic skills, which can be used to support the workshops that we run or provide a means of self-learning. To find out which books are currently available, check the ‘Upcoming Events’ tab. The University Library also holds a range of books to help develop skills.

In addition, the University RDT runs more general skills workshops for PhD students and staff. Also check the IT services courses and the Maths Skills Centre for other workshops.

Below are some additional resources for specific skills. If you have any suggestions to add to the list, please contact the ECR Forum Website Manager (see 'Introduction' tab for committee e-mail addresses).


  • The ECR Forum library stocks copies of 'An Introduction to the Event-Related Potential Technique' by Steven Luck. This is a great introduction to EEG recording and analysis and is also a great manual to refer back to.
  • Further EEG resources and information can be found on the Department's EEG Wiki page.




  • The ECR Forum library stocks copies of 'MATLAB for Behavioural Scientists' by David Rosenbaum.
  • The book 'MATLAB for Neuroscientists' also provides an in-depth introduction to MATLAB.
  • The MATLAB Academics webpage contains tutorials, examples, and support.
  • The MATLAB Central webpage contains answers to common questions and a file exchange system where you can access a wide range of shared MATLAB scripts.
  • Antonia Hamilton's tutorial is great for beginners!
  • Ione Fine's tutorial is incredibly accessible and helpful throughout. She provides a framework that enables even the most computer shy to learn how to program. Starting off with the basics and moving on to the programming of a face adaptation experiment, the tutorial provides a firm grounding in Matlab and Psychtoolbox.
  • Psychtoolbox: A set of functions for Matlab that allow for the precise control of visual and auditory stimuli. It runs under Mac, Windows, and Linux, is completely free, and has a comprehensive help forum.
  • Psychophysical methods in Psychtoolbox: Geoffrey Boynton provides some more advanced implementations within Psychtoolbox, including the use of Psychophysical methods.

Note that there are also some free open source alternatives to MATLAB that use similar programming language:


Python is a (free!) open source programming package available for download from the Python website. Python is a common alternative to MATLAB. Toolboxes containing Python functions are created by users and are free to download. Many of these toolboxes are useful for analysing data. The PsychoPy toolbox can be used for presenting stimuli during experiments and has a gui similar to E-Prime.

  • 'Think Python: How to think like a Computer Scientist' is a great book for Python programming beginners. It starts with the basics and covers a wide variety of topics. Exercises are provided throughout with additional online resources. The book is available to download (free!) as a pdf from the Think Python website.
  • The Python website contains some useful Documentation.
  • There is also a Python Wiki with tutorials for beginners.
  • CodeAcademy is an interactive online resource that contains Python coding exercises to work through. It's great for beginniners with little programming experience and doesn't even require you to download python to learn!
  • Khan Academy also has a set of video tutorials for to help beginners to learn Python.
  • For those already familiar with Python, who want a quick reference guide to trigger their memory, Python Cheat Sheets are available to download online. There are endless options available, but the cheat sheets by Dave Child, Python for Beginners, and Python for Dummies are particularly useful.


  • The ECR Forum library stocks copies of 'Discovering Statistics using IBM SPSS Statistics' (4th Edition) by Andy Field, which provides a great introduction to statistics and SPSS. It's also a great reference manual to refer back to.
  • The Maths Skills Centre runs a postgraduate workshop as a basic introduction to SPSS, aimed at those who might not have used the SPSS software before. These workshops can be booked through the 'Maths Skills Centre' section of the University VLE. Once you've attended the workshop, you will also be able to download a preliminary manual for using SPSS.


'R'  is a (free!) open source statistics package and is sometimes used as an alternative to SPSS. The following website allows you to download R. It is also possible to download RStudio, which has a more user-friendly interface for programming beginners.


SigmaPlot is most often used for plotting graphs and can also be used for conducting statistical tests.

Reference Managers

Reference managers are a convenient way of keeping track of papers that you've found or read. They can also save you huge amounts of time when writing up papers - they typically allow you to automatically format your references in a standard format and insert a bibliography in your refereces section without writing the references out manually!

Different reference manager software have different features, so it's important to find one that's well-suited to your needs. There's a wide range of software available, all with different advantages and disadvantages. Note that some software you have to pay to use, whereas others are freely available through their websites. Here are just a few examples of reference manager software that may be useful to your research:

  • Mendeley: A free reference manager that can be used online or on your desktop. Mendeley desktop has great features for annotating pdfs and making notes about papers.
  • Zotero: A free reference manager that is integrated with your web browser.
  • Papers: Papers requires a small download fee, but is subsequently free to use. Papers was designed specifically for use on Macs, but can also be used on PCs.
  • EndNote: The University has a subscription to EndNote web, so is free to use while you're a member of the University. IT Services run regular training sessions on using EndNote web.


  • Coursera contains loads of courses on various topics that are run by Universities from around the world. The time demands of the different courses vary and some give you a certificate for completing the course within a certain time-frame. Courses include mathematics, statistics, computer science, science writing and neuroscience.
  • edX is another site that contains online courses.
  • MIT open courseware contains courses run by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
  • The University's Maths Skills Centre provide in-depth Mathematical Workbooks on a variety of mathematical topics.
  • Figure it Out provide bookable day-long courses on various aspects of statistics.
  • Qualtrics is an online tool for creating surveys. Qualtrics can be used to create online experiments that measure accuracy and reaction time data.
  • Mechanical Turk is a tool for gaining participants through the web.
  • #ECRchat is a global fortnightly discussion for the early career researcher community via Twitter. You can use the following links to access their #ECRchat Twitter and #ECRchat Facebook pages. Note that these site are not run by the University of York and are open to the global community.