Demonstrating and Teaching Opportunities

Gaining teaching/demonstrating experience while studying can greatly benefit PhD researchers in their career growth.

The availability of teaching/demonstrating opportunities within the School largely depends on the school's current teaching needs and the specific areas of expertise of the PhD researchers.

PhD researchers are encouraged to communicate their demonstrating interests to the (Associate) Head of School. This information will then be shared with Module Coordinators for potential inclusion in teaching assignments, as opportunities arise.

Important points to consider:

  • Funded full-time PhD researchers are limited to a maximum of 6 teaching/demonstrating hours per week.
  • Teaching duties are primarily focused on computer lab demonstrating, with occasional lecturing roles.
  • PhD researchers assigned teaching/demonstrating roles can expect to receive relevant materials and support, wherever feasible.

Subject Specific Training

The School's research seminar series, usually held in the Intelligent Systems Research Centre's tearoom, offers a regular forum for PhD researchers and staff to discuss various research topics. These sessions provide a chance for attendees to share ideas and learn about others' research in an informal setting. Alongside these seminars, occasional social events are organized to further support community building among the academic staff and researchers.

Research Ethics and Integrity

Before beginning any data collection involving human participants at the School of Computing, Engineering and Intelligent Systems, it is essential to complete an ethics approval form (RG1A).

This requirement applies to any study that involves gathering data from human participants, such as conducting interviews, surveys, focus groups, or observations. The steps for obtaining Research Ethics clearance are as follows:

The RG1A form for Research Ethics clearance should be filled out at least two months before the planned data collection. This is typically done in conjunction with your supervisors, who will offer guidance and suggest any necessary amendments.

Once the form is finalised, your supervisor will forward a copy along with any other pertinent documents (like information sheets, consent forms, interview questions, etc.) to the Chair of the Faculty’s Research Ethics Committee.

The Faculty’s Research Ethics Committee will review the RG1A ethics form. They will communicate with the Chair of the supervisory panel and the researcher if there are any ethical concerns regarding the proposed research methodology. The Faculty’s Research Ethics Filter Committee convenes monthly to evaluate applications.

If any modifications are required, the researcher will be notified and given the chance to revise and resubmit the form and accompanying materials. These revised documents are then re-evaluated by the Research Ethics Committee, which typically leads to the granting of Research Ethics permission.

Travel and Procurement Procedures

Prior Approval for RTSG Spend

All PhD researchers funded by the Department for Education (DfE) and the Vice-Chancellor's Research Scholarship (VCRS) receive an annual budget of approximately £900 for activities that support their research, such as attending training events, conferences, or data collection. However, obtaining prior approval for all DfE/VCRS expenses from the Research Director is mandatory. Please adhere to the following procedure:

  1. Submit a prior approval request through the Digital Claimant Portal in advance of any planned expenses or trips, at least three weeks ahead, and even earlier for travel involving flights.
  2. This request should be accompanied by an email from your supervisors, endorsing the expense and explaining its relevance to your research project.
  3. After any trip, you must submit a travel and subsistence expenses form, along with original receipts for all expenses, to the research area administrator. Please note that photocopies of receipts or credit card slips are not valid for expense claims.
  4. Remember, expense claims will be processed only if i) a prior approval form was submitted ii) a prior approval number was received before the trip, and iii) original receipts are provided.

Type of Expenditure

Air travel arrangements must be made exclusively through the University's designated travel agency, Selective Travel, which can be reached at tel. no. 0161 8199773. For booking, you will need a prior approval number (see above) and a cost centre code obtained from the research administrator. Please coordinate with the research administrator for assistance with online booking procedures.

Conference fees can be paid directly by the research administrator. To facilitate this, please provide them with a copy of the conference registration form along with your prior approval number.

Car mileage for research-related travel is claimable using the car mileage claim form.

Hotel booking is also through Selective Travel.

An advance of 75% of projected expenses can be made in advance of travel in some circumstances.

Researchers are encouraged to opt for the most cost-effective travel options, such as public transport over taxis, wherever feasible.

Please ensure that all claim forms for expenses are submitted within two months following the trip date.

Being a Good Neighbour

The benefits of an open-plan office structure are well documented allowing for better communication between researchers both within and between various research groups leading to increased creativity and a greater sense of community. However, this does come at a cost, and it is sometimes easy to become distracted. Please be courteous to those around you and especially to your nearest neighbours. Remember: you may be sitting beside these people for up to 3 years!

Here are a few hints to ensure you stay on good terms with your office mates borrowed heavily from ‘9 Rules of Open-Office Etiquette’.

  1. Respect others’ need to work. Ask if someone is free before striking up a lengthy conversation.
  2. Beware the smell: Be considerate when bringing food to work and only eat in designated areas; perfumes/aftershave can also set off allergies in some people so keep it for the dancefloor; good personal hygiene is a must in close confinement and particularly important when working long hours!
  3. Noise: Beware of distractions such as conversations in person or on the phone and please use headphones (also a great way to tell others not to interrupt your flow); whilst on a call (especially a personal one) try to keep the volume to a minimum and if you think you will be on a long call, consider using a meeting room or reserved space.
  4. Tidy up: You might not mind untidiness, but it can be distracting for others; visitors also visit the ISRC often so it’s best to make a good impression (as it could be your next funder!)
  5. Stick to your space: Don’t borrow another’s possessions without asking – it’s only common courtesy.
  6. Illness: Don’t come to work sick and keep your space sanitary.
  7. Be considerate: Treat others as you would like to be treated and if there are any minor misunderstandings it’s best to resolve these early by communicating respectfully.
  8. Practise tolerance:  We're in a big world full of different views. Understanding others, especially during disagreements, is key. It's also great viva prep!
  9. Teamwork: Although the path to a doctorate can be lonely at times, we are all intrinsically linked. Remember: what goes around, comes around! Whether that’s gossip or an offer of help. Try to keep the balance in favour of the positive and that’ll make the journey smoother for everyone!

Thesis Format

You can find comprehensive guidelines on thesis formatting in the Doctoral College Thesis Format guide. For reference, hard copies of previously submitted theses are available for viewing upon request through the research administrator.

Citation Style

Consistency and accuracy in applying a single citation style are crucial when documenting research. There are various citation systems available, and the choice often depends on the requirements specified in the author guidelines of journals and book publishers. For internal publications within the School, the IEEE Referencing system is the preferred style.

Reference Management Software

REF Works software is a valuable tool for managing your references. The library offers bi-weekly training sessions on how to effectively use this software, which can be a significant asset in your research process. This software is accessible through the Ulster University library databases, providing a streamlined and efficient way to handle citation management. However, your supervisory team may make alternative suggestions.

Health and Safety

Office Safety Guidelines

Maintaining a safe working environment is a collective responsibility. Should you have any health and safety concerns, please initially consult your supervisor. Please note that risk assessments are conducted and updated on an annual basis for your safety.

For First Aid or access to defibrillators, contact Security at each campus (dial extension 22222).

In case of emergencies requiring Police, Fire Brigade, or Ambulance services, please dial 999 immediately, followed by promptly informing Security.

Fire Safety Protocol

Should a fire be detected, it is essential to comply with the established Fire Safety procedures immediately. Activate the fire alarm promptly by utilizing the nearest breakglass point.

School of Computing, Engineering and Intelligent Systems

The School of Computing, Engineering and Intelligent Systems is part of the Faculty of Computing, Engineering, and the Built Environment and based mainly on the Derry~Londonderry campus.

Computer Science and Informatics

World-leading research in intelligent systems, assistive technologies, next generation networks, and semantic analytics.