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Doctoral Schools

Research skills & transferable skills

Doctoral Schools

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In any context, people are required to establish practical, creative habits that allow them to innovate, solve problems and collaborate positively. Throw into that mix the fact that any PhD project is an exercise in problem solving and that every client pitch, funding bid or publication requires novelty, and it is clear that people benefit from the ability to come up with new and workable ideas. This highly interactive workshop, by Jamie McDonald, is designed to equip participants with a number of tools and approaches for alleviating the pressure of problematic situations, generating new and insightful ideas and developing them into suitable ways forward. The aim is to develop creative and confident people who can rely on their resourcefulness, creativity and skills to break new ground, to solve problems and to perform well.

Day 1:

  • Introductions and context for the workshop
  • Working with perception, patterns and pressure
  • Opening a creative frame of mind
  • Moving from problems to solutions
  • Managing a creative process

Day 2:

  • Review
  • Innovation
  • Creativity tools from blue skies to the fine details
  • Building a personal map of creativity
  • Review and keeping your creativity flowing

Learning outcomes

By the end of the programme, participants will ...

  • know a simple and effective process for managing ideas and solving problems,
  • know several methods for easing the pressure of problematic situations,
  • have identified various factors that support creativity and resourcefulness,
  • have practiced a variety of tools to stimulate creativity and novel ideas,
  • have developed their ability to turn a broad idea into a workable plan,
  • have practiced offering critique in a constructive manner,
  • be able to begin addressing real problems and situations, applying the tools mentioned above.


It is a highly experiential, hands-on workshop – we won’t be lecturing or diving deeply into theory. We use small group, paired and whole group discussions to review a range of focused, reality-based activities that raise fundamental aspects of creative thinking and problem solving. There is no role play, and we ask participants to apply what they are learning to genuine situations, to make things practical, useful and personal, as well as enjoyable and informal. Models and personal experience are the foundation of the programme. Please come along ready to reflect, to contribute and to practice. Take some specific situations, or problems in mind that you want to apply your creative thinking to (preferably from different aspects of your life – one interpersonal, one work-based and one life or career-based for example).


An important part of preparing for any further professional step is becoming (more) aware of the competences you have developed and/or want to develop. In the current workshop, the following competences from the UHasselt competency overview are actively dealt with:

  • intellectual competences:
    • creativity
    • problem solving
    • vision
  • personal effectiveness:
    • flexibility
    • self-confidence
  • task-orientedness:
    • organisation & coordination


For whom?

  • PhD students & postdocs - 18 places available


  • November 30 & December 1, 2021 - 9:30-16:30
  • Participation on both days is required.


  • The workshop will be organized digitally. If selected to participate, you will receive the necessary details timely.


  • Closed since November 2, 2021.
  • As places are limited, registering does not automatically imply that you will be able to participate. You will be notified by email after the registration deadline has passed.
  • Please cancel your registration at least one week in advance in case you cannot make it (cf. cancellation & no-show policy).

Acknowledged as?

  • DS BSH: category 'research management & communication skills' - workshop on general research skills
  • DS HLS: category 'transferable skills' - one compulsory elective course
  • DS ST: category 'research management' - workshop on PhD management or equivalent



"Don't you hate that feeling of being stuck trying to solve any kind of problem? Help is on the way! Jamie McDonald offers more tools than you can imagine to approach problems with a creative mind (and everyone is creative, so I've learned!). If you think this is not for you, you're wrong, everyone owes it to themselves to take this training!"
(participant in 2019)