POST-DIGITAL’s final Transferable Skills Workshop is organised jointly for ESRs in projects POST-DIGITALMENTOR and MEFISTA.

Date: 13 and 14 June 2023
Venue: Adrian Cadbury Lecture Theatre, Aston University, Birmingham

The aim of this 2-day workshop is to give an overview of Career Planning in the academic and the non-academic job market, Defining own strenghts and interests, CV’s and interview skills, funding opportunities.

Teusday, 13 June 2023
9:30-11:15 Paul Knobbs: Grant writing
11:15-11:30 Coffee Break
11:30-12:30 Andrew Ellis: Career paths – ESRs
12:30-13:30 Lunch
13:30-15:00 Sandy Sparks: CV writing
15:00-15:15 Coffee Break
15:15- 17:00 Sandy Sparks: CV writing
Wednesday, 14 June 2023
9:30-11:00 Sandy Sparks: Career planning and development- Part 1
11:00-11:15 Coffee Break
11:15-12:30 Sandy Sparks: Career planning and development Part 2
12:30-13:30 Lunch
13:30-15:00 Sandy Sparks: Career planning and development Part 3
15:00-15:15 Coffee Break
15:15-16:30 Sandy Sparks: Career planning and development Part 4


Andrew Ellis
Andrew D. Ellis Andrew is professor of optical communications at Aston University where he is also the Deputy Director of the Institute of Photonics Technologies, and he holds adjunct professorships from University College Cork (Physics) and Dublin City University.

Andrew received his B.Sc. degree in physics with a minor in mathematics from the University of Sussex, Brighton, U.K.. and his Ph.D. degree in electronic and electrical engineering from The University of Aston in Birmingham,  U.K., for his study on all optical networking beyond 10 Gb/s. He previously worked for British Telecom Research Laboratories as a Senior Research Engineer investigating the use of optical amplifiers and advanced modulation formats in optical networks and the Corning Research Centre as a Senior Research Fellow where he led activities in optical component characterization.

Andrew is a Life Fellow of the Optical Society of America, a Member of the Institute of Physics and a Chartered Physicist. He served for 6 years as an Associate Editor of the Journal Optics Express. He was a Member of the Technical Program Committee of ECOC form 2004 to 2018 and served two three year terms on the TPC of OFC, chairing sub-committee 3 at ECOC devoted to digital and optical signal processing in 2014. He has also been TPC member for Photonics ireland, CLEO Europe, and OECC. He is currently participating in the organization of ECOC 2019 as co-chair of the Technical Programme Committee.

He is a member of the EPSRC Peer Review College, and reviews international project proposals within Europe and worldwide. He acts as an expert reviewer for Nature Publishing Group, the Optical Society of America, and the IEEE, and was an Associate Editor of Optics Express from 2009 to 2015.

Sandy Sparks
Learning & Development / Researcher Development Consultant

Sandy has over 30 years of experience in professional and personal development, especially leadership & researcher development, working in both the private and public sectors, in the UK and internationally. She has experience as an employee, and of running her own business.

Sandy has been an invited speaker and trainer/ facilitator, produced specialist and generalist publications for practitioners and non-practitioners, presented at conferences, written blogs and articles as well as submitting tenders and getting funding. Sandy designed and delivered numerous career programmes to staff across a range of grades, roles (Research and Teaching, Academic roles and professional services) and disciplines. Sandy has developed a Managing your Research/ Academic & Industry Career series of workshops that include appropriate CV’s, transferrable skills, the interview process and interview skills etc.he is an associate for Advance HE (AHE), The British Council on their Researcher Connect Programme, as well as an International FameLab Science Communicator / Facilitator. She has facilitated on the British Council Newton Funded Researcher Connect Programme in Brazil, China, India, Kenya (since 2017) and more recently online (Vietnam, Indonesia, Egypt, Pakistan and Brazil), and is also an associate for Vitae.

Her areas of expertise include: Career Development, Skills Development e.g. academic writing, presentation skills, networking skills; Research Leadership Development; Researcher Development; Research Culture, Inter-cultural and cross-cultural work esp. Unconscious Bias, Equality, Diversity & Inclusion, Impact & Evaluation, Enterprise, Entrepreneurship, Innovation & Creativity, Coaching and Mentoring and others.


Paul Knobbs – International Research Manager

Paul is a Research Funding Manager at Aston University specialising in EU And Large Projects. He is responsible for supporting the development of international research projects submitted to a range of funding sources, such as the EU programmes, Newton and GCRF.