500 Words to kick off the DEN PHD Writing Challenge


Today marks the start of the Digital Economy Network (DEN) PhD Student 21-Day Writing Challenge, and what better day to kick off this exciting challenge than on #MotivationMonday!

This competition follows on from the 21-Day DEN Coding Challenge which took place over August 2018, using the hashtag #DENCodingChallenge.

Who is taking part?
PhD and EngD students from several Centres for Doctoral Training (CDTs) from various Universities across the UK have signed up to participate in this online contest, which will run from 14 January – 4 February 2019. Doctoral researchers from Loughborough, Newcastle, Nottingham, Southampton and York universities are amongst those taking part.

Writing challenge rules
The rules are very simple, after registering by completing a very short survey, PhD/EngD students then need to write 500 words per day for each of the 21 days, and share their progress daily via social media using the contest hashtag; #DENWritingChallenge and also tagging DEN at @DECDTNetwork.
PhD Students who complete the challenge will have achieved no less than a total of 10,500 words by the final day!

Benefits of taking part
This activity aims to provide a motivational and effective platform for PhD students to focus on a research writing project of their choice via manageable daily sessions, in the knowledge that other peers from across the country will be doing the same, which we hope will provide additional encouragement.
Whilst the activity is ongoing, PhD students will also be able to receive, via social media, writing tips, productivity advice, and sources of professional information, as well as helping each other through any writing woes, and congratulating each other on challenge achievements.

What will PhD students be working on during the challenge?
Registering participants have indicated that the will use the challenge to work on research writing projects such as thesis chapters, annual progression reports and journal papers. One PhD candidate who is taking part just has one chapter remaining on their thesis to write – so we hope that this challenge helps you get over this final hurdle and across the finishing line!

Sharing challenge outcomes
DEN will continually share highlights over the duration of the challenge via social media and will compile an open online resource for the DEN website at the end, in order to help current and future PhD students with future writing projects.

Finally…..good luck!
DEN wishes you the very best of luck over the next 21 days, and looks forward to seeing your progress via social media channels. Please share appropriate photos, videos, memes, GIFs, motivational messages, writing tips, blog links, and tell us about your personal experiences of this challenge as a PhD student, good or bad!

Don’t forget to use the challenge hashtag which is #DENWritingChallenge.

Keep writing!

Felicia Black
Digital Economy Network Manager
Twitter: @Felicia_Bl4ck

The Digital Economy Network would like to thank DEN Social Media Specialist, Jennifer Agwunobi for putting together this challenge. Thanks also to those who take part and share their experiences for the benefit of the DEN PhD/EngD community.


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