Professional Development for all, yes I’m talking to you Researcher Developers!

physician

I recently attended the Vitae Connections event for Researcher Developers who had, to quote the room on the day, “been around while”. We spent six glorious hours in London thinking about our own career development whilst also hearing about researcher development initiatives from various national and international universities.

The day started with a session considering the future for roles like ours and the researcher needs of tomorrow. Using the horizon scanning technique of communities of interest, we considered the impact of emerging technologies and economies, changing supply and demand of resources, social attitudes of young people and future demographic changes on what we do today and how this will change in the future. Generally, the room was positive with many saying that their role had come a long way since the ‘Roberts’ era but the future was a lot less clear.

skills_wordThe second session tapped in to this uncertain future. When asked to reflect on the challenges we now face, i.e of being in a role that has no set career path, it was interesting to be given a copy of the Vitae Researcher Developers’ Professional Framework (ReDProF). However, I found the most useful element of the session was to consider my own abilities, skills and strengths using the analogy of a cruise liner. There was agreement that we are all captains of our own career cruise liner but often we are so focused on “the passengers, the entertainment and the catering” we often forget to take time to consider where are we heading. I found it useful to reflect and ask myself ‘who is currently captaining that ship?’ ‘What small changes do I need to make in order to ultimately arrive at my desired destination?’ ‘Do I know where that destination is?’ ‘Who else do I need help me navigate rough seas?’ We were reminded of the adage you can’t turner a tanker on a sixpence, and through implementing change at this point we could ultimately plot our own course. Keeping that analogy in mind what followed were 3 insightful speakers sharing practise, knowledge and experience of working in, influencing and challenging higher education policy and culture.

Firstly, Dilly Fung, Director of the Centre for the Advancement of Learning and Teaching at UCL provided two interesting casestudies on the perceptions of teaching, research and learning at UCL and her challenge to bring these areas together under the banner of UCL Arena“If you teach, supervise, assess or support students’ learning at UCL, in any context, UCL Arena is for you. It’s a meeting place for colleagues to share approaches to teaching and learning in our research-intensive university – a conceptual space for debate and exploration. UCL Arena is accredited by the Higher Education Academy, so it’s also a place in which you can choose to gain professional recognition awards for your teaching expertise.” (Taken from the UCL Arena wesite)

Dilly was keen to share the experience reminding university staff of the ethos of education and teaching within a research institute. The launch of Connected Curriculum in Septemeber 2014 has allowed all UCL students the opportunity to become involved in research from the very start of their degree programme and for research skills to become embedded in all undergraduate courses, closing the gap between researchers and students.

“Comprising seven dimensions of connectivity, Connected Curriculum sets out a plan for a joined up approach to education. As well as defining the relationship between students’ learning and their participation in research, it also describes the connections to be made between disciplines, years of study and staff and students. Connected Curriculum is a standard for the future of education at UCL, and over the next five years (2015-2020), UCL will work towards ensuring all courses meet its seven dimensions.” (taken from the UCL Connected Curriculum website) 

What I took from this session was the potential and possibility of change within an institution. By bringing together 2 separate areas and highlighting the similarities, the benefits of working more effectively together for the good of those who are the future of research were obvious. It reminded me to consider the communities of interest who have a stake in the future of higher education in the UK and who I need on my career cruise liner.

Secondly, Kelly Coate, Director of King’s Learning Institute at KCL set out an interesting body of research looking at the concept of the prestige economy and the gender inbalance of senior staff positions in higher education. Kelly spent time demonstrating that “…academics are motivated by prestige factors accrued through advancement in their careers. Prestige, authority and status, we suggest, may be more easily acquired by male academics” (Coates & Howson 2014, 1).

By comparing the factors influencing progression for women in academic roles, I asked myself what could this mean for us as women researcher developers? As I looked around the room of 25 women and 1 solitary man I considered how the recommendations to avoid ‘fixing women’ could be extrapolated to consider how we could empower our women researcher developers and ultimately enable them to progress from researcher developer to more senior roles, especially when that role does not exist – yet. The answer is surely identifying the prestige economy and the currency of esteem for researcher developers.

Finally, in stark contrast to the ideas put forward by Kelly, Guy Woodward, a Reader in Ecology at Imperial College with over £7M of funding to his name, presented a personal view on why researcher development is not top of his agenda. It was his view that, when it comes to being the research leaders of the future, researchers should research first, teach second and do admin third. In order to get ahead in the world of academia he encourages his researchers to ‘shape the field’, write opinion papers, attend conferences, lobby, co-ordinate writing proposals for RCUK and sit on panels for funding and papers. He also talked about the need to collaborate in order to play to your strengths, build alliances and know who you can work with always with an eye on future funding and ultimately expect rejection as a marker of how high you are aiming.

To start a presentation stating that researcher development isn’t needed in a room of researcher developers was always going to be controversial, yet in a strange way I found the session inspirational. Perhaps, what Guy was saying was using experience and ‘real-time’ training is just as valuable as attending a workshop, something I think most researcher developers would agree. If you want to get noticed in a university attending a workshop in networking and influencing skills is just part of the journey. If you can, why not learn on the job and accept that sometimes there will be rejection or you might get it wrong? If you start small (remember that career cruise liner making small adjustments to its trajectory?) those rejections don’t push you off course that much and through reflection and learning from that experience you can correct for that over time. Just ‘doing it’ can be just as good a way to learn.

Perhaps, it is just about jumping in at the deep end, being brave – its just that researchers and researcher developers who have attended a training session jump in wearing a life jacket…

life jacket

References

Lifejacket image from http://www.lifejackets.co.uk

Kelly Coate & Camille Kandiko Howson (2014): Indicators of esteem: gender and prestige in academic work, British Journal of Sociology of Education, DOI: 10.1080/01425692.2014.955082

“physician heal thyself” Taken from http://www.phrases.org.uk/meanings/281850.html

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Focus on Leadership

forward_sign

We have all heard stories about inspirational leaders and what they have achieved but what is your leadership story? Whether you are just starting out or have been in a leadership position for many years there are always areas for improvement. In 2015 the Midlands Hub will be offering the opportunity to 20 researchers to improve their leadership skills by taking part in a 2 day leadership course.

Preparing for Leadership for Research Staff is a course specifically for researchers who are in the first 4 years of their postdoctoral career and who are starting to take on leadership roles or who wish to take on more leadership roles in the future.

team work for success

The 2 day course will take place on the 8th and 9th of Janaury in Birmingham and will take participants though many aspects of leadership including:

  • Leading self
  • Intellectual leadership
  • Team leadership

By the end of this programme, you will be better able to:

  • Appreciate the critical situations that have led you to be successful to date
  • Consider what leadership might mean
  • Understand yourself and your preferences that will allow you to exercise leadership in a way that suits you
  • Clarify the tasks that are expected of you both now and in future roles
  • Identify the areas of competency that are required for the next steps into leadership positions
  • Create a vision and strategy to implement; decide what is important for you
  • Decide the culture you want to create
  • Decide how to get the best out of other people
  • Decide how to develop yourself to do all of these things more effectively
  • Appreciate what is important and essential in any future role
  • Develop a peer network

apply_now

 

If you would like to know more about your leadership style take a look at The Leading Researcher; it gives an overview of different leadership styles and offers advice and guidance on how you could gain more leadership experience in your current role regardless of whether you are the boss or not.

 

The future of Doctoral Training

team work for success

Summary:

On 19th June 2014 Vitae held an ‘Open Space’ discussion event to explore the new challenges for universities and researcher development in the evolving landscape of doctoral education. Discussions centred on whether, with current recruitment practices, the best doctoral candidates are being selected and how we can support the professional career development of researchers.
In addition, it was interesting to note concerns about the potential for a two-tier system of support for students, the allocation of resources and different models for managing the rising number of doctoral training programmes.   The day concluded by raising possible directions for Vitae to work in support of this high profile area.

Perspective of a PhD student at the event.
A PhD student from the University of Warwick who took part was happy to share the following feedback:

“I am part of an interdisciplinary Doctoral Training Centre (DTC) at Warwick that aims to span the interface between the Physical and the Life Sciences. I attended an Open Space workshop run by Vitae, in which the changing structure of doctoral education was considered at length. Topics of discussion included the pros and cons of traditionally funded PhDs compared to PhDs studied within a DTC set-up, along with the role that Supervisors play in supporting both types of PhD student. 
For me as a research student, the event provided the opportunity to discuss my experiences as a PhD Student funded through a Doctoral Training Centre. When initially applying for PhDs, I found funding more accessible through DTCs rather than through traditional 3-year PhD projects, despite my initial efforts of PhD applications being targeted to 3-year pre-defined research projects. In DTCs, there is a more defined training element to the course, with a cohort-based approach – the advantages of these aspects of DTCs were discussed at the Vitae event and how all postgraduate research (PGR) students could benefit from the ethos that comes with DTCs. It was really interesting to hear these issues discussed from the viewpoint of the professionals working to support PGR students and what they do to continually aid the development of researchers.”  Amy O’Reilly, University of Warwick

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The theme of the event, which informed the initial speaker presentations and later discussions was:
“ How can we, together, support researchers, ensuring an equality of professional development provision for all, in light of the changing structures for doctoral education, such as doctoral training centres?”

Anna Price (Acting Assistant Director of KCL’s Graduate School and Vitae London Hub Manager), looking from the perspective of professional development and academia, Anna noted the key points in the theme as together, equality of opportunity and excellence.
Together: Collaborations within HEI’s are increasing, but also across and beyond HEI’s into the business world.
With the rise of doctoral training centre’s (DTC’s) and doctoral training programmes (DTP’s), seamless training provision with no gaps or duplication is the aim across academic and skills provision. This requires working together, but with different models available the challenge is to establish effective strategic communication.
Equality of opportunity: The current funding drivers and meritocracy can lead to the possibility of a two-tier system.
Excellence: Professional development should be preparing researchers for future careers in addition to academic research – understanding the job market and transferable skills needed across sectors.
The realities of a competitive academic career should be made clear at an early stage for researchers. But the question was raised, ‘is the extra support provided in a DTC potentially shielding them from some of the realities?’

Rebekah Smith McGloin (Doctoral Training Programmes Manager, University of Nottingham)
Rebekah raised some thought-provoking and pertinent points in considering some of the key questions about DTP’s in the face of huge RCUK (and other) investment, involving more recent and increasing cross-institutional consortia with ‘complex connectivity’ across industry, international networks, peers, academic community.

  • Complex administration can be involved in effective integration
  • A tension between T&L and research provision needs to be addressed.
  • Working across research organisations
  • What happens to the students who aren’t part of DTP’s? And for those involved, do they miss out on broader research community interaction?
  • Interdisciplinarity needs to be set up and supervised effectively to really work

Robin Mellors-Bourne (Deputy Chief Executive and Director, Research and Intelligence, CRAC)
Robin’s talk concentrated on understanding the recruitment and selection of PGR’s from an institutional perspective, using recent survey findings.
Why do HEI’s recruit PGR’s? Responses showed that research development and output was at the top of the list, with excellent researchers seen as ‘engines of innovation’. Income and teaching support were actually very low priorities.
Most universities are also seeking and expecting growth in the number of researchers in the next five years, whilst interestingly recognising that the total market is likely to shrink. Working towards growth is particularly true in post-92 institutions, plus an increasing international focus – therefore funding is key.
One of the most important factors in assessing applicant quality remains academic attainment with a big rise in the requirement for a Masters degree. HEI’s want to see existing expertise in research skills, showing that the researcher can hit the ground running.
Emerging issues:
What is the impact of DTP’s on everyone else? With some HEI’s diverting money to match fund research council awards, is there a danger of reduced provision available for following their own institutional research agenda.
There is an expectation of more professional doctorates and ‘blended’ models of PGR study.
Could recruitment come from a narrower base as a result?

Iain Cameron – (Head of Research Careers and Diversity, RCUK)
Shaping the future: expectations for doctoral training from research councils.
Supervisors should recognise doctoral study as broad training for a range of careers, with increasing numbers of postdoc’s now facing careers outside academic research. He encouraged HEI’s to collaborate and share resources.
HEI’s should continue to work with PI’s and supervisors to increase engagement in the broader researcher development agenda.
Current funding can be seen as ‘leverage’ but the expectation of match funding research council money is to ensure strategic consideration in HEI’s are given priority.
The impact of obtaining PhDs.
It was noted that a report due for publication in the autumn will include the following observations:
Employers value deep specialist skills and knowledge.
The importance of ongoing government funding
Doctoral graduates contribute to innovation.
As a result, skills and attitudes of graduates can spill over to other employers. Reference was made on the importance of embedding and sustaining training provision as renewed funding is never a guarantee.
With the development in doctoral training, where is the ‘value added’ for the broader PhD community? The value in DTP’s is often in cohort provision, inductions and some skills training. Should HEI’s consider reconfiguring their provision to include all research students to embed training and avoid a two tier system.

The Open Space discussions (the concept of sharing and openness, not hierarchical, to provoke honest discussion) covered a range of topics including:
How do we/should we better manage PhDs expectations of training/careers during recruitment processes?

  • Many take the opportunity as a means to an end: the chance to do their research. At that stage their career plans are unknown or focused on academia, so being clear on the value of the training is important in the recruitment process and induction.
  • Ask alumni to give talks on their career outside academia and how their training and PhD led to this. The cohort approach which people positively invest and engage in is already showing the benefits of this networking approach.
  • The involvement of supervisors is important to reinforce the training message at recruitment, induction and later.
  • If PhD research is viewed as a job, not the continuation of being a student then there should be an expectation of training for professional development as there is in the commercial world.

How do we support supervisors to engage with the researcher development agenda and to identify their own training needs? How might the role of supervisors be better embedded in DTC’s?

  • How do we solve the divisive potential of provision for DTC students v traditional self-funded students (in the interests of equality in the over-arching theme)?
  • Have the research councils deliberately set this up to create a two tier system, to show the value in their funding?
  • Intentional or not, a two tier model is a potential outcome.
  • Doctoral training is a very diverse landscape with different expectations of resource and training, including different expectations of students and supervisors.
  • Would it be possible to have an equality of experience with limited or ring-fenced resource in some HEI’s?
  • On a positive note, can a HEI learn from DTC provision to provide some aspects more broadly and share good practice.
  • Concern that DTC’s have developed adhoc in some cases where central coordination in training, etc is not in place.

How best to include public engagement training for PGR’s and what is most useful to them?

  • Build it into the idea of researcher personal development.
  • Seed funding for events
  • Disseminate examples of good practice in training etc. (possible involvement from Vitae?)
  • It is important to understand what funding bodies want from public engagement and impact.

These and other discussions will continue online at: https://vitaeworkspaces.basecamphq.com/projects/12192758-vitae-open-space-19-June-2014/log

Conclusions from the event and the message coming out of each theme for Vitae? 

  • What does a PhD mean today? More of a job than a continuation of study/being a student.
  • Case studies for models of excellence could be helpful.
  • Mapping the researcher developer role and context in doctoral training to raise awareness.
  • Explore the idea of excellence, reflecting on what this may mean for students and HEI’s.
  • Transferable skills training
  • What is CDT/DTP cohort good practice? Case studies on different models
  • Define public engagement in this context: models/case studies on what it is and the importance for researchers
  • Training for supervisors on the value of the researcher development/training agenda.

Researchers taking control of their own development

I’d like to introduce myself to start this month’s blog post.  I’m Lisa Lavender, based at the University of Warwick and I’ll be Vitae Midlands Hub Manager until October, covering for Kate whilst she is on maternity leave.  One of my first activities in post was to attend the Vitae South West and Wales Hub Annual Good Practice Conference, which was held in the wonderful Wales Millenium Centre in Cardiff Bay on 12 March 2014.  I hope to draw out some of the highlights and useful links in this article.

This long-standing conference has been running for over a decade now, offering an interesting mix of talks and workshops reflecting on key issues in UK researcher development.  This year the Concordat theme of ‘researchers taking control of their own development’ ran through many of the sessions.

Presentations from the day can now be found at: https://www.vitae.ac.uk/events/vitae-sww-hub-annual-good-practice-conference-2014/presentations

The keynote talk was given by Professor Michelle Ryan, University of Exeter, on ‘Uncovering the Glass Cliff’ Michelle examined the precariousness of women’s leadership positions – what do they face when they’ve broken through the glass ceiling?  The discussion centred on women in FTSE 100 companies, where it has been suggested that women in high positions on a board leads to a reduction in the company’s performance.  Michelle’s research found that women are often put on boards when performance is bad – the glass cliff – with almost an expectation of ‘challenge’ at best, failure at worst.  Women may be preferentially selected for challenging rather than maintenance, established roles because they are seen to be good in a crisis or because they and their careers are more expendable.  Whilst Michelle’s research suggests the former, the important thing to note is that it is not just the quantity of women given senior positions that is low, but also the quality of those positions is low.

Later in the day Karen Cooke from Cardiff’s ENFYS was inspiring and enthusiastic in her talk about the role of staff networks and how they can benefit both the members of the network and the HEI.  Linking your network to aspects of the university strategy and securing buy in from senior leadership is the key to success.  The resulting funding and exposure can facilitate the outputs that benefit the network … success, awards and publicity are excellent payback for the institution’s leadership.

ENFYS (Welsh for rainbow) is the LGBT+ Staff and Postgraduate Student Network at Cardiff University.  Take a look at their huge range of activities at: http://www.cardiff.ac.uk/govrn/cocom/equalityanddiversity/sexualorientation/lgbtstaffnetwork/lgbt-staff-network.html

Speak Up, Speak Clearly – how Research Staff Associations can make a difference. 

Using the RSA’s at Bristol and Exeter as case studies, this workshop started with the important, but often ignored point that active involvement in a staff association is NOT about being a researcher who doesn’t want to do research!   An active RSA can provide useful career development training and opportunities for long term benefit of the researcher beyond their pure research practice AND be a focal point for key institutional stakeholders to engage with researchers.  The message is – get yourself noticed.

The Midlands RSA is now a sizeable community and we are currently putting together an event for later in the summer around career development and networking.  If you’d like to get involved or find out more please email:  midlandshub@vitae.ac.uk .  UKRSA have produced three useful guides about RSA’s which can all be found at https://www.vitae.ac.uk/communities/uk-research-staff-association/ukrsa-projects-and-publications :

  • A Guide to Research Staff Associations
  • Understanding Research Staff Associations and their impact
  • How will getting involved with a research staff association benefit you?

Supporting Researchers with Equality and Diversity Issues was an interactive session led by Tracy Stead.  Vitae’s ‘Every Researcher Counts’ material was designed to help PI’s recognise and support E&D needs amongst the researchers they manage.  Tracy’s current project aims to offer institutions more possible uses of the existing resources and widen the perspective to all research staff.  The package will be more clearly modularised, making it easy to pull out specific resources and case studies.  We look forward to more resources coming online later in the year, but take a look at what Vitae currently offers on Every Researcher Counts at: https://www.vitae.ac.uk/doing-research/every-researcher-counts-equality-and-diversity-in-researcher-careers

Going Solo – The theory behind self employment

Opportunity

Earlier this month I wrote about the potential benefits of self employment. Now I will consider the theory behind why completing a PhD or being post-doc or Early Career Research puts you in a great position to take the next step to going it alone.

How many of you would say you have expertise in any of the following areas?

  • Analysing
  • Synthesising
  • Critical Thinking
  • Evaluating
  • Problem Solving
  • Inquiring Mind
  • Innovation
  • Enthusiasm
  • Perseverance
  • Self confidence
  • Self reflection
  • Preparation and prioritisation
  • Responsiveness to change
  • Responsiveness to opportunities
  • Networking
  • Income and funding generation
  • Project planning and delivery
  • Risk Management
  • Ethics, principles and sustainability
  • Legal requirements
  • IPR and copyright
  • Society and culture
  • Enterprise
  • Communication methods
  • Team working
  • People Management
  • Influence and leadership
  • Collaboration 

In a recent article from entrepreneur.com Stephen Key lists 5 qualities of successful entrepreneurs. I have mapped Stephen’s advice to the enterprise lens of the RDF and found all of the highlighted attributes are covered in his qualities

1. An unwavering passion. Being an entrepreneur demands commitment and dedication — more than most jobs do, I’d argue.

The Enterprise Lens highlights these attributes

  • Enthusiasm
  • Perseverance

 2. Open-mindedness. The most successful entrepreneurs never forget how much they can learn from others. They ask for advice. They’re flexible. They soak up the best practices around them like a sponge.

The Entrprise Lens highlights these attributes as

  •  Analysing
  • Synthesising
  • Critical Thinking
  • Evaluating
  • Problem Solving
  • Inquiring Mind
  • Innovation
  • Responsiveness to change
  • Responsiveness to opportunities
  • Networking
  • Collaboration 

3. The desire to be an expert. Entrepreneurs like a challenge, but as exciting as it is to consider a new field, high-achieving entrepreneurs know the benefits of staying in the same industry for a while are immense. Learn an industry’s  history. Knowing what’s been done before can help you identify how it can and should move forward. In the meantime, you’ll build a network of relationships to support you in future endeavors, especially when times are lean. Those relationships are invaluable.

The Entrprise Lens highlights these attributes as

  • Society and culture
  • Enterprise
  • Team working
  • People Management
  • Influence and leadership
  • Networking
  • Collaboration 
  • Analysing
  • Synthesising
  • Critical Thinking
  • Evaluating
  • Problem Solving
  • Legal requirements
  •  IPR and copyright
  • Communication methods
  • Income and funding generation

 4. A forward-looking approach. Successful entrepreneurs are always thinking ahead. They may stray from their roadmap, and that’s okay, but they have one in mind. Having a clearly established set of goals will keep you from getting stuck. Your goals may be constantly evolving, but if you don’t know where you want to go, chances are, you won’t get anywhere

The Entrprise Lens highlights these attributes as:

  • Project planning and delivery
  • Risk Management
  • Ethics, principles and sustainability

 5. A constant flow of ideas. Having one project that’s doing well is great. But the successful entrepreneurs I know don’t rest on their laurels. Instead, they’re constantly asking themselves, “What’s next?” They understand that being a successful entrepreneur is a lifestyle choice, not a destination.

The Entrprise Lens highlights these attributes as

  • Evaluating
  • Problem Solving
  • Inquiring Mind
  • Innovation

 Taken and edited from http://www.entrepreneur.com/article/227776

If this has inspired you to think more about self employment or entrepreneurship why not have a look at What do researchers do? Career Profiles of doctoral entrepreneurs

New Year, New Job?

Curriculum vitae  concept in word tag cloud

So, it’s the start of another year and for some the end of your current contract may be looming faster that you care to imagine, for others you have decided it is time to look for a new challenge in your career and perhaps for others it is the year when you will take the first step on the career ladder with a new and shiny PhD certificate under your belt.

Whatever boat you are in there is lots of help and advice out there for you.

The Career Blog from the University of Warwick provides a great starting point when it comes to applying for jobs including a salient reminder that “finding a job is a pretty time consuming process: don’t take the path of least resistance by applying for any and everything.”

 As researchers we should know not to skip the most important stage of our job search: research. “Until you know what’s out there and how to get it, you’ll simply repeat the same mistakes or see your efforts wasted” says Helen Stringer, Careers Consultant at the University of Warwick. “Don’t cut corners and apply for something that isn’t right for you.  Take small practical steps instead that will give you a firm anchor until you have the time and motivation to fully commit to your job search.”

When it comes to CVs there is also a wealth of information and tips out there. Vitae and Prospects both have example CVs and advice about the type of CV to use. If you are starting from a completely blank sheet the National Careers Service has some helpful advice including a generic CV builder. One word of warning from ‘The Careers Blog’ which is particularly important to remember is;  as productive as it feels, firing of  hundreds of CVs is little more than application spamming and potential employers can tell. Other useful places to look include the Guardian, which recently published an interested article on refreshing your CV.

For some jobs, you are more likely to need to complete an online application form than send a CV. There are a number of key things to remember when completing your application including drafting your answers offline to avoid losing work and of course grammar and spell checking your text before inputting to the system and pressing ‘submit’.

Whatever your career plans for 2014, we wish you the best of luck.

 

Getting Started in Research

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If you are new to research or just overwhelmed with what makes a successful researcher you may like to consider using one of the Vitae Researcher Development Framework lenses. Vitae recently published a Getting Started in Research lens to help those who are new to research begin their development journey. The lens focuses on the descriptors required to start out in research and to begin developing as a researcher.

Using the Getting Started in Research lens,  or our other lenses, may also help to alleviate the sense of complexity that some researchers experience when they first encounter the RDF.

Have you considered what excellent research is and the impact that it can have?

Excellent researchers understand that their work can change the world. They know that how they go about the work, and talk about it, can have a huge impact on how both their work and they, are viewed. They know how to stand out from the crowd.pencil_standing out

Vitae is running a number of professional training courses across the UK to help you consider how you can make your mark, conduct excellent research and consider the impact your research will have.

The Vitae Midlands Hub is hosting one of these courses on December 5th at Keele University. The course will draw on the current agendas of research impact demonstrated by the funding bodies and grant holders, but with specific focus on you and how you work. Through discussion and practical activities you will consider both the impact of your research, and the impact you have in the research environment in which you work.

The Vitae Midlands Hub has 18 places on this course available, and unlike other courses, this professional training is free of charge. If you would like to be considered for one of these highly sought after places then please apply through the Vitae website.

Supporting Researchers to make career choices

Career opportunities for researchers cover a wide range of sectors including HE; manufacturing; finance; business and IT, health and public administration. Recent trends demonstrate that over half of researchers on completion of their doctorate will go on to pursue a career outside academic research or teaching (What Do Researchers Do? First Destinations of Graduates By Subject’, Vitae 2009). Funders of research both nationally and in Europe recognise this trend, and the importance of ensuring all researchers are supported by their institution in their professional and career development, whilst still taking responsibility for this themselves.

ImageManaging a career today is less about having a determined plan, and more about taking a broad and organic approach to employability: leaving the door open to grasp opportunities (and sometimes creating them), taking planned risks, coping effectively with unexpected changes, and crucially adapting ideas to evolving interests and experiences. (More about careers for researchers)

The Career-wise Researcher has been designed to give practical tips to help identify and build the pieces of the career puzzle. It includes the steps needed to understand skills and capabilities; increase awareness of job opportunities and what employers are seeking; setting career and personal development goals; taking a proactive approach to development opportunities, and ensuring every potential employee is presented in the best light to get the job they want.

Equality and Diversity for Researcher Careers

people around the globe

As many of you will know, the Equality Act 2010 replaced previous anti-discrimination law consolidating and streamlining it into a single act. The Act recognises that different treatment is necessary to ensure equality and recognises nine protected characteristics: age, disability (including carers of disabled people), gender reassignment, marriage and civil partnership, pregnancy and maternity, race, religion or belief (including lack of belief), sex and sexual orientation.

In 2011 Vitae led the project ‘Every Researcher Counts: equality and diversity in researcher careers in HE‘ which was funded by the Higher Education Funding Council for England with support from the Scottish Funding Council, the Higher Education Funding Council for Wales and the Department for Education and Learning Northern Ireland who see these activities as an important part of their implementation strategy for the Concordat to Support the Career Development of Researchers.

This successful project achieved the following:

  • Flexible materials and resources for staff developers to embed in leadership development programmes for principal investigators
  • A network of over 100 equality and diversity champions
  • Briefing papers for staff developers; PIs, research group leaders and research managers; and senior managers and HR specialists
  • A selection of case studies providing examples of embedding equality and diversity practices in institutions.

Want to know more? The Vitae SWW Hub would like to invite staff involved in supporting researchers to the following FREE event:

Equality and Diversity in the Researcher Environment
Tuesday, June 11 at Bristol Zoo – 10.00- 15.30

The purpose of this event is to inform participants of the strategic importance of equality and diversity policy and practice for researchers, embedded in the research environment, particularly in view of the RCUK Statement of Expectations for Equality and Diversity.

Equality and diversity initiatives for researchers in HEIs are often focused on achieving parity for women, but through a new programme of activities Vitae, working on behalf of the Research Councils and funding bodies, would like to promote a broader awareness of equality and diversity issues in this area to research managers and leaders.

The event is FREE to attend, but we ask participants to pay their own travel expenses.
To book your place,and for more details of the programme  go to: www.vitae.ac.uk/swwhubed2013.