- Newcastle University
- Yorkshire and North East
- Date first submitted:
- 22 Dec 2009
- Date last modified:
- 23 Dec 2009
- Relationship to RDF:
- Domain A: Knowledge and intellectual abilities
- Domain B: Personal effectiveness
- Professional and career development
- Domain C: Research governance and organisation
- Research management
- Finance, funding and resources
- Domain D: Engagement, influence and impact
- Working with others
- Engagement and impact
- Personal effectiveness
- Research project skills
- Career development
- Research staff
Impact Level 2: Learning
Participant feedback was collected via anonymous questionnaires both immediately following the event and several months later. We found that participants changed their views on the sessions that they found most beneficial with hindsight. The summer school was seen by participants as providing a positive learning environment and the exercises used were considered useful by 94% and 83% of participants immediately following the event in 2008 and 2009 respectively. All of the 2008 participants said they would use information learned on the summer school in their job. “Thank you for this I have learned lots and it has helped me focus on the bigger picture instead of being bogged down in day-to-day trivialities.” “The course was an eye-opener in terms of research careers and gave me an insight into which paths I could take in the future.” The follow-up evaluation showed that 58% of participants felt that attending the summer school had changed their perspective on research as a career. Examples provided by participants were that they were now clearer on the University’s expectations, the intricacies of a research career (including how competitive it is) and their own personal goals and strategic plan.
Rationale, aims and outcomes
What is the rationale for doing this?
How does it fit with institutional strategy?
What are the main features of the provision?
What are the aims and expected outcomes?
The University is committed to recruiting, retaining and developing its research staff. The Summer School builds on the induction process and is supported by the programme of transferable skills training and the dedicated career advice given to research staff.
Researchers should be empowered by having a realistic understanding of, and information about, their own career development and career direction options (Principle 4, The Concordat).programme is designed to help participants identify and reflect on the skills needed to be successful in a research at the beginning of their career.
Participants will have reflected on their own strengths and weaknesses in the context of a research career. Identified the skills/behaviours needed to become successful and identified areas of development. They will also have an understanding of the research environment to enable them to make an informed choice of their career direction.
Are there any pre-requisites for engagement, e.g. levels of skill, years of experience, essential pre-activities?
How many participate in each 'activity'?
New research staff, who are within their first 12 months of their first research contract.
Evaluation: benefits, challenges and next steps
How do you monitor effectiveness?
Who do you seek feedback from?
Do you have benchmarks?
The researchers benefit by assessing their skills set and reflecting on their suitability for a research career at the outset. This will help them manage their career whether they intend to stay in academia or make a transition elsewhere.
The challenge is to raise awareness of new research staff of the highly competitive nature of research and realistically not all will be successful. The challenge for research staff is how they a) position themselves to succeed within academia or b) to use their skills to succeed outside of academia.
The Summer School was a successful pilot in 2008 with Newcastle research staff. In 2009 the summer school was offered to Durham staff (7 attended). In 2010 we will open up to all of the NE Universities.