Faculty Researcher Development Champions Initiative
This initiative, which seeks to develop potential future research leaders by allowing individuals to gain experience supporting the development of others, is considered an effective way of achieving long term impact and sustainability from investment in researcher development. Derived from existing good practice and responding to feedback from the researcher community, it involves early career researchers being seconded to work in multidisciplinary liaison across the researcher community to develop appropriate training and ensure that the Researcher Development Programme meets the needs of individual researchers.
- University of Strathclyde
- Scotland and Northern Ireland
- Date first submitted:
- 17 Jun 2011
- Date last modified:
- 17 Jun 2011
- Relationship to RDF:
- Domain A: Knowledge and intellectual abilities
- Knowledge base
- Domain B: Personal effectiveness
- Professional and career development
- Domain C: Research governance and organisation
- Finance, funding and resources
- Domain D: Engagement, influence and impact
- Working with others
- Communication and dissemination
- Engagement and impact
- Researcher-led activities
- Work experience
- Researcher development strategy/management
- Career development
- Research staff
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 Careers in Research Online Survey (CROS) and other internal feedback mechanisms identified levels of engagement of early career research staff and the provision of development opportunities appropriate to their needs as potential barriers to full participation.
In response, Researcher Development Champions have been created, seconded to work on removing these barriers by pro-actively engaging their peers and working to align researcher development provision to their needs. This enhances the University’s commitment to creating and maintaining a dynamic research environment and an enviable research culture that attracts high calibre students and staff. In particular, this initiative addresses the University’s Strategic Plan in ‘implementing a structured mentoring programme to support researchers at all stages of their careers’ and in ‘identifying and supporting future research leaders and ensuring succession planning for existing leaders’.
The secondees are supported with reflective learning from the Centre for Academic Practice and Learning Enhancement as well as any other specific training identified. This is part of a wider strategy targeted at achieving excellence in Strathclyde Researcher Development.
In addition to the general benefits this brings to the researcher communities, these posts aim to give interested individuals the experience of developing transferrable business management skills and a better understanding of both strategic and operational aspects in a complex organisation. This includes experiential learning beyond the research environment as they will also be exploring ways to help researchers develop the social impact of research and technology, and to engage business and industry more fully.
Real life experiential skills are therefore a key outcome for the post holders whereas the internal investment in individual skills development of potential future research leaders helps to build future capacity and to enhance our commitment to researcher development as a route towards permanent culture change and sustainability.
Are there any pre-requisites for engagement, e.g. levels of skill, years of experience, essential pre-activities?
How many participate in each 'activity'?
Early career researchers are firstly nominated by their faculty but they are required to apply through the standard recruitment processes (address a job specification and skills profile, attend for interview, etc). There are usually four Faculty Researcher Development Co-ordinators (one per faculty).
Evaluation: benefits, challenges and next steps
How do you monitor effectiveness?
Who do you seek feedback from?
Do you have benchmarks?
The Faculty Researcher Development Champion Initiative was measured against the Rugby Team Impact Framework, and the initiative contributed to the Impact Report compiled by Dr Tony Bromley.