- Database of practice
- Researcher Development Programme for doctoral students and early career researchers.
Researcher Development Programme for doctoral students and early career researchers.
- Cranfield University
- East of England
- Date first submitted:
- 28 Nov 2008
- Date last modified:
- 20 Oct 2009
- Personal effectiveness
- Research project skills
- Academic practice
- Researcher development strategy/management
- Enterprise-related activities
- Career development
- Translating research into practice
- Postgraduate researchers
- Doctoral researchers
- 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?
By delivering a structured programme which is open to students and researchers (and occasionally other faculty) we aim to embed generic skills training within the culture of the research community, and ultimately foster a stronger community, whilst providing support for individuals' ongoing personal and professional development.
The instutional strategy is to provide doctoral students and early career researchers with the generic and career managements skills defined in the JSS to support them during their doctoral studies/early careers and beyond. It builds on the research skills training delivered to students during their first year of study and responds to identified needs.
The Researcher Development Programme has been tailored to suit the needs of our ECRs and the particular profile of our research student community; students are typically mid-career, with an average age of 36 and having the aspirations of an academic career or a portfolio career comprising an element of teaching or writing. They also have considerable prior management experience and, as a result, require fewer of the more common transferable skills sessions that other HEIs provide (eg time management), and more sophisticated training to suit their specific development needs.
The programme is modular in structure, each module corresponding to an area of activity addressed in the JSS, viz.: Managing your research project; Effective ;Skills for the research environment; Personal effectiveness; Planning and managing your career; Entrepreneurship, enterprise and business skills; Translating research into practice; Improve your research skills. The School runs some of these activities collaboratively, with other Schools within the University.
Students and researchers will acquire a range of skills which they can apply to their current endeavours and will prepare them for an academic career.
Are there any pre-requisites for engagement, e.g. levels of skill, years of experience, essential pre-activities?
How many participate in each 'activity'?
Activities are generally open to all of the target audience but some doctoral student activities are aimed at students in particular years.
Varies with activity but generally 8 - 20 students participate, representing 17% - 42% of the post MRes doctoral community. Attendance by ECRs is around 15-20%.
Evaluation: benefits, challenges and next steps
How do you monitor effectiveness?
Who do you seek feedback from?
Do you have benchmarks?
The content of the programme is such that individuals realise the benefits of certain practical sessions immediately and are able to apply the techniques in their daily tasks; other sessions contribute to their longer-term personal development. The School also benefits from developing well-rounded researchers who can make an effective contribution to the wider academic and practitioner communities.
The key challenge is to engage researchers and students in the programme and encourage 'buy-in' from students' supervisors. Participation by students is raised at their progress reviews; in addition, the role supervisors play in researcher development is a regular item for discussion in supervisor training sessions and meetings.
The RDP has been carefully designed to meet the specific needs of our researcher and doctoral student communities. Incremental improvements will continue to be made in the light of institutional strategy and the career support needs of our researchers.