The government and national stakeholders have stressed the need to increase the value of the UK research base, ensuring international visibility and respect. The importance of sustainable and attractive research careers is critical in a world where ‘the UK cannot compete on cost, [but] must raise our game on skills, training and knowledge'. There have been repeated calls for a new national framework for research careers. The focus on ‘driving up higher level skills that contribute to innovation in business' was outlined in the recent Innovation Nation white paper.
The revised Concordat to support the career development of researchers, launched in June, aims to demonstrate internationally the high standards of management and support that can be expected by researchers in the UK. It creates a single framework for institutions seeking to meet the expectations of a number of different funders within the UK as well as the European Commission. It provides a new imperative to review and improve professional development support, particularly for research staff: ‘an overarching issue is how universities and vice-chancellors think of their research staff, in particular those at the start of their careers... there is an opportunity for mindsets to change.'
The conference addressed the strategic and practical implications of a changing framework of support for researchers in the UK. Download the conference guide.
Within this, the conference addressed 5 themes:
- strategies for sustaining personal and career support for researchers
- new models and approaches for understanding researchers as professionals
- supporting innovation and skills development
- understanding, developing and promoting researcher careers
- research, evidence and evaluation relating to the skills and careers of researchers
- explored the key issues in developing researchers over the next five years
- discussed strategic and practical approaches to supporting the skills and career development of postgraduate researchers and research staff in light of a changing global and national context
- shared ideas and practice with a network of all those who have a stake in developing the UK's researchers.
all those with a stake in supporting the development of postgraduate researchers and research staff in institutions, including:
- senior managers in research organisations, with responsibility for strategy, recruitment, training and management of postgraduate researchers or research staff
- professional associations and institutions including the research councils, government representatives and policy advisors
- research managers and administrators
- careers and HR professionals working with postgraduate researchers or research staff
- training co-ordinators, staff developers and trainers working with researchers.
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