- Previous events
- Vitae researcher development conference 2008
- Workshop programme NEW UPDATE December 08
- A1/B1 Workshop summary and outcomes
A1/B1 Workshop summary and outcomes
Postgraduate researcher strand
So you're new to developing postgraduate researchers?
Dr Heather Dalgleish, Leader of Postgraduate Training, Loughborough University and Dr Tristram Hooley, Senior Programme Manager, Vitae
This session gave participants an opportunity to think through what is particular about the development of postgraduate researchers and help to demystify some of the policies, terms, acronyms and organisations that make up the environment. It also covered:
- the main external drivers impacting on postgraduate researchers and their development
- participants' experiences in developing postgraduate researchers
- sources of good practice in the development of postgraduate researchers.
The backdrop to researcher development is an increasing recognition of the need for better collaboration within Europe to compete more effectively with the rest of the world. The Bologna Process is concerned with HE qualification reform, and hence the nature of degree programmes. The Lisbon agenda - the creation of the European Research Area - impacts on the management of research and researchers.
In the UK, the Roberts report SET for Success set in motion funding for additional researcher training, ‘principally in transferable skills', to be equivalent to two weeks each year. Research degree programmes should also meet stringent minimum standards (QAA, 2004). The ‘Joint Statement of Skills Training Requirements of Research Postgraduates' (JSS) was widely adopted as the framework for implementing the Roberts recommendations on researcher employability. The Joint Skills Statement, developed in 2001 by the UK Research Councils in collaboration with UK GRAD Programme and the HE sector, identified the set of competencies that a postgraduate researcher should have or develop during the course of their doctoral degree programme. It has the following sections:
- Research Skills and Techniques
- Research Environment
- Research Management
- Personal Effectiveness
- Communication Skills
- Networking and Teamworking
- Career Management.
Via the Vitae website, those new to researcher development can access wide ranging support, including:
- resources for postgraduate researchers
- Database of practice (what other institutions are doing)
- Database of resources (eg workshop learning materials)
- Database of trainers and developers*
- Regional Hubs (networks of researcher development professionals)
- information and updates on policy, research and evaluation
- links to other useful organisations and resources.
(*available from January 2009)
Participants formed groups to discuss ideas for developing provision in the Joint Skills Statement areas of personal effectiveness, communication skills, networking and teamworking, and career management:
- what approaches can you think of that will meet the skills outlined?
- are there aspects of your idea(s) which will work better for some PGRs than others?
- what are the problems to you, in putting these ideas into action?
Participant feedback from group discussion highlighted the diversity both of their own experiences and of the cohort. Many stressed the challenging nature of the postgraduate researcher group. Participants stressed the importance of not stereotyping researchers, for example, recognising the increasing numbers of non-native speakers and mature students.
View the A1/B1 presentation slides
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