- Previous events
- Vitae researcher development conference 2008
- Workshop programme NEW UPDATE December 08
- A7/B7 Workshop summary and outcomes
A7/B7 Workshop summary and outcomes
Research staff strand
So you are new to developing research staff?
Dr Fiona Denney, Head of Graduate Development, Kings College London and Vitae London Hub Co-ordinator and Dr Odette Dewhurst, Senior Research Training and Development Officer, University of Leeds
Those new to working in research staff development face a potentially bewildering array of reports, policies, terms of reference, organisations and issues. What is it essential to know and take into account?
The session covered:
- the main external drivers impacting on research staff and their development
- participants' experiences in developing postdoctoral researchers.
First, the milestones in UK initiatives for researchers were outlined (eg Concordat 1996 , Research Careers Initiative , Roberts' Report: SET for Success , Fixed Term Employees Regulations , Concordat 2008 ) and these set in the European context (focusing on the European Charter and Code, Researchers' Mobility Portals, the Lisbon strategy and the European Research Area, Fifth Freedom ). See
http://www.vitae.ac.uk/policy-practice/1703/Initiatives.html for these policy developments and http://www.vitae.ac.uk/policy-practice/1699/Organisations.html for the organisations supporting researchers in the UK.
Recent UK policy drivers, such as Baroness Greenfield's SET FAIR report, the Lambert report (2003), Science and Innovation Framework 2004-14, Warry Report (2006), Research Councils' support for knowledge transfer: the Government's Response (2006), Leitch Review (2006) are explained at http://www.vitae.ac.uk/1684/Initiatives.html
Possible future trends are:
- increasing professionalisation of research as a profession separate from lecturing/academia
- increasing focus on employee rights and legislation (driven by Europe?)
- increasing tensions with the way in which research is funded.
Participants then identified and discussed their key questions. Outcomes are shown in italics:
- Delivery differences between PGRs and research staff - should provision be delivered to them as separate groups? Some participants felt that postgraduate reseachers and research staff did have different needs as they are at different stages of development as researchers. Others focused more on the different challenges of engaging postgraduate researchers and research staff: accessing research staff is more difficult, there are differences in ‘culture' and postgraduate research student supervisors are often more receptive to researcher training than are PIs. Differences in culture/stage of development might mean variations in style/delivery of provision
- Who are your researchers - how do you identify them and as research versus academic staff? How then engage them? Participants highlighted the value of using direct contacts, treating research staff as individual, and being careful about terminology. The importance of the sector providing a united front was stressed
- How do you get the different parts of the institution to work together, HR, Careers Service, academics, etc? Joined-up thinking across different parts of the HEI is key to success
- How to deal with differences of discipline - yours versus theirs? Emphasise (and practise where you can) transferable skills, embedded skills and the value of working with people from different disciplines to gain understanding of different backgrounds
- Scope of provision (not just courses) -what else can we offer? Participants stressed the value of embedded training rather than just short courses, in order to encourage sustained change of working practices
- PIs - how to engage these and address their training needs. Participants exchanged ideas and practices from their institutions.
View the A7/B7 presentation slides
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