- Previous events
- Vitae researcher development conference 2008
- Workshop programme NEW UPDATE December 08
- C12 Workshop summary and outcomes
C12 Workshop summary and outcomes
Researcher-led professional development
Johanna Green, PhD Candidate Department of English Language and Development Co-ordinator eSharp, University of Glasgow and Joe Sterrett, PhD Candidate, School of English, Communication and Philosophy, Cardiff University
Recent years have seen growing opportunities for researchers to define, own and create their own professional and career development activities. This session explored two examples of doctoral researcher initiatives which aim to develop transferable skills and employability through activities to support the research community:
- eSharp, the University of Glasgow's award-winning postgraduate journal for Arts, Humanities, Social Sciences and Education
- an interdisciplinary research series entitled Sacred Text-Sacred Space at Cardiff University.
This session covered:
- case study examples of how researchers have created their own opportunities for skills development, including how the projects work, the support provided by the university, and the benefits for researchers
- an exploration of the benefits, impact and challenges of these schemes and the implications for participants' own provision.
Case study eSharp: Johanna Green
eSharp both publishes cutting-edge research bi-annually and provides innovative training to all postgraduates within its remit, both at the University of Glasgow and beyond. Having recently launched the second issue of its sister publication The Kelvingrove Review which provides postgraduates with a platform to publish academic book reviews, eSharp is also currently in the process of publishing its second eBook, providing advice arising from a recent high-profile lecture series, which dealt with issues relating to teaching and research within academia. In doing so, eSharp can continue to provide training to postgraduates not just at Glasgow, but across the world.
Key features are:
- eSharp receives an annual grant of Roberts money from University of Glasgow
- The journal and project are run entirely by postgraduates for postgraduates; no academics sit on the editorial board (unlike some postgraduate researcher journals)
- Over the past five years the editorial board have organised and run postgraduate training in editing, peer review, book review, writing abstracts and getting published, to name but a few; their services are now used by the University of Glasgow for graduate training and postgraduate groups from other Universities throughout the UK are enlisting the help of eSharp editorial board members in launching their own postgraduate journals
- The SharpEdge project (contact firstname.lastname@example.org) has now been developed as eSharp's bespoke training vehicle for both students at the University of Glasgow and beyond; offering responsive, modern, needs-based training to postgraduate students, SharpEdge uses peer-designed and peer-led training by late-stage postgraduates and new academics to deliver solutions to research training needs alongside a flexible peer-led environment within which to discuss and enhance students' skill development.
- The eSharp project also provides a platform for further development of researcher-led initiatives: in August 2008, the Association of Postgraduate Journals was inaugurated at the University of Glasgow (www.gla.ac.uk/apj); the Association is postgraduate-led, aims to share best practice between journal editors in the postgraduate, open-access field and intends to enhance postgraduate publishers by creating a forum in whichto discuss issues and share best practice and form a coherent voice to speak for the needs of postgraduate journals in funding consultations and postgraduate forums.
View Johanna Green's presentation.
Case study- The Sacred Text Space: Joe Sterrett
The Sacred Text-Sacred Space series was a successful bid for a £1,000 award from the Cardiff Graduate Schools for researcher-led interdisciplinary projects and was organised and promoted by postgraduates in Cardiff University's School of English, Communication, and Philosophy and the Schools of Architecture and Welsh. What began with a modest proposal to invite five respected academics to share their research in this area eventually grew to include fifteen and a day conference in collaboration with the Cardiff Centre for Medieval Studies. The conference focused around the newly reconstructed medieval church at St Ffagan's Museum of Welsh Life in Cardiff (www.cardiff.ac.uk/encap/stss). The series has been the impetus to publish a collection of essays on the subject including five from the original series as well as attracting interest from other leading academics.
Benefits were varied:
- putting the bid together developed skills of networking across disciplines, budgeting, crafting clear analytical questions
- practical experience of organising events
- dealing with autonomy/responsibility
- real advantage in approaching distinguished people with an offer, rather than ‘just networking'.
View Joe Sterrett's presentation.
This case study also features in the Enterprise at work: exploring intrapreneurship in researcher development report
There was much interest in the potential of researcher-led initiatives. The evidence was clear that ‘this is so empowering'.
Good practice suggested advertising for bids for postgraduate researcher-led projects:
- make it competitive
- practical oversight without too many constraints
- give autonomy.
HEIs were urged to think about how these models could be expanded - for example, to research staff.
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