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Never the Twain Shall Meet; bringing research leaders & researchers together to talk about career development
07 September 2011
By Paul Spencer
Back in September 2010, the Researchers' Forum at UWE hosted an event entitled "Balancing individual career progression with research group success. Can it be done?" This was an event that had been in planning for some time as a result of repeated requests from research staff to involve PIs more in the discussions about supporting the career development of research staff. In the workshop C11 "Never the Twain Shall Meet" we presented the outcomes & learnign we gained from this event.
The planning group for the Researchers' Forum had some reservations about whether this would be constructive, whether PIs would see any value in giving up time to contribute to a researcher development event. We worried whether the presence of PIs would inhibit the willingness of research staff to talk openly about the issues they faced relating to career development.
We had the support of the Deputy Vice Chancellor who persuaded & encouraged many research leaders to see the Researchers' Forum as important and we drafted in an external facilitator, Kate Tapper from Bud Development, to structure the event so that constructive dialogue could take place.
Kate encouraged the participants to use metaphors to illustrate what it was like to be a researcher or research leader.
The perspectives of research leaders was very interesting, they saw their role as protectors of their research staff, to shield them from the complex political issues that surrounds research in order to allow them to engage with their research unimpeded.
Researchers on the other hand felt they need more open and honest dialogue about the environment, both physical and political, in which they operated so that they felt more able to make informed career choices.
This led to the Researchers' Forum setting up two follow on events, the first in May this year focussed on where the money for research at UWE comes from and how it all gets distributed to the various activities at the institution. I blogged about this separately in an entry called "Show me the Money!"
The second event will take place later this month and is all about bringing in the experience of research leaders to share their knowledge about raising your profile as a researcher through publication strategies and cimmunicating via a wider audience.
The presentation I used to support the workshop can be found here:-
Always on the look out for other examples of engaging research leaders and managers by bringing them into researcher development events as I, along with the participants at the workshop, feel this is integral to the success of implementing the Concordat to support the career development of researchers.
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