Vitae research staff conference 200905 November 2009
Being a member of research staff can be an immensely rewarding experience. However, like any career, research offers a range of both challenges and opportunities. This one day conference examined some of the keys issues faced by research staff in the current climate and explored how researchers can make their voice heard more effectively.
The last few years have seen an increasing focus on the professional and career development of researchers. These developments have been consolidated in the Concordat to Support the Career Development of Researchers which was launched in 2008 to increase the attractiveness and sustainability of research careers in the UK and to improve the quantity, quality and impact of research for the benefit of UK society and the economy. In light of the publication of the Concordat, researchers have an opportunity to further engage with developments taking place across the sector.
The conference discussed ways in which the community of researchers can come together across institutional and disciplinary barriers to work effectively together. It provided an opportunity for participants to develop networks that enable the voices of researchers to be more effectively heard within institutions and by national policymakers.
The conference was open to all members of research staff in higher education. In particular the conference was designed for researchers who represent a wide range of different institutions and subjects. Members of local research staff networks, UCU activists or co-ordinators of subject based networks were encouraged to attend and subsequently engage their own networks.
This one day national conference enabled attendees to
- consider the research environment and examine issues that impact on research staff across institutional and disciplinary barriers
- examine issues around researcher's career paths and discuss how professional development activity for researchers should be organised
- discuss how research staff can get their voices heard more effectively in national and local policy discussions
- develop an action plan for a wider community of research staff who want to make an impact in their own institutions and nationally
What did it involve?
This one day national conference brought together up approximately 100 postdocs and other research staff from across institutions and disciplines to discuss the researcher experience. The day consisted of plenary sessions and a choice of interactive workshops and included opportunities to network with other researchers and policy makers.
The conference focussed on the following themes:
- Developing researcher communities
- How can researchers get their voice heard around national policy issues?
- The changing research environment
- Careers and professional development
- Dr Brian Iddon (MP)
- Dr David Proctor, Chair of the College of Life Sciences Postdoc Association (CLSPA), University of Dundee
- Dr Sara Williams, Training and Development Manager, Cardiff University
- Dr Robin Mellors-Bourne (Director, Research & Intelligence, CRAC)
- Tom Papworth (Research Concordat Co-ordinator)
- Dr Jane Wellens (Head of Researcher Development, University of Nottingham)
- Dr Emma Gillaspy (Vitae North West Hub Manager, University of Manchester)
Conference report now available!
Hotel Novotel London St Pancras
100 - 110 Euston Road
- Research staff
Places on the event were free of charge