Toolkits to enable managers to support early career researchers

As part of a collaborative partnership led by King’s College, London and in conjunction with independent research funded by the UKRI Future Leaders Fellowship Development Network’s Plus Fund, Vitae has been delighted to be involved in the development of two new toolkits to support the career development and progression of Early Career Researchers (ECRs).

Front cover of ECR Toolkits showing watermak image of people round a table

The dual toolkit comes in response to a strong interest from multiple stakeholders for action due to the gap in knowledge for managers supporting the development and progression of ECRs and for institutions to enable managers to better champion their support of ECRs.

The resources have been developed following a desk review of university websites in the UK, a survey of Vitae members, and focus groups, with feedback from equality, diversity, and inclusion champions. The toolkits have also been mapped to the Concordat to Support the Career Development of Researchers (Researcher Development) and as a result of implemented them, it is hoped that examples of good practice will be shared through the Concordat Platform of Practice. To help users including HR Excellence in Award holders, searching for practices appropriate for specific obligations of the Concordat, a handy filterable mapping resource is available to refer to as well.

Intended as an aspirational resource, the two toolkits complement each other by highlighting areas where managers may work as a more effective pivot between institutions and ECRs in support of career development and progression. Two examples of such ‘pivotal pairing’s would be: the provision by an institution of induction materials for new managers of ECRs that would in turn help managers of ECRs to enhance their structured support; and if managers of ECRs encourage equitable access to opportunities, the recommendation is for institutions to monitor equity in said access.

The aim is that the toolkits will also encourage ECRs themselves in career development discussions with their managers, and that other stakeholders such as funders could benefit from the evidence-based research, around areas such as grant call criteria and research assessment strategies.

We hope that the toolkits provide another key to helping develop a supportive environment in which researchers in the early stages of their careers can thrive.

View and download 'Toolkits to enable managers for managers to support the development and progression of early career researchers'.

View and map: Researcher Development Concordat obligations against Toolkit suggested activities