Preparing Researchers for an Unknown Future: Cultures, Behaviours & Mindsets

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There has never been a more challenging time to be a researcher. With rapid and unpredictable change in policy contexts, the rise of open research, as well as sector’s increasing reliance on research staff employed on fixed term contracts, researchers are now required to constantly adapt to ensure both their research and their career remain on track—often at the expense of their work/life balance or wellbeing.

In the context of heightened pressures placed on doctoral researchers and research staff, this one-day Vitae practice-sharing event will explore the role of institutional cultures, as well as individual behaviours and mindset in the career development of UK researchers.

Underpinning the day’s expert presentations, panel discussions, and interactive workshops will be the question of how best to prepare, equip, and empower researchers for an unknown future. In particular, we will consider and reflect on the following three themes:

Open Research

  • Are researchers suitably equipped to contend with an increasingly “open” research environment?
  • What does it mean to be an “open researcher”? What particular skills, behaviours, and competencies do researchers need to thrive in this ever-changing research environment?
  • What role might professional development play in fostering a culture and mindset of “open-ness”?

Intersectoral engagement and mobility

  • Data suggests there is a misalignment of expectations between researchers’ career aspirations and their postdoctoral employment pathways, where does this mismatch of expectations come from, and how could it be addressed?
  • How does the language of professional development shape perception regarding “alternative” career paths?
  • How might we foster a culture of intersectoral engagement, exchange, and mobility?

Work/life balance, wellbeing and mental health

  • What do recent publications such as Five Steps Forward (2017) and “Work organization and mental health problems in PhD students” (Levecque et al 2017) reveal about the current state of researchers’ work/life balance and wellbeing?
  • What is the current landscape of support, and what more could be done to support the wellbeing of researchers?
  • What are the barriers to improving the provision of support?

Opportunity to join resources development working group on intersectoral mobility

As part of the European funded EURAXIND project, and as a response to sector need Vitae are developing resources to support intersectoral mobility.  We are looking to form a working group to assist with this drawn from our community.  If you would be interested in joining this group please indicate below. Vitae will cover reasonable expenses incurred.