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B10 - Inputs and outputs: building research capability in an emerging research culture

Day 1 at 16:15 - Investment in building research capacity is essential for universities to remain competitive and to access government funding that is linked to research quality and output. There are two main ways to invest: recruiting researchers who can already deliver high quality outputs; and developing individuals who have the potential to deliver high quality outputs. For newer universities one of the challenges is developing the research capability of individuals in an emerging research culture. The ideal trajectory for a research career begins with research training, presenting at conferences, and publishing as part of a program of postgraduate study. This is the beginning of a research track record to attract funding and graduate students, leading to more publications, a stronger track record, and more funding. Therefore, a focussed research career plan in the first five years post doctorate is essential to developing a research career. Universities are focussing their efforts on building research capacity and capability, but early career researchers at younger universities may need more than just technical skills learned through research training, to develop their track records and shape their careers. Researchers benefit from working in environments that allow them to interact with other successful researchers, but this is not always possible in newer universities without a well-developed research culture. This presentation described a strategy for building research capacity and capability in a newer university with an emerging research culture: Central Queensland's Early Career Researcher Program. This initiative is a cohort-based career development program for early career researchers. The program addressed some of the strategic research skills such as understanding the research context, grant writing, and publishing, through face to face workshops, practical exercises, and strategic mentoring. It also included the development of a focussed research career plan to form the basis of performance management discussions. Unlike most degree programs, and many researcher development initiatives, this program is not discipline specific and provides a research environment where attention is focussed on developing a research career through quality outputs. A program of this type is a long term investment, but early evaluation indicates it has already had an impact on research productivity. The cohort of 18 early career researchers in the 2012 program significantly increased their outputs, submitting 103 manuscripts for publication. By the end of the year half had already been accepted, more than double the average number of publications reported per academic staff member at the same university in the previous year. Building research capacity is essential for universities to remain competitive and strategic investment in building the capability of researchers should therefore be at the core of any university's research strategy. The investment in Central Queensland's Early Career Researcher Program clearly demonstrates the value of researcher development on research outputs and research careers and over time will impact on the University's ability to remain competitive and access government funding that is linked to research quality and output. Strand - All Researchers (context).


B11 - Strategic institutional approaches to researcher development

Day 1 at 16:15 - Through facilitated discussion senior managers were encouraged to identify and discuss the key strategic challenges in researcher development and then worked through possible solutions. Adopting a round table approach those present were able to express their own concerns and approaches to coping with current policy and researcher development initiatives from an institutional perspective. Strand - All Researchers (context).


C1 - CROS and PIRLS 2013: How to use results to enhance institutional policies and practice

Day 2 at 11:00 - The Careers in Research Online Survey (CROS) is established as the main national survey which gathers the views of research staff in UK HEIs about their experiences of and attitudes to employment and especially participation in personal and career development activities. The Principal Investigators and Research Leaders Survey (PIRLS) was launched in 2011 and gathers the anonymous views and experience of research leaders in UK HEIs in relation to research leadership and the management of research staff and supervision of postgraduate researchers. These surveys were run again in 2013 and provided an evidence base for monitoring progress of institutional Concordat Implementation Plans for HEIs that can secure the European Commission's HR Excellence in Research Award. Likewise, it was envisaged that results would inform the 'Vitality and Sustainability of the Research Environment' that was assessed in the Research Environment section on People (staffing strategy, and staff development and postgraduate researchers) for REF 2014. Strand - Research staff.


C2 - Mentoring as a way of gaining cultural integration

Day 2 at 11:00 - The goal of the mentor program for international researchers at the University of Copenhagen was to integrate international researchers into Danish culture and society. Since 2009 the University of Copenhagen matched over 400 international researchers with Danish researchers and other university staff members. The workshop shared the best practices, challenges and outcomes of a mentor program which aimed to develop the intercultural competences of both international and Danish researchers. Strand - All Researchers (practice).


C3 - Getting the most from internships

Day 2 at 11:00 - Vitae developed three new guides on internships written for the three main stakeholders; institutions; researchers and the host employer. The workshop enabled participants to learn more about the guidance and to discuss their own experiences in developing internships, whether that be as part of a policy directive, i.e. BBSRC DTP scheme, or as a means to explore other careers. Strand - All Researchers (practice).


C4 - Professional development through Public Engagement

Day 2 at 11:00 - The Knowledge Exchange in Design (KED) scheme, funded by AHRC, centres on providing development opportunities for PhD and early career researchers through their involvement in short, focused projects with partners outside the academy. Projects include problem-solving exercises, contributions to planning or delivery of specific projects, and development of future strategy. The only stipulation has been that the project produce a tangible output, for example a report or presentation to the partner organisation. Four universities are currently involved in the scheme, and partners include museums, galleries and commercial organisations. The project has been supported throughout by a mentoring forum that allows participants, both researchers and external partners, to reflect on their experiences and share thoughts on the project. KED addresses the professional development and public engagement agenda of RCUK, whilst also building links between participating institutions and external partners which can form the basis for further engagement. This workshop discussed experiences to date, plans for further development, and provided an opportunity for participants to discuss the relevance of the approach to their own subject disciplines. Strand - All Researchers (practice).


C5 - Using master's projects to evaluate researcher development activities

Day 2 at 11:00 - Using master's students to carry out evaluations of researcher development activities is attractive from the perspective of providing willing and interested people to do the time consuming work, but poses certain challenges in ensuring that the learning outcomes meet those expected for a master's project while also delivering high quality evaluations. Carried out successfully, this approach can enhance institutional capacity for evaluation and help to embed evaluation within normal researcher development business. However, any failings can have consequences much wider that the evaluation project in question. This workshop explored the challenges and benefits of using master's student projects to evaluate researcher development activities. The experiences of designing and supervising a number of these projects was shared with participants while also collecting and collating their concerns and experiences of such approaches. In particular the presentation and discussions focussed on four important elements: the importance of project design; student selection, supervisory approaches during the project and post project elements. In addition to the above, participants had the opportunity to engage with the evaluation case studies presented and discuss the various approaches and outcomes. Strand - All Researchers (practice).


C6 - Mapping researcher development provision to the RDF: state of the art and gaps analysis

Day 2 at 11:00 - The Researcher Development Framework (RDF) was launched in 2010 in response to recommendations to create a UK professional development framework for postgraduate researchers and research staff. Higher education institutions can utilise the RDF to underpin strategic reviews of their researcher development provision. Three years on, participants took stock of the progress institutions have made by mapping researcher development provision against the RDF. The workshop explored the best practices in mapping provision to the RDF and identified the gaps and associated challenges. Furthermore, comparisons were looked at, as to how researchers utilise the RDF planner. Strand - All Researchers (practice).


C7 - Supporting internationally mobile researchers

Day 2 at 11:00 - Supporting international mobile researchers to make the cultural transition to work in a new research environment is becoming increasingly important. As distinct from the practical support provided when moving to a different country or institution, researchers need to focus on what soft-skills they can develop to be as effective as possible when embarking on a research contract in a new environment. HEIs must also be aware of the needs of mobile researchers and the value of the support they could provide in maximising the research outputs of such mobile researchers. The workshop reported on the work being done by two projects to address these issues. REFIRS is funded by the Higher Education Academy and is looking at incoming internationally-mobile research students' perceptions of the research environment they are entering and how the reality meets these expectations. ImpactE is funded by the European Commission and is a consortium of 6 European Universities in partnership with Vitae and Epigeum. The project is wide ranging, with a focus on developing tools to assist international mobile researchers to make the cultural and social transitions to work successfully in a new research environment. Strand - All Researchers (practice).


C8 - The Pathway to independence; A collaborative initiative to help develop future scientific leaders

Day 2 at 11:00 - Background: Taking the leap from postdoctoral researcher (postdoc) to independent team leader represents a significant challenge and a steep learning curve. Funding and team leader positions in the life sciences are scarce and competition is fierce. Once in post, the pressures are manifold; recruit the right people, publish, win further funding, balance teaching, administration and research commitments, raise your profile amongst peers, the list goes on. The nature of scientific research adds further complexity, with the common expectation that postdocs will move organisations and develop their own field of expertise away from their current institution. This leaves the risk that as a sector we are failing to prepare our future leaders for the challenges ahead. In 2012/13 the Institute of Cancer Research, the BBSRC and the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute came together to develop an innovative programme aimed at helping top postdocs prepare for the challenges ahead - ‘The Pathway to Independence; Developing Future Scientific Leaders'. A key aspect of this programme was that sessions and talks were provided by scientists in the field who had been through the process and could share lessons learned for the benefit of attendees. Strand - Research staff.