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C1 - How embedded evaluation can secure the future of resource intensive researcher development programmes by enhancing: participant learning; course development and impact reporting

Day 2 at 11:00 - With a change of funding (post-Roberts era) and potentially tighter researcher development budgets, institutions may be faced with having to prioritise. Consequently, resource intensive programmes and courses such as GRADschool, Leadership in Action or other bespoke programmes are often the target of cost cutting. Our ability to develop robust and reliable evaluation frameworks and processes is critical to demonstrate the value of researcher development and, more specifically, the place each programme takes in the wider development agenda. The objective of resource intensive programmes is often linked to a clear focus on experiential learning which require a large investment for the HEIs involved, in terms of up-front costs (e.g. residential courses), staff time and student time away from research. The workshop will specifically focus on Cambridge GRADschool (three-day residential course aimed at research students) and the evaluation approach developed and implemented over the last 2 years. This 80 minute interactive workshop will help participants reflect on the importance of embedded evaluation to deliver fit for purpose programmes and as a mean to measure the benefits and impact of programmes focusing on experiential learning. It will examine the benefits and challenges of embedding evaluation in programme design and implementation, discuss data analysis and generate discussion about how this evaluation approach could be taken forward to evaluate researcher training and development provision for resource intensive programmes. This workshop will look at an evaluation approach used over the past two years for the University of Cambridge Local GRADschool, and make reference to the approaches of the national Impact Framework and the Impact and Evaluation Group.


C2 - Might increasing expectations limit the intrinsic attributes derived from a research degree?

Day 2 at 11:00 - This workshop aims to consider the juxtaposition between the increasing demands on time, research outputs and broader skills development with some of the core elements that make doctoral graduates stand out. There will be a short presentation highlighting the increasing expectations of gaining a doctoral qualification. This will be followed by a panel discussion to consider how these changes might be impacting on the characteristics of the doctoral graduate. The discussion will then be taken on to consider appropriate methods to analyse the changes that have taken place and what is an optimum for structured interventions in development as compared to a more organic form of professional development intrinsic to the research process.


C3 - A hidden resource for researcher developers: engaging and developing technical scientific Staff

Day 2 at 11:00 - In addition to postdoctoral training fellows and team leaders, the ICR employs a large number of Scientific Officers. The Scientific Officers are a diverse workforce ranging from school leavers to PhD graduates who have chosen to follow a technical, rather than academic, career path. The emphasis placed on researchers at the ICR to generate high impact publications and win grant funding meant the Scientific Officers felt less valued and overlooked when it came to training and career development opportunities. This led to the formation of a Scientific Officer Association in 2011. Since then the association has helped design and deliver 7 new initiatives to specifically support this section of the ICR workforce in all aspects of personal and career development to engage with the principles outlined in The Concordat for research staff. The workshop will look at the risks associated with not effectively engaging with all research staff including the barriers to engagement which might exist and explore the initiatives started by the SOA themselves. It will question how we can better cater for particular staff groups in our own institutions, including helping them to raise their profile and look at the benefits which exist to institutions in doing so.


C4 - Challenges and opportunities for researcher development in the context of cohort models for doctoral training

Day 2 at 11:00 - In June 2014, participants from the UK and Europe came together in an Open Space format to address the overarching theme ‘how can we, together, support researchers, ensuring an equality of professional development provision for all, in light of the changing structures for doctoral education, such as doctoral training centres?’ This workshop will follow up on the outcomes from this Open Space event, with the aim of producing a key set of actions for stakeholders. In this workshop, participants will have the opportunity to explore the challenges and opportunities for researcher development within and alongside Centres for doctoral training (CDTs), Doctoral training partnerships (DTPs), Initial training networks (ITNs) and other cohort training models. These discussions could be inspired by or based on the key themes and questions raised in the Open Space event, such as, “what does ‘equality of opportunity’ look like?”, “how can we support and embed the role of supervisors in researcher development?” and “what is the good practice within cohort training models that we might want to transfer to the wider postgraduate researcher community?” Participants will be invited to define and vote on the key actions for the stakeholders in researcher development and cohort training models, such as, recommended actions for Vitae, recommended actions for funders, and recommended actions for researcher developers.


C5 - Outstanding support for early career researchers

Day 2 at 11:00 - We invite the audience to learn about our Researcher Development Programme, called NU2EU. NU2EU is an innovative research programme to develop transferable skills and careers of early career researchers at the University of Wolverhampton. The objectives are to help those that are new to working across Europe to build: 1. confidence and collaborative relationships; 2. an in-depth understanding of the EU research and innovation landscape; and 3. skills in producing competitive proposals that are submitted. The programme design involved a unique collaboration between the private sector and the university’s Project Support office, Brussels office, and Faculty of Education, Health and Wellbeing to meet researcher developmental needs. NU2EU was also monitored as a small scale research project to measure effectiveness in terms of “post-doc” career development. Research, enterprise and leadership skill sets were mapped and measured in relation to the Vitae researcher development framework which is part of our concordat strategy. We also intend to demonstrate some of the elements of this programme.


C6 - Preparing research staff for leadership 

Day 2 at 11:00 - Target Audience: This workshop is aimed at researcher developers who already have some experience of preparing, designing and / or delivering leadership development for researchers as we will be inviting all participants to share their experiences and actively learn from each other. Background: This workshop is intended to give participants an opportunity to discuss and debate various approaches to developing researchers for the variety of leadership positions that they might find themselves in throughout an academic career. The workshop convenors will build on their experiences of running leadership programmes in various universities, writing Vitae’s The Leading Researcher booklet and, more recently, their work on a new leadership handbook. The workshop will help participants to identify key elements of leadership development that could then be used in their own organisations.


C7 - Understanding the transition to doctoral study: making the most of the data

Day 2 at 11:00 - A wealth of data is collected about the transition to doctoral study, through the HESA student record and, recently, the Intentions after Graduation Survey (IAGS) component of the National Student Survey. This workshop will provide an opportunity for delegates to consider in detail the analysis of the transition to doctoral study already carried out by HEFCE. The session has two aims. The first is to discuss the strengths and weaknesses of the current data and analysis, and consider future additional lines of inquiry. The second aim is to discuss the policy implications that flow from the analysis, and explore potential policy options for tackling the issues raised.


C8 - Peer supported learning for researcher development

Day 2 at 11:00 - This session will discuss different schemes currently used at three UK Universities: The Research Mentoring Initiative (RMI) to support Art & Design researchers’ professional development at Birmingham City University; Two cohort based development schemes, the EU Academic Development Scheme (EUADS) and the Grants Academy at Bournemouth University; Peer supported experiential training opportunities using naturally occurring opportunities within Higher Education at the University of Nottingham.


C9 - Researcher Developers’ Professional Framework (ReDProF): exploring our careers and continuing professional development

Day 2 at 11:00 - This workshop will enable participants to explore and make final inputs into the development of a new professional framework for researcher developers (ReDProF). To date the framework has been created by a working group of over 30 researcher developers across the UK, led by Vitae, and has been explored and tested in a variety of contexts to reach this iteration. The framework has been designed to support the professional aspirations of researcher developers and is relevant to all those with a professional interest in developing research staff and doctoral researchers. Developing researchers may form the whole or part of your role within professional services, as a trainer or as an academic.


C10 - Supporting researcher development right across the pipeline

Day 2 at 11:00 - This interactive session will focus on a selection of key strategies and practices that can support researcher development right across the pipeline. Participants will hear about researcher development currently utilised at the University of Technology Sydney and share their own best practices.