Vitae Connections Week 2020 plenary recordings

Vitae Connections Week website On Demand and Exhibitor content is still live to view.

Connections Week 2020 Plenary Session recordings are now available below for you to watch. 

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This session was Chaired by Drs Astrid Wissenburg, CRAC Trustee and Director of Research, University of Exeter, who welcomed keynote speeches by:

Minister Amanda Solloway, Minister of Science, Research and Innovation Department for Business, Energy & Industry
Professor Dame Ottoline Leyser, CEO, UK Research and Innovation (UKRI)

and presentations by:

Professor Alistair McEwan, Pro-Vice Chancellor (Research Training), University of Queensland
Dr Rajesh Tandon, Founder-President, Participatory Research in Asia (PRIA)

Speakers shared their thoughts on the current context for higher education, research and innovation and what this means for researchers and researcher development. From their different perspectives – government, funder, institutional and international network – they gave insights into different policy approaches internationally in the context of the Covid-19 pandemic and the impact on researchIn particular, attention was drawn to the importance of international collaboration and the need for investment in early career researchers. 

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An international panel shared their perspectives on progress to date in improving careers and professional development for research staff, through initiatives such as the 2019 Concordat to Support the Career Development of Researchers in the UK. The panel shared their insights into the impact of Covid-19 on postdoctoral careers and what lessons we should draw for maintaining progress on pervasive challenges, such as insecurity of employment, wellbeing, EDI and intersectoral mobility. 

Panellists included:

Dr Jose Jackson-Malete, Co-Director, Alliance for African Partnerships
Dr Claudia Sarrico, Higher Education Lead Analyst, The Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD)
Dr Kay Guccione, Senior Lecturer in Academic Development, Glasgow Caledonian University
Dr. April Tash, Programme Specialist, UNESCO
Mr Chris Russell, Policy Lead (Skills and Talent), National Centre for Universities and Business
Dr Tina Ramkalawan, Director of Graduate School, Brunel University London (Chair)

Session 3: Supporting doctoral researchers' career and mobility

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An international panel shared their perspectives on the career and professional development of doctoral researchers and the career mobility of doctoral graduatesThe panel shared their insights into the impact of Covid-19 on researcher careers, the challenges of graduating in a post-Covid employment context, and what lessons we might draw for supporting researchers in their development. The expertise of the panel enabled the topics to be explored from the perspectives of geographical and sectoral mobility, as well as the cross-cutting issues of wellbeing and mental health and EDI.  

Panellists included:

Dr Annette Bramley, Director, N8 Research Partnership
Dr Michael Sulu, Senior Teaching Fellow, Co-Chair of the UCL Race Equality Steering Group, University College London (UCL)
Dr Nicola Byrom, Senior Lecturer in Psychology, King's College London (KCL)
Dr Verity Elston, Head of Career Advice for Doctoral Candidates and Postdocs, University of Lausanne
Ms Ger Lardner, Career & Skills Consultant (Graduate Researchers), University College Dublin (UCD)
Dr Gabby Silberman (Chair), CRAC Trustee and Director General, Barcelona Institute of Science and Technology (BIST)

Session 4: Research culture fit for the future

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This closing session of Vitae Connections Week 2020 was Chaired by Professor David Bogle, Pro-Vice-Provost Doctoral College (UCL), who welcomed presentations by:

Dr Katie Perry, Chief Executive, Daphne Jackson Trust
Tanja Neve-Seyfarth, Project Manager, University of Zurich
Dr David Moher, Senior Scientist - Clinical Epidemiology Program and Director, Ottowa Hospital Research Institute
Dr Ben Bleasdale, Senior Policy & Advocacy Adviser, Wellcome Trust

Speakers shared their thoughts on the enduring challenges in improving research culture and what this means for researchers and researcher development. From their different perspectives – academic, non-profit, and funder – they explored a range of interconnected topics, from career breaks and parental leave, to research integrity and the global research ecosystem. 

The supervisor's voice: perspectives on the values and boundaries of the supervisory role

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This report outlines the findings and recommendations of a six-month qualitative study that explored the extent to which UK based Arts Humanities and Social Sciences (AHSS) supervisors feel able and willing to support PGRs with matters not directly related to academic research, such as wellbeing and career development. It includes supervisors’ perspectives on the boundaries of their role and what they believe would help them to navigate their responsibilities as supervisors in the current higher education landscape.

The report draws on interviews and focus groups with supervisors to investigate the following questions: 

  • What do supervisors most value and prioritise in their practice and how well does this map onto their institutional policies?
  • Where do supervisors see their responsibilities beginning and ending when it comes to the professional/career development and wellbeing of their PGRs?
  • What structures could be put in place to help supervisors negotiate the multiple roles they are required to fulfil in the contemporary higher education landscape?

In the accompanying video, Dr Kate Jones, Head of Learning and Professional Development at Vitae, interviews Katherine Parker-Hay, Vitae Research Assistant and report author, about the background to and findings from the report.

Vitae in conversation with Professor with Rory Duncan, Director of Talent and Skills, UKRI

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Dr Katie Wheat, Head of Engagement and Policy, Vitae, chats to Professor Rory Duncan, Director of Talent and Skills, UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) about research careers, culture and policy.

Diversity in research interview - part 1 - The challenges

Diversity in research interview - part 2 - What can we collectively do?

Featuring Dr Katherine Powlesland, Postgraduate Widening Participation Manager, University of Cambridge and Dr Robin Mellors-Bourne, Director of Research and Intelligence at CRAC.