Vitae Continuous Professional Development Working Group

Posted 08/08/2019 by 9a4fa0b2-a68f-44ca-95b6-a2b900c1471a


Saneeya QureshiDr Saneeya Qureshi, Research Staff Developer from the Academy of Liverpool who is a member of the Continuous Professional Development Vitae Working Group gives us her views on the benefits and wider impact that collaborative working can bring.

Why did you apply to the Working Group?

I had briefly used the Vitae Career Framework for Researcher Developers (CFRD) during PDR discussions with my manager and enrolled in two courses related to management and leadership. I believe that there is a lot more that can be done to support research staff developers in utilising the CFRD, and therefore, I applied to the Working Group so that I could be involved in these initiatives.

Furthermore, coming to Research Staff Development straight out of post-doc roles, I believe that the CFRD can offer a more nuanced approach to career development for researcher developers at all stages of their careers, but especially for those new to the role.   

What do you hope to get out of the experience?

Being part of this Vitae Working Group enables me to share expertise and experiences from the other researcher development groups that I am involved with.

What are the benefits are of being in a working group?

Most recently, I led a two-day intensive working group in Berlin, about how early career researchers’ development can be more collaboratively integrated in network activities aligned with EERA Strategy & EU research priorities. Leading this working group showed me the benefits that are derived from working with colleagues representing various institutional backgrounds and stages of researcher development and support. The diversity of the group ensured a depth and breadth of perspectives, as well as insights necessary to ensure a widespread approach to development.

Being in the working group provides me the opportunity to learn about what approaches to development other colleagues are implementing, and to learn what works and what poses challenges in various contexts.  

What are the challenges of working in a group? 

For a working group to succeed, it is essential that all of the tasks, timelines and projected outcomes that the group need to work on are clarified from the outset. Working effectively and cohesively together also needs appropriate leadership/chairship of the group. This group leadership will also be critical should there be any conflict that arises as the group engages with the challenges of the task at hand.

Working Group

What impact could the Vitae working group have on researcher development?

There are widespread observable impacts, such as sharing of effective practices and the implementation of innovative approaches to researcher development. However, I think one of the most useful impacts for me personally, would be the ‘hidden’ outcomes, which include networking, making contacts across the researcher developer community that Vitae facilitates. These contacts have already proven invaluable during my term as a researcher developer, and I have no doubt, that broadening this community of practice will result in an even more enriched development offering that I direct and manage at the University of Liverpool and in my European role.

Participating in working groups lends itself to optimal partnership working, particularly if connections are made within a working group, and colleagues work well together, which bodes positively for future partnership working.

What would be your tips/recommendations to others who are considering joining a voluntary collaborative group?

  • Working groups help you feel less alone and more understood – even if you feel there is not much that you can contribute, your experiences will always be valid for the wider group, so don’t shy away!
  • Working groups empower you to work to solve your own problems – whether within an institution, or at a more local level within your department
  • Being part of working groups means members can share information, keeping one another up to date on news of interest to their professional roles. Having this up to date sector knowledge, particularly during a period of landmark change for the sector is crucial to give you an added advantage in your role as a go-to-person for researcher development matters at your institution
  • In my past experience, members of working groups acted as role models for each other. For me personally, seeing others who are contending with the same adversity and making progress in their institutions and at local levels proved to be inspiring and encouraging for me to counter challenges in my own context