Shaping the future at Vitae

Posted 22/09/2023 by Sarah Nalden

Rachael Nicholas

By Dr Rachael Nicholas, Membership and Engagement Manager 

Vitae Annual Programme 2023/4 

We are excited to have launched the Vitae Annual Programme 2023/24 in which we continue to champion a healthy research environment, redefine what makes a successful researcher and promote the value of researchers on behalf of the community Alongside these three overarching aims, this year we will be focusing on our programme themes of: aligning researcher development with research culture; supporting diverse career pathways and informing policy and practice 

Aligning researcher development with research culture 

Following Vitae’s expert analysis of aggregate findings from the Culture, Employment and Development in Academic Research Survey CEDARS 2023, our initial member event in the new programme Understanding research culture through CEDARS’ will give Vitae members the opportunity to explore how CEDARS could evolve to better support your institution to gather useful data to inform institutional research culture strategies and evaluate progress. CEDARS findings will be explored with benchmarking to reveal where more emphasis and efforts are needed over the next couple of years to improve research culture.  

We will also be exploring the changing nature of researcher developer roles as they increasingly incorporate responsibilities related to research culture through our three Researcher Development Concordat Thematic Sessions. These will focus on supporting smaller and specialist institutions in implementing the Concordat, aligning the Concordat with research culture, and how the Concordat can help challenge ableism 

In continuing to prioritise research culture, we also look forward to Vitae’s research culture partnerships at government level coming to fruition and resulting in resources that build on a shared research culture framework for the sector. 

At an international level, we are pleased to be helping steer progress in Open Science through testing and piloting of the OPUS framework; and through our collaboration with CoARA, in which we will continue to fully back and progress global research assessment reform that recognises and embraces diverse outputs, practices and activities. 

Supporting diverse career pathways 

Vitae’s upcoming activities and focus for the forthcoming academic year have been influenced by learnings gained from the revision of the Vitae Researcher Development Statement. We will hold a member forum on the refreshed RDS in December to consult with the community and ensure that the RDS reflects the knowledge, behaviours and attributes relevant for researchers to succeed across a diverse range of research career pathways. This will feed into our ongoing work on evolving the Vitae Researcher Development Framework, which we will present in the summer.  

Responding to an increased need to support researchers in understanding and accessing career opportunities across a wide range of research careers, we will also hold a panel on supporting diverse career pathways. The panel will provide an opportunity to share practice and initiatives and to discuss what is needed to best support researchers in this area. 

Informing policy and practice 

Vitae remains dedicated to informing and influencing researcher development policy and as the horizons of the policy landscape change, we anticipate that the newly established Vitae Policy Advisory Group will create a new, credible and coherent voice acting on behalf of the community. 

Additionally, we will continue to develop our ‘Practice Pathways’ series, curating resources from both Vitae and other sources to guide researcher developers and senior managers through key policy themes and to help inform their practice with policy.  

Over the next two to three years, Vitae will be undergoing an eagerly anticipated digital transformation project, which will look to improve the accessibility and navigability of our website. We have been undertaking an initial discovery process to better understand our website users and continued consultation with members will be key to the progress of the project. The digital transformation project will benefit researchers and all those who support them, as well as institutions and funders, and we will be providing an update on the project in the spring 

I really look forward to collaborating with you to make the next 12 months a success by collectively making positive steps to a healthier research culture, promoting the value of researchers and redefining what makes a successful researcher.