Sheffield is the winner of this year's award for Outstanding Support for Early Career Researchers

Times Higher Education Awards Ceremony took place yesterday...

The winner of this year's Times Higher Education Award for Outstanding Support for Early Career Researchers, supported by Vitae and presented by Janet Metcalfe, Chair and Head, Vitae, at this year's dinner on 27 November is the University of Sheffield for its Think Ahead programme .

‘Think Ahead’ encourages PhD candidates to think about life after study – and helped 2,500 junior scholars in the 2012-13 academic year – has taken the plaudits in this highly competitive category.

In the first 10 months of the University of Sheffield’s Think Ahead scheme, 200 group events were held. These included workshops, seminars, conferences and courses, as well as one-to-one meetings.

The events helped doctoral students and early career researchers to think about their individual career ambitions inside and outside the academy.

Activities included mentoring partnerships, grant-writing support groups and mock interview panels as part of a programme designed with interdisciplinarity in mind (thus reflecting the current research environment).

Experts from within the university as well as alumni, employers, external pundits and other institutions contributed to the programme.

The events were designed to bring together early career researchers from different parts of the university and to encourage the attendance of those who might never have ventured outside their departments.

The judges singled out for particular praise the 750 one-to-one career mentoring and coaching sessions organised as part of the programme.

The five other higher education institutions shortlisted for the category were:

  • University of Bristol and Newcastle University
  • University of Exeter
  • University of Glasgow
  • University of St Andrews and University of Dundee
  • University of Strathclyde

This award is given to the individual, team or institution that has developed the most innovative or exemplary scheme to enhance and develop the transferable and careers skills of postgraduate and postdoctoral researchers.

Janet Metcalfe, who was one of the judges, said:

“We were impressed by the depth and breadth of professional development provision for early career researchers, supporting research careers and fostering interdisciplinarity through the Think Ahead programme.”