Vitae News: Round-up from Mental Health Awareness Week, impact of Covid-19, new Vitae events and resources - May 2020




Welcome to the May edition of Vitae News. Many of our activities this month have focussed around wellbeing and mental health for Mental Health Awareness Week 2020. As a result, we are pleased to share several resources that have been developed within the community to support researchers. 

Other initiatives to note are the launch of a series of Vitae Member Roundtables, a UK government led Taskforce to sustain the university research base and further collaboration with the Intellectual Property Office, resulting in some new events and resources.

Recap: Mental Health Awareness Week

Live #vitaechat on Twitter 

Stones in a pile

As part of Mental Health and Awareness Week, our #vitaechat explored the impact of kindness on the mental health and wellbeing of researchers and what kindness means in an academic context.

Our panellists and other participants shared practical advice to researchers and those who manage them and it proved an engaging tips-packed hour, attracting an international audience.

Read the summary of tweets from #vitaechat

Wellbeing and mental health resources

Woman on computer

Having re-vamped our existing pages around wellbeing and mental health, we also published a dedicated Mental Health Awareness Week page where you can find outputs from some of the Research England and Office for Students (OfS) Catalyst Funded projects. These open-access resources, tools and ideas could be applied in different institutions to help improve researcher wellbeing and research culture.

Resources include a wellbeing when writing set of resources compiled by the University of Westminster and supported by Vitae; a new Wellbeing and mental health lens on the Vitae Researcher Development Framework (RDF) and wellbeing and mental health 'signposts' for doctoral candidates and their supervisors to help increase understanding of wellbeing and mental health and associated resources. 

Wellbeing when writing

Wellbeing and mental health lens

Signposts for doctoral candidates

Signposts for supervisors

Vitae Impact of Covid:19 on researchers

New survey of senior researchers in UK

Female scientist

The Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) has commissioned CRAC/Vitae, supported by UKRI and Universities UK, to gather evidence to understand the implications of the Covid-19 pandemic on the activities of researchers and research groups. 

The results of the survey, aimed at senior researchers, group leaders and principal investigators, will provide a crucial snapshot of the current impact on the UK research base and inform predictions of longer-term impacts for researchers and research.

We encourage you to share the survey widely until the closing date of Tuesday 9 June.

UK research base survey

Initial results show significant impact of Covid-19 on doctoral and early career researchers

Man sitting cosy on laptop

The UKRI-funded student mental health research network SMaRteN, in partnership with Vitae, released some initial key findings to coincide with Mental Health Awareness Week from the first 4800 respondents. The aim of the survey, on behalf of the sector, is to understand the impact of Covid-19 on doctoral researchers and research staff in the UK, and to help inform institutions’ and funders’ actions to support these vulnerable populations. 

The early findings highlight the substantive impacts of the lockdown on their research and their health and wellbeing; and how they are being supported. More findings will be released soon.

Read initial survey findings

Research Sustainability Taskforce

Hard hats

Thank you to the Vitae members who helped feed into the BEIS and the Department for Education (DfE) Taskforce project around sustaining the university research base and how it could contribute effectively to UK society and beyond. 

Upcoming Virtual events

Vitae member roundtables

Women at PC

We are delighted to announce that during June, we will be hosting a series of virtual Member Roundtables, thinking about current challenges in researcher development due to Covid-19 and how this landscape might evolve.  

By having small-group discussions we hope to enable connections and serendipitous conversations, in lieu of meeting face-to-face, which can be developed into good ideas and practice. 

Vitae Members can register their interest in dates and topics on the Vitae website. Please contact us for further information about membership

Register your interest

IP for research events and resources

IPO logo

In collaboration with the Intellectual Property Office (IPO), two new dates have been released for Virtual Live Intellectual Property Lectures open to researchers at all institutions. The free events are aimed at doctoral and early career researchers to improve skills, knowledge and facilitate relationships within institutions to support the management and development of IP.

The events have been split into IP for Research for Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences researchers on Monday 1 June and for STEM researchers on Friday 5 June.

In conjunction with these events, a new Intellectual Property lens on the Vitae Researcher Development Framework (RDF) is available to download.

Register for IP events

See Intellectual Property Lens on the RDF