Vitae News: June 2023

Vitae News: June 2023
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Welcome to June’s edition of Vitae News. With just over two months until the Vitae International Researcher Development Conference 2023, we are excited to announce the first of this year’s speakers. This month’s edition also includes the latest on the Vitae Impact, Culture and Engagement (ICE) Awards; and the approaching deadline for the Vitae Three Minute Thesis (3MT®) competition.


Vitae International Researcher Development Conference 2023 - #VitaeCon2023   

We are delighted to announce the first of our speakers for #VitaeCon2023 and welcome the perspectives they will bring to topics including policy, equality, diversity and inclusion, and horizon scanning in respect to the development of researchers internationally. 

  • George Freeman, Member of Parliament, UK Minister of State at the new Department for Science, Innovation and Technology  
  • Professor Kate Sang, Equality, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) Caucus Principle Investigator and Director of the Centre for Research on Employment, Work and the Professions, Edinburgh Business School, Heriot-Watt University, UK 
  • Professor Alastair McEwan, Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Research), University of Queensland (UQ), Australia 

Look out for more programme announcements coming soon.   

#VitaeCon2023 draws hundreds of global participants from across the research sector every year, including researcher development and careers professionals, research managers, policy makers, funders and senior leaders. Have you booked your place yet?  

We will have a limited number of bursaries available for researchers involved in researcher networks and staff associations/committees. This initiative aims to bring the researcher voice to the conference and provide a professional development opportunity for researchers looking to understand the researcher development landscape. To receive further information, register your interest now

All call for content submissions have now been reviewed. Those of who submitted will have now received a response from us. Look out for more community content announcements coming soon. 

Vitae Impact, Culture and Engagement (ICE) Awards

Thank you to all who nominated individuals and teams for the inaugural Vitae ICE Awards. We received a staggering 50+ nominations that will now be reviewed by the shortlisting panel. 
The Vitae ICE Awards recognise the impressive contribution of the researcher development community to the shared endeavour of helping researchers realise their potential.

The awards ceremony will take place during the #VitaeCon2023 evening Gala dinner on Monday 25 September 2023 at Science and Industry Museum, Manchester.  

Our latest blog post highlights the multi-faceted role of researcher developers and how appreciation can be demonstrated through the Vitae ICE Awards.

Vitae Three Minute Thesis (3MT®) competition

Video submissions have been flooding in from Vitae member organisations who have chosen winners from their institutional 3MT® competitions. The deadline for institutions to submit a video for the Vitae 3MT® competition 2023, sponsored by Taylor & Francis, is Friday 30 June 2023. Please contact: with any 3MT® queries.  

The Vitae 3MT® competition, is a great way for doctoral candidates to practice presenting a compelling spoken presentation on their research topic and its significance in just three minutes to a non-expert audience. 

In the third video of our Vitae 3MT® advice series, our 2022 finalists share how they conquered the challenges they faced throughout their 3MT® journey. If you are taking part this year, supporting someone who is, or are considering entering next year, watch for useful tips on guiding candidates through the competition.  

The University of York held their 3MT® competition 10-year anniversary earlier this month and it was a pleasure for Clare Viney, CRAC/Vitae, CEO to act as compère for the event.  

We look forward to marking 10 years of the Vitae 3MT® competition for our members next year. 

National Postdoc Conference (NPDC) - 19 September 2023 

Vitae and UKRSA are delighted to be supporting C-DICE and Loughborough University in hosting the biennial National Postdoc Conference (NPDC) as part of Postdoc Appreciation Week – the only conference in the UK dedicated solely to the celebration of postdoctoral researchers from any university, in any discipline.

Join us for a pre-conference networking evening on 18 September and on 19 September for talks, workshops, networking and a celebration of postdocs! 

To recognise and celebrate the work of postdoctoral researchers and those who enable it, the National Postdoc Conference (NDPC) Awards, sponsored by Heuristic Games, are currently open for nominations in the following categories: 

  • Impact for Postdoc Careers Award 
  • Unsung Heroes Awards x 3 
  • Organisation Award 

Nominations close on Wednesday 12 July. Winners will be awarded cash prizes which will be announced during the conference. 

Policy updates

Culture, Employment and Development in Academic Research Survey (CEDARS)  

Now that the CEDARS window has closed, we will begin data analysis to feed into the aggregate results, initial findings of which will be shared at #VitaeCon2023. 

The Culture, Employment and Development in Academic Research Survey (CEDARS), reflects the Principles of the revised Concordat to Support the Career Development of Researchers, incorporating the environment, culture, professional development and employment of research staff and the experiences of their managers. 

Over 60 member organisations have run CEDARS this benchmarking year, more than a 30% increase from 2021. CEDARS enables Vitae member institutions to monitor and evaluate the environment, culture, professional development and employment of research staff and the experiences of their managers.  

Research Excellence Framework (REF)  

Vitae welcomes initial decisions on the shape of the next Research Excellence Framework (REF) exercise by the Future Research Assessment Programme Board. These represent a positive shift in approach to research assessment, with more emphasis on research culture and – significantly – the decoupling of individuals from research ‘outputs’.

The next REF in 2028 will place more emphasis on the teams that produce research and allow submissions from a wider range of staff, including technicians and professional services staff.

New report published by UK Collaborative on Development Research (UKCDR)  

The UK Collaborative on Development Research (UKCDR) has published a new report presenting findings from two major Official Development Assistance (ODA) funding streams; the Global Challenges Research Fund and the Newton Fund. It provides recommendations to support decision making among UK development research funders. 

The report is accompanied by an opinion piece on the ‘dos and don’ts’ for development research funding, by Marie Staunton, chair of strategic coherence for the UK Official Development Assistance (ODA) Research Board. 

Considering Sir Paul Nurse’s independent review of the UK’s research, development and innovation (RDI) organisational landscape, published earlier this year, and Vitae’s response that followed; it’s reassuring that learnings from the last few decades around strengthening the research ecosystem are being reviewed at a strategic level.  We look forward to seeing concrete and collaborative actions as a result of the recommendations, to enhance research culture for the future.

Looking through a researcher lens

For the researchers amongst us, we thought we’d share these additional sector articles that we’ve found an interesting read over the past few weeks: 

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