Developing the next generation

A guidance and good practice resource for the leadership development of early career researchers and academics, based on a research project funded by LHFE. Includes toolkits for researcher developers and guidance for researchers and academics.

This downloadable resource is the primary output from a research project led by Brunel University London and Vitae, with funding from the Leadership Foundation for Higher Education under the Innovation and Transformation scheme. The resource includes toolkits and guidance for researcher developers and institutions on good practice in leadership development. The resource also includes reflection sheets to use with and by researchers and academics.

See this resource in action, presented by Dr Fiona Denney and Dr Katie Wheat at the Vitae event, Developing the next generation of research leaders, London, 26 January 2016

The aim of the research project was to uncover what academic and research leaders wish they had known about managing and developing talent when they started, in order to provide

  • common themes and examples of what academic and research leaders would have found useful when they got their first grant or first lectureship by asking them to reflect on their own journey and the professional support that could have been better provided to enhance their own career development and transition to a leadership role
  • guidance for senior academics and research leaders on how to manage the development of their research staff, particularly in relation to guiding, mentoring and supporting the next generation of research and academic leaders
  • better understanding of the effective development of early career researchers and future leaders by all stakeholders within the HEI, including line managers, HR, staff developers and senior management, in order to enhance talent management and development, and help researchers (as future leaders across all sectors) transition into careers that are right for them
  • the next generation of leaders with insights into formal and informal professional development of current academic and research leaders in order to empower them to take responsibility for their own formal and informal professional development.

This project transforms the understanding of how to develop readiness for academic and research leadership by harnessing the reflections and experiences of those who have made the journey. Research leaders from different universities and disciplines were invited through interview to look into their everyday experiences within research communities.

The project output resource includes a series of toolkits for use by staff developers and academic and research leaders, and a series of guidance and reflection sheets for use with and by early career researchers and academics themselves. The guidance throughout the resource provides recommendations about good practice in effective performance management by academic and research leaders in the development of early career academics and research staff, taking account of the steps to becoming a successful leader encapsulated in the Vitae Researcher Development Framework (RDF).

Sections of the resource can be used by by all stakeholders within the HEI, and include

  • Research leaders views on the provision of leadership development
  • Recommendations for the development of research leadership
  • Leadership climate analysis tool kit
  • Research leadership guidance and reflection sheets for early career academics and research staff
    • Career planning for leadership
    • Working with others
    • Building networks
    • Building a research profile
    • Achieving a work-life balance
    • Finding mentors and role models
    • Management and leadership
    • Culture and environment

The resource is made available to the higher education sector to download and use under a Creative Commons licence.

Conditions of use

‘Developing the next generation: Guidance and good practice in the development of early career researchers and academics’ is published by The Careers Research and Advisory Centre (CRAC) Limited (www.crac.org.uk).

Vitae © 2015 The Careers Research and Advisory Centre (CRAC) Limited.

This report is made available to the higher education sector under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License (CC BY-NC-SA 4.0).

Any reproduction, including by way of adaptation, of these materials shall include the following acknowledgment: ‘This resource has been adapted by [name of institution] for its own non-commercial use. It is based on the original resource, ‘Developing the next generation: Guidance and good practice in the development of early career researchers and academics’ developed by Vitae, © 2015 The Careers Research and Advisory Centre (CRAC) Limited (www.vitae.ac.uk) and developed with funding from the Leadership Foundation for Higher Education under the Innovation and Transformation scheme (www.lfhe.ac.uk/ITF).’