The recent months have been a challenging time for everyone as we’ve had to adapt to new ways of working and communicating. The researcher development team at the IAD continued to support researchers working from home during the COVID-19 pandemic by moving existing training online where possible and developing new training to meet needs we hadn’t had to address before.
But what is going to happen come the start of Academic Year 2020/21?
The IAD is committed to supporting hybrid teaching, research and working during AY20/21 and have developed new content and adapted existing provision to address the needs of researchers.
We have planned and are setting up a comprehensive programme of online provision (workshops, courses, events, small group and individual consultations) for AY20/21. All students and staff will be able to access the full range of IAD provision next year, whether they are on campus, in Edinburgh or elsewhere.
To reduce uncertainty, our approach for AY20/21 (particularly for Semester 1) is to plan for all IAD provision to be run online to guarantee the availability of comprehensive support for researchers and ensure that we can give you a reliable set of dates and times for our workshops.
You will access and book onto workshops in the same way as before, through our booking pages.
Instead of details of venue, before the workshop you’ll receive a link and details for how to access the session digitally, either through Blackboard Collaborate or through Zoom. We’ve made some minor changes to our workshops, to ensure they fit more comfortably with online delivery. In most cases the online workshops will be shorter in duration, and sometimes run over 2 days, to avoid ‘online fatigue’, but they will still give researchers the pertinent support and information. In addition to this, the way we are providing support in some of our workshops themes has evolved:
Our Get Connected Induction event will not happen in-person until it is safe to do so, but we have developed an Online Guide which covers the structure and content of the day. This includes key information from the different support services who are involved in the induction event. We are also working on developing more online support to complement this guide – watch this space!
Our writing support has also continued and has evolved into a ‘Researchers Writing Hour’ to fit in with your busy days. Running every Thursday, you can get on with your writing with peer support. Book here.
Careers support will continue with our Research Staff Careers Consultant carrying out the 1-1 careers consultations, and workshops, online. We have also developed ‘Career Surgeries’; a two-hour slot broken into short individual appointments where researchers are able to ask for pointers to resources, quick CV feedback or ask for advice on career planning. These will continue as long as there is demand.
In addition to our core programme of workshops, we have developed ‘Pop-up IAD’ training. These short online sessions cover different topics linked to current challenges and uncertainties. Sessions so far have included time management, resilience and different careers support, including a number of sessions on fellowships. For researchers unable to attend the Pop-up IAD training “live” they are freely available on the research staff blog. Each blog post includes a session recording, workshop materials and any useful links. We will be running a session on ‘An Introduction to Public Engagement with Research’ on 16th October 2020.
Our university subscription to Vitae ended on 31st July 2020 because of very low take-up from research staff and students, but this doesn’t affect your access to the many resources open to non-members. This includes the Researcher Development Framework which you can use as a skills development tool and against which our workshops are mapped. We won’t be able to access ‘member-only’ content on the Vitae webpages. If this causes any issues, please let us know as we’re developing our Pop-Up IAD and supporting materials to address any gaps.
How to find out what is available:
Communication remains key and we want to ensure that researchers are aware of all our support. We are still sending out our monthly newsletter and have created short infographics, which summarise discussions and insights emerging from our Pop-Up IAD training. You can also follow our blog and follow us on Twitter.
Our Research Staff brochure will be available online this year in a more interactive format and our webpages remain the main up-to-date resources, detailing all our support and links to access it.
As the new academic year begins we aren’t sure what we’ll face, but the IAD Researcher Development Team will continue to deliver and tailor our support. Please let us know if you are facing any difficulties that would be eased by training or development support.