We invite long-term research staff to join the new Long-Term Research Staff network.
The new Teams network is a space dedicated to staff who have been on grant-dependent contracts for more than eight years and was started by Dr Cecile Menard in response to a need expressed by participants of a study on long-term research staff.
The Institute for Academic Development dedicated Scottish Funding Council funding to four secondments to support the University of Edinburgh’s (UoE) commitment to the Concordat for Researcher. One of the secondments, undertaken by Dr Cecile Menard, focused on investigating how to reduce precarity among research staff. Following an initial study on redeployment at the university, it emerged that 18% of staff on research-only fixed-term (or open-ended subject to funding) contracts had been in such successive contracts at the university for more than 8 years; a higher percentage is expected when including staff whose cumulative years are outwith UoE.
As little is known from this population which some argue should not exist (see the quote from the Director of talent and skills at UKRI), Cecile and IAD decided to investigate the circumstances that lead to long-term employment on grant-dependent contracts. Cecile interviewed 24 research staff between April and June 2021 who have been on fixed-term (or open-ended subject to funding) contracts for more than eight years.
It clearly emerged from the discussions that many long term research staff (LTRS) did not know (m)any other LTRS and therefore felt isolated as they did not have a support network of other LTRS with whom they could discuss their circumstances or exchange ideas. In order to start addressing this, a new Teams channel is being launched, the Long-Term Research Staff network; the channel is private and opened to LTRS only.
The aims of this network are to provide 1) a forum for LTRS to exchange stories, contacts, ideas, advice, etc 2) a space to organize talks, discussions or debates around themes specific to long-term or career researchers and that can be open to non-group members. Over time and depending on engagement, we hope that it can also serve to build an influential network that can be consulted and represented at different committees and working groups across the university (e.g. the Concordat Implementation Group, the new Research Culture Working Group, etc).
We invite all research staff who have been on research-only fixed-term (or open-ended subject to funding) contracts for more than 8 years in total to join the LTRS network Teams. The 8 years do not have to be consecutive and do not have to have been at the University of Edinburgh. For example, you may have had a career break or only been at the university for 1 year and spent more than 8 years on fixed-term contracts elsewhere.
We aim to organize talks or thematic discussions at least every two months. To kick-start the series, Cecile, a long-term researcher herself, will provide an overview of the findings and themes that have emerged from her discussions with LTRS. The date is to be confirmed, but we anticipate the talk to take place at the end of August / beginning of September. Further details will be posted on the Teams channel in due time.