We’ve been busy!

As we approach the end of the calendar year, we wanted to provide an update on what has been a busy and productive year for the Research Staff programme at the IAD.   We couldn’t have done it without the collegiality of our colleagues; the Schools and Colleges, Support and Professional Services, our Postdoc Champions and the Research Staff Societies who are engaging with the IAD, providing feedback and working with us on committees.

The year began with the appointment of four secondments projects, supported by the SFC ART funding, running for six months (February – July) to support implementation of a number of our Concordat Actions.

In March 2021 we published our 2-year Concordat Action Plan and held our 3rd Concordat Implementation Group (CIG) meeting to review the new action plan and discuss how it will be implemented with the support of the CIG and our secondment projects.

In March, a joint application between IAD and HR to the Technician Commitment Collaboration Fund, for funding to support a project entitled ‘Mapping our Support: a collaborative project for all Edinburgh Technicians’ was successful, enabling the beginning of a collaboration between four Edinburgh Universities – University of Edinburgh, Edinburgh Napier University, Queen Margaret University and Heriot-Watt University.  More information can be found here. A PhD intern was employed in July working until December conducting research and data gathering around how HEIs can better support the career development of their technical communities. A final report has been produced summarising findings and providing recommendations to take forward next year.  The work continues . . .

A welcome session was held for our new Chancellors Fellows cohort back in May, followed by a number of focussed sessions from May to December, including a cross-institutional interdisciplinary leadership training programme, media training and a session on University Governance.

In June we launched the Research Staff Hub: www.ed.ac.uk/researchers. Please do spend time looking at this and keep it bookmarked as a resource.  More information about why we created it can be found in our ‘you said we did‘ blog.  This was one of the updates that we presented at our IAD/School meetings that we held throughout June, along with other Concordat updates and progress including the new Long Term Research Network.

From July – September we piloted leadership coaching.  Eight researchers (PhDs and Research Staff) took part in the coaching, which consisted of one group coaching session and two 1-2-1 coaching sessions, with access to workbooks and leadership resources.

In August we launched our online 2021/22 Research Staff Brochure and our Academic Year 21/22 programme of workshops.  As we approach Semester 2 (starting in January 2022), all our workshops will be running again – so if you missed any last year, consider booking for next semester: courses and events webpage.

We also added a number of new online guides to our website.  New guides this year include Imposter Syndrome, Writing an Effective Literature Review, Writing an Effective Abstract, Designing a Conference Poster and Designing Effective Slides. All our online guides and resources can be found here: https://edin.ac/2qvWsZW.  We have also recorded a number of Interdisciplinary Conversations and added to our blog:

Postdoc Appreciation Week happened during September with lots of local activity from our Research Staff Societies (RSS).  Our College of Medicine and Veterinary Medicine RSS’ organised recognition awards, and profiles of School of Biology postdocs were promoted on Twitter.  All postdocs were invited to get involved in the national support too, summary can be found here: https://www.liverpool.ac.uk/researcher/postdoc-appreciation-week/npdc/delegate-pack/visual-summary/

We launched a suite of Leadership Resources for Researcher Representatives in October.  The aim of these resources is to support individuals to develop the relevant skills to make the most of their roles, recognise the contribution they make to the University and help sustain and develop representative structures.

During November we ran our month long writing festival – WriteFest – supporting all things academic writing.  To find out what happened, have a look at our WriteFest Infographic

We also launched our new Career Resources during November, including:

  • 6 Career Conversations
  • 4 Micro Workshops
  • Online ‘Career Conversations with your PI’ guide

We presented these new resources at the 4th Concordat Implementation Group meeting, held on the 23rd November.  Also at this meeting we provided updates on a new Postdoc Champion Role Descriptor, added to the Research Staff Hub, and a new webpage on the Hub providing further information on the key commitment in the Concordat around the University providing opportunities, structured support, encouragement and time for researchers to engage in a minimum of 10 days professional development pro rata per year.  This new webpage provides examples of how researchers might use the 10 days (or more) to best effect – 10 Days Professional Development

We’re currently finalising a good management online training resources for Principal Investigators/Managers of Researchers which we are planning to launch early next year and will be continuing to work on our Concordat Action Plan.

Do you have something to add?

If you are a researcher, research manager, or any other staff group with an interest in the Concordat, and you would like to give us feedback on what you think we should be doing, do get in touch with us.

  • The CIG is the main mechanism to provide feedback.  The focus of the CIG is implementing the Concordat at a University level, so we encourage our members to go back to their Schools, departments and update on developments and then feed back to the CIG.  Find out who is on the CIG from your area: Concordat Implementation Group Members
  • The Postdoc Champions/Research Staff Champions are also a really good way to find out what is happening and feedback: Postdoc Champions
  • Or email us at iad.researchers@ed.ac.uk

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