Archives for posts with tag: peer support
xmen team

Everybody knows that researchers are basically superheroes, right?

This blogpost isn’t about  teamworking or team roles or even managing a team. If you’re looking for these, turn back! Or, at least, have a squiz at some of the other excellent posts on the Think ahead blog.

This post is simply an invitation to you to consider who, on a basic level, is on your side? Who’s got your back? Who can you turn to for support when you’re struggling? In short: who’s on your team?

Evidence shows that having strong social support networks improves resilience to stress, yet academic research can feel isolating (and stressful!), whether you’re working on a collaborative project or on your own; identifying people that you can turn to for support – whether formally, or informally – is incredibly important. Read the rest of this entry »

doormatWhen I first started in the role of Researcher Development over 10 years ago it was quite common to hear that new members of research staff would be shown to a desk in a lab or office and then left to ‘get on with it’. I had hoped that over the last few years development in induction processes at both department, Faculty and University level had dramatically improved. However about a year ago, when running a Faculty induction day for new Research Staff I heard a familiar old tale of “So there’s your desk, just get on with it”. Read the rest of this entry »

rmpOur early career Research Staff Mentoring programme has been running for 5 years now. Having trained about 150 academic volunteers in mentoring techniques and ethical practice, and having seen more than 500 pairs come through the scheme, I’ve learned a lot about the power of dialogue in supporting planning for research careers. Taking a research-led approach has helped craft a programme of value to the primary learners, the early career researcher mentees. But there’s wider listening to be done to fully embed a mentoring culture across the university – a successful mentoring programme has to align with existing structures and cultures, not circumnavigate them or try to replace them.

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Guest post by Dr Kathryn Ellis, a post-doctoral research associate in Civil & Structural Engineering at the University of Sheffield.

MeetingPhoto_150107_aBeing a member of the Engineering Researcher Society (ERS) in the Faculty of Engineering at the University of Sheffield has helped me to settle into my new role as a Research Associate. I am the only person working on my topic within my Department and my work can be very insular. At times, as with many jobs, it can also be frustrating. Membership of a post-doc group has helped me to keep my sanity when work is not progressing as I hope. It also provides a place to celebrate successes too, which is just as, if not more, valuable in a research workplace. Read the rest of this entry »

Becoming a competent researcher and progressing in academia requires commitment, dedication, time and much more. Developing the many skills and competencies of researchers to be competitive for jobs within an international research market could be a daunting prospect. During some of the workshops we run for PhD students and Postdoctoral Research Associates, we often discuss about the many opportunities that young researchers should take to make the best of their research period at the University, and we encourage our young researchers to take on additional responsibilities in order to build their CVs.

In order words we tell them “well, just doing your research won’t be enough, you need to develop your leadership skills, gain some teaching experience, practice reviewing papers, develop your network, become commercially aware”, and the list goes on. Not to mention, writing skills, the ability to publish well in good journals and the added bonus of demonstrating a track record in gaining research funding.

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