Establish yourself as a Researcher

Establishing yourself as a researcher: A post-pilot reflection

On the way home from the #vitae14 (@Vitae_news) conference to Cardiff and as much as I wanted to enjoy the Midland’s countryside I also felt the urge to write about a recent researcher development event that myself and a colleague Researcher Developer from UWE facilitated on September 1st . This was a collaborative effort between the University of Bristol and University of West England to organize an event on Researcher Productivity under the guidance of the SWW Vitae hub manager Anne Goodman (@VitaeSWWHub).

If you are an early career researcher who moved to a new post or a more experienced one in your position for a while you often find yourself concerned with how to improve your productivity. Two factors that relate to a researchers’ productivity are time-management and the ability to communicate with people effectively. As the researchers participants in our workshop realised their roles are complicated and they encompass several obligations that often cause them feel overworked and to doubt whether they enjoy their job. In addition, researchers interact with a range of individuals including PIs, supervisors, UG, PG students, different stakeholders, and other colleague researchers. All of these individuals have different preferences in approaching and completing their work and different preferences in communicating information and arguments. In order to become productive and fulfill your career goals as a researcher time management and effective communication are among the core skills you will need to cultivate.

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Mentoring Early Career Researchers at Conference Workshops

As academics we typically participate in conferences for several reasons such as: to present our work, follow work that we are interested in, and attend meetings of divisions or other groups we belong to. However, there is another type of conference activity that I consider jure1valuable for academics to engage in: providing mentorship by leading professional development workshops for Early Career Researchers (ECRs) including graduated students and postdocs. This summer I facilitated such a workshop at the meeting of the Junior Researchers of EARLI and I found it to be one of the most rewarding conferencing experience I recently had.

I was invited to facilitate a workshop on professional e-portfolios from the JURE 2014 committee organizer with whom I met in a previous JURE conference and discussed about potentially running this workshop. I was preparing for it with great anticipation for several reasons. First, it would be the first conference I would attend with my new title as Academic Staff Developer and it would be the first time that I would facilitate an e-portfolio workshop for an audience outside the US. But I was mainly excited because the conference was taking place in my home country at my alma matter the University of Cyprus. It felt like a full circle now, returning there after my graduate studies and realizing that I was finally starting to do what I enjoyed mostly: educational development.

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