Research Mentoring in Higher Education: pros and cons, rights and wrongs?

Mentoring schemes are becoming a common means of supporting developing researchers in higher education. Here at QMUL, a variety programmes are running or being piloted in our Schools and Institutes, aimed at all levels from students, to early-career researchers, to new academic staff. The approaches used vary from peer-based mentoring, to offline mentoring across departments.
Examining the efficacy of some of these approaches is the topic of our next Academic Progressions Webinar. Dr Patricia Castanheira, a Research Fellow from the School of Education, University of Brighton and Tom Levesley, from Chrysalis Research will be speaking about some of their research looking at Early-career Researcher Mentoring. Their talk will be titled: Research Mentoring in Higher Education: pros and cons, rights and wrongs?

This webinar will present initial findings from an ongoing mixed methods study of research mentoring for early career and more experienced university researchers. The aim of this research is to gather and review primary and secondary evidence about the purpose and impacts of research mentoring and coaching schemes. Secondary evidence is drawn from the existing literature. The primary research involves face to face interviews with more than 30 mentors and mentees in five universities across England. The qualitative research will be followed up with a wider survey reaching universities across the UK. The research is designed to inform policy makers and practitioners about what works in research mentoring in Higher Education, and provide practical pointers to implementing research mentoring in different institutions.

Speakers:

PatriciaDr. Patricia Castanheira: University of Brighton – Patricia gained her PhD in Educational Sciences in 2010 and has more than 11 years of experience in research in education. Her research has focused on school leadership, school management, school improvement, school policies, school evaluation and continuous teacher development, and she is widely published in these areas. Patricia has worked with the Portuguese Inspectorate for Education and Science as an expert in Education, and is Co-Convener of Network 11 – Educational Improvement and Quality Assurance of the European Educational Research Association.

TomTom Levesley: Director, Chrysalis Research – Tom has worked in public sector research and policy since 1994. He set Chrysalis Research, a specialist education research agency, in 2010 with two former colleagues to support organisations who want to have a positive social impact in the education and health sectors. Tom began his career as a primary school teacher before spending five years at QCA and its predecessor NCVQ, working in policy, research and development relating to vocational qualifications. Since then he worked in commercial and not-for-profit research organisations, including the National Foundation for Education Research, the Home Office the Institute for Employment Studies and EdComs, an education research consultancy.

The webinar will take place on Wednesday 01 June 2016 at 14:00-15:00.

The talk will last for approximately 40 minutes, after which Patricia and Tom will take questions, through the Blackboard Collaborator platform.

To register for webinars in this series, please visit the CAPD bookings page and search for course code RSAP. Once you’ve registered, you will receive the standard confirmation email from our booking system. In addition we will send along joining instructions in advance of the date. This webinar is open to all QMUL staff and students. For more information, please contact Dr Rui Pires Martins, in the CAPD.

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QMUL’s Fellowship Day 2016

A long-standing QMUL tradition, Fellowship Day brings together representatives from research funders, current fellows, and QMUL academic staff who contribute to fellowship and research funding decisions in the UK. The programme will give you a comprehensive overview of some of the fellowship opportunities open to postdoctoral and early-career researchers.

The event is open to all QMUL research students and staff.  You’ll hear experiences from current QMUL fellows, as well as members of Academic Staff who help to make decisions on what research gets funded, in order to get specific tips on what helps make a strong application.

The afternoon is divided up into Biological/Medical Research, Science and Engineering and Humanities and Social Sciences Research streams, that will culminate in a Q&A panel session featuring all of the speakers from that stream.  You can download the programme here.

To book your place, visit cpdbookings.qmul.ac.uk and search for the course code FD. This event is only open to QMUL research staff and students.

FD-ad-slide2

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LinkedIn (in just a couple of minutes)

Next in our ‘in just a couple of minutes’ series, I take a look at LinkedIn, the largest of the professional social networks. Though it wasn’t designed specifically with academic researchers in mind, it provides a flexible medium for you to showcase your research and yourself as a professional. This global reach beyond the academic community that makes it a powerful tool to help promote your professional profile, expand your networks and search for jobs both in and outside academia.

To watch the video, go to QMplus Media (you will need to log in with your QMUL id and password).

LinkedIn on QMPlus Media

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Rethinking Postdoctoral Careers

Traditionally the academic pipeline was clear: complete a PhD, then a postdoc or two and then on to a permanent lectureship. However, that model no longer appears to be adequate to describe the experience of many academic researchers.  Moreover, this model of career progression doesn’t account for the large numbers of people who “leak” out of the pipeline at various points, for many reasons, including choice or the perceived gender based barriers.  Nor does it begin to address the growing number of “third space” professionals that transition from postdoctoral researchers to work at the interface between the academic/research staff and the professional services units within an academic institution.

In our next Academic Progressions webinar, “Rethinking Postdoctoral Careers”, taking place on Thursday 05 May 2016 at 2pmDr Richard Freeman will present data from his research into doctoral career transitions, experiences of over 1,000 early career social scientists and over 100 “third space” professionals together with the results of the 2015 Careers in Research Online Survey to review the current situation and provide practical advice to early careers researchers facing the challenge of developing their postdoctoral careers.

Dr R FreemanDr Richard Freeman is a Senior Lecturer in Research Methods at UCL Institute of Education. He is Programme Leader for Researcher Development with responsibility for strategic oversight of provision for early career researchers. He is also Programme Leader for the Online MPhil/PhD, which launched in October 2014. He is also Deputy Director of the ESRC Bloomsbury Doctoral Training Centre.

The Academic Progressions series moved to a webinar format last month, where successfully hosted over 50 participants in our discussion of Dr. Anna Mountford-Zimdars‘ work.  If you missed our last webinar, you can view it on QMplus Research Staff Development section or QMplus Media (you will be asked to login with your QMUL credentials).

To join the Academic Progressions webinar, please go to the CAPD bookings page, login and search for the course code: RSAP.  Select the webinar taking place on Thursday 05 May 2016 at 2pm BST.Academic-Progressions If you haven’t registered an account with the CAPD, you can do so here. Once booked on, you will receive an email with joining instructions, as well as reminders, leading up to the webinar.

For additional information please contact the researcher development team at resdev@qmul.ac.uk.

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Dr Eleanor Groves joins LSI Researcher Development

Dr Eleanor GrovesI have recently joined Queen Mary as a Researcher Development Adviser for the Life Sciences Initiative (LSI). My role is to support the career development of life sciences researchers. I will work very closely with the Researcher Development team within the CAPD and my aim is to ‘add value’ to the excellent existing activities, facilities and training programmes, whilst promoting the aims of the LSI.

Life Sciences in QMUL is currently virtual cross-faculty initiative that aims to promote and facilitate interdisciplinary research (as well as teaching and public engagement) and its impact on human health, where we already have a wealth of experience and within which we aspire to be at the forefront of academic activity. The LSI team is expanding and we hope you will hear more about the LSI and its activities in the coming months.

Since making the difficult decision to leave the lab 6 years ago I have become committed to supporting the careers, at all stages, of those who choose to pursue this challenging but exciting and rewarding career path. Do I miss the lab? Well, yes, sometimes – there are so many plusses to a research career, but I don’t miss those days of cowering behind the lab door while the ultracentrifuge gears up or the radioactive spillages where I had to burn my jeans (true)! Instead I find I really enjoy having a positive impact on researchers’ careers – our role as Researcher Development Advisers is to provide researchers with the opportunity to gain the skills and tools needed to be successful, through a variety of means such as training programmes, and to support their careers.

My previous role was as a Senior Grants Adviser at the Wellcome Trust where I had nearly 6 years of experience of grant application processing and administration as well as providing career and application advice to the scientific community. Before that I completed a PhD in bacterial pathogenesis at Imperial College London and undertook a period of post-doctoral research there on an EC-funded systems biology project before pursuing my current career in research support.

I am really excited to learn more about the diverse and exciting research going on at QMUL and am looking forward to finding ways to promote interdisciplinary life science and scientists’ careers. I am always open to suggestions and ideas for relevant activities, training and events so please do get in touch.

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How to get an academic job: Insights from 24 interviews by postgraduate researchers conducted with academics

Careers in and outside science. Source: The Royal Society, 2010.

Careers in and outside science.
Source: The Royal Society, 2010.

The progression to the higher rungs of the academic ladder happens to as few as 0.45% of those who enter UK academia as PhD graduates in the sciences.  Looking at this another way, to those who go on to do a postdoc in the UK in the sciences (about 30% of PhD grads), only about 10-15% of those will make the cut to each subsequent level, from early-career researchers (ECRs) to lecturers to professors. While this paints a very grim situation for ECRs intent on following an academic path, it doesn’t reveal the number of early-career researchers for whom leaving the sector is an active choice, armed with the skills and experience they’ve honed during their time in the academy, ready to transfer those skills to other sectors.

KCL Headshots May 2014 at the Strand, Waterloo campuses, London on the 02/05/2014. Photo: David Tett

Photo: David Tett

For those intending to pursue an academic future, there still remains a large mismatch between the number of postgraduate and early-career researchers who aspire to have an academic job and the availability of employment opportunities in academia: not everyone who aspires to become an academic will succeed. To better understand this disparity, Dr Anna Mountford-Zimdars investigates two broad questions against this background.  Firstly, what are the skills, character traits and experiences that academic selection panels at an English research-led university are looking for in hiring entry-level academics? And secondly, what is it like to be an academic?

Dr Mountford-Zimdars will be joining us as part of our next Academic Progressions webinar on Thursday 07 April, 2016 at 2pm.  Her presentation, How to get an academic job: Insights from 24 interviews by postgraduate researchers conducted with academics, is based on research conducted by 12 postgraduate researchers who interviewed 24 academics. The discussion time for this session will also provide an opportunity to discuss the support available for graduate students and post-docs in developing their teaching profile that is often part of the application for academic jobs.

Dr Anna Mountford-Zimdars is a Senior Lecturer in Higher Education and Head of Research at King’s College London, UK. Anna supports the development of teaching abilities among postgraduates at King’s College.  Her research work on higher education and, in particular, university admissions has been published in many peer reviewed articles, book chapters, and commissioned research reports. Her research has been cited in Parliament as well as receiving coverage in the media including the Sunday Times, BBC Radio 4, and The Guardian.

From April, our Academic Progressions series will be hosted solely on a webinar format using Blackboard Collaborate.  To join the Academic Progressions webinar, please go to the CAPD bookings page, login and search for the course code: RSAP.  Select the webinar taking place on 07 April 2016 (AcJob).Academic-Progressions If you haven’t registered an account with the CAPD, you can do so here. Once booked on, you will receive an email with joining instructions, as well as reminders, leading up to the webinar.

For additional information please contact the researcher development team at resdev@qmul.ac.uk.

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Endnote (in just a couple of minutes)

Next in our ‘in just a couple of minutes’ series, I take a look at Endnote, one of the longest-standing and most comprehensive citation and reference managing tools on the market.

To watch the video, go to QMplus Media (you will need to log in with your QMUL id and password).

Endnote-screen capture

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Mendeley (in just a couple of minutes)

In the next video in our ‘in just a couple of minutes’ series, we take a look at Mendeley, a citation manager and social networking tool. It’s freely available online and gives you up to 2GB of cloud storage space for your references (as PDFs or linked documents). They offer mobile apps for most platforms so that you can read, annotate and share your reference library from anywhere.

To watch the video, go to QMplus Media (you will need to log in with your QMUL id and password).

Mendeley

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ResearchGate (in just a couple of minutes)

The next in our ‘in just a couple of minutes’ series. This edition takes a look at ResearchGate a social network for academic researchers to help you share and interact about your research.

To watch the video, go to QMplus Media (you will need to log in with your QMUL id and password).

ResearchGate

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Research Professional (in just a couple of minutes)

This is the first in our video series called ‘in just a couple of minutes’, where I review an online tool, website or resource that I think you might find useful as a QMUL researcher.

To watch the video, go to QMplus Media (you will need to log in with your QMUL id and password).

Research Professional

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