We support researchers at all stages of their career in the development of their transferable skills and knowledge, in making their research tasks more efficient and effective, and also helping them prepare for their future careers.
By offering this support, we not only aim to develop the abilities of staff, but strengthen the University-wide research culture as well as links between teaching and research.
What is our approach?
We work in collaboration with other central support services and the academic community to offer researcher development programmes, which complements subject specific ‘faculty based’ training.
We manage the design, lead on, deliver and enhance postgraduate research student and some academic staff development provision, with: some involvement in conferences, events and development programmes at institutional, regional and occasionally national levels.
We align training and development provision to meet the needs of student, local, and national bodies through strategic and operational level activities.
We measure and report on the effectiveness of activities for future enhancements.
We co-ordinate and collaborate in regional and national researcher development networks on various committees to improve the provision we offer.
We occasionally leads on institutional research projects to reveal tacit knowledge for use in development courses in research and teaching.
What national initiatives influence the design of our provision?
We align our provision to national strategic initiatives, including:
• The Concordat to Support the Career Development of Researchers
• The European HR excellence award
• The Athena Swan Charter
• The Investors in People award
• The Researcher Development Framework (Vitae)
• The UK Quality Code (Quality Assurance Agency) and
• The UK Professional Standards Framework (Higher Education Academy)
What local influences tailor the design of our provision?
We inform the design of our provision locally using a range of information, including:
• The University of Sunderland Research Strategy and Plan
• The Research and Innovation Committee
• The Postgraduate Research Degrees Sub-committee
• Gap analysis using national initiatives above
• Requests from research communities and senior managers
• Programme evaluations
Who benefits from these researcher development courses?
We offer a suite of development provision which is tailored to meet the needs of our research communities. These researcher development programmes are designed to support the following researchers.
• Postgraduate Research Students (PGRs). We support these ‘Emerging Researchers’ develop efficient and effective approaches to completing their studies; as they move into a career which utilises transferable as well as subject specific skills.
• Postdoctoral Researchers and Academics who are relatively new to research. We support these ‘Emerging Research Leaders’ build their research portfolios, develop their future research themes, and develop their leadership skills; as they move into research management roles.
• New Research Degree Supervisors. We support these ‘Emerging Postgraduate Research Student Developers’ develop their pedagogies of supervision which incorporate quality assurance processes; as they move into coaching, advisory and managerial roles for developing postgraduate research students.
• Existing Research Degree Supervisors. We support these ‘Established Postgraduate Research Student Developers’ update their knowledge of research degree processes and broaden their knowledge of supervisory pedagogies; as they reflect on and continue to develop their strategies for supervising postgraduate research students.
• New Research Degree Assessment Panel Members and new Internal Research Degree Examiners, including Chairs. We support these ‘Emerging Supporters of Research Processes’ develop their ability to support and assess postgraduate researchers in progress reviews and Viva examinations; as they move into assessment roles for supporting the quality processes which enable postgraduate studies to be offered at Sunderland.
• Readers, Professors and REF Unit of Assessment leaders (as well as aspiring Readers and Professors). We support these ‘Emerging Strategic Leaders’ develop their strategic leadership skills; as they move into cross-university strategic roles.
• Additional Researcher Development Events. We organise additional events to support the development of postgraduate researchers, postdoctoral researchers, and academics who undertake pedagogic research. These include, the annual regional ‘Three Minute Thesis Competition’ and the annual regional ‘Three Rivers Learning and Teaching conference’. The learning and teaching conference is recognised by the Higher Education Academy.