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Postdoctoral researchers and academics who are relatively new to research

We support emerging research leaders in building their research portfolios, developing their future research themes and developing their leadership skills as they move into research management roles.

This course is curated through a Canvas space. Email mark.proctor@sunderland.ac.uk to request access to the space.

We have your success in mind

Early career research positions are primarily focused on winning research funding, doing research, publishing research results and becoming ‘REFable’. However, their real value is in developing further subject-specific research skills, for gaining teaching experience, for developing independence, and for developing research leadership skills; which prove invaluable for career progression inside and outside of academia.

Following this programme, delegates felt that they were working more effectively. They recognised the "importance of building up to the research and setting out clear goals before implementing”

Other feedback included:

"I feel that my proposals will be stronger and that I have a clearer overall plan of conducting research within the University"

Our programme is designed to

  • Offer support to relatively new (often called ‘early career’) researchers for developing strategies for developing independence, building a reputation, and leading research groups. These include topics such as developing a research portfolio, working more effectively with their research context, strategic planning, project planning, research governance, managing a research team, and communicating research.
  • Offer support for personal development planning, career development, and support for learning to use ‘core’ software for analysing as well as reporting on research

Our teaching approaches this year

  • Offer this provision in collaboration with other institutions across the UK as a leading institution – to start by May 2018
  • Offer a flexible learning and researcher-centred approach with blended learning opportunities which recognise that every researcher is on their own career path
  • Offer information and support in presentations with accompanying materials for adapting core principles to each researchers’ research context

The development programme

A large array of online learning materials can be accessed using Sunderland’s Vitae subscription, which are used in personal development planning and continuing professional development. These will be curated in Canvas this year.

Workshops to enhance computer software skills for analysing, evaluating and reporting on research are offered using online learning materials in Canvas, as well as face-to-face workshops, and surgeries.

This programme comprises a number of core online on-demand lecture presentations which include the key topics offered in the table below. Each workshop will be followed by real-time question and answer sessions, as well as discussions to offer support for embedding core principles into research practices for self-development and self-advancement.

Since the content of this programme will be offered in collaboration, it will vary depending on the research context at participating institutions. However, the content will broadly contain the following topics and areas:


Topics Areas

The research context:
considering the point of research

  • Developing your niche research area
  • Drivers and funding
  • Your challenges and opportunities

Strategic planning:
considering creating a vision

  • Strategic, tactical and operational plans
  • Developing your vision
  • Developing your research profile

Project planning:
considering planning to making changes happen

  • A planning framework and tool
  • Why and how you use your plans
  • Free resources

Research ethics and governance:
considering academic freedom and professional conduct 

  • The acceptability of your research
  • Your professional integrity
  • Protecting it

Managing a research team:
considering how to lead on research areas and ‘manage’ research staff and students  

  • Team characteristics
  • Management approaches
  • Planning your next meeting

Communicating research:
consider how do you communicate research including research publications

  • Your motivations
  • Strategy
  • Structures and evaluations

Grant writing:
consider how to write a grant application

  • Winning grant applications
  • Approaches and writing styles


More information

Email: celt@sunderland.ac.uk