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Three | 2016

A selection of current news items for managers of Early Career Researchers.


Management matters

Transfer market tactics. A wide-ranging review is driving reform of the UK's research excellence framework. It includes a recommendation to stop universities 'gaming' the system by poaching productive staff from other institutions and claiming their outputs. Will this idea catch on - and disadvantage ECRs?

Obstacles to inter-disciplinary research. IDR may be flavour-of-the-moment but the British Academy says there are serious institutional, practical and professional barriers to pursuing an IDR path, which universities can help reduce.

Quantifying the value of medical research and its workforce. A new report by Deloitte Access Economics for the Australian Society for Medical Research reveals the health and economic gains from medical research, even as decreasing funding poses significant risks to the sector's workforce.

The effect of gossip on research practice. A recent study shows researchers use gossip to try to regulate research misconduct and behaviour, with mixed results.

Impact and integrity. Does the continued emphasis on research impact put academics into a 'systemic moral dilemma' - forcing them to be dishonest about aspects of their research in order to win competitive funding?

The rise of 'outsourced' research? Cost pressures are fostering a new breed of company selling research services from microbe production to bioinformatics. New postdoc overtime rules are fuelling growth in the US specifically, but budget hawks the world over will be watching the trend with interest.

Dual-career support in faculty recruitment. A recent US study highlights the importance of institutions having effective dual-career arrangements to help attract senior academics, particularly female researchers.

Writing and publishing support for academics. November each year is Academic Writing Month (AcWriMo), designed and hosted by PhD2Published to help academics develop better writing strategies, practices and support networks. For those not familiar with the model, universities and individuals either participate in the main 'movement' or run their own tailored versions.

Issues in early career research

Formal mentor networks can be a boon for ECRs struggling to connect with people who match their needs and interests. The US NIH's new online tool is just one recent example.

Postdoc brain pool. A young crowdsource consultancy draws solutions from a network of registered postdocs, offering ECRs consulting experience and potential for internships.

Adjunct and abject? A sobering contribution to the long-running debate about the prevalence of casual/adjunct employees in academia, with warnings about the many negative impacts, and views about structural and tactical changes needed to take the situation in hand.

Managing 'millenials'. Written specifically for academic administrators, a valuable insight into the characteristics of the new generation of academic staff (born after 1982) and tips on how to 'whisper' these researchers.

'What do research staff do next?' UK-based Vitae's latest report finds the majority of former full-time academics surveyed across Europe are thriving in their non-academic careers. (The report itself is restricted unless your institution is a member of Vitae.)

Spotlight on ECR pressures. A special 7-article edition from Nature featuring editorial and data on the pressures affecting emerging researchers globally and their impacts, and options for support in tackling aspects of the challenges. These same challenges motivated the authors of Bratislava Declaration of Young Researchers, presented recently to EU leaders.

Personal press

Busting myths about chasing your passions and 'one true calling'. This author's pitch is that the right job and meaningful work come in all shapes and sizes, and the keys to finding them are knowing yourself, persistence and asking the right questions.

Perfectionist paralysis. The culture of high achievement, constant critique and hyper-competition in academia makes people fear doing anything less than perfect. This short essay offers eight steps to pre-empt paralysis. If it's the inner 'chief inquisitor' that's getting in the way, whether it's blocking writing, ideas or projects, try this shortlist of practical tactics for tackling excessive negativity.

Creative chaos. If you find standard productivity advice smacks of a 'factory mindset', or you're shackled by too much order in your day, read on... A Closet Chaotic shares his ‘work smarter’ model to help you identify your own style and tips on how to tweak your approach for better results.

PostdocTraining Update

Would your early career researchers benefit from face-to-face workshops such as ‘Take Charge of Your Career’, 'How to Navigate an Academic Career' or ‘Develop Your Leadership Skills as a Researcher’? We are now taking bookings for workshops in 2017 in Australia and New Zealand, Asia and Europe. Please contact us direct about your preferences, to explore the options.

We hope you find this brief news digest helpful.
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