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​​​T​hree | 2019

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


​​Management matters

​​Agreement updated.  The UK has updated its voluntary Concordat to Support the Career Development of Researchers, including action to promote better mental health and 10 days each year of free professional development training for ECRs, after an independent review of the 2008 original and extensive consultation.

​​The outlook for ECRs. The results of a survey by the Young Academy of Europe, published in June 2019, shed light on the challenges and stressors facing early-career researchers.

Toughness vs talent. A Nobel laureate laments universities' "intolerable" demands on ECRs at the World Economic Summit: but what will academia do about them?

PhD futures. Thoughts on best practice in developing postgraduate candidates' thinking, skills and experience for work beyond their higher degrees.

Initiatives in mental health. The US Council of Graduate Schools is taking a lead with a two-year venture to draw up a best-practice approach to promoting mental well-being among postgrad students.

Peer support for PhDs. The founder of a UK university's 'How to survive your PhD' initiative says a mutually-supportive local PhD student community is critical to health, progress and productivity.

Graduate internship wisdom. Internships can provide invaluable exposure, experience and contacts for PhD candidates, given a clear structure and good planning.

Career picture for postgrads. The long-term US-based PhD Career Pathways project is shedding a little light on the attitudes and career outcomes of selected PhD graduates.

Mobilising knowledge. A close look at practices in North America turns up common themes and practical models for supporting research engagement.

​Postdoc mentorship recognised. A new study confirms the contribution of postdocs to students' skill development is pivotal and should warrant formal acknowledgement in a cascading mentorship model.

​​​Research matters

​New work on working together. A 2019 collaboration guidebook from the League of European Research Universities, synthesising researchers' experiences of joint projects and insights into the dynamics, success factors and challenges of working with others.

​Research productivity: does more mean better? Times Higher Ed reviews the evidence on whether, and how, publication volume correlates with, and even drives, research quality.

Authorship niceties turn nasty. Abuses in authorship attribution are as damaging to research as they are unethical, so what should be done?

Transpose for transparency. Comparing the editorial policies and processes of journals is harder than it should be, and a new database has been launched to help.

The 'hows and whys' of academic writing. The results of a 2018 survey give valuable clues as to how best to develop and support research authors at different career stages. (Note: access to this article requires creating a free account with UK-based publisher Europa Science Ltd)

Register for reform. A compelling take on why registered reports - papers accepted before results are known, based on research methodology - are now an option at over 200 journals. (Access to this article via your institution’s account)

​Impact with integrity. A perspective on why and how pursuit of impact can enhance research practice.

Personal press

​Two ears to hear. Good leadership takes a lot of careful listening, whether to students, peers or senior management, so what are the relevant skills and how to refine them?

Praise where it's due. The case for giving, and getting, regular feedback on the things that are going right.

Simple and powerful. A minimalist Pulitzer novelist's advice on creating clear and readable non-fiction work.

Beating the insider. Thoughts on why being the external candidate doesn't make you second best.

Network on a shoestring. If you think your area would benefit from an international network, useful insights into how to go about creating one.

Digital toolkit. An impressively comprehensive list (via this Times Higher Education article) of social media networks and digital tools for those working in academia.

Good ideas move. A mathematician’s insight into creative problem solving.

​Prioritising cave-man style. It may sound too simple but in our complicated multi-tasking world, the ‘Hunter’ method of the single-item to-do list could work wonders.

​Serious research

​Three cheers for the chairs. What our furniture says about the wonderful world of academia (a delightful invention of the Research Whisperer’s Tseen Khoo).

​​​​PostdocTraining Update

​​Do you think your postdocs and other early career researchers would benefit from career development training?

​Our ‘Postdoc Career Success’ program is a fully outsourced service including one-on-one mentoring, designed for early post-PhD researchers in any discipline. Contact us to find out more, including the option to run a small pilot group to test this training offering for your research staff.


We hope you find this brief news digest helpful.
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