The Researcher Academy strategically advocates and advises on researcher issues, drawing on insights and expertise from researchers and staff across its network. We contribute to shaping the university’s policies on researcher culture, environment, and provision, and work with colleagues to ensure standards across faculties and doctoral training programmes.
Researcher Academy Faculty Leads
Underpinning this advocacy activity is the work of our Researcher Academy Faculty Leads (RAFLs), senior academics who facilitate and coordinate activities within Faculties to support postgraduates and early career researchers, and advocate for them within Faculty and University structures.
Surveys and consultations
Culture and practice are living and dynamic and we encourage our staff and stakeholders to be curious and inquiring about the diverse needs of researchers. Drawing on surveys and consultations, both internal and external, our network is able to offer a well-rounded and informed picture of researcher experience.
The Researcher Academy seeks to identify the diversity of researchers' experiences and aspirations. We help researchers find time to focus on their research priorities, and we facilitate and empower researchers and staff to develop collaborative, inclusive, supportive and creative ways of working.
Influencing national policy
The Researcher Academy aims to locate our stakeholders in the right places to champion researcher voices and needs. At a policy level we currently have representation on:
Modelling best practice
Our Researcher Academy managed BBSRC, M4C, and ESRC Doctoral Training Programmes also act as models of excellence for training centre and training programme development and have been leaders in making improvements around EDI in recruitment and mental health in academia.
Facilitating events and resources
The Researcher Academy network organises events such as the recent Stronger Together Conference (2019), the first postgraduate research focused Equality, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) event ever held at a U.K. university and, as an outcome of that event, will shortly publish a handbook ‘Supervising postgraduate researchers from diverse backgrounds which was developed in consultation with researchers and supervisors from our network.
The Researcher Academy is a new name in but our network is well established and has played a vital role in helping the university navigate the myriad challenges posed by the Covid-19 pandemic and subsequent campus closures.
Members of what has now evolved into the Researcher Academy network brought their experience and expertise to bear on the many issues faced by researchers during the Covid-19 situation. They have helped analyse and form responses to issues raised in researcher forums, provided modelling and briefings for the University Executive Board (UEB) and liaised with research funders.
The Researcher Academy’s Training and Development team and Placements team both successfully moved their activities online extremely quickly due to existing networks and links with colleagues in other services.
The Researcher Academy managed Doctoral Training programmes also embraced the opportunities offered by the Covid-19 situation, with the AHRC funded M4C programme delivering an impressive Digital Research Festival using online tools to host Research Relays, Creative Showcases and a Research Poster exhibition.
Other members of the The Researcher Academy also helped to shine a light on the impact of Covid-19 on researchers by soliciting a wide range of testimonies from researchers; produce welfare and home working resources for DTP cohorts; and offer 1-2-1 support meetings for researchers on placement.
The Researcher Academy community will play a key role in shaping the University of Nottingham's implementation of the Concordat to Support the Career Development of Researchers, an agreement to improve employment and support for researchers and researcher careers in higher education in the UK. The University of Nottingham first received the HR Excellence in Research award for its work on the 2008 Concordat and successfully had this renewed in March 2020.
The principles of the revised Concordat (2019) are underpinned by obligations for the funders, institutions, researchers and managers of researchers,and the Researcher Academy is the primary network in which these four key stakeholder groups share membership. The Researcher Academy's expertise will therefore be essential in supporting the University of Nottingham as it works to develop and implement its action plan for the revised Concordat's three principles of environment and culture, employment, and professional and career development.
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