The revised Concordat to support the career development for researchers includes reference to researchers having opportunities, structured support, encouragement and time to engage in a minimum of 10 days professional development pro rata per year.
Professional development can take a variety of forms and varies with career stage. The University of Liverpool have developed a web resource Development Activity Guidance which includes examples of opportunities that enable researchers to develop skills and experience to support their career and professional development.
Researchers are expected to take ownership of their career, identifying opportunities to work towards their career goals and cultivate their independence. The University of Liverpool’s Statement of Expectations outlines the minimum 10 days or 70 hours professional development (pro rata) per year that researchers should utilise to advance their career.
Development needs and the activities associated with them vary with career stages. Therefore, individuals are encouraged to choose the activities most relevant to their current situation with input from and the agreement of their PI.
A lack of understanding that professional development can take a variety of forms and may or may not take place in a university setting can on occasion limit the opportunities researchers engage with.
The Development Activity Guidance webpage includes examples of opportunities that enable researchers to develop skills and experience to support their career and professional development.
The aim of the 'Statement of Expectations' is to define expectations around responsibilities for the roles of research staff and principal investigators with an emphasis on embedding professional practice.
Research staff are encouraged and supported to undertake professional development beyond the needs of their primary project and to allocate a minimum 10 days pro rata, per year, to engage with professional development opportunities.
Researchers are supported to balance the delivery of their research with their own professional development, recognising that researchers will pursue careers across a wide range of employment sectors.
The Development Activity Guidance is a living resource that is continually updated and provides examples of activities and opportunities researchers can get involved with to make the best use of their professional development time.
Ensuring visibility and engagement with the Development Activity Guidance webpage is essential.
The webpage is frequently linked to via the weekly e-bulletin sent out from the University of Liverpool Research Staff Association to all staff on a research only contract as part of our “Did you know?” section. This information is therefore regularly signposted to over 800 researchers.
A link is also included in a welcome email that is sent out each month to all new starters at the University on a research only contract.
success of the Development Activity Guidance is evident in the following
notable outputs and outcomes:
We recommend that providing information about a variety of topics that can be accessed in many different formats and that require different levels of engagement and time, will increase the accessibility of opportunities and ensure they are considered of value to researchers and research related staff.
Concordat principles: Professional and career development
Keywords: Signposting Professional development Guidance and support Policy Equality, diversity and inclusion Research culture Research integrity Wellbeing Researcher voice Bullying and harassment Training Flexible working Induction Job security Working conditions Career progression Performance management Career management Diverse careers Leadership development Research identity Research assessment Recognition