Meeting report: the Cardiff University’s Research Staff Association Annual General Meeting – Held on Wednesday 16th March (Ty Dewi Sant, Heath Park Campus)
To start off what we hope will be an ongoing series of posts about meetings, symposiums and talks attended by BIOSI research staff members we have a collection of contributions from the CURSA AGM event. Here we bring together a piece from Katy Huxley (the current CURSA chairperson), and a handful of comments from BIOSI attendees.
The overarching aim here being to give a small flavour of the meeting (its purpose, its contributors, and its content) if you were not able to make it along on the day.
Interview: Katy Huxley
Contributed by Katy Huxley – Chairperson, Cardiff University Research Staff Association (CURSA)
This is my first ever blog piece, so please be patient, there’s a lot of things I’d like to share and I’m prone to waffling, so I will do my best to keep it short! Firstly, a little about me. I am Katy Huxley, a 34 year old researcher in SOCSI, and chair of the Cardiff University Research Staff Association (CURSA). I’ve been loitering around the university as a researcher and student for just over ten years, and whilst I’ve enjoyed my experiences here, I’ve often felt a little isolated, reading in a quiet single office, churning over data, and writing papers. When I had an email from our former CURSA Chair requesting a rep for the business school (my first home at Cardiff), I took that opportunity to get more involved in the world of university admin and politics! Having been a rep for about 2 years, our Chair had to step down, and I took on the reins…
It’s been quite a busy 6 months since then!! We’ve had our first CURSA rep orientation training session which gave us an opportunity to discuss what we as reps want CURSA to be, as well as look at policies to support researchers – such as the Concordat to Support the Career Development of Researchers – and structures within the university. A group of us (myself, Tina Joshi, Kait Clarke and Lucy Bennett) planned the programme for the AGM, which included a range of speakers and discussions focused on research careers – and a free lunch! The day included talks from Prof. Kim Graham, speaking about researcher career journeys, Mascia Amici from the Bristol RSA and a representative of the UK RSA, and updates from our researcher development team based in McKenzie House. Hopefully those researchers who attended found the day useful. It’s a difficult balance arranging these events, bringing you up to date on CURSA activity, wider university activity, and making sure you have the chance to share your ideas and network with each other. It wasn’t planned this way, but the AGM event turned out to be women-led, so men, watch-out, I’ll be looking for a greater gender balance next time!!
In other CURSA business, I have been included in a review group, led by Professor Kim Graham, looking at early career researchers journeys and exploring how the university can help us to reach different milestones – whether that’s post-doc funding, grant preparation, writing support or other things! I look forward to the deliberations this group will have – and I think it’s great that Kim spoke at the AGM and has included CURSA in this exercise. I’ve also been busy trying to build contacts with professional and technical staff who have an interest in, or connection to, research – such as RIS and IT services. I’d like to raise our profile, not only with researchers to ensure we are truly representing your interests, but throughout the university. My primary aim as Chair of CURSA is to develop (or be incorporated into) more formal mechanisms to communicate with management in schools and colleges, and to ensure that where research staff groups exist, they can feed back any concerns or best practice to CURSA to be shared with the wider university. So if you are on a research staff group or committee, please do remember to keep in touch with CURSA! If you’d like to find out more about CURSA, find our pages on the intranet or Yammer (the new facebook for work!). If you’d like to join as a rep, please get in touch with me, at CURSA@cardiff.ac.uk, we love new faces!
Comments from Liz Fraser (BIOSI, research staff)
- “I do think the meetings are a rare opportunity to meet and talk with people from other schools and to find out the differences in how the schools are run.”
- “The career talks by the lovely Josie Grindulis are an excellent reminder to take stock and focus on our careers and our personal development and there is the odd useful thing that you learn about that can make the whole meeting worthwhile even if there was nothing else of interest (e.g. some people hadn’t heard of researchprofessional)”
- “…it is an opportunity to contribute to the “Common Good” and we should think about the well-being not only of ourselves but of those around us.”
Review from Andrew Hollins (BIOSI, research staff)
- “…it was good to hear Professor Kim Graham explaining the focused plan of action for the on going evolution of support for Early Career Researchers here in Cardiff.”
- “I very much enjoyed hearing from Mascia Amici about the Bristol University model – their approach has much to be applauded for, and I hope that the emergence of the GW4 grouping can be used to leverage a greater sharing of practices and particularly feedback structures.”
- “The break out sessions were a little short but I appreciated the constraints of time, there was still time to meet researchers from across the campus.”
- “It would be easy to say “I’ve seen it all before” given the number of these events I have attended at this point, but actually I personally took a lot from it.”
About the main contributor – Katy Huxley
Her research interests lie in education, employment experience and industrial relations. Her current role as a Research Officer for the Administrative Data Research Centre Wales (ADRC Wales) focuses on contributing to a high quality user support service that ensures that analytical opportunities to utilise government administrative data are accessible to researchers from across social science disciplines. This involves promoting the use of government data, working with large complex datasets to develop and enhance sources on behalf of the research community, as well as assessing and planning support for researchers who wish to access data through the ADRC. Her role also allows her to pursue her own research interests.
Useful contacts and links
CURSA can contact via CURSA@cardiff.ac.uk
CURSA information pages (Cardiff University intranet).
Bristol University Research Staff Association – Bristol RSA
United Kingdom Reserarch Staff Association – UK RSA