News, Opinion, Reviews

REVIEW: Summing up the RSG blog 2017

Research Staff Group blog summary for 2017

2017 was accented by consolidation of important group activities, the continued evolution of several research staff development offerings, and the retaining of our focus on listening to and representing the community of research assistants, postdocs, early career researchers, research associates, and junior fellows with the School. Firstly, we started the year with a successful Research Day in January with emphases on the Technology Hubs, techniques and career development. We will have a similar program for our next Research Away Day on the 7th of February 2018 at the Life Sciences Hub in Cardiff Bay.

The second major focus of the year was the 2017 Seed Corn funding round (now in its third year) had a greatly increased number of applications which resulted in high quality projects being funded. The outcomes for the awardees have ranged from successful enhancement of submitted research papers to the generation of data supporting fellowship applications. It was also notable that in last two years of the scheme the diversity of the School’s research staff community was reflected in the applications received, and moreover in the awards made.

Details of the 4th annual Seed Corn funding round will be announced at the 2018 Research Away Day (details to follow shortly)

Thirdly, there were a number of research staff oriented talks called the Postdoc Academy 2017 with talks on career pathways and outreach. In 2018, there will be a greater emphasis on non-academic career pathways and where the skills honed and acquired through working within the School of Biosciences can take you.

Through out the year we continued to post a collection of content based around the activities of the committee, some of the events within the School, and several opinion / resource pieces. The blog is often written in ‘borrowed’ time as an aside from the day-to-day task of being a researcher, and so it has been pleasing that the quality of the content has been both widely and warmly received. A sampling of the range of topics in 2017 can readily seen in the top five most read posts, listed below.

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Five most popular reads in 2017 :

It’s not me, it’s you – taking setbacks in context

RESOURCE: The “Postdoctoral Academy Programme” 2017

OPINION: we are international – research after the European referenda

RESOURCE: Recognition of teaching and supporting learning in Higher Education for early career research staff

The Travelling Postdoc: Staff Outward Mobility Fund

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Personal message from the Editor: One of the main tasks that I have had as editor has been persuading people that writing for the blog is not a ‘painful’ process, and I think most had been surprised at just how straight forwards crafting and expressing content can be. Through 2018 we look forward to many more voices on many more topics. As 2017 has now gone I have to thank all those primary authors who contributed to such a good year of blogging – Amy Baldwin, Attilo Zilli, Daniel Pass, Liliana Ordonez, Liese Ganderton, Ian Horton, Emma Yhnell, Ross Drayton, Kay Guccione, Kenneth Ewan, and Liam Morgan. Your wonderful contributions lead to my nomination in the outstanding contribution to BIOSI category at the 2017 All Staff Awayday, so thank you for all of your efforts and good humour.

Our core focus should always be to authentically represent the voices, experience, talent, development, and diversity of the research staff community within the Cardiff University School of Biosciences (past, present and future) – Andrew Hollins, Jan’2018

Where does the blog go from here? It seems appropriate to reflect periodically on where you have been and just where you are going next. With the blog in 2018 the biggest priority is to look towards succession within the editorial team, finding people to take the content and the remit onwards through fresh focuses and fresh opinion. If you are based in the School and want to be involved contact me (Andrew Hollins – hollinsaj@cardiff.ac.uk ); if you are not based within the School (perhaps you are an alumnus, or have an interest in research staff development) but have ideas, thoughts, suggestions please also get in touch.