Early career researchers
The Researcher Development Team within the University of Exeter Doctoral College works with Colleges to:
- Develop world-class research students and Early Career Research only staff (postdocs) – through generic research-related skills acquisition, team-working and networking opportunities
- Encourage confident and independent learners – through a stimulating, challenging and inter-disciplinary training environment
- Ensure our Early Career Researchers are globally competitive, and effective at work, in academia or beyond – through labour-market informed employability and career management provision.
We are not the only ones who think your personal and professional development is important. The programmes at Exeter are influenced by Research Councils UK (RCUK) and the national organisation for researcher development, Vitae. In addition, the quality of our programmes is evidenced by the University's retention of the European Commission's HR Excellence in Research Award.
We have a wide range of development opportunities available for Early Career Research staff (i.e. staff on Research Only contracts on grade E to G). Depending on where you are based, you will be able to access training courses and other professional development activities in Cornwall or Exeter as they become available. In addition, you can participate in online career development training and research-related competitions and initiatives that have been designed specifically for you.
We encourage you to complete the following Researcher Development introductory activities which are in addition to the general mandatory University-wide staff induction training for all staff or any College-specific induction activities that you might be required to complete:
- Researcher Development Introductory Session – who we are, what we do and how to engage
- Researcher Career Explorer - a short course which examines your career options
- Profiling for Success – online self-assessment tools
All of our courses have been mapped against the national Researcher Development Framework (RDF), a tool that helps you consider your professional development as a rounded researcher. Most of our courses address multiple domains and sub-domains.
How to book training and development
- University of Exeter Early Career research only staff (ie grades E to G) can view training descriptions and register online via the Researcher Development Exeter events section on My Career Zone
- Other University of Exeter Staff are able to access session descriptions and submit a request to register for specific courses by contacting the University of Exeter Researcher Development Team. In your email, please state which session you wish to attend as well as your full name, department, employee ID number. In the subject line please put: 'University of Exeter Additional Staff attendance at [name of workshop or event, date of workshop or event]'
- As part of the GW4 shared training agreement, Early Career Research staff at other GW4 Universities (Bristol, Bath and Cardiff) are able to access session descriptions and submit a request to register for specific courses by contacting the University of Exeter Researcher Development Team. In your email, please state which session you wish to attend as well as your full name, department, university and employee ID number. In the subject line please put: 'GW4 Attendance at [name of workshop or event, date of workshop or event]'
Researcher-led Initiative Awards
Researcher Development has funds to support the development and cascading of personal, professional and career management skills by and for postgraduate research students and early career research staff across the University of Exeter. These ‘Researcher-led’ Initiative awards are intended to enable you to be creative, proactive, and empowered, through the process of initiating, designing, managing, and delivering new professional development activities for their peers that will develop the skills and experience needed to progress their careers.
The awards will support short-term, well-defined initiatives that develop and deliver transferable skills training experiences and/or resources to the applicants’ peers across departments. Collaborative applications are encouraged. Applications will be reviewed on a case by case basis and all applicants will receive feedback after the awards have been allocated.
Further details on how to apply for a Researcher-led initiative will be released shortly.
Images of Research
‘Images of Research’ is an innovative way to highlight the wide range of research that is taking place at the University of Exeter and an opportunity to look at research in a new and exciting way.
There are two main aims of the competition:
- To engage the public in academic research, particularly the breadth of research taking place at the University of Exeter;
- To provide an opportunity for researchers to communicate often complex research to non-specialists.
Winning entries were displayed for the public on the Streatham Campus during ‘Universities Week’ 29 May-2 June and at the Penryn Campus 5-9 June. To view the images entered into the competition this year click here.
Details for the 2018 competition will be released shortly.
The SETsquared iCURe programme for Early Career Research Staff
This programme offers you the chance to build your entrepreneurial skills, providing up to £50,000 to support commercially promising research. The programme is designed to validate research in the marketplace. It will fund three to six months of intense market assessment. Where there is evidence of strong demand, the research will be licensed or spun-out into a company.
As an early career researcher, you will act as the entrepreneurial lead for the project. You will need to engage with potential customers, partners and competitors. You will also need to take steps to validate your research’s commercial potential.
Applications must be made with a principal investigator, with whom you have developed a commercially promising idea, and will be supported by a business mentor who can offer expert commercial advice and guidance.
The scheme runs in several cohorts, if you would like to know more, please contact Dr Neil Hayes in Innovation, Impact and Business.
You can also refer to iCURe application guidance and forms at: http://www.setsquared.co.uk/icure/
Researcher to Innovator Programme
An enterprise and innovation course for early stage researchers.
- For researchers who want to celebrate the impact from their research
- Or perhaps those who have an idea or technology that they want to commercialise
This prestigious programme is designed to help researchers with promising ideas and research projects gain the skills and knowledge necessary to convert them into commercial realities.
“It transformed the way I see the research ecosystem and the role I can play within it.” Dr Michelle Harricharan, Research Associate, University of Bath
Researcher to Innovator is predominantly aimed at post-doctoral and final year postgraduate researchers from across all disciplines. It comprises eight days of training, kicking off with a three-day residential course.
Details of how to make applications will be shortly published. Please look out for further details.
Early Career Research Networks (ERCNs) are designed to help support our Early Career Researchers in the beginning stages of their career. The ECRNs are designed to help raise awareness of new developments in a particular field: new tools, processes, leaders, training programs, and services. They are also an opportunity for collaborative problem solving and to get advice from other Early Career Researchers.
Biosciences and Geography (Penryn)
Engineering (Penryn and CSM)
Mathematics and Computer Science
Sport and Health Sciences
The UK Concordat to Support the Career Development of Researchers is an agreement between funders and employers of research staff to improve the employment and support for researchers and research careers in UK higher education. It sets out clear standards that research staff can expect from the institution that employs them, as well as their responsibilities as researchers.
Vitae leads on the management and implementation of the Concordat. The Concordat Strategy Group oversees strategy and implementation.
“Despite being a voluntary instrument, the Concordat is having a significant impact across the higher education sector. The intention to implement the principles of the Concordat is now widespread in institutions, and the corresponding infrastructure is increasingly in place.”
Three year review of the Implementation on the Concordat, 2012
UK institutions that have published Concordat implementation plans are able to apply for the European HR Excellence in Research Award. Vitae manages the UK process, which includes ongoing national evaluation and benchmarking.
Exeter was one of the first UK Universities to be awarded this prestigious award and which has been upheld following two additional institutional audits.
Research Services provide professional support for researchers in a number of areas including: funding support, bid development, networks and events, and more.
We also manage the University's research strategy - it is our job to help you make an impact.
Plus find out all you need to know about the research process on the Research Toolkit.
Research Services can be contacted here.
These specific links may also be of interest to you in building your research career and profile:
Below are some of the contributors to the Early Career Research staff development programmes at the University of Exeter;
Trevor Day (Reading-Writing-Results) - Trevor’s approach offers a unique blend of ingredients based on his 30 years’ experience as a writer, lecturer, researcher and trainer. He has worked with some of the biggest publishing names in Britain and the United States, including: The Discovery Channel, The Economist, Geographical magazine, The Guardian newspaper, Heinemann, The Natural History Museum (London), Oxford University Press, Palgrave Macmillan, Penguin, Random House and The Telegraph newspaper. Trevor runs our “Writing Successful Journal Articles” sessions.
Fistral Training - specialises in delivering to researchers with specialised courses designed for corporations, universities, spin-offs, consultants and Early Career Researchers. By focusing on a number of tried and trusted techniques, Fistral strip away a lot of the ‘white noise’ which surrounds projects, communication and project management in general, to get to the heart of the make or break issues. Fistral bring training that is tested and trusted real life and run our “Project Management in the Real World” sessions.