Information for Supervisors and PIs
An Australian study by Scaffidi and Berman (2011) examined the variables that impact the post-doctoral experience or research productivity to determine whether the quality of supervision, career mentoring, collaboration, networking and a nurturing research environment made positive differences in the experiences and productivity of postdoctoral researchers. They confirmed that job insecurity and a lack of career structure continue to be ongoing concerns for postdocs but they also made a clear link between the quality of supervision and a positive postdoc experience, particularly when supervisors take responsibility for the postdocs’ future career.
As a Principal Investigator, not only do you have responsibility for running a project and answering to your funders and other key stakeholders but you may also now be responsible for the management of people. As such, you have a duty of care to ensure that the researchers you manage have a positive experience here at UL. This will not only increase your project output but enhances their career destinations also.
The UL Researcher Development Programme gives your postdoctoral researchers an opportunity to enhance their skills in key areas identified by Vitae as essential in building excellence within the research community. These form the Vitae Researcher Development Framework (RDF). The framework is structured into four domains covering the knowledge, behaviours and attributes of researchers. It sets out the wide-ranging knowledge, intellectual abilities, techniques and professional standards expected to do research, as well as the personal qualities, knowledge and skills to work with others and ensure the wider impact of research. These are:
Domain A: Knowledge and intellectual abilities. The knowledge, intellectual abilities and techniques to do research
Domain B: Personal effectiveness. The personal qualities and approach to be an effective researcher
Domain C: Research governance and organization. Knowledge of the professional standards and requirements to do research
Domain D: Engagement, influence and impact. The knowledge and skills to work with others to ensure the wider impact of research
The UL Researcher Development Programme consists of a suite or training programmes and ‘lunch and learn’ sessions where researchers can learn the skills that they need to excel on your projects and enable them to forge their own successful careers. There are 3 parts to the programme:
- Participants complete the Career Planner including a skills assessment where they look at their strengths and weaknesses as a researcher.
- They then choose 10 training sessions (1 credit per session). Most of these have a duration of half a day. They also attend any of the ‘lunch and learn sessions’ (3 sessions equals 1 credit)
- While on programme they complete an e-portfolio which is a live document on the training they have attended and the impact it has had both on them personally and on their work as a researcher.
Once all of the above are complete, they submit their portfolio to HR for review. Successful candidates will receive a digital badge which outlines all of the training received. While we give a guideline of 18 months to complete the programme, this can be done in less or more time depending on contract length.
Benefits of the programme for PIs
Not only does the programme have direct benefits for the researchers, but it can also have a positive impact on PIs and their projects. As researchers learn management and leadership skills, they become more independent and resilient and are able to take on greater responsibilities. Sessions such as Grant Writing and Project Management can increase their output on projects, while others such as Presentation Skills and Communicating with Impact enhance their networking and collaboration skills, which raises the reputation both of your research group as well as the university.
If you have any questions about the programme or would like to know more about training for PIs who have moved into a people management role, please email firstname.lastname@example.org
Links to the Programme Documentation