Professor Vanora Hundley is Deputy Dean for Research and Professional Practice in the Faculty of Health and Social Sciences (HSS). As Professor of Midwifery and an experienced midwifery researcher, Vanora has led a range of studies in the reproductive health field both in the UK and internationally. In this blog post, Vanora discusses the support available in FHSS to support mentoring.
In HSS we have introduce a number of strategies to offer greater opportunities and promote a positive research culture for all. These have included an open culture of sharing and support, mentoring and career sessions, academic mentors, targeted research bidding and writing support, and a review of funding, such as QR, to ensure equitable support particularly to early career researchers.
For example: The Department of Rehabilitation and Sport Sciences have looked at ways to encourage research mentorship that is inclusive and productive. Two years ago, we asked senior staff to include ECRs in their PhD supervision teams where possible. This provided a number of new supervisors who joined supervision teams to gain experience. Last year we asked colleagues to join with mentors or invite mentors into writing groups and this resulted in a few papers. This year with the aid of QR funding we have asked ECRs to put a bid together and work with a mentor when applying for QR research funding. All three applications were of good quality, well considered and awardable.
Finding the time in busy diaries is always a challenges. Departments have introduced drop-in lunch sessions (rapid 30 minute discussions) and research is discussed at each department meeting. Each member of academic staff has a research mentor who can sign post them to appropriate opportunities and provide support to achieve their research goals.