Tagged / Career Development

ECR Network Surgery session

You are cordially invited to this open session which is aimed at all BU ECRs and PGRs. Come along and discuss any issues around career development, or the ECR experience with the peer network. Share your thoughs and receive advice and guidance from the network’s academic leads.

Wednesday 10th January 2024, 13:00 – 14:00 

This hybrid session will be held at Talbot Campus & via MS Teams

To book onto this session, please complete the Booking Form. under ECRN: Surgeries – 10/01/2024 in the drop-down menu.

For any queries regarding this workshop, please contact RKE Dev Framework

BU retains Vitae HR Excellence in Research Award for tenth year

We are delighted to announce that we have successfully retained the HR Excellence in Research Award for a tenth year.

HR excellence in research logoThe award demonstrates BU’s commitment to aligning process and practice to the UK Concordat to Support the Career Development of Researchers and thereby improving the working conditions and career development for research staff.

It is awarded by Vitae, a global leader in supporting the professional development of researchers, and was retained following an external review.

As part of the review process, institutions need to demonstrate that they have completed a gap analysis of their existing policies and practice against the Concordat, developed a robust action plan for implementation, and taken into account the views of researchers.

Key achievements highlighted in our ten-year submission include providing Bridging Funding to enable research staff on fixed term contracts to remain in post while awaiting the outcome of future funding applications, and creating 12 new research posts within high-performing academic teams as part of the Research Capacity Transformation Scheme.

Research staff at BU can also participate in a range of training and development opportunities through the Research and Knowledge Exchange Development Framework (RKEDF) and can access support through networks including the Early Career Researcher (ECR) Network and the Research Staff Association (RSA).

BU is one of three institutions to retain the award after their 10-year review and one of 87 Vitae UK member institutions with the award.

Professor Mike Silk, Co-Chair of the Research Concordat Steering Group (RCSG) at BU, said:

“We are absolutely delighted to have retained the HR Excellence in Research Award following our 10-year review. The award demonstrates our long-term commitment to supporting the career development of our research staff, developing policies to support researcher development, and providing space to empower our research staff to impact their careers.

“Our research staff are integral to the success of Bournemouth University and I’m particularly pleased with how well the RCSG have worked collaboratively this last couple of years to ensure the voices of our research staff have been at the very centre of our progress towards the award.”

He added: “The award not only recognises the progress we have made to date, but provides the impetus for further development in three key areas: our environment and culture, employment conditions, and professional and career development for research staff.

“Our forward-looking action plan will be demanding, but progressing our key actions will ensure we further embed the principles of the research concordat into our processes, procedures, strategic goals and research culture at BU.”

Find out more about BU’s commitment to the UK Concordat to Support the Career Development of Researchers

BU retains the HR Excellence in Research Award

We are delighted to announce that we have successfully retained the HR Excellence in Research Award, recognising our support for the career development of researchers.

HR excellence in research logoThe award demonstrates our commitment to aligning process and practice to the UK Concordat to Support the Career Development of Researchers and thereby improving the working conditions and career development for research staff. In turn this will improve the quantity, quality and impact of research.

We have held the HR Excellence in Research Award since 2013 and successfully retained the award following a rigorous external review.

Dr Rebecca Edwards, Senior Research Development and Support Manager and Co-Chair of the Research Concordat Steering Group, said: “I am delighted that BU has retained this prestigious award, which recognises the achievements of the cross-University team comprising colleagues in HR, OD, RDS, academics across all Faculties and our amazing Research Staff Association.”

BU is one of two universities to retain the award following their eight-year review and is one of 96 Vitae UK member institutions with the award.

As part of the review process, institutions need to demonstrate that they have completed a gap analysis of their existing policies and practice against the Concordat, developed a robust action plan for implementation, and taken into account the views of researchers.

Key achievements and progress highlighted in BU’s eight-year review submission include:

  • Dedicated support and development opportunities for research staff and Early Career Researchers (ECRs), such as through the Research & Knowledge Exchange Development Framework (RKEDF) which offers upwards of 100 training and development events per year
  • Investment in the Academic Targeted Research Scheme to recruit talented early career researchers in targeted research areas, with dedicated time to develop their research interests
  • The availability of bridging funding to provide continuous employment for research staff for short periods between externally funded contracts

We have also committed to investing in the creation of fifteen new post-doctoral researcher fellow positions through the Research Capacity Transformation Scheme.

A new action plan, taking us to 2023, has now been developed – driven by our community of researchers.

The plan focuses on supporting research careers through appropriate management, appraisal and development opportunities.

This includes the creation of a virtual hub with the full programme of opportunities available to research staff; a new career development framework; and for all researchers to receive annual appraisals, regular performance reviews, careers guidance and development opportunities.

Professor Mike Silk, Deputy Dean for Research and Professional Practice in the Business School and Co-Chair of the Research Concordat Steering Group, said: “At BU, we are committed to nurturing the supportive and healthy culture required to ensure all of our research staff have the opportunity to grow, develop and thrive.

“Working with the Research Staff Association, individual researchers and those who have responsibility for managing researchers, the Research Concordat Steering Group aims to ensure all researchers have the opportunity to realise their potential, deliver high quality outcomes whilst at BU, and be equipped with multiple skill-sets that will enable success in future careers.

“The award recognises the steps we have made at BU to create the very best culture and environment possible for our researchers to thrive.”

Find out more about our commitment to the Concordat to Support the Career Development of Researchers 

Come to the career planning for research staff event (led by Vitae)

Vitae will be visiting BU on Friday 27th April to lead an event on career planning for research staff. The event is open to everyone and is primarily aimed at research staff, managers of research staff and also those in, or aspiring to, research leadership positions.

The event will start with lunch. Dr Kate Jones (Vitae) will then deliver a keynote presentation, followed by breakout sessions. One of the breakout sessions will be a transferable skills workshop led by Dr Emma Compton-Daw (University of Strathclyde and member of UKRSA), focusing on planning for an academic career. Dr Kate Jones will lead a breakout session on supporting career planning and providing advice on different career paths, aimed at research leaders/managers. Dr Michelle Heward (BU) will lead a session on how BU could provide better career planning advice to research staff on an on-going basis.

Full details, including how to register, are available on the Staff Intranet here: https://staffintranet.bournemouth.ac.uk/workingatbu/staffdevelopmentandengagement/fusiondevelopment/fusionprogrammesandevents/rkedevelopmentframework/skillsdevelopment/careerplanningforresearchstaff/.

I hope many of you will be able to participate in the event which has been organised in response to feedback from research staff (via focus groups and the CROS survey) that BU should  provide better information on career planning for research staff. This event is part of a programme of work as part of BU’s implementation of the Concordat to Support the Career Development of Research Staff.

The Research and Knowledge Exchange Development Framework is changing!

To enhance the researcher development workshops available to BU’s academics, the Research and Knowledge Exchange Office is making some changes to the Research and Knowledge Exchange Development Framework (RKEDF), in consultation with senior faculty staff.

BU academics wishing to find out more about these exciting developments should refer to their internal Faculty Blogs for more details.

Make sure that you don’t miss out on these career-enhancing opportunities!

What is BU doing to support research staff?

EC HR Excellence in Research Award logoIn January 2013 BU was awarded the HR Excellence in Research Award from the European Commission in acknowledgement of our progress to date and commitment to further improving alignment between BU policy and practice and the national Concordat to Support the Career Development of Researchers. As the number of research staff employed at BU continues to grow, the embedding of the principles of the Concordat becomes even more important.

As part of the award, BU has an externally approved action plan to strengthen support for research staff and their managers. The action plan is reviewed regularly by the Research Concordat Steering Group.

Achievements to date include:

Giving research staff a valued voice:

  • The BU Research Staff Association (RSA) was launched in autumn 2014 to provide research staff with a forum to discuss issues linked to the implementation of the Concordat. The RSA chairs (Marcellus Mbah and Michelle Heward) are planning wider engagement activities for 2015-16, including establishing the RSA as an informal network to share learning/experiences as well as developing a seminar series for BU researchers to showcase their work.
  • The formal membership of URKEC, which reports into Senate, has included a research staff representative as an established member since January 2013. From autumn 2015 the Faculty RKE Committees have included the local implementation of the Concordat in their remit and a research staff representative as an established member.
  • Research staff are increasingly provided with opportunities for undertaking public engagement activities. For example, the lightning talks event at the Festival of Learning 2015 featured presentations from eight research staff and one PGR to c. 25 attendees (average event score of 8.3/10, with 10 being excellent). The concept has now been developed for BU staff and students with one event taking place each term. The format is being developed for the FoL 2016 and other public engagement events.
  • BU took part in the national Careers in Research Online Survey (CROS) and Principal Investigators and Research Leaders Survey (PIRLS) in 2013 and again in 2015. The results have been shared with RCSG, URKEC, DDESG, Faculty RKE Committees, etc.


concordat to support the career development of researchersProviding research staff with greater job stability:

  • The BU Bridging Fund Scheme was launched in August 2015. It permits the temporary employment, in certain circumstances, of researchers between fixed-term contracts at BU for whom no other source of funding is yet available.
  • The mandatory recruitment and selection training has been updated to include reference to giving due consideration to the wider skill set of researchers including transferable skills and attributes. The aim is to ensure that researchers are given the best opportunity to advance their career.


Improvements to the procedures and support for research staff:

  • Induction processes and resources have been significantly improved. The ‘New to BU’ webpages now include a specific section on support available to researchers. The Academic Career Development Programme now identifies three induction events for new staff, including the RKE Induction to which all new academic and research staff are invited. All new research staff and their managers receive information about the Concordat, RSA, etc. soon after joining BU.

Black British Academics Career Development Programme

DGabrielBU Academic, Deborah Gabriel, created Black British Academics in 2013.  Find out below what they offer to academics across the higher education sector.

“At Black British Academics we take a proactive approach to race equality both through the provision of specialised services to HEIs and through dedicated networks that provide support to members. In terms of career progression, we recognise that tackling institutional barriers should be a priority and therefore we are working both through our institutional (E&D members) and through the provision of consultancy services to develop a range of measures that includes the development of a culturally democratic leadership programme for senior university staff targeted at VCs/PVCs, HODs, deans, associate deans and other senior operational staff.

However, within our academic community there is a wealth of knowledge, skills and expertise among senior staff who have developed strategies to successfully navigate raced and gendered spaces and who possess invaluable experiential knowledge that represents our collective social aBBAnd cultural capital. Our Academic Career Development Programme focuses on the four key areas of academic practice: Education, Research, Professional Practice and Enterprise and offers both online and offline resources including  podcasts, videos, e-guides, workshops and symposiums and promotes networking and inter-disciplinary collaboration on projects across the key areas of practice.”

AHRC – Do you have strong opinions on research career development issues?

ahrcThe AHRC is seeking people that are interested in research careers and training in the arts and humanities, to replace several members on the Research Careers and Training Advisory Group (RCTAG). Potential candidates should have an active interest in research career development issues, relating to both careers in academia and in wider sectors.

AHRC are looking to recruit:

  • an academic from the arts and humanities
  • an arts or humanities doctoral student, who can be at any stage in their research and who does not have to be AHRC-funded. This is a good development opportunity and will allow them to gain new insights into policy and strategy in support of research career development
  • an early career post-PhD researcher in the arts and humanities who has not yet obtained a permanent academic post. They are particularly keen to hear from post-PhD researchers who are pursuing personal research with a view to a career in academia, while undertaking fixed-term HE employment as a teacher, research assistant, administrator, or any combination of these roles
  • a representative from the non-academic sector – applications are welcome from any sector with an interest in, and engagement with, research in the arts and humanities

In determining membership of the Group, the AHRC will ensure that a range of institutions and subjects is covered, though it does not expect individual members to represent their institution or subject.

About the Research Careers and Training Advisory Group (RCTAG)

The AHRC’s RCTAG was established in January 2013 and provides advice on postgraduate support and career development for researchers, and on future strategy in these areas.

The Terms of Reference for the Group are as follows:

  1. To provide advice to the AHRC on postgraduate and researcher development matters – including both advising on the AHRC’s longer-term strategy in this area, as well as alerting the AHRC to issues and developments in the university sector
  2. To advise the AHRC on skills-development needs in discipline areas both within and outside academia. For example, health of discipline concerns and ways in which these might be addressed
  3. To provide advice on existing or developing schemes, as required, as they evolve to meet emerging needs

The Group reports to the AHRC’s Advisory Board. Its advice forms the basis of policy development within the AHRC. Membership of the Group is for an initial period of two years, and will commence from 1 January 2016. The Group normally meets three times a year (twice as a Group and an annual meeting with the Network). Members are also consulted on issues outside of the formal meetings.


To be considered for membership of RCTAG, please complete the online form here: www.smartsurvey.co.uk/s/RCTAG_2015/, also uploading a CV (maximum two-sides), and submit these by Friday 6 November 2015. A CV exceeding the page length will render the application ineligible.

Applications will be considered on the basis of the case that applicants have made for their potential contribution to the group and how well this is supported by the applicant’s experience in this area. In reaching a decision on the composition of the Group, the AHRC will consider not only the individual strengths of applicants, but also the balance of expertise and equality of representation, including regional coverage.

All applicants must have an interest in, understanding of, and engagement with researcher development issues at the postgraduate and/or postdoctoral level and beyond. There are a variety of ways in which this can be demonstrated, which will depend on the capacity in which applicants are proposing to join the Group.

The AHRC will be looking for some evidence of engagement with these issues, whether this is through a formal or professional role at an institution, or through membership of a body concerned with researcher development matters. They do not wish to be prescriptive about the type of activities that applicants might include as they are open to a variety of experience that might demonstrate an active interest and engagement with researcher development.

Newton Fund seeks Peer Review Panel Members

newton fundThe Newton Fund is actively inviting expressions of interest from senior and early career researchers to expand their pool of panel members for the Newton Fund initiative and, potentially, other British Council programmes.

Looking at the specialisms below, BU has significant expertise in many of these areas.

They are looking for early career researchers who would like to broaden their experience of peer review as a career development opportunity, and for senior researchers who are willing to share and use their experience to support the review panels. Please note that we can only consider researchers based at UK institutions.

By getting involved in funding panels, you will gain invaluable insights into how a funder functions, how they assess applications, build your network, raise your profile in your field and, potentially, give you the opportunity to influence future funding decisions.

For this particular invitation:

Eligibility  Senior and early-career researchers. Early-career researcher is defined as being aCollaborative Decision Making PhD holder + up to 10 years. For fields where a PhD is not a usual career requirement, sufficient research experience will be accepted.

Researchers with the following specialisms are eligible to apply:

  • Biological and Medical Sciences
  • Environment and Agriculture
  • Arts and Humanities
  • Social Sciences
  • Engineering and Physical Sciences

In particular, the Newton Fund would like to hear from researchers who have the following subject specialisms:

  • Human rights
  • Forensic anthropology
  • Marine biology/Oceanography
  • Aquaculture
  • Public health/Nutrition
  • Food science
  • Microbiology
  • Earth Sciences

Find out more and apply!

BU successful in retaining EC HR Excellence in Research Award!

Good news – BU has been successful in retaining the European Commission HR Excellence in Research Award and is now one of 72 universities in the UK who have successfully passed their two-year review.

The Award demonstrates BU’s commitment to aligning process and practice to the UK Concordat to Support the Career Development of Researchers and therefore improving the working conditions and career development for research staff. In turn this will improve the quantity, quality and impact of research for the benefit of UK society and the economy. The two year review required BU to highlight the key achievements and progress we have made since we gained the Award in January 2013 and to outline the focus of our strategy, success measures and next steps for the following two years.

Key achievements made at BU since 2013 in support of this agenda include:

You can read our progress review and future action plan (2015-17) in full here: https://research.bournemouth.ac.uk/research-environment/research-concordat/

Since 2012 the EC have been exploring a ‘stronger’ implementation approach, including the potential for using quality standards and/or a more formal certification/accreditation process for HR management of researchers across Europe. Recently a new expert group has been appointed to further discussions and Vitae’s recent event, on 23 January, enabled Award holders to provide input into the current five-step process and moving towards a ‘quality assessment’. Detail and outcomes from the event can be found here.

Read the full announcement on the Vitae website here: https://www.vitae.ac.uk/news/72-uk-institutions-have-the-european-commission2019s-hr-excellence-in-research-award

Europe needs Post-Docs!

You can apply to the Call for Expressions of Interest  if you are from the EU Member States and from Associated Countries: Albania, Bosnia & Herzegovina, Faeroe Islands, Iceland, Israel, Liechtenstein, Montenegro, Norway, Republic of Moldova, Switzerland, the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Serbia and Turkey.

You will also need to meet the following educational requirements:

A level of education corresponding to completed university studies of at least three (3) years attested by a diploma and

  1. at least five (5) years of professional experience in one of the fields listed below:
    – OR –
  2. a doctoral diploma in one of the fields listed below (see sections II and VI of the call):

Biology, Chemistry, Natural Sciences, Life Sciences, Biochemistry, Oceanography / Marine Sciences, Nanotechnology, Nanobiotechnology, Veterinary, Engineering, Mathematics, Physics, Computer Sciences, Statistics, Material Sciences, Economics, Political Sciences, Social Sciences, Educational Sciences, Psychology , Geography, Environmental Sciences, Agricultural Sciences, Agricultural Engineering, Meteorology, Ecology, Forestry, Geology, Hydrological Sciences, Medical Sciences, Pharmacy, Nutritional Sciences

If this does not apply to you but you have a colleague who would benefit from this opportunity, please pass this information on to them.

New Year’s Research Resolution #3 – plan your research strategy

Happy New Year to you all and welcome back to work! Each day this week we’ll be posting a New Year’s Research Resolution to help you get back into the swing of things. Today’s resolution is to forward plan your research strategy.

WHY? – To ensure your time and efforts are utilised in the most effective and advantageous way then you should have an up to date research strategy. This should set out a plan of how you want your research to develop, what your goals are for the next year, three years, five years, fifteen years, etc., and the steps you need to take to get there. It should cover funding (internal and external), publishing and other activities, such as public engagement, that will support you to develop your career over the years.

HOW? The steps below will take you at least a couple of hours to work through and could take significantly longer. Working through them, however, will pay dividends as a plan will give structure and objectives for your short- and long-term research career development.

Ensure you are aware of the support available to you and the research strategy of your Faculty. Check out stage 1 of BU’s research lifecycleYour Research Strategy. This outlines the support and resources available to you when designing your research strategy, including support from RKEO, horizon scanning for future funding calls and policy news/issues, and support from the academic development schemes that BU offers. It also provides links to the most recent versions of the Faculty strategies.


Start to write your plan. Start by asking yourself what your ultimate goals are. These could be:

– to be the lead partner for a collaborative EU project

– to establish and lead a research centre or institute

– to publish an article in a leading journal

– to be a keynote speaker at a leading international conference

– for your research to result in a change to a national policy

– for your research to result in a significant benefit in the local community

– to land a senior academic position at a leading university in another country

Once you have these listed then put realistic dates against when you wish to achieve these.


Then work backwards and identify the steps you need to get there, setting yourself targets to achieve each task.

For example, if your goal is to lead a collaborative EU project then you will need to: ensure you are fully conversant with Horizon 2020 and EU strategy, join/establish a network (ideally to join one that has already had some EU success), apply for some internal funding (via the Fusion Investment Fund or the URA Programme) to undertake some pilot research, apply for small research grants (these help you to gather data and build a track record), engage with business/industry to undertake contract research, KTPs, consultancy, etc (this helps you to build your profile, make connections, build you track record, develop real-world case studies to support your teaching), publish your work in highly ranked journals and ensure your work is freely available (open access publication fund and via BURO), use your network to bid for EU funding with you as a work package leader, apply for a research fellowship, undertake some public engagement work, etc.


Set yourself success measures where appropriate and add in specifics. For example, if one of your interim goals is to publish in a journal then identify two or three journals highly ranked journals (such as Q1 journals on Web of Science or Scopus) that closely align to your research field and make your interim goal to specifically publish in one of these journals.



Review the interim tasks and think about the support you need to achieve these. Would additional support help you to achieve these goals? Maybe an industry-based mentor would help? Add these to your plan.



Share your plan (or at least parts of it) with those who can support you in making it a reality. For example, share your long-term bidding plan with the Research Facilitators in RKEO who can help you with horizon scanning, identifying potential funders and calls, shaping ideas, etc. Share the highlights of the plan with your line manager and Deputy Dean Research who can help you with time, support and resources.



Once you have finalised your plan then try not to be diverted from it and regularly check progress against your goals.





Sources of further information include:

Elsevier’s Charting a course for a successful research career

Strategic approaches to getting your work published

Academic career pathway diagram

The perfect academic career path (includes an excellent career path diagram from the ESRC)

Winning grant funding and writing papers for publication

MS Society looking for members to join their Grant Review Panels

The MS Society is looking for members to join their Grant Review Panels. For the Grant Review Panel for Care and Services Research they are also recruiting a new Chair.

The closing date for expressions of interest is 12 noon on Thursday 11 December. Please email research@mssociety.org.uk  with your CV and a brief cover letter outlining your experience and how that will positively contribute to the work of the grant review panels.


Areas of Expertise Required

Members of the Panels would normally serve for a period of three years. They are looking for people from a variety of backgrounds, covering research, health and social care expertise.

If you possess the necessary skills, knowledge, experience and motivation to help ensure the MS Society funds high quality, relevant research then contact them ASAP. This is also a great development opportunity for you, as knowing how a review panel works can inform how you write and present bids.

For the GRP1 panel, they are encouraging applications from those with an expertise in the following areas:

–       Immunology

–       Stem Cells

–       Animal Models

–       Genetics

 For the GRP2 panel, they are encouraging applications from those with an expertise in the following areas:

–       Psychology

–       Statistics

–       Health economics

About the grant review panels

MS research work is driven by a strategy agreed with the Board of Trustees and which reflects the perspectives of the whole MS community – people affected by MS, clinicians, research scientists and others.

To help guide their research work they work with the advice and support of a Research Strategy Committee (RSC) and two Grant Review Panels (GRP). The RSC looks at the strategic picture, providing advice on broad areas of research, setting priorities and scrutinizing the larger, ongoing research programmes. The RSC does not decide which specific projects we should or should not fund. That more detailed work is carried out by our Grant Review Panels, one for Biomedical Research (GRP1) and one for Care and Services Research (GRP2).

An Introduction to the BRAD Framework and Development Sessions

Calling all BU Researcher Staff,

We invite you to: An Introduction to the BRAD Framework and Development Sessions– Wednesday the 18th of September 2-3.30pm (location to be confirmed).

The University has created Bournemouth Researcher/Academic Development-BRAD. BRAD is a tailor designed research development framework with supporting development sessions, for BU’s Research/Academic staff. The aims and objectives of BRAD are aligned to the Universities Strategic Plan 2012-2018, our Visions & Values-BU 2018, and Vitae’s researcher development framework. BU is providing professional and personal development sessions and online courses throughout the next academic year 2013-2014, which are all free to attend. The development sessions will cover a range of topics, from statistics, NVivo, personal effectiveness, research management and publishing in journals and books.


Please email Bridie at: bapplebygunnill@bournemouth.ac.uk to confirm your attendance to the Introduction to BRAD Session

MRC Call for Career Development Award

The MRC career development award provides up to five years’ support for outstanding post-doctoral researchers who wish to consolidate their research skills and make the transition from post-doctoral research trainee to independent investigator. Applicants are expected to take advantage of the full five years’ funding available. It includes an option of 12 months research training outside the UK, in UK industry, or at another UK research centre, to enable fellows to acquire new transferable techniques and skills. The scheme also provides a jointly funded postdoctoral award in partnership with the Multiple Sclerosis Society.

Who can apply?

Applicants should have a PhD or DPhil and have at least three to six years’ post-doctoral experience at the time of application deadline. Applications from existing MRC research fellows and post-doctoral researchers returning from overseas are particularly welcome. Applicants who hold a research-oriented MSc degree and have undertaken at least four years’ appropriate postgraduate research work – such as in medical statistics – may be considered.

Medically and other clinically qualified professionals who are clinically active should consider MRC’s Clinical Fellowships or Population Health Scientist Fellowship schemes.

As with all MRC fellowships, these awards are not available to individuals who hold a tenured academic position at the time of application. If you hold a tenured position, you may apply for funding under one of the MRC’s grant schemes.

There are no residence eligibility restrictions for this fellowship. As part of the MRC’s equal opportunities policy, consideration will be given to applicants who are returning to science following a career break. There are no age limits for any of our schemes and all fellowships may be held part-time to fit in with domestic responsibilities.


Scientific Remit

Proposals are encouraged across all areas of the MRC’s remit. Applications may range from basic studies with relevance to mechanisms of disease, to translational and clinical research.

Funding provided

The fellowship provides a competitive salary, research support staff, research consumables expenses, travel costs and capital equipment appropriate for the research project under full economic costs. The award also provides funding for research training outside the UK. Higher requests for resources must be justified in terms of delivering the objectives of the research proposal.

Tenure of award

An MRC career development award may be awarded for up to five years. Applicants are expected to take advantage of the full five years funding available. Part-time fellowships for individuals who wish to combine research with domestic responsibilities may apply for a period of up to 5 years pro-rata.


The MRC and Multiple Sclerosis Society training fellowship

Applications are invited for this joint award from non-clinical researchers who also wish to undertake research into understanding and treating multiple sclerosis.

Clinical researchers may apply for this joint funding scheme through the MRC clinical research training fellowship.


Deadlines and submission details

This fellowship competition is held twice a year, however applicants may only apply to one CDA competition in any 12 month period. There is no need to submit an outline application.

Please apply for the Career Development Award using the RCUK Je-S application system.

Please see the schedule and deadlines for fellowships for closing dates.

Your proposal must be submitted through the MRC Je-S system by 4pm on the relevant closing date.

Closing date: 10 October 2012

Short listing: February 2013

Interviews: 20 -21 March 2013

Take up dates: April – September 2013 


Other work responsibilities

MRC career development fellows and research support staff funded through full-time fellowships may spend up to six hours a week teaching, demonstrating or supervising research staff not funded by the fellowship. Payment for such work may be retained in full if this is the host institution’s normal policy.


Applications for further support

Existing fellows who wish to continue developing their research careers, and who do not have an established position, would be eligible to compete for an MRC senior non-clinical fellowship.

Other grant support

Career development award holders are encouraged to apply as a principle investigator or co-investigator for grant support via an MRC research grant or collaboration grant, or grants from other funding organisations, subject to written approval from the MRC fellowship section. Fellows seeking this further support should ensure that the additional work can be carried out within the six hours per week allowed for other duties as stipulated under other work responsibilities and in the fellowship terms and conditions (part FA19). In certain cases consideration will be given to allowing the fellow to apply for grant funding which exceeds these limits.

Guidance for applicants

For further information please refer to MRC’s contacts page.

 The RKE Operations team can help you with your application.

Critical thinking and professional judgement for social work

Professional judgement, communication and critical reflection are vital aspects of a social worker’s role and a new book, ‘Critical thinking and professional judgement for social work’, aims to empower post-qualifying students to develop these skills.

The front cover of 'Critical Thinking and Professional Judgement for Social Work'Author Lynne Rutter from the Centre for Post Qualifying Social Work at Bournemouth University explains more about professional learning, a new way of thinking and her own research.

“I am intrigued by the psychology associated with learning. It is obviously an emotional and very personal experience, especially for qualified practitioners, but it should also be an empowering experience.

“For me, professional higher education is about developing more complex thinking which has practical, reflective, personal, moral, as well as objective, conceptual and theoretical aspects. All these aspects are part of professional reasoning and judgement and ultimately professional understanding and knowledge, and so are equally important.

“My journey has led me to understand that there is a productive and empowering synergy here if no one aspect is privileged over the others and if a professional perspective becomes a focus. These were very important elements within the professional doctorate which made it very meaningful and useful for my own practice. The book brings much of this work together and aims to highlight and develop the complex thinking associated with professional learning as a key part of developing confidence and authority in a professional role.”

Order a copy of ‘Critical thinking and professional judgement for social work’.

Vitae and the Researcher Development Framework

Vitae is an organisation set up to promote career development in both postgraduate researchers and academic staff.  They have recently launched the Researcher Development Framework which is intended to help people monitor their skills and plan their personal development.  At BU we will be using this framework to format the training on offer for the postgraduate research students and academic staff.

The Vitae website is an excellent resource and the organisation regularly runs free training events specifically aimed at PGRs.  Upcoming events include Effective Researcher – The end is in sight aimed at students close to the completion of their PhD.

The Researcher Development Framework (RDF) is the professional development framework to realise the potential of researchers.  The RDF is a tool for planning, promoting and supporting the personal, professional and career development of researchers in higher education.  It was designed following interviews with many successful researchers across the sector and articulates the knowledge, behaviours and attributes of a successful researcher. 

There is a planner available on the Vitae website to help you assess which stage you are at with your skills and a tutorial providing guidance on how to use the framework.

Top 10 tips from researchers on using the Researcher Development Framework (RDF):

1. You might choose to use the RDF for short term as well as long term development. The RDF can be used in planning for your long term career ambitions but also to make a feasible short term plan. It can be useful to imagine your long term ambitions in order to focus your career path however the reality of progressing through to the higher phases may be more difficult to plan. In the short term, making decisions about how to progress to the next phase or what sub-domains are most important for you will be easier. Try to be realistic when setting these short term goals.

2. Use the RDF to highlight your strengths and areas for development and how these might be used to benefit/influence your personal, professional and career development.

3. Use the RDF to highlight your applicable and transferable skills. This is important for career progression within or outside academia.

4. Prioritise those areas which are most relevant. You don’t have to try to develop in all the areas of the RDF at once. There may be some sub-domains/descriptors where there is less relevance in progressing through the phases for you.

5. Draw on experiences outside of work to evidence your capabilities.

6. Progression to the highest phase in a descriptor will not be applicable to everyone but being aware of the possibilities can aid personal and career development.

7. Talk to others to get their views about your strengths and capabilities. Your supervisor, manager, peers, family and friends are a great source of information to find out more about yourself. Talk to them about how they perceive your capabilities. By understanding how others view you, you will be able to make more informed choices about your future.

8. To move from one phase to the next why not explore attending courses. These courses may be run at a local level (within your University) or may only be run nationally or internationally so awareness of opportunities for training is important. Vitae also run a wide range of courses which address many aspects of personal and career development.

9. Some phases may only be reached through experience and practice however good self-awareness and professional development planning will aid the process.

10. Networking is likely to enable you to reach more experienced phases.