A small but enthusiastic chat took place on November 13th on the topic of Leadership and the ECR. After coming up with a very long wish list for what it meant to be a leader in academia, we thought about the qualities that our leadership models displayed, and what this meant about the variety of possible leadership styles. There was less clarity about how ECRs can / should move towards leadership roles in different disciplines, especially given the need to balance individual research with other activities at the crucial early career stage. It was generally agreed that we could benefit from a further #ECRchat with someone already in a leadership position, for example an AHRC Leadership Fellow. Most interesting of all, though, was the observation that – based on the low number of participants – ECRs seemed uncomfortable talking about the desire to lead in such a public forum: if we really are expected to display leadership at every stage of our career, this is surely something that we need to address.
#ECRchat on Leadership and the ECR was lead by Jess Goodman. A storify of the chat can be found here: https://storify.com/GoodmanJess/leadership-and-the-ecr
The next live #ECRchat is Thursday 13 November at 20:00-21:00 in the UK (GMT), 21:00-22:00 in Europe (CET), 15:00-16:00 in New York (EST), 12:00-13:00 in Vancouver (PST). This chat will be hosted by Jess Goodman, a Junior Research Fellow in French at Clare College, Cambridge. She can be found on Twitter @GoodmanJess, and you can learn more about her research here.
Leadership and the ECR
As a doctoral student, I undertook what I considered to be ‘leadership’ activities: organizing postgrad seminars and conferences, sitting on committees, and so on. Eighteen months out of my PhD, and now a ‘grown up’ researcher at Cambridge, I’m starting to take on similar tasks, but the stakes seem altogether higher: those with whom I’m interacting are senior academics, there’s not always a supervisor to turn to when I’m making a decision, and as leadership becomes yet another ‘desirable competency’, it seems we’re only expected to display more and more of it in order to secure that elusive permanent post.
I’m interested in thinking with fellow ECRs about what it means to be a leader in academia, how research leadership might differ from management or administrative leadership, how the ECR can negotiate the transition to a position of leadership, the pitfalls of working within multiple hierarchies, the extent to which these questions vary between disciplines, and the sort of guidance or training that is available on this issue.
I’d love to hear your thoughts and experiences on this and more – see you then!
ECR Network Live-Streamed Event: Towards Research Independence
Thursday 30 Oct, 6:00pm ACDT, Adelaide (convert your timezone)
Take the next step from being known as a great team member and start being known as an exciting new PI. How do you actually build your lab group and manage a larger research project? Find out when to know the right time to take that next step in your career and maintain that progress. Speakers Dr Paul Jackson (University of Adelaide) and Prof Pam Sykes (Flinders University) share their insights.
As with all 2014 ECR Network events, this event will also be livestreamed and will be discussed on twitter using #ECRChat.
ECR Network events are held at the Science Exchange, 55 Exchange Place, Adelaide, and are supported by University of South Australia, University of Adelaide and Flinders University.
As host of a recent live Twitter chat via #ECRchat on “How to Develop a Career Exit Strategy”, I challenged early-career researchers to think about the question, “What you would do if your research position would unexpectedly end in a few months?” In order to avoid panicking and taking the first position that comes your way, an exit career strategy can be deployed while refocusing efforts on your ultimate career goals.
A career exit strategy is defined as short-term career plan (one to two years) to maintain one’s professional life during a transition period. Most of the chat participants were interested in developing an exit strategy because their temporary research position was ending soon or their career goals were focused on academia where the number of open positions is limited.
We discussed a wide range of exit strategy options, including adjunct teaching, writing and consulting gigs. We further brainstormed on activities (e.g., taking online courses and volunteering) that could be done during transition periods to build skills and maintain a professional presence. Financial responsibility in keeping some savings tucked away as a buffer was also emphasized.
In the end, the take-home message was to always be prepared for a career transition, stay focused and keep moving forward. A summary of the Twitter chat can found in the Storify “How to Develop a Career Exit Strategy”. Feel free to reach out to me on Twitter (@science_mentor) or contact me if you are interested in further chatting about this topic.
These events are brought to you by RiAus (@RiAus) an Adelaide-based series of ECR-specific events, covering professional development and career topics specifically for early career researchers.
The first set of videos are from the ECR Network’s Grant Writing Workshop and are well worth a watch for all budding granting writing stars!
ECR Network Grant Writing Workshop Part 1: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zG6RwGAvvbQ
ECR Network Grant Writing Workshop Part 2: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i6UopHi2Y8k
ECR Network Grant Writing Workshop Part 3: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y5p22rDRMY0
The final video comes from the ECR Network event on Understanding The Political Framework For Research
You can find out more about these and other ECR Network events on their webpage, including how to attend the events in person (if you are lucky enough to be within travelling distance of Adelaide).
The next ECR Network event will be held on 30th October on research independence. Tickets are still available, or catch the live stream on Twitter at #ECRchat