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Recap: #ECRchat 17th April 2014 on Moving towards independence

The topic of this discussion was Moving towards independence as an ECR, led by Dr Katie Wheat, Project Manager in Researcher Development at Vitae.

This week, ‘moving towards independence’ was a runaway winner in our poll for topics. We considered the European Commission’s description of an established researcher and how suitable this might be across different disciplines

An established Researcher (R3) has developed a level of independence and, in addition to the characteristics assigned to the profile of a recognized researcher:

“Has an established reputation based on research excellence in his field. Makes a positive contribution to the development of knowledge, research and development through co-operations and collaborations. Identifies research problems and opportunities within his area of expertise Identifies appropriate research methodologies and approaches. Conducts research independently which advances a research agenda. Can take the lead in executing collaborative research projects in cooperation with colleagues and project partners. Publishes papers as lead author, organizes workshops or conference sessions.”

We then discussed how to make progress towards becoming an independent established researcher, using the following questions to structure the chat:

Q1. Where are you on the path to independence?

Q2. What steps can you take (or have you thought about) that will demonstrate your capability for working independently?

Q3. (a) How do you maintain resilience and enthusiasm in the face of rejection?

Q3. (b) Do you allow yourself some grieving/moping time when you get knocked back? DO you have a routine for picking yourself up?

Q4. (a) Do you have a strategy

Q4. (b) What new actions you will you be adding to your strategy?

There were lots of other tips and side discussions that you can read in this Storify of the chat, including the tips captured in this graphic

The next chat is on Thursday 1st May, UK/US timezones, hosted by Claire (@bookworm_29). Hosts and topic suggestions always welcome!



Postdoc in psychology and cognitive neuroscience, researching visual word recognition. Likes MEG, TMS, fMRI, reading, waffles, and motorbiking.

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