Developing the future postgraduate researcher

A neon sign spelling out the words The Future

image credit: future neon by Flickr user Russell Davies [CC BY-NC 2.0]

I’ve been asked to come along to a Research Supervisors’ Symposium being held at the University of Gloucestershire to talk about some of the challenges facing supervisors in developing the contemporary researcher. I’ve entitled my presentation “developing the postgraduate researcher of the future” and the slide deck I will be using is included here.

In this presentation I will be covering a few things, some of which I have been talking about most recently at the Vitae conference.

  1. How the focus has changed from being solely about developing the research to a balance of developing the individual.
  2. I’ve included some facts about the variety of career destinations for doctoral graduates, the majority of whom do not remain in academia which brings us back to the question of “What is a doctorate for?”
  3. Also included is some work from Rachael Pitt and Inger Mewburn about the competences (as mapped to the Vitae RDF) that are being sought in job descriptions for junior academic staff. This highlights the wider skill set that augments research specialism as being important for careers in the academy.
  4. There has been a lot of interest and research into the postgraduate research study space and Stan Taylor from Durham has curated a bibliography for doctoral supervisors via the UKCGE
  5. I’ll talk about the conceptual framework for doctoral supervision by Anne Lee which demonstrates the complex nature of that relationship and how many different roles are inherent to the development of a successful researcher.
  6. I think important to add to the framework is the idea that navigating the boundaries of those roles as the researcher progresses is neither easy nor comfortable for some because the identity formation that is occurring.
  7. I’ll delve into the practicalities of the identity formation because a lot of it happens as the researcher learns to write in their particular academic context. I really think that supporting postgraduate researchers as they develop their writing skills is a high impact activity.
  8. Then I’m going to look to how the environment is changing and how that is affecting the skills around developing the research – we are in a brave new open world and it does often expose the contrast between the old and new.
  9. I’ll finish up with a look into how I think the researcher development community are adapting and evolving to support postgraduate researchers for the future.

That’s it.

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