Contract research is not an end in itself, it is intended to be a preparatory stage for something else - a more senior research position, a university lectureship or a job in an external research organisation. Your research contract is funded by money external to the university and there is no guarantee of any extension of this funding. Young researchers embarking on their first job in higher education need to understand this fully. Your time at Queen’s must be viewed as a period in your life when you are pro-actively building the skills and experience you will need for the next stage in your career. This website has been written specifically to help you become aware of the developmental stages you may go through and to help you plan accordingly.
In creating this site, we have made use of the concept of career progression. This is a simplifying assumption and in real terms your career development may adapt a very different pattern. Nevertheless it is the case that research careers are expected to include many, if not all, of the stages we describe.
This module explores a truly basic question – what are the personal qualities you will need to succeed in a research career? To help you consider these issues, you will be introduced to the Researcher Development Framework (RDF), a tool for planning, promoting and supporting the personal, professional and career development of researchers in higher education. The Framework has been built from empirical data collected through interviewing researchers to identify the characteristics of good and excellent researchers. It is designed to be aspirational, yet realistic, identifying both the descriptors of good researchers and how to progress to the next phase within individual descriptors. The RDF evolved from the 2001 Joint Statement of the UK Research Councils’ Training Requirements for Research Students.
Early Stage Researcher
As a recently appointed member of the research staff, you will be on a steep learning curve. It is vitally important that you set aside some time for your own development. The half-day "Planning Your Research Career" course provides an introduction to the main developmental issues you will need to consider. You can book a place for the next course on Queen’s On-Line. "Enhancing Your Research Performance" allows you space to reflect on how your individual character fits with the role of a researcher in higher education and introduces you to the concept of “job crafting”, which can allow you to improve your job fit without necessarily having to change jobs!
With a few years experience under your belt you will need to be increasingly pro-active in promoting your own career. This module allows you to reflect on your career progress to date and check how well you, as a researcher, align with the university’s research strategy.
A researcher in their second contract (normally 3-4 years into your research career) needs to decide if university research is where they want to be in the long term. This module looks at what is required to make a successful transition to “permanent” status e.g. applying for a lectureship.
Career Exploration for Researchers
Most researchers will, at some stage, move out of academic research. This module explores the range of career options which your skills and experience might equip you to undertake, when you decide to move on.