Doctoral researchers – Get career inspiration for your post-PhD life! Free Vitae Google Hangout

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Vitae logo

What do researchers do next?

26 June, 2pm UK Time, #PostAcStory

Join a live Q&A with doctoral graduates for Vitae’s FREE #PostAcStory Google Hangout on 26 June (Thursday) from 2pm UK Time! The moderator will be joined by researchers turned consultants as well as researchers working in and outside academia to discuss what it’s like to do their jobs, how they got there and how they decided what to do next after their PhD or Postdoctoral grant.

Respond to invitation here:

Career opportunities for researchers cover a wide range of sectors including higher education, manufacturing, finance, business and IT, health, and public administration. Recent trends demonstrate that over half of researchers will go on to pursue a career outside academic research or teaching on completion of their doctorate. So how do you decide which career to embrace? How do you find out which career would suit your strengths, values and interests?

The panellists will help you answer the following:

  • How do you realise what strengths and talents you have?
  • What have other researchers done?
  • What kinds of career paths do researchers follow?
  • What is it like to stay in academia as research staff?
  • What is it like to do research in a different setting?
  • Which qualifications and experience are required for various careers?
  • Work-life balance in various post-PhD careers

To meet the panellists and read more about the event, please, go to:

JOIN the conversation on the 26 June.


What is a Google Hangout?

Vitae Google+ Hangouts are live online video events of Q&A sessions with a group of expert panellists.

As the video is streaming live online you will be able to watch and gain real insights, top tips and also have an opportunity to get involved in the conversation, ask and answer questions on a discussion board or on Twitter.


Can anyone attend the Hangout?

Yes, whether you have a Google account or not, you will be able to watch our live hangout when it is streamed on 26 June!

However, only by joining our Google Plus event page or using #PostAcStory on Twitter, will you have the opportunity to guide the discussion and tailor advice with your own questions.


How can I ask questions?

The Google Hangout Q&A app will be used for the event which is the easiest and the most effective way to get your questions noticed. The questions will appear on the right side of the screen as the video is being streamed.

The App is now live – Simply click “Ask a new question” and it will be answered during the hangout.

FREE Vitae Hangout: How to start a business after your PhD – Thursday 20th March

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How to start a business after your PhD

Invitation to FREE Vitae Hangout

20 March, 2PM GMT

How to start a business after your PhD?


Join researchers turned successful entrepreneurs for our first #vitae14 Hangout on 20 March (Thursday) from 2PM GMT!

Katie Wheat (of #ECRchat) will be joined by entrepreneurs, founders and educators spanning high-tech to social enterprise to discuss how to take the first steps towards building your own business and being more enterprising in your research.

The research environment offers many opportunities for enterprising individuals. You might be contemplating how you can build a business from your research or using your researcher capabilities. Whatever stage you are at, our Google hangout will be a useful insight into an enterprising mindset.

Our panellists will help you answer the following:

•             What skills do I need to become an entrepreneur?

•             What are the biggest challenges faced by researchers who are starting a business?

•             What are the best ways for researchers to obtain start-up capital?

•             How should you go about protecting your intellectual property when starting a new venture?

•             How do you manage risks as an entrepreneur?

What is a Google Hangout?

Google+ Hangouts are live online video Q&A sessions with a group of expert panellists. As the video is streaming live you will be able to watch and gain real insights, top tips and also have an opportunity to get involved in the conversation, ask and answer questions on a discussion board or on Twitter.

Can anyone attend the Hangout?

Yes, whether you have a Google account or not, you will be able to watch our live hangout when we stream it on 20 March!

However, only by joining our Google Plus event page or using #vitae14 on Twitter, will you have the opportunity to guide the discussion and advice with your own questions.

JOIN the conversation on the 20th March

We’re looking forward to having you involved!

RSVP here:

Digital Researcher 2012 resources now available

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The Digital Researcher #DR10
The Digital Researcher #DR10 (Photo credit: AJC1)

Remember Vitae’s Digital Researcher 2012 in February? If you do, you’ll be pleased to find out the resources are now available online. And if you don’t, you’ll be delighted to discover that there are some great materials now available from Vitae from this event.

Head over to the Digital Researcher 2012 overview to access these materials:

    • Slides and audio from presentations:
      • Identifying knowledge
      • Creating knowledge
      • Quality assuring knowledge
      • Dissemination of knowledge
    • DR12 podcast
    • Prof. Martin Weller’s keynote presentation: Digital Scholarship, 10 lessons in 10 videos.

Vitae Digital Researcher TODAY: live online audio & Twitter #dr12vitae

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Information from Vitae on today’s Digital Researcher workshop – live audio broadcast and Tweets.

Digital Researcher Online 2012 Live audio streaming and online discussion from the British Library, 20 February 2012

Want to make the most of digital technologies and social media tools in your research?

Follow on Twitter (#dr12vitae)

Designed for both postgraduate researchers and research staff within any UK institution, Digital Researcher Online is the online programme of the oversubscribed Vitae Digital Researcher event, offering all those who could not physically attend the event the opportunity to tune in and get involved with the day’s activity.

Digital Researcher Online will explore how new technologies and tools (microblogging, RSS feeds, social networking and social citation sharing) can be used to enhance your research and raise your professional profile.

Breaking News:

Vitae is pleased to announce that Martin Weller (Professor of Educational Technology at the Open University and author of the ‘Digital Scholar’ book) will be attending as the keynote speaker.

What to expect as an online participant…

10:00 – Introduction: A short interview with Dr Tristram Hooley on Digital Researcher 2012 and the current digital landscape.

10:30 – 11:15 – Morning plenary Join us online and tune-in to the opening plenary of Digital Researcher. During this session we’ll be covering academic practice, the role of social media and intellectual property.

15:45 – 16:30 – Keynote speaker Prof Martin Weller, Open University – ‘Digital Scholarship’. John Igoe, Vitae’s Web Development Manager will be an online facilitator throughout the day, supporting all those who decide to tune in online through stimulating discussion and answering questions. Join discussions on Twitter using the #dr12vitae hashtag.

Interested? Visit the official Digital researcher online page: 

Can’t join us…

but wish to be notified when bookings open for our next Digital researcher event or any other of our exciting courses and events? Why not ‘register your interest’. Joining our mailing list will keep you up to date with new opportunities to join Vitae in the future.
Vitae, 2nd Floor, Sheraton House, Castle Park, Cambridge CB3 0AX

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Vitae is supported by the Research Councils UK (RCUK), managed by CRAC: The Career Development Organisation and delivered in partnership with regional Hub host universities.

Vitae®, © 2011 Careers Research and Advisory Centre (CRAC) Limited

How digitally literate are you? Vitae UK survey for researchers

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image of books and laptopThe latest Researcher Bulletin from Vitae (sign up to receive these):

  • How digitally literate are researchers and researcher development professionals?
  • How is digital technology being used for research and to develop researchers?
  • At what rate are higher education institutions embedding digital literacies in researcher development?

…In order to answer some of these interesting questions, and to ensure that higher education institutions and their members are fully supported in becoming digitally literate, please take five minutes to share this invitation with friends or colleagues and participate in this short questionnaire.

Vitae logoVitae invites researchers (doctoral and research staff) and staff involved in researcher development to complete a short online survey that focuses specifically on the digital literacy of researchers and institutional staff in researcher development roles. This significant cross-institutional baseline study is part of the Developing Digital Literacies programme, funded by JISC and supported by Vitae along with a number of other professional associations.

The purpose of Vitae involvement in the Developing Digital Literacies programme is to promote the development of coherent, inclusive and holistic institutional strategies and organisational approaches for developing digital literacies in higher education.

Results will be made anonymous, then published in an aggregate public report in February 2012. The results will enable Vitae to refine sector activities that focus on digital literacy such as the extremely popular Digital Researcher event (#dr12vitae) for researchers and research staff, and will be used to support the researcher development community to establish new approaches for developing digital literacy for researchers and the researcher development community in higher education.

The closing date for submissions is 24 January 2012.

Please support us and complete this short survey.

Springboard: Professional development for women researchers, 4-day course

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Vitae logoThe Doctoral School is proud to be hosting the Vitae SE Hub Springboard development programme for women in Spring 2012. Springboard aims to support you in assessing where you are now and in working out what you want to do next. It then helps you to develop the skills and confidence to take the next steps. Springboard is open to all researcher levels: doctoral researchers, research staff, and principal investigators.

12 places reserved for Sussex researchers

Springboard is an award-winning personal and professional development programme, designed and developed by women for women. It consists of four one-day workshops, each a month apart, and a workbook that supports individual reflection.

These are some of the post-Springboard results that researchers have experienced:

  • I am now applying for funding to establish myself as an independent researcher, which will put me in a competitive position to apply for permanent lectureship positions as they become available.
  • I found the confidence to step out of my comfort zone.
  • I have applied for a highly competitive position that I wouldn’t have considered before the programme
  • I am now a much more determined student and I believe I have the tools to successfully complete my PhD
  • I have much more confidence in setting goals and taking steps towards them. I find time for me every week.

The programme is about you, your life and your work – you are always in charge of what you decide to do, but it will help you to make good decisions based on what is right for you in your individual context while building on your experience to date.

If you take part in the programme you will be committing to attend all four workshops (19th January, 16th February, 15th March, 12th April, from 09:00 to 16:00 on each day) and work with the workbook between workshops. You can expect to:

    • Develop your self-awareness and skills to portray yourself positively
    • Identify your personal values
    • Develop assertiveness skills
    • Identify ‘baggage’ from the past that you might still be carrying, and might be holding you back
    • Identify personal and work goals and the steps you need to take towards them
    • Develop a range of personal effectiveness skills

Booking your place

There is a £125 fee for the course, which is less than cost price (the course is subsidised by Vitae, and hosted by Sussex, which has reduced the cost to less than a third of the price of similar training elsewhere). You may want to pay the fee from the professional development allocation of your research budget.

Read the event overview for full details, then complete the booking form to secure your place.

If you have any queries about your booking please contact Ross on, and if you’d like to know more about Springboard please contact Alison on

Creative Industries and Creative Researchers, 30th September

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Vitae logoAn afternoon of networking, talks and discussions, starting with lunch and ending with a drinks reception, all at Brighton and Hove Albion’s impressive new football stadium.

Free of charge

  • Are interested in working in or with the creative sector?
  • Would you like to know more about launching your career?
  • Would you like to talk to people working in industries such as interactive media, social media, learning technology, web application development, art, design and other creative businesses? Read the rest of this entry »

Vitae academic careers events for doctoral researchers and research staff

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Review the current higher education environment

  • Meet with successful academics from a range of disciplines to hear how they advanced their academic career
  • Understand the balance required between skills, achievements and building your professional profile
  • Review where you are in your career, where you want to be and how to get there
  • Ask questions that you’ve always wanted to but weren’t sure who to ask network with fellow researchers
  • Develop an action plan to strategically manage your career.

Careers in Academia
13 September 2011, Birmingham,

for postgraduate researchers.   To book:

This event is open and free to all UK postgraduate researchers.

Advancing in Academia
12 September 2011, Birmingham,

for research staff.   To book:

This event is open and free to all UK research staff and postgraduate researchers.

Vitae researcher activities in 2011

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Activities for postgraduate researchers and research staff

Vitae is now on Facebook! You can keep in touch with Vitae via Vitae fan page and Vitae GRADschools alumni page!

We’re also on Twitter:

The Researcher Development Framework is a useful career tool to enable you to identify skills you want to develop further, create an action plan and record evidence of your progress with the Professional Development Planner. Find out how other researchers have used the tool.

If you’re thinking ahead to your options for the future, the careers section of the Vitae website is full of information, including handy hints on writing your CV.

The balanced researcher” booklet offers information to help prioritise and manage the many demands on your time. “The creative researcher” booklet offers practical information and advice for researchers on being creative in a research environment. “The engaging researcher” booklet offers practical tips on how public engagement can benefit you, your research and the public with whom you engage.

Podcasts from the Digital researcher event are now available on  and iTunes ( . Vitae speak with Aleks Krotoski about being a digital researcher, and participants are interviewed about the day.

If you are a researcher with aspirations to manage your own research team, a new resource for PIs on the Vitae website will give you an insight into the role of principal investigator.

Develop your public engagement skills and keep updated on public engagement activities via ’the public engagement blog’

The Engaging Researcher – This one day highly interactive workshop has been designed for researchers who are new to, or have some experience with public engagement. It will be held in Liverpool on 30 June 2011

Activities for research staff

Research staff blog is a forum to discuss topics relevant to personal, professional and career
development for research staff. If you are interested in getting involved or learning more about it, please visit or contact Tennie Videler at

Advancing in Academia is a one-day event aimed at postdoctoral researchers which will address how to succeed in a competitive and complex research environment. It will be held in Birmingham on 12 September 2011

Activities for postgraduate researchers

What’s up doc?‘ is a new blog which provides a forum for postgraduate researchers to share experience, give information and tips on matters relevant to them in a fun, yet informed way.  It replaces GRADBritain, which has been a popular online magazine written by and for postgraduate researchers studying in the UK.

Some of the topics currently on the blog are:

  • Wade in on whether ‘Silver researchers’ (those doing a doctorate at a later stage of their career) offer a contribution to the postgraduate community
  • Is the imposter syndrome rife among postgraduate researchers? Do you feel like an imposter?
  • Read tips on presenting: One Moment’s Monument: Presenting Conference Papers
  • Online publishing and plagiarism: keeping alert – What are the issues, and how to deal with them?

Sign up to PGR Tips and receive useful tips on different aspects of your research. The latest issue on your professional development

Careers in Academia – NEW EVENT – is a one-day event aimed at early career postgraduate researchers which will address how to succeed in a competitive and complex research environment. It will be held in Birmingham on 13 September 2011

GRADschools 2011

Bournemouth, 14 – 17 June A FEW PLACES STILL AVAILABLE!
Windermere, 11 – 14 October

Audience: postgraduate researchers
The bookings are open for the 2 national GRADschools in 2011. Vitae GRADschools are designed to take an ‘experiential’ or ‘learning by doing’ approach. Whilst there is some element of presentations and information giving, for the most part, you will be actively participating in the sessions and activities. All courses are 3 days long and open to 80 postgraduate researchers.

Introducing the Researcher Development Framework

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Researcher Development Framework diagramThe Researcher Development Framework is a major new approach to researcher development and is of great significance to individuals, institutions and the UK research base. In this post I shall briefly describe what it is, where it came from, and the reason for its existence.  I shall then explain in more detail its content and what it means for you as Doctoral Researchers.

The Researcher Development Framework is a tool for planning, promoting, and supporting the personal, professional and career development of researchers in higher education.  It describes the knowledge, skills, behaviours and personal qualities of researchers, and encourages them to aspire to excellence through achieving higher levels of development.

The project is funded and managed by an organisation called Vitae, and builds on a number of precursors, including the Joint Skills Statement.  Vitae is a Research Council-funded body tasked with realising the potential of researchers by providing guidance both for them and for those who support them.

A 2001 report by Sir Gareth Roberts concluded that all PhD students and post-doctoral researchers should undertake a minimum of 2 weeks’ training per year in transferable and generic skills.  His conclusion was based on the realisation that institutions were not adapting quickly enough to the rapidly changing needs of industry.  The subsequent Roberts money funded various initiatives with the remit of providing transferable skills training.

Transferable skills can be defined simply as “Skills learned in one context that are useful in another”.  This type of training provides resources and tools to help researchers improve their employment prospects.  It also aids them in their ongoing research, thereby increasing completion rates and overall satisfaction.

The RDF sets out these transferable skills in a format that allows researchers and support staff to establish training needs and to assess learning outcomes.  Whereas many codes of practice and guidance documents are intended primarily for HE staff, the Researcher Development Framework is designed  to be used also by the researchers themselves, as a key tool in Continuing Professional Development.  The framework has been developed from first principles through interviews with successful researchers in a range of disciplines, and is continually under review.

Having explained the background of the RDF, I am now going to cover its content in more detail:

The RDF is divided into four domains. Within each of these domains are three sub-domains and associated descriptors, which describe different aspects of being a researcher.  It is a very detailed document, so I shall just draw out some of the key elements of each domain.  There are links to the document itself and other resources at the end of this post.

Domain A is ‘Knowledge and intellectual abilities’ – covering subject expertise, literacy, numeracy, IT proficiency, and creative thinking

Domain B is ‘Personal effectiveness’ – covering motivation, self-management, and commitment to Continuing Professional Development

Domain C is ‘Research governance and organisation’ – covering professional conduct, research management, and awareness of funding processes

Domain D is ‘Engagement, influence and impact’ – covering ability to work with others, communication of ideas, and engagement with the wider community, for example teaching and speaking at conferences

The Researcher Development Framework has also been incorporated into a downloadable CPD tool.  This allows researchers to identify the areas in the framework they want to develop further, and then to create an action plan and record evidence of their progress.  This data is helpful in preparing for annual reviews with supervisors and also for job interviews.  Researcher profiles on the Vitae website show how people from different disciplines have successfully mapped their progress against the Framework.  Examples include organising conferences, joining committees, and contributing to peer-reviewed journals.

So, that’s the content of the RDF.  Now I shall explain how it benefits you and why you should use it.

The RDF helps you plan your professional career development, identify your strengths and weaknesses, and to prioritise the development opportunities provided by your institution.  Furthermore, it supports you in making a substantial and original contribution to knowledge in your field.  Transferable skills training will enhance your research and clearly demonstrate your impressive range of skills to potential employers.  It thereby ensures you make the transition from successful researcher to valued employee.  In conclusion, the Researcher Development Framework is there to turn you into a world-class researcher.