REDS Conference 2018: Academia as the Alternative Career — developing researchers for a range of future-selves

The 2018 conference was held at Coventry University on the 24th and 25th October.

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See the 2015 conference | 2016 confrence | 2017 conference

Academia as the Alternative Career — developing researchers for a range of future-selves: The hearts and minds of many researchers continue to be dominated by the notion that there is 'One True Career Path' open to them. Their belief is further enabled by the discourse surrounding careers for those leaving the academy persistently utilising negative language such as 'alternative', 'outside HE' and 'non-academic'. This is regrettable, given that the vast majority of doctoral and early career researchers will 'fail' in their pursuit of an academic career.
Researcher developers balance the tension of supporting researchers during their pursuit of an academic career, irrespective of how long or short that path is, whilst simultaneously optimising their development as professionals, in preparation for the post-academic life the majority will transition into.The challenge of providing appropriate support is constantly changing and increasing - current researchers need an increasingly broader skill set to be successful in the higher education research and those moving into post-academic life need to develop and understand the key knowledge, behaviours and attributes they can offer the global knowledge economy. So, how can researcher developers prepare, equip and empower researchers for their unknown future?

The fourth annual REDS conference also provided an opportunity to explore pedagogical, theoretical and conceptual approaches for developing researchers, for a range of future-selves. The conference leaders also wished particularly to explore the wider role of researcher developers in influencing policy and strategy development in institutions.

Who attended? Researcher development colleagues, careers consultants, staff developers, academic researchers in higher education disciplines, and HE policy makers.

We welcomed presentation of:

  • Research outcomes of existing researcher development activity in terms of impact and efficacy of practice.
  • Research in to new pedagogies, theories or programme concepts for the development of researchers.
  • Opinion pieces founded in existing research outputs that: project future pedagogical needs and programme concepts for the development of researchers; or, identify key gaps in the current published research in respect of the development of researchers.

Pre-conference workshop: 'The Dynamic Development Model' designing the personal and professional development that works for you. The Dynamic Development Model is a new pedagogical approach for personal and professional development, widely applicable, but born out of and here contextualised to, the development of researchers. It is proposed that current, and long standing, practice in the professional development sector in higher education engenders passive engagement from participants. The ‘Dynamic Development’ pedagogy rejects passive engagement and acts to build active, sustainable, life-long, independence in professional development for the individual. The model is presented, explaining and working with the Static and Dynamic Development theoretical concept at its heart. The five other aspects that support the central concept and make up the full Dynamic Development Model are then introduced. You will have opportunity to work with the model examining your own personal and professional development as a way of exploring how you can use the ideas and concepts of dynamic development in your own practice. When you have completed your REDS registration we will contact you to offer you a place on the pre-conference workshop.

£66 for external delegates, there is no charge for the pre-conference workshop.
£0 for Coventry University delegates who should email to register for a free place.

The venue: Doctoral College & Centre for Research Capability, Elm Bank, Coventry University

Conference Host: Dr Heather Sears ++ Conference series leader: Dr Kay Guccione