Summer Vacation Early Career Research Competition 2022

Are you an Early Career Researcher (ECR)* interested in boosting your career? Would you like to support an enthusiastic and motivated Black second-year undergraduate student wishing to acquire research experience?

The Summer Vacation Early Career Research Competition is a new initiative for 2022 which has been designed to address the lack of diversity in research, a commonly recognised problem. The aim is to encourage Black undergraduates in all disciplines to consider potential postgraduate study, whilst giving ECRs the chance to run their own independent project with funding worth up to £2500 to work with an undergraduate intern for 4-7 weeks on their research.

This competition builds on the success of the University’s Summer Vacation Research Competition, which encourages Postdoctoral Research Associates, Research Assistants and Research Associates to develop their project and people management skills, and enables undergraduate students to gain valuable experience of working on real-life projects, thus learning more about the world of research whilst simultaneously enhancing their CVs.

Commenting on this innovative scheme to improve access to and participation in research, including postgraduate research for people from currently under-represented groups, Dr Jennifer Leigh, the competition’s lead organiser, said:

“Our new competition will be a win-win for both our ECRs and the undergraduates they will manage on their projects. Participation is likely to broaden their horizons and skills sets in a structured and supportive environment, and should encourage and inspire them to achieve great research outputs. I strongly encourage all eligible staff and students to apply for this interesting and rewarding opportunity which has been generously funded by Research England.”

Details of how to apply, including the application form for ECRs, are available on our ‘Internal Opportunities’ SharePoint page (Kent staff login required and VPN access if working remotely).

The closing date for ECR applications is 20 March 2022.

Good luck with your application – and please email with any queries.

* Please refer to the competition webpage for details of ECR eligibility criteria. (Postdoctoral Research Associates, Research Assistants and Research Associates are not eligible to apply for this competition but are encouraged to apply for the Summer Vacation Research Competition instead.)

New careers guidance for staff who research

Looking to kickstart your career in 2022? Use our new Researcher Career Guidance to consider your progress to date and plan your next steps.

As part of the Graduate and Researcher College (GRC)’s ongoing work to support the professional and career development of the University’s researchers, introductory guidance has been developed on the following topics:

This information is available on the GRC’s new KentNet pages, which also signpost details of relevant training and development opportunities for staff who research.

These careers pointers should be viewed along with the professional and career development content in our new Central Researcher Induction module, which is recommended for all academic and research staff. This includes information about career planning and training frameworks, especially the Academic Career Map (ACM) and the Vitae Researcher Development Framework (RDF), together with suggestions for activities you can undertake as part of your recommended 10 days of development pro rata per year.

Other related GRC KentNet content includes a repository of current Kent resources housing recordings of previous training sessions, which can be viewed on demand, as well as new information exploring our progress to implement the Concordat principles across Kent, including that of professional and career development.

Professor Paul Allain, Dean of the Graduate and Researcher College, said:

“I hope this short and simple content will encourage you to reflect on your career journey thus far and to refocus on where you would like to go and, crucially, how you are going to get there. Use this and other relevant resources available to researchers to steer your development in the right direction.”

GRC staff will now collate content to be included in forthcoming digital ‘handbooks’ for researchers and research managers to be launched in the summer. We welcome your feedback on our new careers content and encourage you to suggest any specific topics relating to your professional and career development, which you would like us to consider covering in future outputs.

Please email with your comments – all feedback and suggestions welcome!

Concordat webinar: 15 February 2022

Professor Paul Allain and Dr Alison Charles, with Divisional and central colleagues, will be holding a webinar on ‘Responding to the challenge of the Researcher Development Concordat at Kent’, on 15 February from 2-3pm.

As a signatory of the Researcher Development Concordat since June 2020, the University supports its principles as part of our commitment to create the very best culture for our researchers.

The session will consist of a short overview of the context, progress to date and our current plans, followed by a discussion and Q&A about how we might implement the Concordat principles, including 10 days’ professional development pro rata per year for staff who research.

Dr Alison Charles, Researcher Developer (Academic), said:

“Please join us to learn about the wide-ranging work which is being undertaken to realise the Concordat aims. This is also an opportunity to contribute to the debate about how best to implement the Concordat principles across Kent.”

All academic and research staff and professional services staff who support them are very welcome.

There is no need to book – access the Microsoft Teams link via SharePoint (Kent staff login required.)

We look forward to seeing you there.