Vitae researcher development international conference 2015

First reflections on the event

Part of our Global Academy Jobs mandate is to facilitate academic mobility by showcasing roles and vacancies to a truly international academic audience. With this in mind Wendy Stone, our Director, went to Manchester last week to attend the Vitae Researcher Development International Conference 2015 and hear the concerns of research development staff from leading UK universities. Over two days we learned a great deal about about career and professional development trends in the academic research community.

This was our first time at the Vitae annual conference. Since it succeeded the UKGRAD Programme in 2008 Vitae has made huge progress in developing the reputation, training and professionalism of researchers at leading UK universities. Judging by the number of international universities represented at the conference, the Vitae HR Excellence in Research Awards programme and the Researcher Development Framework are also of growing interest to universities worldwide who want to improve their research capacity and provide the best possible support for their research staff.

The conference schedule was very busy. We focused on sessions with particular relevance for our international early career audience and several common themes emerged over the two days. The first was the challenge faced by researchers in translating their skills for a non-academic audience. The best researchers can write, communicate complex ideas, organise large amounts of information, and collect and then analyse data. However, they may not always be able to explain how these skills meet the needs of a non-academic recruiter. The research development staff at the conference staff saw this as a challenge both for themselves and for supervisors, who sometimes assume that PHD candidates will all want to stay in academia, or focus their best efforts on candidates who they expect to stay in the university.

In the coming weeks Vitae will begin publishing outcomes of the conference and Wendy will share more reflections on other conference themes, such as the need for ‘Researcher’ to be recognised as a professional role independent of discipline and the international differences in research career paths. If you also took part in #Vitae15 and would like to share your thoughts in a guest blog article then please do get in touch with us here at

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