Strengthening research capacity

MCDC at Vitae Researcher Development International Conference 2015

9 September 2015

MCDC members recently presented at a workshop at the Vitae Researcher Development International Conference 2015 entitled 'Innovating in researcher development to support the career progression of internationally mobile researchers: UK, African and global perspectives'

Workshop outline

How can we as a community of global researcher developers enhance our researcher development to meet the needs of internationally mobile researchers? In this interactive workshop presenters provided a platform to make more explicit the potential valuable learning gains from dialogue amongst the international researcher developer community. They considered how we best to achieve mutual understanding between research collaborators to support researchers’ career development and progression in a global research environment. Case studies were presented that explored perspectives from African colleagues who frequently look to the UK and other researcher development communities (US, France, Denmark, Norway) to inform their own researcher development approaches as well as ways in which nternationally mobile researchers move between different countries in their careers. The workshop explored a variety of international ideas and cultural insights regarding the needs of global researchers.

Topics covered

Participants discussed:

What the similarities and differences in required competencies of researchers in different countries are?  

What the benefits and challenges faced in developing researchers in different countries are?

What the key considerations for facilitating early-career researchers’ transition from PhD to postdoctoral research in an international research environment are?

What the implications for career development planning and provision for international researchers studying and working in the UK and moving home or to other countries to continue their research careers are?

Themes covered

Researchers' development across boundaries: learning from international collaborations, exploring inter-cultural competences and business/industry collaborations in developing researchers
Developing a pipeline of research talent, including widening participation issues and the strategies to attract the best candidates into research degrees
New approaches to enabling researchers to reach their potential and make powerful career choices


Alison Mitchell - Director of Development, Vitae

Dr Jane Wellens - Head of the Graduate School, University of Nottingham     

Dr Harry Tagbor - Head of the Department of Epidemiology & Biostatistics, School of Public Health, Kwame Nkrumah University of Science & Technology, Kumasi – Ghana

Dr Hazel McCullough - Professional Development and Educational Advisor, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine

Background and case studies

This workshop is part on an on-going Vitae project, building on a workshop at last year’s conference ‘Divergence and convergence in international research cultures and practices: implications for researcher developer’ which considered how global convergence of research policy and practice, and the mobility of researchers globally impacts on the development of researchers locally (Mitchell and Wellens).   CIRCLE funded by the Association of Commonwealth Universities and the African Academy of Sciences facilitates institutional capacity building in the career development of African researchers to develop relevant local solutions and improve uptake of research in local, national and regional implementation. The Malaria Capacity Development Consortium (MCDC) funded by the Wellcome Trust and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, strengthens malaria research capacity in Africa. Career Development Groups support the embedding of sustainable career development support for researchers within their institutional structures and processes

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