A holistic approach to researcher’s career development
The role of the Office for Coordination and Research Management
Topic: Policy, Strategy, Evaluation and Foresight
The Projects Unit serves the ISGlobal community to develop and implement institutional and scientific internal policies, through its Office for Coordination and Research Management, and provides advice on funding opportunities and funding agencies requirements, through its Grants Office.
One of the main aims of the Office for Coordination and Research Management is to promote researchers career development, facilitating and aligning actions from the different departments, especially Education and Training and Human Resources, and partner institutions. This is done through a devoted Scientific Coordinator with a scientific and management background. As a result, we have a holistic approach for researcher’s career development which is the core of the HRS4R logo (awarded in 2015 and renewed in 2021), covering the whole track from predoctoral researchers to research professors, including:
• A comprehensive PhD programme coordinated by a PhD committee including an annual PhD symposium and annual mentoring meetings with each predoctoral researcher to review training needs, mobility, publication track, relation with PhD thesis director…
• A Mentoring Programme addressed to postdoctoral researchers and junior faculty aimed at fostering and guiding the professional development of mentees. Mentors help mentees to build self-confidence, share knowledge, skills and experience, assist the mentee in identifying personal strengths and career planning and help in providing the mentee connections for developing their own professional networks. The direct supervisor of a given researcher cannot be his/her mentor. Junior faculty researchers are encouraged to have two mentors, one in our institution and another in a different institution while postdoctoral researchers mostly have one either from our institution or from a different one. Implementation of the mentoring programme is assessed yearly, and improvements are proposed and followed by a mentoring committee. Targeted training for mentors and mentees is regularly provided.
• Periodic Evaluation of Tenure Track Researchers to strengthen the international excellence of ISGlobal and to support the researcher’s scientific careers. Performed by an external advisory committee and assisted by co-opted members when needed. The evaluation is based on a Researcher’s Self-Assessment Report that covers relevant CV information, research, translational and education activity in the last 5 years, and research plans for the next 5 years. Evaluation reports are discussed with the Scientific and General Director and actions of support are planned if needed.
• A Training Programme including:
o An interdisciplinary education programme (PRBB Intervals) focusing on: Interpersonal Skills (leadership, management and career development); Systems Skills (writing and oral presentation skills and public understanding of science); Self Skills (personal mastery, emotional intelligence, mentoring, time management); Good Science, Honest Science: related to research integrity topics.
o Internal Training Activities including courses with external consultants aimed at improving horizontal skills and courses taught by ISGlobal staff aimed at covering specific training needs, e.g. Introduction to R, Data-management …
• Career talks & Career Weeks to inform pre- and postdoctoral researchers about career options and possibilities inside and outside of academia. In an engaging and interactive discussion format, we introduce career options and opportunities and unveil the necessary skills to perform certain job functions. This is jointly organized with other research centres taking advantage of the different multidisciplinary networks from each of them.