The Contract Research Forum in the Department of Health Sciences aims to bring together contract researchers and PhD students to provide training and development opportunities which will help support and enhance the role of researchers within the Department. The committee is made up of early career researchers, contract researchers and PhD students. It has three co-chairs with three established working groups focusing on communications, training and social events. It meets on a quarterly basis with an organised training and social event once a term.
The Forum will provide space to discuss the UK Concordat to Support the Career Development of Researchers, which is an agreement between funders and employers of research staff, to improve the employment and support for researchers and research careers in UK higher education. It sets out clear standards that research staff can expect from the institution that employs them, as well as their responsibilities as researchers. This process aims to increase the attractiveness of the UK for talented researchers, improve research output and impact, attract and secure research funding and attract and retain researchers from the widest pool of talent.
In April, the second annual event of the CRF met and included contributions from Patrick Doherty, Tracy Lightfoot and Stephanie Prady. As well promoting cohesion between researchers and PhD students within the Department, this event provided an update on the next Research Excellence Framework (REF) and the Department’s Concordat action plan. ‘World Café Style’ discussions focused on opportunities and barriers to enhance participation of researches and PhD students in:
i) teaching and dissertation supervision opportunities within the Department; and
ii) academic citizenship activities.
On 23 November, 2016 Sheila Perry, University of York Research Communications Officer and Alistair Keely, University of York Head of Media Relations provided a seminar discussion about 'Writing for Lay Audiences and Media'. The seminar allowed the audience to share ideas on how to communicate research to the widest possible audience. The session started with a brief explanation of the different roles in the communications office and how they work together to promote research. The speakers then went on to detail how they handled potential research stories and described a variety of different options for communicating research (ie press releases, The Conversation website, social media etc). They provided a range of examples from researchers in the Health Sciences Department and showed how the journey from 'raw' research paper to press release or Conversation article to demonstrate how each story was handled by the media. Link to Central communications CRF presentation (PDF , 4,850kb).
The inaugural Contract Research Forum event took place on 14 July 2016. The event was attended by 35 researchers in the department who discussed the principles of the Research Concordat using a world cafe style event.
Other members of the group are: