Hello! I’m Nigel Eady and I’ve just started as Head of Researcher Training and Development in the Graduate School at King’s. My team and I are responsible for helping you develop the transferable skills you need to be effective, both as a researcher now and whenever you leave King’s. The Researcher Development Programme, a portfolio of courses and opportunities for all PhD students and postdocs at King’s, is the central element of what we provide. However, we do much more than run workshops! Over the coming weeks, different members of the team will introduce themselves on this blog, so you’ll get a clear idea of what’s on offer.
So what’s my role? Essentially it’s two-fold. Firstly, to ensure that King’s is delivering a high quality portfolio of training and development opportunities for PhD students and postdocs. The team I’m now leading is well respected in the field of researcher development. For example, we were nominated in 2012 & 2013 for the Times Higher Education award for ‘outstanding support for early career researchers’. We keep a close eye on new approaches and keep up to date with best practice, both nationally and internationally. Secondly, I play a key role college-wide in ensuring there is joined up thinking about training for students and postdocs. In a place the size of King’s it can be easy for effort to be duplicated and I am focused on making sure we learn from each other!
Why am I excited to be at King’s? Well, I’m a former PhD student and postdoc myself. I understand the challenges you face. In fact, those challenges have led me to spend the ten years since I left research, supporting researchers, at every career stage, to fulfil their potential.
What are some of the issues I care about?
- Communications: it was during my biochemistry PhD that I stepped out of the lab and first discovered my enjoyment of communicating. I’ll be writing a monthly blog with my thoughts on career development and updates on what’s on offer. You can follow me on Twitter too. So however you consume info, hopefully you’ll find it easy to know what’s going on!
- Public engagement: my first role on leaving the lab was in the Science in Society team at the British Science Association. I enjoyed helping researchers from every discipline find ways to engage people with research. We took posters into shopping centres, worked alongside broadsheet and tabloid journalists, and introduced adult audiences to the science behind topical issues. I’m looking forward to getting my teeth into public engagement training here.
- Mentoring: my most recent role was at the Academy of Medical Sciences. Amongst other activities, we ran a large mentoring scheme for researchers on the cusp of an independent research career. There are various mentoring schemes at King’s and I’m looking forward to understanding what’s on offer and how we can open up the excellent personal support that mentoring can provide as widely as possible.
- Evaluation & innovation: whatever training and development we offer, we want to do it well. We also want to base what we do on solid evidence. If something isn’t working, we’ll adapt it or pilot something new. If you’ve got an idea for a training initiative let us know: firstname.lastname@example.org or give me a call 020 7848 3913.
My last two roles supporting researchers have been from outside universities. It’s great to be back on the inside!