When two universities meet: fostering research capacity among Early Career Researchers

Kathy Mann, Kathryn Moyle, Andrea Reupert, Jane Wilkinson, Gary Woolley

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference PaperResearchpeer-review


Between one-third and one-half of all presently employed academics will reach retirement age in the next decade. A challenge facing universities in this current environment is to continue to sustain their research capacities. Policy-makers and universities have developed various strategies to support ongoing development of different cohorts within the broader research community. One strategic approach has been to foster the research capabilities of Early Career Researchers (ECRs). This paper describes and analyses the features of one promising program collaboratively developed to support ECRs from education faculties within the University of Canberra and Charles Sturt University.

The program was initiated by senior researchers from both universities who identified a large number of ECRs on their respective staffs who worked in isolation and who would benefit from an expansion of their research and professional dimensions. While the program began as a "top down" initiative, sufficient autonomy was allowed for the ECRs to identify their own professional requirements and to develop an ongoing program.

ECRs have met regularly over the past two years to identify shared issues; organise and attend joint professional development activities (such as visiting scholars, senior researchers); and work on collaborative research projects and publications. Funding, ongoing senior management support, a variety of both senior and junior role models as well as working on common initiatives has provided momentum for the program.

The overarching aim of the program was to build a research community amongst the ECRs of both universities. An example of this collaboration has been a major writing project involving the production of a suite of articles by the ECRs concerning common ECR issues and support strategies. Outcomes also have included professional development and fostering cross university networks.

This paper analyses the characteristics underpinning the program and links theory with practice to generate valuable outcomes for the participants concerned. It foreshadows emerging changes to the culture of the two education faculties as a result of explicitly addressing ECR research issues. It concludes with suggestions for sustainable programs to support ongoing research capacity-building of ECRs in Australian universities.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings of the AARE 2007 International Educational Research Conference
EditorsPeter L Jeffery
Place of PublicationVictoria Australia
PublisherAustralian Association for Research in Education
Number of pages12
Publication statusPublished - 2007
Externally publishedYes
EventInternational Conference of the Australian Association for Research in Education 2007 - University of Notre Dame, Fremantle, Australia
Duration: 25 Nov 200729 Nov 2007


ConferenceInternational Conference of the Australian Association for Research in Education 2007
Abbreviated titleAARE 2007

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