University joins British Academy network for early career researchers

Early career researchers at the University of Plymouth are set to benefit from a new network that has been launched by the British Academy in association with higher education institutions in the region.

The British Academy’s ECR Network is a two-year pilot programme for postdoctoral researchers in the humanities and social sciences that will create opportunities for skills development and networking. It will also provide a pathway into academia for those currently working outside the sector.

The network will be facilitated by the GW4 Alliance, comprising the Universities of Bath, Bristol, Cardiff and Exeter – together with a consortium of five other universities located in the region – Plymouth, Bath Spa, Bournemouth, Gloucestershire, and UWE. It follows on from the creation of an initial network in the Midlands and will be followed by a third in 2022.

Professor John Scott FBA, Emeritus Professor of Sociology at the University and Chair of the Advisory Board of the British Academy’s ECR Network, said:

“The launch of our second regional hub in the South West is a major step forward in the establishment of our national support network for early career researchers in the humanities and social sciences. We welcome the participation of the regional consortium in helping us to build and enhance research skills and capacities for a vibrant research base. This new step brings together the passion, networks, and power of the British Academy, the partner universities, and the dedicated researchers themselves and will ensure that these disciplines will truly shape our future.”

With the launch of the second hub, researchers who identify as early career can join the ECR Network via the British Academy’s website, regardless of their funding source or background. This includes those working outside of academia, in independent research organisations and other policy or third sector institutions, and those not in employment but with relevant links into the Midlands and South West research communities.

The project to establish these networks has also been supported by the Wolfson Foundation.

Roberta Mock, Professor of Performance Studies and Director of the University's Doctoral College, said:

"The British Academy's ECR Network offers new levels of support for postdoctoral early career researchers at the University of Plymouth and more broadly across the region, to transition to future research leaders through enhanced resources, training, professional development, and valuable cross-disciplinary conversations."

Dr Joanna Jenkinson MBE, GW4 Alliance Director, added:

“We are delighted that the British Academy has recognised our commitment to supporting ECRs and to creating the research leaders of the future, which is directly relevant to the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy (BEIS) R&D People and Culture Strategy. This new ECR network further strengthens GW4's core mission, which is to enable new collaborations and research opportunities across the region that would not be possible within one institution alone.”

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