Developing the next generation of researchers: international perspectives

Pexels Chokniti Khongchum 3938022
16 Sep 2020
15:00-16:00 BST, 16.00-17.00 GMT+2 (South Africa), 19.30 – 20.30 GMT +5:30 (India)

International collaboration is seen as central to the success of many research projects and the career and professional development of the researchers involved. International research partnerships can result in high quality research outputs and often offers the opportunity to develop early career researchers (ECRs) across borders while providing them with invaluable exposure to international collaborative networks.

This session will highlight some of the approaches universities, funders and professional development organisations around the Commonwealth are taking to develop ECRs in the vital knowledge, skills and behaviours they need to succeed in competitive international research environments - such as sourcing funding, writing compelling applications, and choosing the right partners. Panellists will provide a snapshot of their approaches and experiences before a discussion on the shared challenges and opportunities to enhance researcher development through partnership working.

This session is part of the Vitae Connections 2020 Conference.

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Meriel Flint-O'Kane

Meriel Flint-O’Kane, Head of Business and Programme Delivery, the Association of Commonwealth Universities 

As the Head of Business and Programme Delivery at the ACU, Meriel is currently responsible for the strategic direction, growth and high-quality delivery of ACU programmes including the DFID funded PEBL and CIRCLE programmes, the EU funded LEAP4FNSSA partnership and Waitrose funded Blue Charter fellowships.

Prior to joining the ACU Meriel held roles at Kings College London, leading the establishment and delivery of the GCRF funded PRECISE Network, and the UKRI Medical Research Council where she worked to develop and implement a wide range of the MRC’s strategic ODA funding partnerships for global health research and capacity strengthening initiatives across Asia, Africa and Latin America.

Meriel is interested in the power of global partnerships to identify and achieve shared goals. Through her career she has had the privilege of working with a diverse range of colleagues from government, higher education, NGO and private sector organisations around the world to deliver programme, funding and research activities through developing strong collaborative relationships and shared understanding. She is currently studying for a DrPH at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine with a focus on research capacity strengthening and has a BA in International Politics from the University of Leeds.

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Professor Sarah Howie, Director of the Africa Centre for Scholarship, University of Stellenbosch, South Africa

Professor Sarah Howie, Director of the Africa Centre for Scholarship, University of Stellenbosch, South Africa

Professor Sarah Howie is the founding Director of the Africa Centre for Scholarship and a professor at Stellenbosch University, South Africa. She is also the Deputy Chair of the Board of the South African Qualifications Authority; member of the Assessment and Standards Committee at Umalusi and member of the Universities South Africa Admissions Committee. Internationally, she has worked and collaborated extensively: being a member of the UNESCOBrookings Institute international Learning Metrics Task Force for Post-primary (in preparation for Education for All 2015) She was also a member of four international technical research committees associated with design and development of international large-scale assessments for the IEA and the OECD. She has consulted for the World Bank, UNESCO and UNICEF amongst others. She is a member of a number of Editorial Boards of international Journals including those in the Taylor and Francis and Elsevier publishing houses.

Professor Howie is a nationally rated researcher and was inducted into the Academy of Science for South Africa in 2006. Amongst a number of awards, she is a past winner of the National Science and Technology Forum’s Most Innovative Research award for 2002 (awarded in 2003). She was a finalist in the Women in Science in 2004. Finally, in 2005, she was a finalist in the Woman of the Year competition in the category Science and Technology having also been nominated for the category Education.

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Dr Helen Leech, Researcher Development Officer, University of Kent, UK

Dr Helen Leech, Researcher Development Officer, University of Kent, UK 

Helen has worked in research since 1995 in three different universities, gaining a broad understanding of the research process. She graduated from Liverpool and went on to a technician post at Sheffield, before working as a research assistant at Queen Mary, University of London then undertaking a PhD. After gaining her doctorate she worked as a post-doctoral researcher on three different projects, first at QMUL, and then at Kent in Biosciences and Pharmacy. Helen left the bench and joined Research Services at Kent in 2012 to support the Faculty of Science. Helen is passionate about the need to develop the skills and training of researchers, and will always be a strong advocate for them, and for research more broadly.

Dr Shamim Mondal, Associate Dean, Research and PhD, NMIMS, India

Dr Shamim Mondal, Associate Dean, Research and PhD, NMIMS, India

Shamim S. Mondal is the Associate Dean of Research and Ph. D. at School of Business Management, NMIMS (Deemed to be) University, Mumbai, India. School of Business Management is the flagship school of the NMIMS (Deemed to be) University, a top ranked private university in India with 8 campuses across multiple cities, catering to more than 17000 students.

Prof. Mondal is an empirical economist, with a Ph. D. from University of Rochester, USA in 2007, where he specialized in macroeconomics and labour economics. His doctoral dissertation focused on differences in wage and other labour market outcomes between African American and white male workers in the USA, and how that have evolved over time. Subsequently, he worked as a consultant for 4 years at Analysis Group, Inc., a litigation and economic consulting firm based in Boston. He has subsequently worked at Alliance University, Bangalore from 2011 – 2017 before joining NMIMS in March 2017, where he teaches economics to MBA and doctoral students, and research methods and statistics to doctoral students. His research interests include applied topics in economics and business, including labour market, pharmaceutical market, and corporate governance in financial markets. Currently, he is engaged in supervising doctoral scholars in diverse areas of management.

He is currently responsible for the doctoral program at the School of Business, and in this capacity he initiates policy changes in the institution in pedagogy and research. Among the initiatives introduced during his tenure are introduction of weekly research seminar, introduction of a comprehensive examination at the end of coursework for doctoral scholars, and strengthening of academic inputs to doctoral scholars in terms of improvement in coursework design. He also oversees the academic collaboration between the School of Business Management and international academic partners.

Dr Simon Kay

Dr Simon Kay, Head of International Operations, Wellcome Trust

Dr Simon Kay describes his career in four parts. In the first part he studied for a PhD in Cancer Immunology.  He then moved to the British Council where he worked for 26 years around the world with postings in the UK, Singapore, Bangladesh, Nigeria, Sudan, Russia and Israel.  He moved to Wellcome in 2012 and as Head of International Operations Simon leads Wellcome's efforts to build biomedical and health research capacity in Africa and India. His teams at Wellcome work closely with the Alliance for Accelerating Excellence in Science in Africa (AESA) and with the Wellcome Trust/Department of Biotechnology (DBT) India Alliance.  His team also provides governance and operational support to Wellcome’s major programmes in Thailand, Vietnam, Kenya, Malawi and South Africa. Through this work he has built up expertise in charitable and not for profit international governance arrangements and in capacity building in Lower and Middle Income Countries. He is also now studying for a Masters in Coaching and Behavioural Change at the Henley Business School and hopes to be able to use this new expertise can support researchers to achieve their ambitions and live lives consistent with their values. Simon is a Governor at Ardingly College in West Sussex, a Trustee of the Malaria Consortium, a Director of the Africa Health Research Institute (AHRI) in South Africa (research into HIV/TB), a Director of the Africa Research Consortium for Health (ARCH) in Kenya and a member of the Partners' Group which provides governance oversight to AESA in Kenya. 

Clare Viney

Clare Viney, CEO of CRAC/Vitae 

Clare took up the role of Chief Executive Officer of CRAC in October 2016. A strategic leader with over 20 years' advocacy, policy and external affairs experience, Clare is a Chartered Scientist and Chemist with extensive experience in the science community and not-for-profit sector. She is passionate about investing in future generations and those from diverse backgrounds and experiences, empowering people to realise their potential and achieve their career and development goals.

CRAC, the independent organisation dedicated to supporting career development and active, career-related learning is a registered UK charity and has been operating since 1964. Key current initiatives for CRAC include leading and managing Vitae; global leader in supporting the professional development of researchers, experienced in working with institutions as they strive for research excellence, innovation and impact.

Prior to her role at CRAC Clare was with the Royal Society of Chemistry for 16 years in a variety of roles in membership, fundraising, science policy, communications and latterly leading Membership and External Affairs. Her role ensured that the Royal Society of Chemistry remains the most influential voice for chemistry in the UK, Europe and beyond.

Clare has a BSc and MPhil in chemistry from the University of Sheffield and currently sits on the QAA Advisory Committee on Degree Awarding Powers, Technician Commitment Steering Board, Employability Board of the University of Sheffield and is Chair of the External Advisory Board of the Department of Chemistry of the University of Southampton. She is also a Director of ELRIG, a not-for-profit organisation serving the life science & drug discovery communities.

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