Scotland becomes third Early-Career Researcher Network hub in British Academy pilot

21 Apr 2022

The British Academy today announces that the third and final hub of its Early-Career Researcher (ECR) Network – a two-year pilot programme for UK-based postdoctoral researchers in the humanities and social sciences – will be in Scotland.

As the leading institution for the Scotland hub, the University of Stirling – co-lead with the University of Glasgow – will facilitate networking events and activities for ECRs in Scotland, with the support of other Scottish academic institutions.

The pilot programme, made possible thanks to a partnership with the Wolfson Foundation, runs until March 2023 and aims to establish an inclusive, UK-wide network for ECRs in the humanities and social sciences, providing opportunities for skills development and networking across the whole country. The launch of the Scotland hub follows the successful launch of the Midlands and South West of England hubs over the past year.

Now researchers from Scotland, as well as those from the South West of England and the Midlands, are invited to join the ECR Network via the British Academy’s Registration Form. All humanities and social sciences researchers who identify as early career are eligible to join, 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 to Scotland, the Midlands and South West research communities.

Professor Neville Wylie, Deputy Principal (Internationalisation) and Interim Dean of the Faculty of Arts and Humanities at the University of Stirling, said:

“We’re delighted to co-host the ECRN Scotland Hub with our colleagues from the University of Glasgow. This is a wonderful initiative which has already shown its value to other parts of the UK.

“It represents a significant strengthening of the ECR landscape in Scotland and will help Scottish universities to promote the careers of the next generation of academics and researchers. I am looking forward to drawing in early-career researchers from across Scotland who can benefit from the events and opportunities that will be run as part of the hub.”

Professor Chris Pearce, Vice Principal for Research & Knowledge Exchange at the University of Glasgow, said:

“The University of Glasgow is delighted to be co-leading, along with the University of Stirling, the Scottish hub for the British Academy Early-Career Researcher Network. We are looking forward to shaping this new and supportive network with the British Academy and colleagues across Scottish Higher Education Institutions to provide a wonderful opportunity for early-career researchers in the arts, humanities and social sciences.

“The Scottish network will create both physical and virtual spaces for early-career researchers to collaborate, network and connect. It will also provide high-quality support for careers and skills development.”

Doctor Valeria Skafida, Senior Lecturer in Social Policy at the University of Edinburgh and a member of the British Academy’s Early-Career Researcher Advisory Group, said: 

“The launch of the third hub in Scotland completes the initial rollout of the British Academy’s pilot Early-Career Researcher Network. Our vision is for an inclusive Network where humanities and social science researchers across the country – whether funded by the British Academy or not, and regardless of their institutional affiliation – can find opportunities for professional and personal growth. The network aims to foster academic relationships within and between areas of the UK and to provide a platform for collaboration, training and support for early-career researchers across the UK. We look forward to supporting the University of Stirling and others on this exciting initiative.”

Professor Christina Boswell, Dean of Research at the College of Arts, Humanities & Social Sciences, the University of Edinburgh, and the British Academy’s Vice-President for Public Policy, said:

“It is fantastic to see the British Academy’s Early-Career Researcher Network expand into Scotland. While Scottish universities have strong collaborations in place for PhD students and those pursuing more advanced research in humanities and social science, there is a real gap in Scotland-wide networks for early-career researchers. This exciting opportunity will help address that gap, providing a much-needed framework for researchers to build interdisciplinary peer groups, identify and deliver support and training tailored to their needs, and develop the confidence and skills to launch successful careers.”

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