It’s existence been mentioned here more than just a few times, but a recent article in GRAD Britain Magazine (http://tiny.cc/f3cPz) has inspired me to write a blog post about the organisation that is…Vitae.
Representing and championing the potential of PGRs and Research Staff all over the country, Vitae replaced UK Grad a few years ago now. The word Vitae, in this context means “The course of one’s life or career”. This ethos is not only present in the name but also in the vision – for Vitae’s sole aim is to produce world class researchers. In short, a resource you really should tap into regularly.
Vitae is organised into several Hubs, one of which is based here in Manchester – the Vitae North West Hub (Tweet @vitaenwhub). These Hubs act like beacons which organise and host regional events, amongst many other things. Hubs represent institutions at a regional level and feedback at national level to inform policy, knowledge and facilitate the sharing of best practice. Each Hub has a manager (NW – Emma Gillaspy) and a co-ordinator (NW – Judy Williams).
Regular readers of this blog will be up-to-speed with some of the events hosted by Vitae. The main players at the moment are the National GRAD Schools and the Effective Researcher sessions which are hosted by Hubs, up and down the country. Events are open to PGRs from up and down the country and cover issues such as Part-Time Research and an Annual Postgraduate Conference.
As well as organising and hosting events, Vitae have produced some excellent publications which will be of interest to anyone doing postgraduate research. The “What Do PhDs Do” booklet documents the destinations of recent PhD graduates up and down the country. If you want to know more about the potential career paths open to those with a doctoral degree, then it’s well worth downloading this from the website in PDF. Vitae has also published some smaller documents. For example, there’s the booklet entitled “The Balanced Researcher” which explores how to manage your PhD in real-life terms, “The Creative Researcher” which examines creativity and how to harness it for your research. Vitae also has regular “PGR Tips” which you can sign up for and get delivered straight to your inbox. There’s also GRAD Britain magazine available to download (see a previous post) – if you write an article and it gets published you could win £50.
Policy and Practice
As well as providing useful information for PGRs, Vitae works on behalf of early career researchers to influence policy and practice at local and national level. It also provides guidance for supervisors and PIs and is currently building an evidence base for the impact of researcher training on the outcome of doctoral research degrees.
The Vitae web pages for postgraduates include some helpful advice on managing a research project – everything from project and time management, rights and responsibilities, to networking and troubleshooting problems. For those of you nearing completion, there’s also some advice on completing the PhD. From there you can also keep up-to-date with news and events for researchers.
For everything else you need, visit the website and take a look around: www.vitae.ac.uk.