Why do you think a positive research culture is important?
Without a thriving research culture, staff don't feel empowered to explore new and impactful ideas. Research culture is pivotal to both attracting excellent applicants and retaining existing staff.
What aspects of research culture are most important to you?
It is of the utmost importance that we all make sure that:
- early career academics and postgraduate research students feel and are fully integrated in the research community;
- there is not a disconnect between the workload allocation model and our everyday reality;
- we overcome a money- and output-driven approach to research excellence and embrace more holistic and person-focused approaches;
- everybody is mentored;
- everybody takes pride in their research and showcases it accordingly.
Can you give an example of an action you have taken to improve research culture?
- I revamped and looked after the mentorship scheme, making sure colleagues are matched based on their growth needs.
- I put together and circulate (internally and externally) "The Trumpet", a bimonthly newsletter showcasing individual and collective achievements of staff and PGR/PGT students.)
- Working with Law PGR Director Dr Mo Egan, I trialled a PhD buddy scheme.
- I set up a lead a Scotland-wide research network (Scottish Law and Innovation Network, funded by The Royal Society of Edinburgh) and a uni-wide multidisciplinary lab (Just AI Lab).
- As a union rep, and working with the Faculty rep, we've started research culture conversations with union members in our Faculty.
What is something that you personally would like to do next to improve research culture?
I would like to do more to make sure that we overcome the mismatch between WAM and the reality of how little time many of us have for research. Something I am exploring is a visual campaign to denounce the less-than-ideal practices many of us have to adopt, for example, working during holidays, as well as to showcase good practices.