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Early Career Researcher Network holds inaugural meeting at the University of Warwick

view of the FABThe University of Warwick recently welcomed guests from the British Academy to its first event as a member of the British Academy Early Career Researcher Network Midlands HubLink opens in a new window.

The Research Café event, held in the new Faculty of Arts BuildingLink opens in a new window (FAB) was focused on early career staff at Warwick, and brought together researchers from across the Humanities, Social Science and Arts to share experiences and learn informally from each other.  

The British Academy Early Career Researcher Network (ECR) is a pilot programme funded by the British AcademyLink opens in a new window and the Wolfson Foundation.Link opens in a new window The University of Warwick is one of 2 members of the Midlands Hub and there are three hubs across the UK. The scheme has been created to support early career researchers in the Humanities, Social Sciences and Arts by providing opportunities for skills development and networking across disciplines.

Prof KitaAttendees were welcomed by Professor Sotaro Kita (pictured right), the University’s Academic Director of Research Culture, and heard presentations from three Warwick members of the Network who presented on aspects of their research into important contemporary social issues such as colonial legacies, immigration and health inequality. Delegates were also able to network informally with one another.

Commenting, Professor Kita said:

"This event perfectly aligns with the priority of the University to enhance the research environment for Early Career Researchers.

“We would like all Early Career Researchers to be well-connected across disciplines, which allows them to do their most creative work."

Following Professor Kita’s welcome, three Warwick members of the BA ECR Network presented on aspects of their research:-

Dr Joanne Norcup from the Yesu Persaud Centre for Caribbean StudiesLink opens in a new window spoke first, giving an overview of her research into global historical geographies of anti-racist productions from the 1980s and 1990s.

Commenting on the value of networks like the ECR initiative she said: “I continue to be enriched by the expertise and knowledge shared with research colleagues at Warwick especially in the Yesu Persaud Centre for Caribbean Studies, Humanities Research Centre and their knowledgeable global experts in the Caribbean and across the Midlands.

“As an independent scholar such networks are invaluable.”

Dr GazzeDr Ludovica Gazze, Assistant Professor in the Department of EconomicsLink opens in a new window, (pictured left) said:

“I love the opportunity to exchange experiences - about research and life in general - with other ECRs who are going through similar struggles.

“The event was also of immediate benefit to my research - I presented about a very new project of mine which aims to estimate the extent of lead poisoning in the UK and its social cost. There is no public health screening program in the UK, so I will be having to collect my own data documenting lead exposure in the UK by working directly with families.

“Through the event, I connected to an Assistant Professor in Psychology who is recruiting families with small children for a study on developmental psychology. We plan to discuss ways to exchange knowledge and maybe collaborate to work on the same study sample.”

William BaryloDr William Barylo (pictured right) of the Department of SociologyLink opens in a new window also commented on the value of networking events and structures to researchers starting out on their careers. He said:

“I love to share my experiences hoping that they could help someone see new perspectives, new ideas and that my journey can equip younger academics and students with tools I didn't have earlier in my career.

“I think that networking events are vital in these times when the academic job market is so competitive. When everyone is good at what they're doing, a strong network can help you to secure a job.

“I am looking forward to seeing the launch of the forthcoming British Academy mentorship scheme where more experienced academics can help younger ones to navigate the industry.”

The event was attended by British Academy representatives Peris Thuo, ECR Network Manager, and Charlotte Scott, ECR Network Assistant. They said they were impressed by the format of this pilot event and that it has set the bar high for other hubs.

Commenting on Warwick’s participation in the Network, Professor Caroline Meyer, Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Research) said:

“The British Academy Early-Career Researcher Network is a fantastic initiative, providing invaluable support to early-career scholars in the Humanities and Social Sciences.

“Warwick is proud to be a member of the Midlands Hub. It reflects our commitment to the creation of a diverse, welcoming and inclusive environment where the research leaders of the future can thrive.

“We were delighted to host this event in our stunning new Faculty of Arts Building, which opened to students, staff and the public in December.”

The pilot project runs until Spring 2023 after which the British Academy hopes to roll out the network nationwide.

14 April 2022