ECR Development

We greatly value the commitment and contribution of our early career researchers and strongly support their career development

Early Career Researchers form a vital part of the academic community at Aston. We greatly value their commitment and contribution and strongly support their career development. By providing them with a wide range of helpful advice, guidance, resources and training opportunities, we want to support them in all aspects of their personal, professional and career development, so that they can improve their research skills and become world-class researchers.

About our ECR Development Programme 

We recognise the great work that our research colleagues produce, and believe in nurturing academic talent, throughout their careers at. We’re strongly committed to developing our research team, and have actioned several initiatives to support their development.  We’ve documented these initiatives in our Action Plan to implement the Key Principles of the Concordat to Support the Career Development of Researchers, to meet the high standards of the HR Excellence in Research Award. This award recognises that we’ve met the European Commission and Code of Conduct requirements in terms of working conditions for researchers, and further demonstrates our commitment to fostering researcher development.

These opportunities include:

  • An Informative Welcome Pack: including guidance on where to find support, university facilities, as well as copies of documents academics will need, such as their Career Development Plan and Training Needs Analysis templates.

View our Welcome Handbook

  • A structured ECR Development Programme with a range of training courses and workshops, as well as an annual conference. This is underpinned by active ECR forum. See examples of past content.
  • Support of a Senior Mentor: All ECRs are offered the assistance of a mentor when they join Aston. Their mentor will help them create their Career Development Plan and Training Needs Analysis. Both of which are regularly reviewed to make sure their professional needs are met.
  • Access to Vitae’s independent support: Vitae is a UK programme, supported by Research Councils UK and UK HE funding bodies, and is a global leader in supporting the professional development of researchers. All academics undertaking research at Aston have access to its extensive advice, tools and resources which will help them to plan and take ownership of their career development.

*We've defined ECRs as those staff who have a primary employment function of undertaking 'research' or 'teaching and research', and who have been in their first employed role as a researcher/lecturer generally for two years or less. Early career researchers are, therefore, University lecturers and research staff (including postdoctoral researchers, research fellows, research assistants/associates) newly employed at Aston.

Although the content has been specifically designed for ECRs, much of the information it provides is relevant to senior research staff and those who are in a support role for ECRs at Aston.