Would you like to have the opportunity to improve the research culture at Bath? Are you interested in building your experience of the University environment? Would you like to develop transferable skills that can be used both within and beyond academia?

"Research staff development is a key part of the development of our University’s Research Culture Strategy and this role is vital to realise our vision for research staff", Julie Barnett, Associate Pro Vice-Chancellor (Research).

The Research Staff Working Group is made up of postdoctoral research staff, that represent different faculties across the University and seek to improve the working environment and career management of researchers.

We meet together four times a year, mostly online, and strive to create an inclusive and encouraging space to discuss openly our thoughts and ideas.

We are especially looking to recruit new members from the following departments/school:

  • Life Sciences
  • Mathematical Sciences
  • Psychology
  • Management

The departments/school above, together with those of existing members, represent over 75% of our Research Staff. We would welcome representation from all departments.

We truly believe that diversity of experience, perspectives, and backgrounds will lead to a better environment for our employees and students. We encourage applications from all genders, backgrounds, and communities, particularly from under-represented groups, and value the positive impact that will have on our Group.

Please email: resdev@bath.ac.uk to express your interest, have an informal conversation about the role or to find out more.

To apply, please send a brief (<200 words) explanation of why you would like the role, your interest in representing research staff and what contribution you would like to make. Applications should be sent to the RSWG Secretary: resdev@bath.ac.uk by Friday 8 March 2024.

This is what our current RSWG members say…

Why do you enjoy being a member?

Lorena Skevi, Research Associate, Architecture and Civil Engineering

Being part of the Research Staff Working Group over the past year has been immensely rewarding. In this collaborative space, I have felt heard and empowered to contribute to shaping a positive and supportive environment for university’s research staff and at the same time I had the privilege of connecting with inspiring colleagues across diverse departments.

What do you feel is the benefit to the postdoc community in being part of this group?

Logan Wade, Research Fellow, Health

I believe it is important to give researcher staff a voice, especially when they are often on fixed term contracts and therefore may feel that they are not able to contribute to the Universities long-term policies. The RSWG pushes forward agendas that directly impact researchers and aims to carve out an area within the university for researchers to solidify their long-term careers.

What is the personal benefit to you?

Sam Neale, Research Fellow, Chemistry

I’ve found my role in this group a huge personal benefit for two reasons. It’s firstly given me a much greater and wider knowledge and understanding of the workings of the academic sector by being in the group, and what actually goes on behind the scenes to continually improve and protect working conditions for research staff.

The second is it’s a huge boost to the CV. Almost all independent academics are expected to juggle teaching, research, and administrative roles. Showing you have already engaged in the administrative side without loss of research and teaching output demonstrates an ability to do this more directly than those who haven’t engaged in any working groups during their time as PhD students or PDRAs.

Britta Matthes, Research Associate, Health

In the RSWG, we discuss research staff-related issues, drawing, for example, on survey data, and there are opportunities to shape or feed into initiatives that aim to enhance research staff’ experience. Being part of RSWG has been very interesting and enriched my time as a post-doc here at Bath: I have gained valuable insights into the inner workings of the university and have built connections with and learnt from post-docs and others across the university (prior to joining RSWG I only knew other post-docs in the research group I work in). The research staff population is quite small and fragmented, so it is important that we are connected across departments and faculties.

Why did you become a member?

Mandeep Dhanda, Research Associate, Mechanical Engineering

I am a new member of the group. I joined to gain some experience and exposure to the University environment by interacting with fellow postdocs. I am hoping to build my leadership skills and make strong connections with others, which would possibly build my CV to fetch a job in academia.

What do you feel is the benefit to the postdoc community in being part of this group?

Sam Neale, Research Fellow, Chemistry

We’re currently looking at introducing improvements to the induction process to better equip incoming research staff with knowledge surrounding areas such as redundancy, reporting discrimination/bullying, and common spaces for staff to use freely. We’re also putting together some resources to better educate postdocs of available promotion routes (e.g., Research Associate to Research Fellow) as this was something that our 2023 Culture, Employment and Development in Academic Research Survey revealed was poorly understood by research staff.