Last week I joined the first Researchers’ Network networking lunch of 2017 to find out more.  The session started with a brief introduction by Nicola Haines, who supports the Researcher’s Network and manages researcher development for staff across the University. Nicola set out how the session was going to work, and that we were seeking feedback from the research community to support the renewal of the Human Resources Excellence in Research award. The Researchers’ Network champions then took over and led group discussions to get feedback on issues that affect researchers, such as PDR, mentoring and the induction process.

There was a warm and friendly feel to the session, with lots of laughter.  The groups were welcoming, which was particularly important as there were a few new staff at the event.  As well as including everyone in the feedback discussions, the network champions and more experienced researchers in the room were giving lots of useful advice about where to go, who to talk to, and what researchers should be receiving and doing as part of their job. There were also refreshments, and sandwiches to keep everyone focused.

After observing the session I chatted with some of the members about why they were involved. Dr Rhiannon McGeehan – a recently appointed  Researchers’ Network Champion from Science faculty said that researchers can “Live in their own bubbles, and it is refreshing to hear other people talking about their research” and that once people start coming along to the Researchers’ Network, they tend to keep coming along as they see the benefits.  Some of the newer researchers that I spoke with said that the session was useful to find out about what is happening within the University so that they knew what to expect.

The next lunch will be taking place on Wednesday 29th March, when the team from Marketing will be talking about how researchers can use traditional and social media to get their research into the public domain. To book a place, please go to the eventbrite booking page.

If a member of staff would like to join the Google+ Community, or would like more information about the network please email and visit for more information about researcher support in the University.