Page 172 - UCT Research Report 2011

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UCT Research Report '11
To support emerging researchers and
academics, and prevent a gap in research
capacity as established cohorts move on,
the UCT Research Office has launched
several programmes, namely the Emerging
Researcher Programme (ERP) in 2003,
Supervision Training in 2005, and the
Programme for the Enhancement of Research
Capacity (PERC) in 2009. These initiatives
were launched through the generosity of the
university’s donors, and are complemented
by the Mellon Visiting and Retired Scholars
Mentorship Project, aimed at offering further
individualised support to young academics.
Passing the baton: the Emerging
Researcher Programme
Designed to ensure the transfer of skills from senior
academics with excellent research and supervision track
records to those not yet established, the ERP offers two
streams of support: one for the social sciences, including
law, humanities, commerce, and social science-related
fields within the health sciences (SSLHC); and another for
the natural and health sciences, and engineering (SET).
The success of this programme is evidenced by its growth: in
its founding year, the programme had 45 participants; by the
end of 2011, this number had increased more than tenfold,
with a total of 492 academics having received some form of
support from the ERP since its inception (304 or 62 percent in
the SSLHC stream and the balance in SET). Sixty academics
joined in 2011 alone. Participation is entirely voluntary and
many members who have “emerged” opt to retain links with
the ERP and to receive an evolving form of support.
On joining the programme, researchers meet with one
of the Research Development (RD) co-ordinators for an
extensive interview, in which they receive information
about the programme, and are encouraged to speak about
their research ambitions, opportunities, and constraints.
Funding, mentoring, and other research needs are
identified, and where further mentoring is required, the
co-ordinators offer to match the researcher with a senior
academic in a mentorship capacity. Initially, mentors
and senior academics were mostly retired scholars but
recently, due to the growth in the programme and changing
demands, the ERP increasingly makes use of academics
in current employment.
During 2011, the ERP offered 36 seminars across
both streams, attended by 278 discrete participants,
with many attending several events. Topics included:
Research Planning; Optimising Conference Attendance;
Networking at a Scientific Conference; The PhD Process;
Ad hominem
Promotion; Sabbatical Planning; Writing a
Book; Publishing in a Scholarly Journal; Constructing
an Article; Plagiarism; RefWorks; Search Engines;
Budget Management; UCT Library Resources; Opening
Scholarship (ways to distribute research using open
access resources); and How to publish in
In addition to the seminars, the ERP also held 14 workshops
with 194 participants across both streams. Workshops
are held over a longer period of time than seminars
and involve active participation by those who attend.
Topics in 2011 included: PhD Proposal Writing; Research
Strategising; Constructing a Social Responsiveness
Portfolio; and Presenting at a Conference. Eight were
writers’ workshops, usually two- or three-day retreats,
designed to help researchers produce accredited research
outputs. Progress towards publication is monitored after
the workshop by RD co-ordinators.
Looking after a new generation of
researchers at UCT
“During 2011, the ERP offered 36
seminars across both streams,
attended by 278 discrete participants,
with many attending several events
Figure 10
Number of staff registered with the ERP,
2003 to 2011
2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011