The Urban Studies Early Career Researchers (ECRs) Support Network has recently been set up in order to support ECRs working in the broad field of Urban Studies at Sheffield. A joint initiative by the Urban Institute and the Department of Urban Studies and Planning, the network has been designed to offer a space where ECRs can discuss issues and opportunities related to their career development.

The network has been designed, organised and will be managed by Dr Michele Lancione, Senior Research Fellow and Director of ECRs Development for Urban Studies. The network’s programme for the upcoming academic year consists of three main activities: five two-hour sessions of training and peer-to-peer support, the Critical Friends Forum, and Sheffield ECRs Urban Studies conference.

The five training sessions will hosts colleagues from the UI and USP, covering topics from career progression, publications, understanding REF and more. The Critical Friends Forum is a regularly held event in the USP department, where draft papers are discussed by peers. The Sheffield ECRs Urban Studies conference is a half-day conference which will take place in June 2019 to showcase the broad range of work of Sheffield ECRs.

The support network has been set up in acknowledgement of the challenges faced by ECRs in the current academic climate, such as balancing the diverse requirements of early career roles.

In response to the announcement of the network, Head of Department Professor Malcolm Tait said: “I wholeheartedly welcome the setting up of our Early Career Researcher Support Network. Within Urban Studies and Planning we have over 20 early career researchers, and we are keen to support the careers of this group, which is vital to us as a department. The programme put together by Michele Lancione not only provides enormously helpful sessions, but also helps to develop a real community of researchers spanning both USP and the Urban Institute.”

Professor Simon Marvin of the Urban Institute agreed, saying: “The Urban Institute is delighted to support the Early Career Research (ECR) network develop by Dr Lancione and colleagues in UI and USP. In a challenging political and employment environment the programme provides researchers with the support, advice and skills to help them most effectively navigate their chosen career pathways. It draws on the insights and reflections of more experienced colleagues yet also provides a network of mutual support that help make the UI a collegial and intellectually interesting research environment .”

For more information about the program, please visit the network’s webpage.