The in-person ERC welcomed the return of the lunch break events of “Getting to Know EERA and Making the Most of the Emerging Researchers' Conference and ECER'” and the “Lunch Break with Local Academics”. Both sessions were very well attended by emerging researchers (although the latter had some challenges with regards to the participation of local academics due to a timing clash with the ECER Opening Ceremony). The sessions are now a firm feature of the ERC Programme and they continue to build on participants’ feedback which indicates the need for a dedicated session to understand the complex EERA structure and the place of the ERG and ERC in relation to ECER. Numbers at both sessions were extremely positive – over 50 during both sessions.
The Getting to Know EERA and Making the Most of the Emerging Researchers' Conference and ECER informal lunchtime session took place on Monday, 22 August, 12:30 - 13:30. It was facilitated by experienced academics and the ERG co-conveners to help emerging researchers chart their way through the conference program and understand the structure of EERA and how they can participate in additional activities. It also formed a useful opportunity to connect with fellow ‘emerging’ researchers. Feedback on a scale of 5 indicated that the average on of the content relevance is 4.5 and expectations is 4.6.Specific feedback comments included:
- Well-organised, useful, thank you.
- Keep it as it was.
- Just keep it going; it was excellent.
- It was a nice meeting that enabled me to meet and talk to new researchers. And the topics that were covered were useful. Thank you for organising this.
- This session was helpful because I got the opportunity to chat with other people in an informal setting.
- Met with some new and old (known) colleagues and friends. But could not meet with local researchers. Maybe an organised way to meet them. i.e one on each table.
- There are many interesting sessions happening at the same time. Consequently I missed some that I was really interested in.
- The conversations were left up to the people at the table. It would have been nice to get a bit more support/ active involvement from the organisers.
- We had a member of the EERA Network who gave a description of the process, so it was easy, otherwise would be not so clear.
- We got very useful information from the organiser/ chairperson. Thank you!
- We had an interesting talk about conference experiences, research and other networking.
- Keep it super friendly and information. Convenors are great!
- I found the interactive poster presentation very beneficial. We had a great discussion thanks to the opportunity
Capacity Building Workshop
The ERC in-person capacity-building workshop, 'Thinking conceptually about your research and making it visible in your thesis' illustrated how to approach research in a scholarly manner moving from the descriptive to the conceptual by considering critical factors that represent the high quality that doctoral research should demonstrate. It showed how candidates can raise their level of thinking and exhibit in their thesis that they are ‘thinking like researchers’. Overall feedback indicates that the workshop was extremely well-received and that participants overwhelmingly found value in it. Suggestions for future development included requests for the workshop to be longer in duration. More significantly, in relation to the longer-term impact of this workshop on participants’ research practices, it is worth mentioning that in 2018, the workshop presenter was the external examiner for one of the emerging researchers who had previously attended a similar ERC workshop some years ago just before their viva. At that time, with their supervisor, they approached the presenter after her workshop, to invite her to be their examiner. The workshop presenter reports that the emerging researcher used much of their workshop material to prepare for their viva, and that subsequently, the workshop presenter had quite a number of participants from the emerging researcher's University due to their recommendation. More detailed qualitative feedback about the workshop is indicated below:
- Very useful practical and theoretical and very relevant to all of us preparing to submit our theses.
- At first the context seemed a bit like stating the obvious, but as soon as the wider context got clear, I saw how the presentation could deeply help my work. The visualisations were very helpful!
- The session enlarged my mindset and encouraged to think big. Likewise, it was practical and visually supported.
- The session frankly inspired me. I’m doing my thesis for a long time. I’m tired of re-writing it again and again. Everything was so detailed, clear. Thank you so much.
- It helped me to see my project through a new lens.
Thank you! EERA Summer School
This took place in June 2022 and was a great success. This active participation and collaboration between ERG and the Annual EERA Summer School organisers is planned to continue in the coming years with the ERG Link Convenor making time to contribute to the EERA 2023 Summer School that will be held in Porto.
ECER Joint sessions
ERG co-convenors and ERC participants were encouraged to co-convenors to get involved in ECER sessions, and also attend the NW meetings introducing themselves to the NW convenors. A key joint session during ECER 2023 was 06 SES 08 A: Practices in Diamond Open Access publishing. Issues, HowTos and DIY. A Joint Session between the following EERA Networks: NW6, NW12, NW20 & the ERG. It took place on Wednesday, 24 Aug 2022: 5:15pm - 6:45pm. It was a space to discuss issues and practices in Diamond Open Access publishing. We would like to exchange experiences, raise demand, awareness, and ultimately encourage participants to establish their own diamond Open Access publishing structures.
The Emerging Researchers’ Group continues a productive and fruitful cooperation with two journals to provide the opportunity for emerging researchers to submit their work for onward peer review and potential publication:
- the European Educational Research Journal (EERJ)
- Studia Paedagogica
These opportunities follow the ERC Best Paper Award process, wherein papers presented at the ERC are developed into journal articles and submitted for a two-stage double-blind formative peer review process within the Emerging Researchers’ Group. Following this process, selected papers are submitted to the EERJ and Studia Paedagogica, depending on how they fit in with the scope of each journal. Onward peer review follows. Studia Paedagogica implements a critical-friendly round of pre-reviews before which papers are recommended for the official review process. An example of the impact this process has on emerging researchers in indicated in the following testimony
“The reviewer’s comments were exceptionally helpful and encouraging in working through the original paper. We worked hard to address all the reviewer’s concerns and to incorporate the suggestions and hope that you will find our paper to be a substantial improvement on our previous one.”
Authors whose papers are not successful in the pre-review round are sent brief feedback and recommended areas for further development. These papers, are also shared, with permission, with the relevant network’s convenor for further specialised feedback from a colleague within that network. As a result of this comprehensive review process, a number of successes continue to be reported.
Last year, the ERG has also begun capturing publication successes on individual winners’ profiles and testimonials about the impact of the Best Paper process on emerging researchers.
This year, the ERG focused on producing on-demand and information resources for emerging researchers to access as they consider submitting to the Best Paper Award. These resources include:
- A pdf of Tips on writing for your research community and EERJ, which is based on the EERJ presentation at ECER 2021.
- A blog post by a previous Best Paper Award winner, Sofia Eleftheriadou on ‘4 Things I Found Useful about the Emerging Researchers’ Conference and Best Paper Award’
- The ERG Link Convenor, Saneeya Qureshi also wrote a post in which emerging researchers are encouraged to make the most of the Best Paper Award and formative feedback process: ‘5 Tips for Emerging Researchers to get more involved with EERA and its Networks’
Finally, continuing to augment the collaboration between the ERG and EERA’s flagship journal, EERJ, is the ongoing representation and valuable contribution of the EERJ editors to the review committee for the ERG Best Paper Award.
- Ask LOC to ensure that the ERC lunchtime sessions are hosted in a location that is reserved for the ERC and not external colleagues
- Greater engagement with Local Academics for the Lunch with Local Academics session, ensuring that at least 5-6 individuals at each table. Ask LOC if possible to have a Zoom briefing session with all the Local Academics before the ERC. At the start of the session then, ask local academics to give a short introduction to themselves and, co-convenors (who can move between groups), even just a wave from them to see where they are in the room.
- Continue to promote the ERC mentoring schemes, as local emerging researchers also found it an incredibly useful experience to be mentored to chair ERC sessions.
- Explore more effective ways for ERC participants to register for the Lunchtime sessions
- Upload beforehand information about who will be at the lunchtime sessions on Whova (on any other online app that will be used for ERC 2023) and potentially explore the options for participants to switch tables to foster more engaged conversations (if the lunch servings permit).
- Ensure that the ERG co-convenor team via Zoom just before the ERC to iron out any last minute details/ queries/ clarifications required in advance of travelling to the venue
- Explore the possibility of a using the ERG annual meeting to initiate some kind of buddy-programme, where participants with similar research interests can find each other and maybe write/read together also after the ERC. Also use the meeting to actively advertise and ask participants whether they want to write blogs or videos to keep working on the ERC network outside the conference itself
- Ensure that the ERC posters are showcased in a central location once the interactives sessions are over.
- Consider a more active programme of activity outside of the ERC, such as poster presentation workshops.
The ERG co-convenor would like to offer much gratitude to the following colleagues, without whom none of the ERG’s achievements and activities over the past year would have been possible.
- ERG co-convenors, including shadow co-convenors
- ERG Senior Mentor
- ERG Senior Fellows
- EERA Office
- EERA Exec
- EERA Bursary reviewers
- ERC proposal reviewers
- ERC Best Paper Competition reviewers
- EERA Summer School hosts
- ERC mentors/ chairs
- LOC and the ERC2021 hosting institution and organisation(s)
- EERA Council Members and National Association representatives • EERA Network Convenors, co-convenors and members
- ERC2021 and EERA Summer School presenters, invited speakers and workshop facilitators
- ERC2021 and EERA Summer School participants
- Additional volunteers not included in any of the above-mentioned groups
Each individual contributed in an integral way to ensure the success and impact of activities, and as such, we remain indebted to them, and look forward to working with them for the ongoing success and commitments to delivering the best opportunities possible for our emerging researcher community.
Join the ERG platform "EERA Emerging Researchers' Group" on LinkedIn This space for the ERG has the purpose of being a more interactive platform where members can contact each other directly and where they may exchange information and resources. It will also provide information about the ERG activities.