‘One size does not fit all’ - inequalities in researcher development in Arts and Humanities

‘One size does not fit all’ - inequalities in researcher development in Arts and Humanities

Vitae, the global leader in supporting the professional development of researchers, and CHASE, the Consortium for the Humanities and the Arts South-East England, have uncovered inequalities in development opportunities amongst doctoral researchers; in particular, part-time or distance students, mature learners, individuals with disabilities or mental health issues, and those with caring responsibilities. Similarly, Early career researchers (ECRs) receive highly unequal levels of career development support, in particular those on teaching-only contracts.

The report, entitled One size does not fit all explores the professional development of Arts and Humanities doctoral and early career researchers within a challenging labour market. In the gig economy, the report findings take on even more relevance.

Other key findings reveal the struggle for researchers to balance their professional and career development with the timely completion of their thesis and financial pressures notably contributing to the perception that developmental activities are considered a “distraction”.

Supervisors being perceived as potential gatekeepers of doctoral researcher development is another issue that emerges in the report.

Clare Viney, Chief Executive Officer of CRAC/Vitae commented:

 “One size does not fit all marks an important addition to our understanding of researchers’ engagement with professional development within a challenging labour market, and poses interesting questions about the role of professional development within the Arts and Humanities doctorate.”  

The report was officially launched on Thursday 20 July 2017 at RSA House. Vitae will also be covering this report extensively at the Vitae Researcher Development Conference in September 2017.