The third GYA professional development workshop for at-risk scholars was held from 9 – 11 September, hosted at Wolfson College, University of Oxford. The in-person workshop, aiming to support the career development of outstanding early-career at-risk scholars and scientists, was conceptualised and run by the GYA At-Risk Scholars Initiative, in cooperation with the Young Academy of Scotland and Cara. the Council for At-Risk Academics.
Over three days, the participants met with speakers from universities and the private sector in the UK, led by workshop facilitators S. Karly Kehoe (GYA alumna, Saint Mary’s University, Canada), co-lead of the GYA At-Risk Initiative Estella Carpi (University College London, UK), Nesrin Alrefaai (London School of Economics, UK) and Moritz Riede (GYA alumnus, University of Oxford, UK). The aim of the workshop was to preserve the research potential of outstanding at-risk or refugee academic researchers, by imparting the practical skills needed to succeed in their new higher education environments. Inputs and discussion focused on tangible, practical advice about strategies to succeed in the UK academic system.
On the first day, Nesrin Alrefaai moderated a panel with speakers Saeed Akkad (University of York, UK) and GYA member Eqbal Dauqan (University of Oslo, Norway) who shared their personal success stories and advice for the workshop participants. Workshop facilitator Karly and Frank Deer (University of Manitoba, Canada) spoke with participants about ways to give themselves the best chance at a job in academia. This panel was followed by a discussion led by Harish Bhaskaran and Ammar Azzouz (both University of Oxford, UK) titled “The professional world: beyond academia (how to transfer academic skills to non-academic jobs; private sector – experience and insights)”, giving participants a practical understanding of non-academic career paths.
On the following day, GYA alumnus Rob Jenkins (University of York, UK) gave more practical advice on where to look for opportunities as PhD students, early career researchers or researchers who are new to the UK. He also provided an overview of the Research Excellence Framework (REF), why it matters in the UK academic landscape and how it might be factored in when applying for jobs. Furthermore, a CV and cover letter workshop as well as a mock interview led by Matthew Smith (University of Strathclyde, UK) allowed participants to improve and discuss their application processes. The event ended with a workshop on networking in the UK academic system.
The workshop was well received by participants, both for the content and networking aspects offered.
The GYA At-Risk Scholars Initiative holds regular (online and in-person) workshops to support different aspects of career development in host countries, and to raise awareness about the challenges faced by scientists and scholars at risk. Read more about the Initiative here: At-Risk Scholars Initiative – Global Young Academy