The academic leadership and career planning course is implemented through co-development

The Helsinki Institute for Social Sciences and Humanities (HSSH) is organizing an interdisciplinary pilot course in research management for postdoctoral researchers in the academic year 2020–2021.

The purpose of the academic leadership and career planning course is to develop strategic planning of research careers and themes for SSH researchers. Furthermore, the course provides tools for assembling a good research group, developing contemporary leadership and creating personal researcher profiles. As the course is now being offered for the first time, it is still in a pilot stage.

Striving to reconcile individual research efforts with global trends

The course participants will convene five times, discussing in each session a topical research theme or a future research trend. The goal is for researchers to gain inspiring insights on how to reconcile their individual research efforts with major global trends of change. The topics to be discussed include wellbeing, datafication, sustainable development, climate change, inequality, human rights, safety and security as well as cultural interaction. An attempt will be made to highlight themes according to researchers’ personal research interests.

The course provides tools for productive and impactful research

In addition to the thematic course content, each session will touch upon matters related to conducting research and career planning. The topics include leadership, management and project-related skills, the acquisition of funding, systematic publishing, challenges associated with public engagement and new questions of research ethics.

During the course, the participants will work on a portfolio and assignments whose purpose is to clarify their path for the next five years and to help them identify their personal strengths as researchers. Specialists in both research funding and research management as well as communication will share their views and experiences with the participants. The course offers not only inspiration for research, but also information and support relevant to occupational wellbeing.

Plans to expand the course

To make it as useful as possible, the course is being developed collaboratively with participants. HSSH wishes to determine what kind of tangible support researchers in the social sciences and humanities are looking for and how the institute can support them. At the same time, the goal is to describe to the participants the currently available offerings of the University of Helsinki’s Research Services and how that support should be utilised. The plan is to expand and further develop the course in the future.

A total of more than 40 applications were received for the pilot course, and 12 postdoctoral researchers who have been granted research funding for roughly two years were selected. The participants come from all of the faculties active on the City Centre Campus. According to preliminary plans, the course will be organised again in autumn 2021.