The SDRC are very excited to announce the launch of our Early Career Researcher (ECR) Group. This group are made up of ECRs from research institutions across Scotland, representing all dementia and brain health disciplines. Their purpose is to advise the SDRC Executive Committee on how best to support ECRs, and to lead and guide their own activity. Read on to find out more about why we created an ECR group, what the group hopes to achieve, and what they’ll be doing in the next few weeks and months.

The SDRC Executive Committee are acutely aware that ECRs face specific and unique challenges that are different from those in a more advanced stage in their career. The SDRC want to support ECRs and we believe that the best way to do this is to be guided by the ECRs themselves who know what their challenges are and what support they may need. For this reason, we have launched the SDRC ECR Group. This group will advise the SDRC Executive Committee on what the priorities are for ECRs and generate ideas for activities and resources that will be most useful them.

Another important aspect of creating an ECR Group is to grow the community within the SDRC. What makes this group unique is that it is cross-disciplinary, so there is great potential for researchers in different fields of research to learn from each other, share best practice and create opportunities for collaboration.

Story of the ECR Group

Our work to support ECRs became more focused as a result of the Covid pandemic, following the surveys where we asked ECRs what the SDRC could do to best help them through this difficult time. You can read our recent blog which gives an overview of the resources we have launched in the past 12 months, and our plans for the near future. Given the positive feedback we received on this support, we looked to see how to sustain this momentum in working alongside ECRs to guide SDRC further into the future. We therefore decided to organise a series of meetings to listen to ECR feedback to advise on what further activities that the SDRC could do to be more helpful and useful to ECRs in the future. From these meetings the ECR Group was established to maintain this consistent feedback. At these initial meetings, the group selected Dr Louis Dwomoh, University of Glasgow to Chair the group. Louis has said; “The SDRC ECR Group will be a good platform for ECRs across Scotland to contribute to the activities of the SDRC in ways that will shape the level/kind of support that we will receive from the Executive Committee. This will be a group for, and by ECRs.” The SDRC Executive Committee look forward to working with Louis and the rest of the ECR group.

What are we doing?

The purpose of the ECR Group’s initial meetings were to generate ideas in what activities they could lead on. The group’s intention is to pursue many, if not all of these ideas in the future. However, as a starting point, the group decided to prioritise the following:

  • Identify ECR members within the SDRC, generate an up-to-date database of ECRs and communicate with them. To help facilitate the networking and collaboration among ECRs that we have discussed, we need to know who they are. We will send a short questionnaire to all SDRC members next week. If you are an SDRC member, keep an eye on your email inbox.
  • Promoting diversity and inclusion in the research community. Work that will celebrate the diversity that already exists within dementia and brain health research in Scotland in addition to looking at what this community can do to become even more inclusive. This will include blogs, podcasts and other resources created by our ECR members.
  • Writing ‘Power Hours’ and writing swaps. These events will need to be online for the time being. We hope to have in person events to support writing as soon as we can.

Once the above activities have been established, we will continue to add more to our ECR support resources as time goes on.

Get involved

The work of the SDRC ECR Group has already started. However, it is not still too late to get involved! The group is open to all SDRC members that are early career researchers and are working in any discipline related to dementia and brain health. Not only is it an opportunity to guide the direction of the SDRC’s ECR activity, it is also a wonderful opportunity to network and for personal and professional development. There is no time or effort commitment and you can input to the group as much or as little as you wish. Please get in touch if you would like to find out more.

If you are not eligible, or even if you do not wish to join us right now, the SDRC will send regular updates of group activity to our members. So make sure you are signed up to the SDRC, you regularly check our blog, and follow us on Twitter. 


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