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Inequalities in Research Feedback for Minoritized Early Career Researchers

   Institute for Lifecourse Development

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  Dr Thomas Rhys Evans  No more applications being accepted  Funded PhD Project (UK Students Only)

About the Project

Minoritised early career researchers (MECRs) face a number of interpersonal and structural barriers within their research careers, not least in relation to receiving quality feedback on their research (Reddy & Amer, 2023). In the context of this study MECRs include both academic and practitioner researchers, and any specific focus in inequalities is to be co-agreed with the supervisory team, prioritising opportunities to identify intersectional discrimination (Kozlowski et al., 2022).

Feedback is vital to all researcher development and research quality, however little is done to acknowledge these inequalities when supporting MECRs (Graves et al., 2022). This research proposal draws upon expertise from the Centres for Inequalities and Workforce Development to a) identify the scope of this inequality, b) to locate and promote equal opportunities and facilitate constructive feedback, and c) to develop recommendations for systems, infrastructures and organisations to better support MECRs.

The proposed research addresses the following:

RQ1: How, and to what extent, do minoritised early career researchers experience structural and interpersonal barriers to meaningful feedback on their research?

RQ2: What could (or should) be done to support minoritized early career researchers to receive feedback that better supports their research and scholarship development and career aspirations?

The PhD will focus upon building a qualitative understanding of the experiences of minoritized ECRs obtaining feedback for their research. A longitudinal qualitative design is planned, exploring the attempts of minoritized ECRs to secure feedback, with each participant focusing on a single research project (where possible) as a narrative framework to guide the exploration (although this will not limit bringing in other examples that are deemed appropriate by participants). As the existing literature, and indeed the structural incentives within research, typically focus upon inequalities and outcomes at the end of the research cycle, the proposed work uses a combination of diary entries and repeat interviews to capture a more diverse range of feedback strategies and identify a more holistic view of the barriers and opportunities across the research cycle.

This project will produce recommendations for more inclusive and effective feedback practices, supporting minoritized ECRs to navigate the interpersonal and structural barriers to meaningful feedback. The work will also generate a curated range of open-access resources for MECRs, and produce a policy report for those employing researchers to best support their professional development and research quality.

All details on this opportunity can be found here: VCS-FEHHS-01-23 | Documents | University of Greenwich

Individuals who identify with communities that are currently (or have historically been) minoritized or marginalised are especially encouraged to apply.

Person Specification

·      1st Class or 2nd class, First Division (Upper Second Class) honours degree or a taught master’s degree with a minimum average of 60% in all areas of assessment (UK or UK equivalent) in a relevant area to the proposed research project

·      For those whose first language is not English and/or if from a country where English is not the majority spoken language (as recognised by the UKBA), a language proficiency score of at least IELTS 6.5 (in all elements of the test) or an equivalent UK VISA and Immigration secure English Language Test is required, if your programme falls within the faculty of Engineering and Science a language proficiency score of at least IELTS 6.5 overall with a minimum of 6.0 in all elements of the test or an equivalent UK VISA and Immigration secure English Language Test is required. Unless the degree above was taught in English and obtained in a majority English speaking country, e.g. UK, USA, Australia, New Zealand, etc, as recognised by the UKBA.

·      Previous experience of undertaking research (e.g., through an undergraduate or taught Master’s dissertation

·      A fair grounding of research methods and research design with experience of using both quantitative and qualitative research methods

·      Strong communication skills (e.g., written, verbal, data visualisation, etc.

·      An interest in, or evidenced commitment to, transparency and rigor in research (i.e., open scholarship, open data/materials, preregistration, etc.)

·      Understands the fundamental differences between a taught degree and a research degree in terms of approach and personal discipline/motivation

·      Able to, under guidance, complete independent work successfully

·      An interest in, or commitment to, challenging inequalities and promoting JEDI (justice, equality, diversity and inclusion) developments, with experience negotiating these sensitively and compassionately

·      This scholarship may require Academic Technology Approval Scheme approval for the successful candidate if from outside of the EU/EEA

·      The scholarship must commence before 30 September 2023.

How to Apply:

All the details of this opportunity can be found here: VCS-FEHHS-01-23 | Documents | University of Greenwich

Please read this information before making an application. Information on the application process is available at: Applications need to be made online via this link. No other form of application will be considered. Please ensure that you select ‘MPhil/PhD Human Sciences’ from the list to ensure prompt processing of applications. 

All applications must include the following information. Applications not containing these documents will not be considered.

•       VC Scholarship Reference Number (Ref)– VCS-FEHHS-01-23

•       Personal Statement* - outlining your motivation for applying for this PhD, and your previous research experience (e.g., as a research assistant or completing a dissertation).

•       Academic qualification certificates/transcripts*

•       IELTS/English Language certificate if you are an international applicant or if English is not your first language or you are from a country where English is not the majority spoken language as defined by the UK Border Agency *

•       Your complete CV*

•       Two reference letters (one ideally from a dissertation supervisor)*

•       Research Proposal* Please provide a citation of an empirical piece of existing research you could replicate in your first year (to assess the extent of inequalities in research), and a 500-word proposal explaining why this study specifically.

•       Please ensure that you submit to the MPhil/PhD Human Sciences programme.

*upload to the qualification section of the application form. Attachments must be a PDF format.

Before submitting your application, you are encouraged to liaise with the Lead Supervisor on the details above. 

Funding Notes

Bursary available (subject to satisfactory performance):
From 01 October for the 2022-23 academic year this amount will be Year 1: £17,668 (FT) or pro-rata (PT) Year 2: In line with UKRI rate Year 3: In line with UKRI rate

In addition, the successful candidate will receive a contribution to tuition fees equivalent to the university’s Home rate, currently £4,596 (FT) or pro-rata (PT), for the duration of their scholarship. International applicants will need to pay the remainder tuition fee for the duration of their scholarship.
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