Research News Sept - Nov 2020

Message from The Research Society President

This is the first President’s news under our new The Research Society brand and livery. I couldn’t be prouder. The name puts us squarely where we belong: across all aspects of research in a changing world more in need of quality information than ever before.

Our association has been extremely busy over the COVID period, advocating to government for research, supporting members who are under stress, ensuring we maximise opportunities for members to showcase their work, and of course ensuring the financial security of our own organisation. The team has been wonderful and we should all applaud their efforts on our behalf.

And then there was the conference… From the confines of Victoria’s level 4 restrictions, I personally found the recent digital conference – aptly named Facing 2030 - a massive success. Run between the 3-6 August we had higher numbers than we have ever had. We chose to offer free participation for members to show solidarity with our community at a time when many of us are struggling. From the feedback we’ve received, it seems members were grateful and really enjoyed both the new format, and the range and calibre of papers. That our tiny office staff, working from home, and the wonderful conference committee managed to pivot the whole thing online, something we have never attempted before, and to make it such a high quality affair is a matter of considerable pride for the Board and I’m sure the bulk of our membership will join me in thanking them for their efforts.

This edition of Research News covers some sessions presented at the conference, highlighting issues facing the industry as we move towards 2030 through unchartered waters. For those members who missed the live event, or would like to revisit sessions, you can access all the recordings until 30 September. See page 7 for details and costs. This is a wonderful way to encourage a wider audience within your workplaces to experience the thought leadership and creative thinking on offer.

Like me, many of you are chaffing at life in lockdown, as governments work to bring the number of people affected by the virus under control without completely trashing livelihoods. At the Society we are aware that several of our members have been hit hard. The Research Society has a suite of free COVID-19 resources available on our website and has also been showcasing the research undertaken by the sector on the Research News Live site. We encourage you to make use of these resources.

On a more positive note, we launched the Mentoring program with 22 mentors and mentees now paired and supported to work together until next year. By all reports this initiative has been very well received.

Now more than ever research professionals need to keep up to date and consider further training and upskilling. There are a range of webinars and Masterclasses available in the coming months offering further opportunities for members at all stages of their careers to learn from (or be provoked by!) global thought leaders. Full details can be found on page 34-35.

It might sound strange but I am finding this a truly fascinating time to be working in research: we have front row seats to observe and make sense of the seismic shifts hitting society, as people’s behaviour morphs in response to challenges never before experienced. Stay curious, stay well.

Dr. Vicki Arbes, President, The Research Society

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