The final session looked at how delegates can increase the impact of their work by developing their skills in talking to non-specialist audiences. Dr Suze Kundu from the University of Surrey, Dr Jamie Gallagher from the University of Glasgow, and Dr Zoe Schnepp from the University of Birmingham discussed how involvement with outreach activities can benefit early career scientists, both in their personal and professional development.
“Getting involved in outreach allows you to demonstrate transferrable skills that will look good regardless of whether you want to work in industry or academia,” said Dr Gallagher, while Dr Kundu called for a change in attitude among the academic community to give greater importance to outreach and public engagement work: “More value and support should be given to outreach and public engagement,” she said. “If it’s important enough to include in REF, it’s important enough to not just be an afterthought.”
Building transferrable skills
Developing wider skills through extracurricular activities was a major theme of the symposium, with all delegates encouraged to engage with our networks and those of other professional bodies and societies.
Getting involved in outreach allows you to demonstrate transferrable skills that will look good regardless of whether you want to work in industry or academia
“My first early career symposium was the first time I’d interacted with the Royal Society of Chemistry as a member and it opened doors to all of the other opportunities that were out there,” said Alasdair.
“In joining the Early Career Network there are professional development opportunities: you could present your work at conferences, get involved in organising events… That's something that people in the early part of their career don't get as much opportunity to do, but it's important. When we're recruiting people it's really good to see that they've done more than just their PhD.”
“We really believe in networking and we want to provide a platform in order to help people do this,” said Alice Soldà, chair of the European Young Chemists Network (the early career group for EuChemS), who had held their own programme of talks and workshops at the 7th EuChemS Chemistry Congress earlier in the week.
“We're increasing so there are many things you can do with us and we'd welcome anyone that wants to get involved. We cover 25 countries with the different EuChemS member societies and we can translate our content into all of the different languages for these countries.
One of the things that we think is really important for chemists in their early careers is mobility, so this is something we're very keen to support. On our website we're developing a map with information and support on relocating there for your next career step. At the moment the information is more for academia, but we're also working on information for industry jobs.”
You can find all of the action and discussion from the symposium on Twitter @RSC_ECS and on #RSCECS2018.
To find out more about our Early Career Network and how you can get involved, contact our careers team using the details in the box on the left of this article.
Find out more about EuChemS and the European Young Chemists Network.
Apply for our Researcher Mobility Grant and Research Fund, supporting early career researchers to develop their career.