Mentoring Essentials – New workshop for Northumbria researchers, 15 September on City Campus

As part of our commitments to the Concordat to Support the Career Development of Researchers and HR Excellence in Research Award, two research mentoring workshops will be held on Thursday 15 September.

Effective mentoring involves not only knowledge and expertise grounded in research and organisational experience, but also the fundamental skills of effective listening and questioning and an ability to generate insight and convert that into accountable action.

This workshop is an opportunity to:

o   Understand the context for research mentoring at Northumbria

o   Hear from successful mentors and mentees

o   Share good practice with peers and colleagues

o   Work practically through some core mentoring approaches including:

o   a practical model for mentoring conversations

o   setting accountable actions

Whether established or new to mentoring at Northumbria you are encouraged to attend one of the workshops. This is also a good way to meet other mentors and refresh or learn new mentoring techniques. If you are still in the early stages of your research career and are interested in developing your mentoring skills, you are also welcome to attend. 

Workshop Dates and Times:

Thursday 15th September 2016, 09.30 – 12.00, City Campus

Thursday 15th September 2016, 13.00 – 15.30, City Campus

If you wish to attend please email or ring extension 4343.

A Research Mentoring Framework has been developed as part of the Researcher Development Programme to ensure all research-active staff have access to mentors. As part of the framework, regular training opportunities are provided for existing mentors and those interested in developing their mentoring skills or becoming a mentor in the future.




The Benefits of University-Industry Collaborations

Dr Tamsin Saxton, guest blogger
Dr Tamsin Saxton, guest blogger

Guest blogger, Dr Tamsin Saxton, Senior Lecturer in Psychology at Northumbria University shares the insights she gained at an event designed to provide information to support academics in creating and capitalising on opportunities to work with industry. Below, she summarises the key take-home points explaining why industry collaborations are useful, possible barriers to these collaborations, and how to go about setting up and developing collaborations.

Benefits of collaborations

Academics and universities have a lot to gain from collaborating with industry, whether that be local small businesses, global enterprises, or something in between. Industry collaborations can add substantive content, innovation, and expertise to research funding applications. In some instances, industry might contribute directly to university projects, perhaps by supplying funding, or making available rich and extensive data sets. The best applied research addresses fundamental real-world problems; one of the best ways to uncover those problems can be through industrial collaborations, and successful resolution of those problems can lead to the kind of impact that may well be needed in the next REF. Industry collaborations can also enhance the student experience, such as through work experience opportunities or guest lecture invitations.

Industry also has a lot to gain from collaborations with universities. Universities can offer the best in cutting-edge research, which can be tremendously exciting to an enterprise which might be using outdated approaches, or might just not have the time and resources to dedicate to innovation. Even the largest organisations often do not have the research capacity to innovate constantly in relation to all of their activities, which is why we see universities collaborating with industries of all shapes and sizes. A university collaboration can be a mark of prestige and value to a business organisation, increasing its value and standing among its competitors, and also in the eyes of evaluators such as investors. Collaborations also provide opportunities for businesses to reflect upon their working practices.

Collaborations with businesses in the North-East of England have their own particular benefits. Compared to the rest of the UK, the North-East has the lowest number of start-up companies per capita. Accordingly, local collaborations can help improve this record, while building the regional economy and innovative capacity, and potentially tackling specific societal and economic challenges.

Barriers to collaboration

The establishment of industrial collaborations, however, entails overcoming a number of barriers. Universities do not always market their expertise well; it can be very difficult for external organisations to find out essential information: the expertise, skills and equipment available; who is available for and interested in collaborations; how to go about making and developing contacts. Universities can appear to be alien, intimidating environments; the idea of the ‘ivory tower’ can be off-putting. In addition, universities can be perceived to be expensive working partners, they have different priorities from businesses, and businesses and universities speak a different language and run on different timescales.

Exploration-Innovation - M Schmidt (CC by 2.0)
Exploration-Innovation – M Schmidt (CC by 2.0)

Developing successful projects

There are a number of ways to try to overcome the barriers to collaboration and develop successful projects. University Business Engagement Managers are very happy to talk to academics and provide support. They can point academics to suitable business representatives who are also keen to encourage new projects that will support businesses. Indeed, it can often be wise to involve a trusted body, such as an organisation that provides representation for a set of industries, in a project or a funding application. This body can guide academics to suitable local contacts, and explain the priorities, schedules, and needs of the particular industry in question. It’s always important to keep in mind that successful projects are only built on successful relationships with people, and so building relationships has to be paramount. Starting with a small project, such as a dissertation project, can be a good way to build trust and knowledge of different working styles and needs. Finding out what the industry needs, and offering to help, is a more effective opening gambit than striding in with a request for money, input, or project commitment. Finally, once the project is up and running, then a few things might help it proceed smoothly: have a clear plan; establish common goals and projects; and build in engagement opportunities such as workshops or seminars where you keep people up to date with the project development and particularly its successes.

The event, ‘ESRC Impact Acceleration Account Capacity Building Event’, was held on 26th April 2016, and hosted by Newcastle University (Business School). This report was written by event delegate Dr Tamsin Saxton, Senior Lecturer in Psychology (


Seminar invite: Enhancing employability – do we really know what we are doing?

Newcastle Business School and Department of Psychology are holding a joint seminar on “Enhancing Employability” on Thursday 23rd June from 13.00-16.30 at City Campus East CCE1-224c to which all interested staff are welcome.

The seminar will examine developments in the conceptualisation and theorisation of employability from empirical research. It also aims to question the established orthodoxy of employability as the acquisition and possession of capabilities which can be transferred directly into employment.

There will be presentations from diverse perspectives from across the disciplines of business, law, education and psychology. The seminar will conclude by inviting all participants to consider the way forward for collective research into employability.

For further information or to register your attendance, please email




Enhancing Employability: Do we really know what we are doing? Call for presenters

call for papers has been launched for a research seminar being run Our Direction by Brian Talbot CC BY-NCcollaboratively between Newcastle Business School and the Department of Psychology on 23rd June, 2016 from 1400-1600, in CCE1-221.

The seminar will examine development in the conceptualisation and theorisation of employability through empirical research across the career stages: from early through to later-career.

Interested colleagues from across Northumbria’s 4 faculties are invited to present empirical or theoretical research in the field of employability and to pose challenging questions to engage delegates in dialogue to question the established orthodoxy of employability as the acquisition and possession of capabilities which can be transferred directly into employment.

If you are interested in finding out more, please contact by noon on 2 June, 2016. If you would like to present your work, please email a brief proposal (max. 300 words) by the same deadline.

The Seminar Convenors are: Kate Black (NBS), Vicki Elsey (Psychology), Neill Thompson (Psychology) and Russell Warhurst (NBS)



Early Career Researchers Forum this Thursday, 21 April, 12.00-13.30, CCE1 012

Question Mark Sign by Colin Kinner CC BY 2.0

The next Early Career Researcher Forum will be held on Thursday 21 April, 12.00-1.30 in room 012, CCE1 (the Faculty of Business and Law building on City Campus East).

This will be an opportunity to meet the ECR Working Group, the ECR representatives from each faculty who represent ECRs on various university and faculty committees and groups.

We do not have a strict definition of ECR that we adhere to and any colleague in the early stages of their research career, irrespective of career stage, discipline etc., is very welcome to come along to meet fellow ECRs and hear about some of the initiatives and ideas taking place across the university.

As well as giving an informal opportunity to meet and network with ECRs from across the University, the meeting will also include:

Question Mark Sign by Colin Kinner CC BY 2.0
Question Mark Sign by Colin Kinner CC BY 2.0
  • an update on ECR activities from Tora Smulders-Srinivasan, Chair of the ECR Forum
  • a discussion on sharing best practice in supporting staff undertaking doctorates
  • Professor George Marston, PVC (Research and Innovation) will also give an update on the University’s multi-disciplinary research themes
  • an update on plans for ECR training for next academic year and an opportunity to share your views on the kinds of training and development that would benefit you the most.


There is no need to sign up, just come along if you are free. Feel free to bring your lunch with you.



Integrable Systems in Newcastle: 5-6 February 2016

A light symphony by Kevin Dooley CC BY
A light symphony by Kevin Dooley CC BY

The third edition of the meeting Integrable Systems in Newcastle will take place over two half days, from 5 to 6 February 2016, at the Department of Mathematics and Information Sciences of Northumbria University, Newcastle upon Tyne.

The workshop will focus on exploring new connections between integrability and physics and will promote interactions between leading researchers in both areas.

The list of speakers will be:

  • Dr Martina Balagovic (Newcastle)
  • Dr Gennady El (Loughborough)
  • Dr Pierre-Philippe Dechant (York)
  • Prof Katrin Leschke (Leicester)
  • Dr Davide Proment (East Anglia)
  • Prof Noel Smyth (Edinburgh)
  • Prof Iain W. Stewart (Strathclyde)

There is no registration fee for this event and support for the expenses of research students may be available.

For further information visit the website at and contact Benoit Huard ( to confirm participation.

The meeting is supported by an LMS Scheme 1 Conference grant and by the Department of Mathematics and Information Sciences at Northumbria University.


Reminder: RBS Showcase tomorrow with fantastic prize draw

RBS Showcase EventYou probably know that we’re running a Research and Business Services Showcase Event tomorrow, 15 December, in Rutherford Hall in the Ellison Building from 12.00-2.00pm. Please drop-in and find out more about what RBS does and who can support you in your research and enterprise activities. 20151214_095911_resized

As well as mince pies and Christmas drinks, we’ll also have a fantastic prize draw where you will have the chance to win one of two hampers of goodies from some of our amazing student and graduate enterpreneurs. See you tomorrow!


Law School Open Access drop-in on Thursday 26 November

Professor Chris Ashford and I will be running an Open Access drop-in on Thursday 26 November from 11-12 in thequestion by cesar bojorquez CC BY 2.0 CCE1 staff room. It will be an opportunity to ask any OA–related questions and find out more about the new University policy and how it applies to law publications and the Law School more broadly. To find out more about the University’s policy, click here.