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Welcome to a new co-chair and our Departmental Advocates for Research Staff.

We are delighted to welcome Benjamin Foster (Department of Biochemistry) as a new co-chair for the MSD Research Staff Forum. Benjamin joins co-chair Irina Chelysheva (Department of Paediatrics) to chair the Forum and represent the Division in the University-wide Research Staff Consultation Group (RSCG). We are very grateful for the dedication and enthusiasm of the out-going co-chair Dexter Canoy (formerly, Nuffield Department of Women’s and Reproductive Health).

The Forum comprises researcher representatives from every MSD department and meets at least once per term to discuss issues affecting the experiences, well-being, career development and working environment of researchers. For example, the implications of fixed-term and externally funded open ended contracts and visa fees for research staff is an area of current activity, which has been taken forward to RSCG. The Forum is actively engaged with Divisional and university plans to support the Concordat to Support the Career Development of Researchers. Within their departments, representatives are busy supporting local networks and activities for researchers such as career development workshops, seminars, mentoring and socials, as well as participation in departmental committees.

Excitingly, research staff representatives are now being joined by Departmental Advocates for Research Staff. The Advocates are senior academics or researchers who support the research staff representatives and champion positive initiatives for research staff and research culture within their department. Thank you to the 10 departments who have nominated Advocates so far; we hope the remaining departments will be able to appoint an Advocate soon. Departments can discuss with the Divisional Advocate for Research Staff, Professor John Frater (Nuffield Department of Medicine).

Interested in making positive changes in research culture and supporting research staff? Contact the research staff representative from your department or your Departmental Advocate.

If you have any questions or would like to find out more about the Forum, you can reach the co-chairs and Research Culture Facilitator (Mary Muers) via