What is an RSA?
Research staff associations (RSA) are researcher-led groups or organisations that provide support for new and existing researchers within their institutions.
Research staff inform and develop the skills and knowledge base within their institutions. Informing institutional policy through representation on local committees, RSAs are involved in areas including working conditions, professional development and career opportunities. RSAs ensure the provisions introduced by employers are designed to meet the needs of research staff.
RSAs provide a focal point for their institutions to engage with on research staff issues and initiatives as well as involvement in the organisation of training activities or career development sessions for other researchers.
In order to succeed, we must first believe that we can.
What is the UKRSA?
Established in 2010, the UK Research Staff Association (UKRSA) aims to support the careers of research staff and to promote interactions between researchers in different institutions. The mission of the association is to “empower research staff to take control of their career, and contribute to policy”.
The UKRSA is a group of research staff representatives from a broad range of UK universities, acting as a collective voice for research staff.
The association is supported by Vitae, a non-profit programme in the UK that champions the personal, professional and career development of doctoral researchers and research staff in higher education institutions and research institutes.
Membership of the UKRSA is inclusive and members of research staff are encouraged to get involved.
The researchers, their place of work and their role in the UKRSA are as follows:
Nicola Woodward, Institute of Food Research, Co-Chair and Regional Representative for the East of England
Paddy Hadoke, University of Edinburgh, Co-Chair
Regional representation is provided for the following regions:
- Yorkshire and the North East
- North West
- Scotland and Northern Ireland
- South West and Wales
- South East
Members represent the universities of Glasgow, Manchester, Stirling, Dundee, Cambridge, Oxford, Hull, Northumbria, the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC), the Open University and the London School of Economics (LSE).
What does the UKRSA do?
The UKRSA is also involved with research staff issues on a national and international level, and encourages research staff to engage with their institutions on issues affecting them at a local level.
The association works to:
Nurture research staff communities and help to establish institutional research staff networks along with regional network hubs.
Signpost career development opportunities, contribute to career development conferences and encourage institutions to provide appropriate training.
Influence policy, contribute to the ‘Excellence in Higher Education’ agenda and feed back on implementation of the Concordat recommendations. The association also contributes to research council policy and advises Vitae on appropriate training programmes for research staff.
Raise awareness of researchers working in the UK, by publicising the activities of Vitae and representing researchers at a national level.