The Design And The Digital World programme was based on the collaboration between Loughborough University, The University of Leicester, The University of Nottingham and Vitae, and was run by a number of individuals within each of these institutions.
Dr Becky Mallaband
Becky is currently co-chair of Loughborough University’s Research Staff Association and therefore has a vested interest in the needs and development of research staff within her institution. Being based in the Design School, she was aware of the pool of knowledge and skills relating to digital design held by research staff and how these skills were shared within the department. On reflection it became clear that these skills weren’t been shared between staff throughout the University and so the idea for a peer-to-peer training programme was developed.
Becky is also a Research Associate within the Loughborough Design School as part of the User Centred Design Research Group, focusing on the householder aspects of saving energy within the home.
Dr Sarah Barnard
Sarah became joint-chair of Loughborough University’s Research Staff Association in January 2013 and since then has been active in trying to raise the profile of research staff in the institution. She is also a Research Associate in Civil and Building Engineering. The Design and the Digital World programme offers fantastic opportunities for research staff to gain experience delivering training in areas of expertise and to take part in tailored workshops where we can learn something new in a supportive environment. The workshops also enable research staff to get to know other research staff and build connections across disciplines and institutions. Sarah is really looking forward to attending the sessions, meeting new people and updating her digital skills too.
Dr Kerstin Leder Mackley
Kerstin was a joint-chair of Loughborough University’s Research Staff Association (LURSA) from January 2013 until February 2014 when she passed on her role to go on maternity leave. She was chiefly involved in the planning stages of Design and the Digital World and was glad to see the fruits of everyone’s hard labour when participating in one of its closing sessions. Kerstin has been employed on a number of interdisciplinary Digital Economy projects since starting her post-doctoral career in 2009, first at the School of Engineering and Design, Brunel University, then in the Department of Social Sciences at Loughborough University. As such, she is only too aware of the digital challenges and demands that are placed on RAs, as well as the potential for research staff to share a vast range of skills and experiences across disciplinary boundaries.
Kerstin currently works as a Research Associate on the HotHouse project at the Loughborough Design School. She is still involved with the Research Staff Association, representing the Design School’s research staff on the LURSA committee.
University of Leicester
Dr Martin Sterry
Martin is a Post-Doctoral Research Fellow in the School of Archaeology and Ancient History where he researches the settlement history of the Sahara. He coordinates the College of Arts, Humanities and Law Research Staff Group with Dr Ceri Jones (Museum Studies) and is a member of the Concordat Steering Group at Leicester.
The College of Arts, Humanities and Law Research Staff Group is an informal network of staff in the College that meets to provide support to its members and provide feedback to the Academic Practice Unit and Concordat Steering Group.
University of Nottingham
Dr Sarah Martindale
Sarah has been a Research Fellow at the University of Nottingham since January 2012; her first postdoctoral position. The University of Nottingham, described by The Sunday Times University Guide 2014 as ‘one of the first to embrace a truly international approach to higher education’, has award-winning campuses in the United Kingdom, China and Malaysia and hosts a truly global academic community in all three countries. It is ranked within the top 1% of all universities worldwide and placed 75th in the QS World University Rankings 2013/14. Placed 7th in the UK for research power by the latest Research Assessment Exercise, Nottingham is a major research institution which delivers work of international significance.
Sarah works at Horizon Digital Economy Research, which is an interdisciplinary hub funded by Research Councils UK. She has found that collaborating closely with colleagues from a broad range of disciplines to investigate how digital technology may enhance the way we live, work, play and travel in the future has benefitted my personal development hugely. That’s why she thinks that this peer-to-peer training programme has so much to offer the East Midlands community of research staff. Digital innovations can seem daunting and incomprehensible, especially for someone without technical expertise. Receiving encouragement and support to try new approaches to research is really valuable, especially as you learn that many successes are serendipitous. Everyone gains something in terms of confidence and inspiration when good practice is shared and knowledge exchanged.