Researcher Development

Researcher Development @ UniSA

The Researcher Development project is a UniSA commitment to provide development opportunities for early and mid career researchers (ECRs and MCRs) to thrive in their careers. It also aims to enhance employability and support capacity building of Higher Degree by Research (HDR) candidates and academic staff. 

This university-wide project will be delivered across 2022-2023 and is aligned with the Academic Enterprise Plan section 1.7, aiming to provide researcher development opportunities for research degree candidates and staff throughout their careers.


Aimed to support researchers at all stages, the Researcher Development project provides strategies for advancing the personal, professional and research goals from PhD to Professor.

As goals and targets, the Researcher Development project aims to establish a program, tools and enabling systems to provide enhancing skills, leadership training and networking opportunities from end of 2023. We’re excited to share the range of targeted activities being piloted with the research community in 2022, including Writing Retreats, Action Learning, Leadership and ECR Academy.


These day long (9am - 5pm) writing retreats provide you with an opportunity to have dedicated time and space to write – book chapters, articles and grant papers. The aim is to attend with stated writing goals and switch off your phone and email for the day. The retreats rotate with one being held at each of the four campuses.

These retreats are supported by professional writers who will be able to provide advice and guidance. 

Contact us for more information

With the Action Learning method, you will have the opportunity to master problem-solving skills by working in groups to address organization-wide issues and problems whilst learning from their efforts.

Action Learning involves learning from your own and other people's experiences. Using the group to critically review and find solutions to immediate problems, participants can learn with and from each other. Learning occurs not just through 'technical instruction', but also through questioning, understanding, reflecting, and discovering the world around us.

As a group, participants solve real problems together by working on real issues, in real time.

Register here or contact us for more information  

The Leadership training will be facilitated through Ethos.

This program will provide practical assistance to you to tackle research leadership from three perspectives:

  • Lead your self
  • Lead your team
  • Lead your discipline

You will also gain a deeper understanding of leadership and how to build research capacity in a university.

Register here or contact us for more information  

The UniSA ECR Academy is a six-month program for academic staff in the early stages of their research careers (up to 7 years post-PhD).

A taster of these exploratory and immersive sessions can be found below:

Session 1: Leadership, Culture and Teamwork (September 2022)

This interactive session will focus on setting the scene, getting to know each other, defining what a vibrant research culture looks like and exploring how to lead research successfully. Think practical activities, panel discussions and peer networking.

Session 2: Building a Sustainable Research Career (October 2022)

Led by an external consultant, this lively session will include conversations about self-management, work-life balance, learning and creativity, with an overarching aim of supporting the development of your research career. 

Session 3: Grant Development and Research Support (November 2022)

Do you know all of the routes to research funding in Australia? What supports are available to you within UniSA? Are you skilled at crafting a compelling case for funding in grant applications? This session will kick-start your funding strategy for 2023, with ongoing support available to develop a winning fellowship and/or grant application.

Session 4: Research for Impact (February 2023)

Using real life case studies, this session will outline impact in simple terms and explore the various pathways to impact, including the types of evidence and measures you can use to show your impact. An outcome of this workshop will be the development of an Impact Plan for your own research.

Session 5: Ways of Knowing: Exploring Methodologies (March 2023)

This session will provide opportunity for deep reflection on the nature of inquiry, from ancient living cultures such as Aboriginal Ways of Knowing through to western and lived experience. Build your expertise as a researcher through interdisciplinary conversations about research methodologies.

Session 6: Research Partnerships and Networks (April 2023)

This session will support you to develop your networks both inside and outside of UniSA. You will explore working effectively with mentors and sponsors of your research, establishing powerful research collaborations and building partnerships from a basis of ethical engagement and integrity.

ECR Academy Celebration Event (April 2023)

In this final session we will celebrate the achievements of ECR Academy participants with senior leaders from across the university and alumni from previous ECR development programs. This will be a great opportunity to showcase your research and take the next step into our ECR Alumni network.


The pilot activities are a redevelopment of the ECR Program established in 2007. More information on the grassroots of this program can be found here.

Please apply for the ECR Academy here: ECR Application form. (Please note this form must be downloaded prior to submitting)

Please contact us for more information:  


The Researcher Development project is sponsored by the Deputy Vice Chancellor Research and Enterprise, Professor Marnie Hughes-Warrington. The project is overseen by the Researcher Development Action Group (RDAG), chaired by Professor Susan Hillier as academic champion. The Terms of Reference are available here. The project team based in Research and Innovation Services can be contacted via