Universities have a duty of care to equip Higher Degree by Research students (HDRs) with the skills required to build careers within and outside of academia. Underscored in the 2016 ACOLA Review, transferrable skills training is now an integral part of a contemporary research education program. The Career and Research Skills Training (CaRST) program is the University of Adelaide’s approach to deliver more comprehensive research training and career development for HDRs. Embedded into the graduate research degree and complementary to the main research project, CaRST incorporates eResearch skills training along with a number of other personal and professional skills that are valuable for success in the modern workplace.
The CaRST Method
CaRST is structured around the four domains of the Vitae Researcher Development Framework (RDF), namely:
- Domain A: knowledge & intellectual abilities
- Domain B: personal effectiveness
- Domain C: research governance and organization
- Domain D: engagement, influence and impact.
The program implements a credit system for HDRs through which they can track their development across various domains and also incentivizes them to diversify their skills. Credits can be gained by completing a variety of activities, including training and seminars organized by CaRST, industry engagement, and self-recorded activities such as external training.
Contribution by Intersect
Intersect conducts eResearch training courses and webinars across multiple tools and technologies that fall under Domain A in the CaRST framework. Therefore, as the University of Adelaide joined Intersect as a member, the Intersect eResearch Analyst (eRA), Marium Khan, along with the Intersect training team, worked closely with the CaRST team to ensure that the relevant Intersect training courses and webinars are integrated smoothly into their program. The Intersect eRA works in tandem with CaRST to schedule courses that are in high demand, have them added to the CaRST online booking systems, and disseminate information about upcoming courses through various channels. Intersect has also streamlined the process of reporting attendance at these courses to CaRST as well as automatically generating certificates of attendance that are required by attendees to record these activities for credit. This seamless integration of Intersect and CaRST processes was critical to provide HDRs with a smooth experience with minimal administrative overhead for the CaRST team.
In addition to providing training courses, the Intersect eRA has also contributed to CaRST’s internal reporting and data analysis. The eRA built live reports in the online BI tool, Yellowfin, to support the annual CaRST reviews. The reports track the progress of candidates as they go through the program including whether they are on track for completion based on their candidature year, as well as the distribution of credits across the various domains. The eRA also conducted a detailed analysis of CaRST data for 2020, exploring the trends across faculties, programs and candidature year of HDRs in the program.
Since October 2019, Intersect has provided training to over 560 UOA attendees who would have been eligible for a cumulative of up to 3200 CaRST credits under Domain A. The partnership with Intersect has greatly enhanced the capacity and capability of the University of Adelaide to provide knowledge and skills to its HDR students that would prove instrumental throughout their careers.