Career and Research Skills Training (CaRST) is a specialised training and development program for Higher Degree by Research (HDR) students at the University of Adelaide.
Located within the Adelaide Graduate Centre, CaRST provides opportunities for personal and professional development delivered through a range of workshops, courses, events, and other learning experiences that aim to prepare HDRs for a diverse array of research and research-related career paths.
This exciting new program represents a strategic and forward-looking approach to deliver more comprehensive research training and career development for HDR students.
Embedding transferable skills development within HDR training is becoming increasingly critical to prepare graduates for success in the variety of career options available today. Conventional research training programs emphasise building academic and research skills as well as deep disciplinary knowledge; however students today, by and large, will not follow an academic career path or spend a majority of their time as academic researchers. In fact, HDR graduates can expect to pursue a wide array of professional opportunities in both research and non-research capacities across academia, business, industry, government, and not-for-profits.
In order to ensure our students are ready for graduate employment, the Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research) commissioned an external review of HDR skills development at the University. This review delivered a set of recommendations informed by interviews with key stakeholders, AGC student survey data, best practices in research training globally, and government policy and recommendations. A major outcome of this review has been the creation of a refreshed central and whole-of-cohort Career and Research Skills Training program (CaRST).
CaRST aims to:
- Develop a coordinated approach to HDR training across the University
- Expand HDR training to take into account a variety of career destinations and skills development needs
- Create a high quality and contemporary training program for researchers to become leaders in their chosen fields
Overview of the CaRST Approach
CaRST is organised around the four domains of the Vitae Researcher Development Framework (RDF), a widely endorsed framework for the professional development of researchers.
The RDF details the knowledge, behaviour and attributes of successful researchers in four important areas:
- Knowledge and intellectual abilities
- Personal effectiveness
- Research governance and organisation
- Engagement, influence, and impact
Activities are mapped to the four domains of the RDF and students must complete a minimum number of hours in each. This ensures HDRs become more balanced researchers and enhances their skills for employment in a range of professions.
There is no set curriculum with CaRST. Each student creates their own personalised program of professional development in the context of their research and career aspirations.
HDRs select from a wide array of accredited training available within the University and from other relevant experiences that enhance the knowledge and skills of a researcher but that are not formally taught. These include:
- Workshops, short courses, online courses and other structured training programs
- Core activities that are compulsory for candidature, i.e. Postgraduate Induction, Core Component of the Structure Program, and Integrated Bridging Program - Research for international students
- Experiential activities, such as attending conferences and delivering presentations
Roll-out of CaRST
CaRST is undergoing a staged implementation plan:
- Phase I: CaRST will be piloted with a small group of HDR students who commenced in 2016
- Phase II: CaRST will become a compulsory requirement for all PhD and MPhil students commencing on, or after, 1 January 2017