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A View from the Foothills: Public Engagement among Early Career Researchers

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Abstract

This article argues that the incentives to spend time and resources engaging with non-academic groups are largely absent for early career researchers, who are usually focused on acquiring the essential elements of a good academic CV, namely publishing articles in peer-reviewed journals, gaining teaching experience and presenting papers at disciplinary conferences. As a result, early career researchers have little reason to undertake training in how to engage with non-academic groups, and institutions have no reason to make such training integral to a researcher's professional development. However, a survey of early career researchers in the UK conducted for this article shows that there is a definite appetite among researchers to undertake public engagement activities. But if public engagement is to become a routine part of a researcher's activities then the weight that potential employers afford to these endeavours needs to increase substantially.

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