Vytautas Kavolis Institute Will Focus on Upskilling Early Career Researchers

  • 2024-05-07

The Vytautas Kavolis Transdisciplinary Research Institute of Vytautas Magnus University starts the University Excellence Initiative Project (SOCMTEP) funded by Lithuania's Ministry of Education, Science and Sport. The main objective of this project, which started at the end of 2023 and will last until 2027, is strengthening the Institute's research and development (R&D) activities to improve the quality of Lithuania's scientific output and enhance the competences of researchers.

Goals of the Excellence Project

The project aims to strengthen research and development (R&D) activities and provide more significant opportunities to achieve and maintain the highest recognition in the Institute's most promising research topics, contribute to the development of the scientific infrastructure, and strengthen the scientific competencies of the Institute's researchers.

The project will also promote the attraction of early career researchers. By 2027, it aims to recruit 29 early career researchers (8 new researchers, 4 postdoctoral fellows, and 17 PhD students) who will engage in scientific activities alongside experienced researchers and thus acquire the necessary competencies to develop their scientific careers.

“This is one of the first state funded projects which focuses on the early-career researchers' training. I believe it is an essential part of the University ecosystem, not only strengthening our research teams but also thinking about the University's future as an academic community”, says Assoc. Prof. Dr. Jurga Bučaitė-Vilkė, Director of the Vytautas Kavolis Institute and SOCMTEP Project Leader.

Competence Development Training for Researchers

One of the main activities of the Excellence project is to strengthen the competencies of researchers. By 2027, 32 theoretical and practical training sessions are planned to be organized to enhance researchers' various knowledge and competencies. Some of the training will be designed to introduce researchers to the latest methods in the social sciences and humanities, with a strong focus on data collection, analysis, and datafication strategies and tools. Another part of the training will invite both early career and experienced researchers to deepen their understanding of managerial and administrative skills and knowledge to encourage researchers to attract external R&D funding and develop international partnerships.

Training will also be organized each year to encourage researchers to focus on crucial complementary research implementation activities such as strategies for disseminating research results to the public, developing and maintaining cooperation with social partners, practical application of research results in public policy-making processes or the business sector, etc.

Leadership workshops for early-career researchers are another project activity that is expected to provide the necessary knowledge and skills to develop independent careers in academia. This initiative has been successfully implemented at the University of Helsinki, where a course on Academic Leadership and Career Planning is offered to early-career researchers to help them improve their leadership skills and strategic planning of research topics.

The project will also focus on developing the relationship with society and the prospects for exploitation of research results. The Institute's researchers will invite members of the public to roundtable discussions and will seek to build wider networks with interested groups.

About Vytautas Kavolis Institute

Vytautas Kavolis Transdisciplinary Research Institute is the first consolidated research institute in Lithuania, established in 2023, operating within the Vyrautas Magnus University boundaries and bringing together researchers from more than ten social sciences and the humanities fields in transdisciplinary teams to address thematic challenges in society. The Institute's research activities are based on transdisciplinary research, aiming to expand the boundaries of traditional scientific disciplines and develop horizontal and vertical research directions and themes. The name of the Institute is associated with the ideas and works of Vytautas Martynas Kavolis (1930-1999), a prominent émigré scientist, sociologist, publicist, and public figure who left his imprint on the restored Vytautas Magnus University.