Research mentoring on the edge: early career researchers and academic fringe-dwelling

Wendy Sutherland-Smith, Sue Saltmarsh, Holly Randell-Moon

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference proceeding contributionpeer-review


Discourses of research leadership define not only what quality research leadership can and should be, but also identify those who speak and act with authority. Similarly, these discourses construct particular professional identities and idealised ‘ways of being’. They provide possibilities for research leaders as well as those categorised as 'Early Career Researchers' (ECRs) to create alternative identities and representations of themselves. This study reports the views of 32 academics across 16 Australian universities in four States about research mentoring and leadership for ECRs. The primary interest was to explore how research leadership is conceptualised, implemented and negotiated in the disciplinary fields of business, nursing and education. Whilst a number of ECRs viewed formal research mentoring as taking a ‘tick the box’ approach that they believed of limited value, a number of research leaders had different views. Most senior research leaders viewed the systemic provision of assistance their universities offered in a positive light. The dissonance in views centred on the subject positioning of academics in research. The dissatisfaction expressed by ECRs, a number of whom positioned themselves as fringe-dwellers ‘on the edge’ of their institutional research culture, raises questions about research sustainability and succession planning in Australian tertiary institutions.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationHigher Education Research and Development Society of Australasia (HERDSA) - “Higher Education on the Edge”, 4-7 July, Gold Coast, Queensland, Refereed Conferencing Proceedings
Number of pages10
Publication statusPublished - 2011
EventHERDSA Annual International Conference (34th : 2011) - Gold Coast, Australia
Duration: 4 Jul 20117 Jul 2011


ConferenceHERDSA Annual International Conference (34th : 2011)
CityGold Coast, Australia


  • Early Career Researchers
  • research leadership
  • mentoring


Dive into the research topics of 'Research mentoring on the edge: early career researchers and academic fringe-dwelling'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this