Boost your Research by Overcoming Academic Isolation and Connecting with your Research Community

Dr Olivier Sibai introduces a new series of workshops to support academics to integrate with their wider research community.

As academics, we develop our research within globalized research communities, also known as academic fields. Engaging with our research communities allows us to develop, publish and disseminate our research, but also to get a sense of satisfaction and fulfilment from doing research.

Yet, as academics, we often have difficulties engaging with our research communities, a phenomenon called academic isolation. With 40% of academics and more than half below the age of 35 feeling isolated in their research communities, academic isolation has become the norm, especially among early career researchers (ECRs) (The conversation, 2019).

Academic isolation reduces our productivity, promotes dissatisfaction with our research careers, and generates loneliness. Social distancing resulting from the covid pandemic has intensified the issue of isolation among ECRs, making it harder to integrate well in their research communities.

In order to support academics’ integration in their research community, we have developed a professional development workshop series that will address obstacles such as:

  • Experiences of isolation in their research field
  • Barriers to engagement with relevant researchers
  • Difficulties developing and demonstrating competencies valued in their research community

After this workshop series, you will be able to:

  • Develop creative solutions to research challenges and roadblocks
  • Establish new research networks that will help you attain your strategic research goals
  • Communicate about your research to gain recognition in your community
  • Build and engage with your own research collective
  • Leverage professional development initiatives offered in your research community

Who is this workshop for?

All interested Birkbeck faculty members will benefit from participating in this workshop. However, early career faculty and research staff who have completed their PhD holding post-doc positions or lectureships will particularly benefit from participating.

Overview of the workshop series

The series consists of six workshops focusing on the main strategies to integrate in a research community. Some workshops will take place face to face at Birkbeck, while others will take place online via Microsoft Teams. For more information on each workshop, click on the links below.


Headshots of the workshop facilitators listed below.

The workshop series is organized by Dr Olivier Sibai, lecturer in the Department of Management. Olivier has run a number of workshops on academic isolation. He has also co-authored research on which the proposed professional development workshop is based:

Belkhir, M., Brouard, M., Brunk, K. H., Dalmoro, M., Ferreira, M. C., Figueiredo, B., Huff A., Scaraboto D., Sibai O., & Smith A. N. (2019), Isolation in Globalizing Academic Fields: A Collaborative Autoethnography of Early Career Researchers. Academy of Management Learning and Education, Volume 18, No 2, pp. 261-285.

Olivier will be joined by guest speakers with substantive expertise and experience on specific strategies to integrate research communities. These are:

  • Amanda Cravens, Research Social Scientist at the Fort Collins Science Centre and founder of the Standford feedback research collective showcased by Nature
  • Markus Giesler, Marketing professor at Schulich School of business, nominated as part of the “40 under 40” professor by Poets & Quants and named “Young business school star professor on the rise,” by CNN.
  • Ieva Martinaitytė, Assistant Professor of Organisational Behavior at University of East Anglia, UK and the founder of Creativity Lab
  • Agnieszka Radziwon, Associate Professor of Innovation Management at Aarhus University, Denmark and Research Fellow at Berkeley, USA
  • Isabel Davis, Reader in Medieval Literature and Culture, and AD for Equalities, School of Arts
  • Elisa Ferre, Reader in Psychological Sciences, School of Science
  • Alex Poulovlassis, Emeritus Professor of computer science, School of BEI
  • Rebecca Whiting, Reader in Organisation studies, School of BEI

How do I register?

To register for individual workshops, click on the links of each individual workshop above.


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