Early Career Researchers Network Blog

A Journey of Discovery and Collaboration

Dr Felicty Healey-Benson from the University of Wales, Trinity St David reflects on her experience at the Learned Society of Wales Colloquium for Early Career Researchers at Swansea University

Learning from Others

On July 6, 2023, I had the distinct honour of attending the Learned Society of Wales ECR Network Colloquium 2023: Contributing to a Prosperous Wales. This transformative event was a day filled with intellectual stimulation, beneficial interactions, and dynamic networking opportunities.

The colloquium commenced with an enlightening keynote from Professor Uzo Iwobi, OBE (Founder:  Race Council Cymru) who spoke candidly about her experiences of moving from Nigeria to Wales in the early 1990s. Her heartfelt narrative on cultural exclusion and racism resonated profoundly, underscoring the importance of diversity and inclusion in our society. Her journey serves as a reminder that cultural evolution is ongoing and that each one of us plays a part in fostering a more accepting, equitable society.

Following this, I attended a workshop on Peer Review conducted by Professor Simon Hands (University of Liverpool) and Dr Shareena Hamzah-Osbourne (Swansea University). The discussion was profoundly beneficial, elucidating the essence of being a peer reviewer and its critical role in the publishing process. The advice dispensed on avoiding common pitfalls in peer reviews was invaluable. The interactive session further facilitated engaging exchanges with other researchers at varying stages of their careers.

The afternoon was dotted with a series of Flash Talks, a vibrant blend of research ideas presented by ECRs from various fields. The forum emphasised stimulating new ideas, sparking collaborations, and fostering interdisciplinary research. The feedback guidance provided an immense learning curve for all attendees, myself included.

This transformative event was a day filled with intellectual stimulation, beneficial interactions, and dynamic networking opportunities.

Harmonious Entrepreneurship

A key personal highlight of the day was the poster competition. I was awarded my Doctorate in 2023 and am a Researcher and Entrepreneurial Learning Champion in UWTSD’s International Institute for Creative Entrepreneurship Development.  My competition entry was entitled “Fostering Sustainable Ventures and Future Skills Development in Wales: The Harmonious Entrepreneurship Competition.”  It introduced the novel concept of Harmonious Entrepreneurship developed by UWTSD Honorary Professor of Practice, Professor David A Kirby, and I illustrated its importance in resolving both global sustainability challenges and more local sustainability issues. It is based on systems thinking and the harmony principles espoused by King Charles (as Prince of Wales). In particular I discussed an innovative extra-curricular staff-student competition that I introduced, which encourages its participants to be entrepreneurial, fosters in them an enterprising spirit, and equips them with the knowledge and skills to create sustainable profit-making business ventures that do not focus just on shareholder satisfaction and “making as much money as possible”.

We beta-tested the competition  in 2022 between students of UWTSD and the University of Malaya-Wales, and in my presentation I demonstrated how it promotes an entrepreneurial solution based on a  triple bottom line business model in which profit, planet, and people are in harmony. The poster stressed that a prosperous Wales is not merely about generating wealth but by doing so ethically, protecting both the planet and its inhabitants.

To my delight, my poster presentation was awarded the third prize, a testament to the relevance and potential of the harmonious entrepreneurship concept and, I believe, the contribution of my research to a prosperous and sustainable Wales. It was an absolute honour to be recognised by the Learned Society of Wales community, domestic recognition of the significance of my research and its ongoing contribution to the leading entrepreneurship role of UWTSD, the Triple E European University of the Year for 2022.

Felicity Healey-Benson

A Bridge to a Career in Research

The Learned Society of Wales’ Colloquium was more than just a showcase of research; it provided a dynamic platform for early career researchers to network, learn, and collaborate. The engaging discussions, constructive criticism, and insightful exchanges broadened my perspective, amplifying the significance of interdisciplinary research and collaboration in addressing the most pressing problems our country and the world are facing.

Ultimately, I believe research initiatives such as the Harmonious Entrepreneurship Competition and forums like the Colloquium are key to a prosperous and sustainable Wales, especially in the modern, global knowledge economy. They play a vital role in stimulating intellectual and ethical growth, while simultaneously giving voice to various disciplines. These concerted efforts showcase the leading contribution of research in Wales and empower our early career researchers to further elevate our contribution globally.

For me, the Colloquium offered more than just a showcase of research, however.  It was an invitation to a nurturing environment that encouraged collaboration, networking, and personal growth. As a recent doctoral graduate, I found the Colloquium to be a welcome bridge between my academic journey and my impending researcher professional pathway, affirming the importance of research in addressing real-world challenges. This inspires and guides me to strive collectively for a harmonious and prosperous future.

The Learned Society of Wales, as a national academy for Arts and Sciences, provides an excellent platform for ECRs to engage with innovative research ideas and gain experiences that support their professional development. I am sincerely grateful for having  been a part of this enriching colloquium, and I am excited for what the future holds for us as early career researchers in Wales.  Let us continue to push boundaries, forge new collaborations, and strive to create an impact through our research.

One final thought. To quote the late much-decorated Professor Stephen Hawking CBE (1942-2018) “No one undertakes research in…with the intention of winning a prize. It is the joy of discovering something no one knew before”.

Learned Society of Wales, incorporated by Royal Charter. Registered Charity Number 1168622.

Registered office: The University Registry, King Edward VII Avenue, Cathays Park, Cardiff CF10 3NS

Website by: Waters

Our survey software is powered by SmartSurvey