Sustaining research through the economic downturn – in the UK and Europe

On the 6th and 7th of September 2010, the historic Midland hotel in central Manchester, UK was filled with nearly 400 participants attending the Vitae Researcher Development Conference. The discussion of ideas on professional development and support for researchers at this year’s annual gathering is of particular importance, as it comes cheek by jowl with the UK spending review outcomes to be announced this Autumn – and with an expectation of hard times to come. The conference participants were set to discuss the new political context, to gather evidence of the contribution of researchers to the academic base and to economic and cultural prosperity, and to address future skill sets of researchers and the UK’s place in the global research environment.