Highlights of 2020 from the IASP Early Career Group

FROM THE IASP ECG CO-CHAIRS, OLIVIA KIRTLEY, CAROLINE DALY, & TIAGO ZORTEA.

Although it feels as though hardly any time has passed since many of us were enjoying the 2019 IASP World Congress in Derry-Londonderry, 2020 is drawing to a close. Whilst this year has seen many lows, there have also been some positive developments. Here are the IASP Early Career Group’s highlights of 2020.

In 2018, the ECG established two Task Forces: one on implementing the Registered Reports article format at Crisis and the other on the mental health and wellbeing of Early Career Researchers (ECRs). The Registered Reports format aims to improve transparency, reproducibility, and replicability of research, to move us towards a more open and rigorous science of suicide prevention research. The Task Force, led by ECG Co-Chairs Dr Olivia Kirtley, Dr Caroline Daly and Dr Tiago Zortea, were delighted that earlier this year Editor in-Chief of Crisis, Professor Jane Pirkis, implemented Registered Reports at Crisis, making Crisis the first specialist suicide research journal to take this important step towards greater transparency.

In 2019 the ECR mental health and wellbeing Task Force, co-led by Dr Nicole Hill and Ms Eleanor Bailey, conducted a survey with more than 200 ECRs worldwide who are working in mental health research to find out more about their experiences and the challenges they face. Analysis of these data is currently underway and findings will be released in due course.

Continuing with the theme of mental health and wellbeing among ECRs, during this year’s World Suicide Prevention Month, the ECG organised an online hackathon session entitled ‘Reshape your research and reset your mind: Tips for ECRs during COVID-19’. During the hackathon, a small group of ECGs worked collaboratively to identify the key challenges facing ECRs during the COVID-19 pandemic and to consider potential solutions to these. Plans are currently underway to take these discussions further and produce support resources for ECRs.

Finally, in collaboration with the congress organising committee, the ECG Co-Chairs are currently planning a stimulating programme of activities for ECRs at the 2021 IASP World Congress in Gold Coast. Whilst the COVID-19 situation may mean these activities look somewhat different from those of previous congresses, the ECG is committed to ensuring that ECRs are provided with networking and development opportunities during the congress and beyond.