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Update from ERA (Emerging Researchers in Ageing)
The Emerging Researchers in Ageing group is a vital part of the British Society of Gerontology, and as part of the Executive Committee, works consistently to focus on the key strategic objectives of the Society. ERA is crucial in inviting new mem
bership and supporting early career researchers who are the lifeblood of the Society.

In place of a separate ERA conference, this year we held a workshop and seminar facilitated by Norah Keating and Frank Whittington the day before the BSG conference at Plymouth. During the conference, ERA also hosted a ‘Living Library’ event consisting of a panel of eminent academics who freely gave their time to speak on a one-to-one basis with early career researchers in a speed-dating type format. Both events were well attended and proved great successes. Our sincere thanks go to those who supported these events, particularly Norah Keating and Frank Whittington for the excellent workshop and seminar and the panel members who made the living library an inspirational and interesting occasion.

It is important to note that whilst we rightfully celebrate our many achievements built upon the hard work of successive Chairs and key members, we must also maintain a critical perspective not just of our achievements, but also the challenges and the opportunities that we face to move forward and grow stronger and wiser. Recruitment continues to be a key strategic objective and priority for ERA and improvements have been made in the ways in which early career researchers are identified at the point of joining the Society and renewal of membership. However, more needs to be done in encouraging new members, and to do this ERA needs to move past its traditional ‘student’ image which is no longer fully representative of its actual and potential membership.

A picture has continued to emerge showing us that early career researchers are entering the field of gerontology from an increasingly diverse range of pathways often with an impressive repertoire of existing skills, experience and knowledge. ERA will strive to become more relevant and engage with and mobilise this diverse membership. A key step in achieving this has been taken in appointing co-Chairs who will share overall responsibility for ERA but have specific roles in developing post-graduate and post-doctoral support and learning networks. It is therefore my pleasure to welcome Dr Deborah Cairns of Brunel University and Ms Naomi Woodspring of University of West England as post-doc and post-grad Co-Chairs respectively. We are also delighted to welcome post-doc and post-grad Chairs elect Laura Soulsby, University of Liverpool, and Deborah Morgan, Swansea University. Laura and Deborah will support the work of the new co-Chairs and take over from them following completion of their two year term.

As this is my final report to GR as Chair of ERA I would like to take the opportunity to thank the Executive Committee, in particular Mim Bernard and Judith Phillips for their enthusiasm and commitment to ERA. Thanks must also go to those who have been instrumental in making the various ERA conferences and events happen in particular Rachel Hazelwood, BSG administrator extraordinaire; Dr Kelly Fitzgerald for her mentorship and support during our Cardiff conference in 2009; Dr Kathleen Lane, University of East Anglia for her tireless support and enthusiasm for our 2010 conference and other friends and colleagues too numerous to mention for all your hard work and support. I am certain the new co-Chairs will also enjoy the same level of support.
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