Presented by Northstar, 2020 MRS Winners of ‘Best Place to Work’:

  • Jack Miles
  • Simon Von Haartman
  • James Vaughan Smith


  • A well-designed office space and good office culture can be used as a training tool for young researchers. 
  • All levels of employee’s perspectives are important on this 

Offices provide: 

  • Standard/ traditional definitions of an office aren’t reflective of life. An office is place designed to support and drive employee’s development. 
  • Randomness and mess – help everyone to be around different levels of experience.  Messy desks & other people’s ways of working allow Young researchers to engage in conversations. 
  • Q+A’s – Remove friction. Face to face working makes it easier and quicker. Younger researchers are asking less questions and therefore slowing in their development 
  • Collabs – Allow people to get involved in things
  • Development – learning = dopamine = happiness = young researchers not taking their talents elsewhere 

What can older researchers do?

  • Continue to give access/be accessible. Upcycle training in a more informal way.
  • Use docs to show workings out like a white board.
  • Teach by being taught and peer review makes younger researchers feel valued 
  • Using young researchers’ degrees and special practices

Marriage between tech and wellness? 

  • Causal group chats, sharing GIFs take the edge of a stressful day 
  • Take advantage of apps like Miro (virtual post its notes)
  • Encourage Fun social situations to avoid burnout/ isolation
  • Managers need to show how to switch off. Encourage walks and taking breaks  


  • Work can be family 
  • Flexible / relaxed working hours should be maintained alongside management. 
  • Focus on the 4 A’s: Ambition / Acknowledgment / Attachment / Authenticity
    • Ambition: Ensure that there is something to aim for, an achievable goal
    • Acknowledgement: Recognition of efforts – not just a ‘thank you’ at the end
    • Attachment: Being part of something bigger. Share company goals and how individual efforts can impact them
    • Authenticity: Have colleagues that care for their development. How will young researchers trust those around them?
    • Celebrate all success and authenticity in a management approach.


  1. How to best demonstrate ‘thanks’? Trust. Let researchers use their initiative, sometimes a ‘thank you’ just doesn’t cut it!
  2. Remote Learning: Gives researchers the opportunity to ‘think on their feet’ but it is important that they are aware they can still reach out to colleague if needed, the support is still there. Colleagues need to make the effort to ask, show flexibility and be present