FESTA Strategic Career Manager


                                         USER’S GUIDE


FESTA Strategic Career Manager (SCM) is a is a user-friendly, web-based decision support system for junior- to mid- level Academics and Researchers, which provides you with a personalised career profile and guides you to make strategic career decisions in order to progress your academic career. The SCM is based on empirical research with 106 academics / researchers at early- mid- and senior levels in STEM in four European Universities, who were interviewed about their careers: to date, going forward, and asked to identify factors/critical incidents/people which advanced their careers. The SCM was developed from this data. While the research was conducted with a gender and Science/Technology focus, we expect it to be useful to both women and men, and to academics and researchers from disciplines outside Science/Technology. Click on http://proisis.lero.ie/festa/App/Consult
The FESTA Strategic Career Manager will open, with this menu on the left of the screen:

FESTA Strategic Career Manager (SCM) is a Decision Support System for Junior to Mid level Academics and Researchers, providing you with a personalised Career Development profile.
It is based on research carried out during Work Package 3.1 of the Female Empowerment in Science & Technology Academia (FESTA) project (see http://www.festa-europa.eu ). While this system has emerged from research with a Female and a Science/Technology focus, we expect it to be useful to both Women and Men, and to Academics and Researchers from disciplines outside Science/Technology.

When you complete your personal profile, the system will present you with a number of Recommendations. These are for you to consider as an individual. It is not designed as a prescriptive system, but rather to support you in making Career Development decisions. Therefore, you may decide to use FESTA-SCM in a number of different ways, for example:
1. Follow each Recommendation suggested in the order suggested once you have completed your personal profile;

  1. Choose the Recommendations you deem to be most important, without completing a profile;

  2. Change the order of Recommendations because you believe this better suits your current situation;

  3. Add in in extra Recommendations over and above those presented to you;

  4. Remove Recommendations from your profile;

  5. Choose Recommendations from within a single category.

Within FESTA-SCM, there are two sections – SCM-Administration and SCM-User. The SCM-User section allows people to query the Knowledge Base which will provide recommendations for that individual’s Career Development Management, and is available on-line at http://proisis.lero.ie/festa/App/Consult. The SCM-Administration section is used by Programmers and Knowledge Engineers and details are available via ‘Help’ from menu (b), Figure 1.

The guide presented here discusses the use of the publicly available SCM-User section.

User Profile

FESTA-SCM’s user is normally a Junior to Mid level Academic or Researcher who is interested in managing their personal Career Development.

Screen Formats

When logged into the FESTA-SCM system, you will see two menu bars on the top left – (a) left-to-right, and (b) top-to-bottom (See Figure 1). As marked in the Figure, as a SCM-User, you should only use ‘View’ from (a) within which will be enabled to use ‘Front page’ and ‘Aspire advisor’ from menu (b).

Figure 1: FESTA-SCM Menu layout

Front Page

The Front Page will bring you to information about the FESTA consortium, and the FESTA SCM will bring you into the strategic career manager.
This describes the FESTA project (see Figure 2). This is a static page, and is presented for information purposes only.

Figure 2: Front Page FESTA-SCM

Aspire Advisor

The Aspire Advisor is the core of FESTA-SCM. When you click this option you will be presented with the screen shown in Figure 3. This has 2 panels – Career Profile and Recommendations. The Career Profile reflects the Interview questions through which you define your personal profile. Recommendations are highlighted depending on the profile you present. Recommendations are shown in blue and green, blue being those that are recommended based on your most recent answer.

Figure 3: Aspire Advisor Main screen

There are two panels – Career Profile and Recommendations. To establish your personal profile, click on each of the questions in the Career Stage Interview, and choose answers from each of the options given. This will generate your personal profile.

You will then be presented with a number of recommendations designed to help you make strategic career decisions. Recommendations are shown in blue and green, blue being those that are based on your most recent answer.
When you click on a recommendation, details of that career activity will open for you. The recommendations include information regarding its importance, its relevance, the evidence base for the recommendation, and guidelines on how to achieve it, related links to other recommendations and references to support the evidence base.

You may choose to follow each recommendation suggested in the order suggested; or choose the recommendations you deem to be most important; or change the order of recommendations because you believe this better suits your current situation.

The recommendations are designed to help you to make informed decisions regarding the activities which will be most beneficial for you to advance your career.

We hope you find the FESTA Strategic Career Manager useful.

Career Profile

To complete the consultation, click on each of the questions in the Career Stage Interview, and choose answers from each of the options as shown in Figure 4.

Each response you give will select Recommendations in the right hand panel of the screen, shown as highlights. It is up to you, as the user of the system, to decide whether you are interested in answering all of the questions. For example, you may only be interested in developing a Publication strategy. In that case, just answer the Publication strategy question, and relevant Recommendations are selected by FESTA-SCM.

It is more normal for individuals to present their full profile, from which a full suite of Recommendations are selected.

Figure 4: Career Stage Interview question and options

Recommendations panel

Answering a Career Stage Interview question causes the Recommendations in the panel on the right hand side to be highlighted in blue. As you step through the interview, these blue highlights change to green, and the Recommendations pertinent to your most recent answer will show in blue (Figure 5). At this stage, what you are shown is a high level view of the network of Recommendations – the next step is to read the Recommendations.

Figure 5:Recommendations panel, highlighted based on Career Stage Interview answers


FESTA-SCM Recommendations are presented in the following format:

1. Recommendation title (What): A pattern’s name is important because it can convey the purpose of the pattern and the actions or practices it recommends.

  1. Importance: All Recommendations are ranked from 1-50. The lowest the number, the higher its priority as determined by FESTA research. You can use these as a guide to help decide the order in which you will implement your personal Recommendations.

  2. Problem or goal (Why): Describes, in one or two sentences, the problem that will be solved, or the threat to success that will be averted if the recommendations actions are implemented.

  3. Evidence/Proof: This section presents the evidence from the research which demonstrates why / how this recommendation has worked.

  4. Solution (Ways to get there): Short list of specific actions to take to implement the recommendation.

  5. Related patterns: Some patterns have strong relationships with other patterns – this section can capture these relationships.

  6. References: Provides links to the literature from which the pattern is derived, if any.

To view each individual Recommendation, you can click on it in the Recommendations panel. You can view each one, regardless of whether they are highlighted or not. However, FESTA-SCMis constructed to present Recommendations which are most useful based on your Career Stage Interview. Figure 6 shows the Recommendation detail for ‘Know your priority’.

Figure 6:Individual Recommendation screen – Know your priority

Examining Figure 6 in detail:

1. Recommendation title (What): Know your priority.

  1. Importance: This is ranked as 20th importance from the 50 available recommendations. When reading your profile, we suggest that you consider them in ranked order, the lowest number being the most important.

  2. Problem or goal (Why): One sentence describing why this is of interest to FESTA-SCMusers.

  3. Evidence/Proof: This is presented in this case in the form of interview quotes from FESTA research. It may also come from other sources, such as related literature.

  4. Solution (Ways to get there): The list of actions presented have come from FESTA research, and give you a starting point as to what you can do.

  5. Related patterns: In this case, two related Recommendations are presented. You can click on these to view. If they are already in your list of Recommendations from your profile, you may consider their importance from your personal perspective. If they are not on the list, you may consider introducing these.

  6. References: There are no relevant references recommended in this case.

Pattern attributes show why this Intervention is Recommended – in this case it is because of Work-life Balance. It also states where the Evidence has come from, and in this version of FESTA-SCM, this will always be FESTA. Evidence strength can be Strong, Medium or Weak. The Trigger is mainly used by the system developers, and is not of particular interest to you, the user.

Recommendations within categories To support how individuals may choose to use FESTA-SCM, Recommendations are presented within categories and sub-categories. These can be viewed by clicking on ‘Recommended patterns’ under the Recommendations panel on the main screen as shown in Figure 7.

Figure 7:View Categories and Sub-Categories

Figure 8 gives an example of the Categories and Sub-Categories within FESTA-SCM. Within Career Planning steps, women should be aware of Gender issues. Within this Gender sub-category, there are six Recommendations: Awareness of entitlement, Awareness of gender bias, Awareness of gender differences, Awareness of resistance, Demand recognition and Develop awareness of promotion game and decision making roles. To view a Recommendation, click on the relevant box.

Figure 8: Category Career Planning Steps, Sub-Category Gender and 6 relevant Recommendations

To revert to the Aspire Advisor click on ‘c’ in the box below the Recommended patterns, as shown in Figure 9.

Figure 9: Revert to Aspire Advisor


FESTA-SCM is available for you to use. We hope you get benefit from it, and that it supports you in your Career Development. FESTA reports, which we encourage you to read, are available at http://www.festa-europa.eu