bridgetI’m so glad to introduce myself as your Community Manager, explain a bit more about what that means and how my role has been designed with you in mind.

I come from a policy background, both in government and in higher education. Partly this has meant building policy that affects researchers, and at times it has meant breaking complex policy down to find out who really benefits. Through this, I discovered a passion for building good research culture, and making sure that researchers are provided with everything they need to be changemakers for research and innovation.

When our partners met last year to discuss what our Network could represent and what it could deliver, one central point kept coming up again and again: the Network and our activities should be FLF-led, and it should be reflexive and responsive to your needs and your goals.

It’s one thing to say this at the outset of a programme, it’s another to embed this into our design and delivery. At the forefront of our minds is the knowledge that the FLF and innovator cohort come from diverse backgrounds, with different experiences, and have different ambitions. So we came up with the idea of ‘tailored coherence’.

  • On the one hand, we’ll provide you with a range of courses which, from our combined experience of working with researchers, we believe can support your development.
  • On the other hand, we are completely invested in responding to your needs – if you want to learn more about complex finances in large scale grants or how to engage with public and political leaders, we will make those opportunities available.

Behind both of these is the information we (and you) will glean from the 360 feedback programme, our mentoring programme, and the Plus Funds pot.

This is where I come in – I’m your ‘one-stop shop’, your pathway into the Network. If you’ve thought of training that you’ll find useful, I can actively pursue that for you. If your 360 feedback or your mentoring partnership reveal areas where you might need further development, I will work with you to identify the best delivery method and put that into place. If you’re at a stage in your development where you need access to a broader network of industry professionals or public figures, I can reach out through our four-nation partnership to help you create those relationships. If you really want to take your skills from the development stage to putting them into action, I will work with you and our Network to create those opportunities.

In my mind, I’m your advocate, your voice in the Network. We designed this programme for you, so it’s essential that we continue to serve your best interests. If something isn’t working well – whether you can’t find a course that fits with your goals, or if you see a chance to build your skills in a new and exciting way – I’m here to help you.

In the coming months, I’ll be getting in touch with each of you individually to see how we can continue to tailor our outputs to your needs and deliver a coherent training and development programme for each of you. In the meantime, feel free to contact me via our email address ( with any questions, requests or interests you have.

I’m really looking forward to working with each of you over the next three years!

traceyI’m a freelance coach, facilitator and trainer and over the last 15 years I’ve been specialising in working with researchers at all stages of their career. My work is very varied, but the common theme is helping researchers to establish, lead and manage themselves and their teams, as well as research ideas, projects and collaborations.

My potted career history includes a PhD in Freshwater Ecology, followed by five years working as a Fast Stream Statistician for Defra and the Scottish Government. I subsequently went back in to HE where I established and ran the researcher development programme at the University of Bath. This is where my passion for supporting researchers in their leadership development began.

In 2013 I started my own coaching and leadership development company. I’ve increasingly worked with Research Fellows and new PIs over the last eight years. Something that I really love doing is working with researchers at the transition phase from being managed to leading. That transition can be daunting, liberating, exciting, frustrating …I could keep adding adjectives here! In my coaching I aim to help researchers to notice, be better equipped and make positive choices to develop themselves and others.

I’m going to be working with the FLF Development Network team to support, plan and facilitate much of the leadership training: working closely with the theme leads to make sure you get the bespoke development support that you need. My particular emphasis will be around coaching and leadership skills. My main focus right now is working with Steve Joy to deliver the 360 degree feedback surveys and coaching for you all. This is something I’m really passionate about, having seen the impact of 360 feedback on my previous coaching clients. Understanding how others perceive you, and what they need from you, is crucial for your leadership development.

We’ll be launching the 360 feedback at Research Encounter on 12th March – I’m looking forward to seeing you there.

mariI have to say that being involved with this UKRI FLF Development Network is a real privilege.

As a Research Development Officer at Cardiff University, I’ve had the wonderful opportunity of working directly with some of the very talented early career researchers that have submitted their fellowship applications to the UKRI FLF scheme in order to make that all important ‘jump’ to independence. I’ve provided support to applicants right through the various stages and I’ve realised that this scheme is very special, just like those (you!) who have been successful.

I know first-hand how mind-boggling this early stage of your fellowship can be, having been in your shoes over 14 years ago! At the time I had just given birth to my baby daughter and went immediately onto maternity leave – I only wish that I had had the support that you will all have access to via this UKRI FLF Development Network.

My role in the Network is to support the development of peer-review mock panels and the mentoring programme. Excitingly, we have recently appointed the UKRI FLF Dev Net’s Partnership Manager who will be providing the day-to-day support to this aspect of the Network – Watch this blog space for an introduction to them in the very near future.

So, many congratulations on your successful UKRI FLF awards and I’m very much looking forward to working with and meeting you at some of the encounters, workshops and events that are planned over the coming years.

I am delighted to introduce myself to you in my freshly minted capacity as Deputy Director of the Future Leaders Fellows Development Network. I will have responsibility for the themes of enterprise and self-leadership, and I am working with several of our consortium partners to bring these plans to fruition in the coming months. You’ll find out more about these themes, plus the leadership model which underpins them, at the first Research Encounters event next month, and I’m looking forward to meeting some of you in person through the programme of bite-sized ‘bridging’ workshops, which is already well underway. Before all of that, I am working intensively with our external consultant, Tracey Stead, to finalise the development of a 360° feedback tool, specially designed for this FLF community. In other words, you probably don’t know my name just yet, but we are on the cusp of getting to know one another.

This Network is my first formal engagement with the FLF scheme, but I have been supporting research fellows for twelve years. I have worked as an Adviser in the Postdoc and Fellows Development Centre at Imperial College London and, for six years, in the Postdoc Careers Service at the University of Cambridge, where I specialised in academic careers in the arts, humanities, and social sciences. I wrote a series of pieces on these topics for The Guardian, and I have contributed to several books on writing successful job applications. My current job is Head of Researcher Development at Cambridge, where I support a number of leadership programmes for research and academic staff.

In amongst these legitimate undertakings, I also took a fairly eccentric career break, in 2014-15, to run a luxury ski chalet in the French Alps for a winter because – whisper it softly – after fifteen years’ studying, researching, and working in universities, I felt that I needed some time away from higher education. A change is as good as a rest, they say – which is lucky, because running a chalet six days per week is definitely not restful. I mention my career break mostly for the sheer novelty that I am probably the only member of the team who can discourse at some length on the many ways that sponge cakes don’t bake properly at altitude; and because I thought that this post would look more elegant if it had three paragraphs.

I am really pleased to introduce myself as the Research Culture Lead for the FLF Development Network. I will be supporting training, development and opportunities that focus on how we support and sustain honest, transparent, inclusive and creative research cultures in our teams and working practices.

I come to such a role as a Dean of Research Culture and Environment at Cardiff University where I have led on our working to support researchers and early career academics and our commitment to responsible research assessment. I have developed leadership training for new colleagues to Cardiff, allowing us to consider what makes for a positive research culture, and I have worked closely with the Wellcome Trust on their inspiring work on ‘reimagining research culture’. They are leading the way on honest conversations about what works well and less well for researchers in the UK and how we can improve the situation.

It has been super to work with FLFs and colleagues supporting the FLF Network already – Sara and the team at Edinburgh are amazing. From Cardiff, we will be leading on extending and enriching the mentoring programme which will be such an important dimension and experience for your personal and professional development. I look forward to e-meeting many of you soon in research encounters and workshops.

As a passionate linguist, I cannot help ending with a multilingual sign off – tous mes meilleurs voeux pour 2021! Diolch!

udeniI am very excited to join the FLF network in a dual capacity: firstly as board member with a shared responsibility for oversight and governance, and secondly as lead for EDI where I can share my EDI expertise, maintain an EDI focus when project planning and connect the project with EDI experts and social justice networks.

Race and gender within organisations is the current focus of my research. My work has has moved some way since my mixed methods PhD, awarded in 2017 and which examined innovation in family firms. My subsequent research interests apply race and gender theory to issues of social justice, including modern slavery in family firms and precarious labour during the COVID-19 crisis. I am currently working on an EPSRC-funded project investigating barriers to inclusion in STEM research careers at the University of Lincoln. I was a member of the feminist anti-racist collective Building the Anti-Racist Classroom from 2017-2019, which proved to be a crucible for my work and views on activism in academia. I continue to be actively involved in feminist, anti-racist organising.

As a post-doctoral academic, I have worked collaboratively to develop inclusive teaching and learning techniques for UG, PG and Executive Education programmes. Working together with colleagues, students and the wider community, I have contributed to justice initiatives at many academic institutions through initiatives such as the Race Equality Charter, student-led decolonisation work and organising with minoritised staff and students.

Prior to my academic career, I was a senior manager at large, global organisations such as IBM, Deloitte Consulting and Leonard Cheshire Disability. My mixture of public, private, and voluntary sector experience, in addition to my academic career, gives me a unique perspective. On a good day, I relish the a wealth of experience I can bring to the sector. On a bad day, I get imposter syndrome!

I hope to bring issues of justice, equality and accountability to the forefront of FLF planning. As future research leaders, you have the power to change research for the better: to create jobs for those who have been systematically excluded from academia, to destabilise racist, gendered, homophobic and anti-disabled knowledge production, to listen and learn from Black, indigenous and minoritised scholars who have long been critiquing existing power structures. I look forward to a shared journey together in which we will generate a cross-generational shift in thinking and working in the field of academic research. In a time of pandemic, mental health crises, the mainstreaming of far-right thought, and a closing down of borders, your research and actions can be a force for good in the world. I look forward to getting to know you.

samI have been a roving Panel Member from the outset of the Future Leaders Fellowships scheme, so there is a good chance that I have read your proposal and indeed, seen your interview from the back of the room. The roving Panel Member role isn’t actually about what you are doing, it is to ensure that the panels are consistent in their approach to your proposal, then your interview. I love being part of this scheme, the team are so professional and it is a carefully choregraphed process – I’ve learnt a lot about the behind-the-scenes challenges, I really don’t know how they do it! Being part of the FLF scheme has been very positive, through it I met someone who is now a mentor and, of course, it is great to be part of something that is life-changing for people involved research and innovation.

I have spent many years in Higher Education, working in the area of professional development for academics, research staff and PhD students. I have also sat on the BBSRC Talent and Skills Committee and regularly sit on panels for funding doctoral training and development. I am now the Head of Interdisciplinary Research Development, something I have had a passion for since working with Sara, our Director, on developing national Crucible Programmes. These are programmes where we bring people together from different disciplines over a period of time to give them real time and space to think about their own research in the context of working with others. I love hearing academics from very different disciplines bouncing ideas around and exploring novelty at the boundaries of apparently unrelated methods. It is the highlight of my role.

I made the closing remarks at the Future Leaders Fellowships Inaugural Cohort Event in September 2019, in the heady days when we were all in a hotel in London. I used this slide which is the opening slide I use on Crucible Programmes.

imaine what you could achieveIt struck me that, as Future Leader Fellows, you have an incredible combined power to develop exciting new approaches, ideas and even disciplines. And so I am really looking forward to working with you virtually and, when the time is right, in person on exciting interdisciplinary programmes and global citizenship initiatives.

If you have any thoughts or questions about those areas, please contact me via our Network email address

saraFor the last few years, I’ve had the privilege of supporting the FLF network behind the scenes as a roving panel member. Some of you may recall odd people lurking in the corner of a room observing your interview, although I suspect many of you won’t have noticed in the white heat of the moment! My role was to ensure that the FLF selection process, so carefully and thoughtfully shaped, was followed to the highest standard. In doing this, I’ve become familiar with your plans and watched as you presented your visions and ambitions.

As a Head of Researcher Development, I had the opportunity to work with some of our Fellows as they crafted their applications and then put their plans into action through our training programmes for research students and staff. When the opportunity arose to support ALL of the first three cohorts of FLFs through this Development Network it was difficult to resist!

This Network is the result of years of connectivity. Many of us have worked together for a number of years, and have done our best work as collaborators. We inspire each other to be more creative and innovative and we have complementary skills and interests. Working in the sectors you are based in, we are committed to research and researchers, but also share a hope of improving research cultures and making our organisations more inclusive. We know we share this with many of you. We are designing support and development which will enable you to be more effective despite the challenges we’re navigating now and those that are ahead. You will play a part in influencing our programmes through your contact with Bridget, our Community Manager, and your representatives on our Advisory Board.

We know from our experiences on Crucible and sandpit programmes that researchers do some of their most exciting work when they are brought together, given time to think and resources to act. A cornerstone of our network is the “Plus Fund” which will resource small scale start up projects, events and workshops. We’re open-minded about what the funding can cover and looking forward to working with you to decide how best to use these resources.

I’m looking forward to meeting more of you over the next three years – both virtually and, in time, in person. Our four-nation partnership will eventually be running events across the whole of UK, and our theme leads will be creating activities around our core pillars of Engagement & Communication, Enterprise and Self-Leadership, Leading Teams, Transforming Research Culture, Contribution to UK society and Global Citizenship. We also look forward to seeing the communities and ideas that coalesce as your engagement with us grows.

Welcome to the Development Network and congratulations on your successes in being recognised as Future Leaders.

In the coming weeks we’ll be posting more about who we are and why we do what we do. We believe that building relationships between the FLFs and us, the team that works for you, is central to all of our success.

Once our Network is established, we will start publishing fortnightly newsletters here, and we would welcome contributions from you, our change-makers.

We can’t wait to get started!