C3 - Enabling the extraordinary to stand-out: the role of organisational development in building research talent

Day 2 at 11:00 - Enabling the extraordinary to stand-out: the role of organisational development in building research talent
Day Day 2
Session C
Start time 11:00

Research staff / talent development

Code C3

Dr Lucy Thorne, Organisational Developer, Lancaster University

Annette Robinson, Organisational Developer, Lancaster University

Dr Susan Ann Brooks, University Research Training Co-ordinator, Oxford Brookes University 

Workshop overview:

Like most HEIs, enhancing research excellence and shaping future research leaders through development is a key priority for both Lancaster and Oxford Brookes. Despite common goals, these two institutions have adopted very different strategies and in this workshop, each will share their developmental approaches, the rationale and the learning gained from experience to date.

Lancaster University:

The 50th Anniversary Lectureship scheme supports Lancaster's 2020 Strategy by recruiting and developing the highest calibre of researchers who have the potential to become the next generation of academic leaders. This flagship initiative operates over a five year period and is supported by a bespoke Performance Development and Review (PDR) process and a comprehensive, tailored development programme. 

One year into the scheme with the first cohort recruited, this workshop will showcase the Organisational Development approach used to create the innovative development programme, and provide an honest account of the challenges of introducing a performance-related progression framework for researchers.  

Oxford Brooks University:

While most institutions provide a strong researcher development programme for early career researchers, more senior research-active / academic staff are often neglected. To address this, Oxford Brooks are launching an Academic Development Framework which encompasses three domains of (1) researcher development, (2) academic leadership and (3) teaching and learning. It outlines pathways through development opportunities, thus providing a structure for continuing professional development at all career stages, from post doc to professor, with links to professional accreditation schemes. It enables self-assessment of strengths and areas for further development and supports progression through different academic promotions routes. 

This workshop will focus on the researcher development strand, with particular focus on how research-active academic staff are supported at key career transition points. It will discuss the key challenges associated with designing and delivering a programme for experienced and senior staff that is both supportive and received by participants as being relevant, and how to engage senior academics in development activities, in particular in supporting the development of their more junior colleagues.

Workshop topics covered: 

  • Talent development within the research community
  • Needs analysis and evaluation of researcher development at all career stages
  • Cohort and cross-disciplinary learning and development approaches for academics 
  • Coaching and mentoring
  • Performance-related progression
  • Academic leadership development 

Themes covered:

  • Engaging research leaders, principal investigators and supervisors to transform professional development of researchers and embed professional development in the research environment.
  • Developing a pipeline of research talent, including widening participation, strategies to attract and retain research talent, and approaches to mainstreaming equality and diversity for researchers in the research environment.
  • Leadership development of early career and mid career researchers including researchers’ as leaders in different disciplines.

Workshop outcomes: 

  • Explore innovative approaches to the talent development and management of researchers.
  • Understand some of the key challenges involved in creating a talent pipeline in an academic community.
  • Share options for addressing these challenges and for the ongoing development of excellent researchers.
  • Evaluate the extent, strengths and limitations of support for career-long development of researchers 
  • Identify key career transition points for research-active staff and evaluate aspects of support to underpin successful academic, or alternative, career progression
  • Share approaches for enhanced career-long researcher development.
  • Make connections with colleagues at other institutions who are working on similar initiatives for future collaboration and support.


This session is a mixture of presentation, group interaction using a world café approach and discussion. Participants should be prepared to include examples from their own experience during discussion.