Becoming a Research Leader 2016-17


The CRASSH ‘Becoming a Research Leader’ programme offers an intensive and structured process for thinking about and building research leadership.

Good leadership can makes things happen in ways that are truly productive and sustaining. Intellectual bravery and bravura are givens. This programme focuses on skills and ways of thinking that transform nascent ideas into fully-fledged initiatives, whether through a collaborative research grant, an international network or conference, or public scholarship.

This programme will help you build the knowledge and qualities that make such leadership credible and possible:

  • knowing the research landscape (now and predicted)
  • balancing intellectual commitment with epistemic openness
  • building resilience and greater self-awareness
  • identifying limiting and enabling assumptions (your own and others’)
  • clarifying your strengths, blind-spots and ambitions
  • developing strategies for effective and timely decision-making
  • practicing effective listening and communication
  • understanding influence, networks and the usefulness of mentoring
  • managing competing demands (on your time, priorities, efforts)
  • working well with others, especially across differing working styles

The programme is intensive: a small group of people meeting for 3 full-day workshops over 4 months (November 2016 – February 2017) supported by peer-mentoring and a reading programme.  There will also be small amounts of homework before each workshop.

Participants in the programme say:

  • “It’s transformative, game changing”
  • “[it] surpassed expectations”
  • “I have greater confidence, better tools for action, better self-awareness: what the programme offered is already making a difference to my career”
  • “The best ‘training’ environment I have encountered”

Places are (very) limited and only available by application.

Deadline for Applications: 12.00pm noon GMT on Friday 7 October 2016

Further details, including on how to apply, can be found by clicking on the tabs on this page.

Hosted by the CRASSH Post-Doctoral Forum in conjunction with Learning for Good.

Convenors: Dr Alison Wood, Mellon/Newton research fellow at CRASSH and co-convenor of the Post-Doctoral Forum from 2014

Dr John Regan, Research Associate, Concept Lab, CRASSH, and co-convenor of the CRASSH Post-Doctoral Forum from 2016.

Facilitators:  Rebecca Nestor: Rebecca has 25 years’ senior experience working with groups and teams in higher education and the public sector, including the universities of Oxford and Cambridge. She facilitates awaydays and residentials, strategic planning sessions and action learning, and has delivered a range of management and leadership topics for academic, research and professional/support staff. She is qualified to offer personality profiling and team building using the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator and the Team Management Profile. Following a first degree in English Literature at Cambridge University (1985) Rebecca achieved a Master’s in Business Administration from the Open University in 2003. She is currently studying for the Master’s in Consulting and Leading in Organisations at the Tavistock.

Anne Augustine: Anne has a multi sector and international career spanning information technology, sustainable development and business psychology. Over the last few years she has worked as a leadership development and organisational consultant; as well as an innovation and partnerships manager for a regional economic development body. In this role she works with research institutions to accelerate local engagement, impact and commercialisation. Anne was educated at the University of Oxford, University of Cambridge and King’s College London. She is an EMCC-certified executive coach and group facilitator, and is accredited in psychometric personality tools (NEO PI-R, BPS Level A and B). Anne has professional interests in social psychology, design thinking and improvisational practice.

Logistics: Programme workshops will be held at the Post-Doc Centre Mill Lane and on the Sidgwick Site, West Rd, Cambridge.

Costs: All costs of the workshop (facilities, catering, materials) will be covered by CRASSH. We regret however that we cannot cover costs for transport or accommodation.




By completing this application you are agreeing to commit to attending the full set of workshops, outlined on the Programme tab on this page.

Before applying please read the following points carefully;


You are only eligible to attend if you:

- are currently a postdoctoral researcher in the Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences at the University of Cambridge, and will be in post for the duration of the programme;

- have at least 2 years postdoctoral experience (in Cambridge or elsewhere, or both) ;

- and can demonstrate current or pending leadership responsibility: for example, convening a major international conference; convening a research network; taking up responsibilities for leading people in a research or departmental setting (this does not include supervising PhD students); being Co-I or PI on a research project (it doesn't have to be a large grant or project but you should be able to demonstrate significant intellectual ownership); serving on boards or executives of scholarly associations or journals

How to Apply

Application can be made through the CRASSH online application system only. You will be asked to attach a 2-page CV (PDF) and submit a statement (of up to 500 words) outlining why you would like a place on the programme, and your current or pending leadership responsibilities. We are unable to accept emailed or posted applications.

When you register for the first time you will receive a confirmation email with a link to continue the application online.  To apply please click here.

Application and Cancellation

If your application is accepted, you will be obliged to attend the full programme.

Submission of this form does not secure a place on the programme. If your application is accepted, any subsequent cancellations must be made no later than 5.00 pm on 28 October 2016.

(  )  Please tick here if you have read, understood and agree to the above terms and conditions for ‘Becoming a Research Leader 2016/17.

Online Application


Tuesday 15 November 2016, 9.15am-4.30pm

Workshop 1: The personal and academic landscape

Focusing on: the concept of good research leadership; the research landscape now and predicted (challenges, likely pressure points, opportunities); your intellectual and professional identity, and development

Wednesday 25 January 2017, 9.15am-4.30pm

Workshop 2: Principled and self-aware leadership

Focusing on: values, understanding personality types and differences; leadership styles and strengths; self-care; cultivating influence; skills (listening, prioritizing, managing)

Thursday 23 February 2017, 9.15am-4.30pm

Workshop 3: Working productively with others

Focusing on: creating productive teams; enabling productive thinking in groups; handling conflict; building better networks; understanding working styles


‘Successful Approaches to Mentorship and Sponsorship’. Shelda Debowski The New Academic: A Strategic Handbook. Open University Press, 2012 (p36-45)


Anthony Grafton Worlds Made with Words: Scholarship and Community in the Modern West (Harvard, 2009).

[Of particular relevance: Chapter 1 ‘’A Sketch of a Lost Continent: The Republic of Letters’; Ch 13 ‘The Public Intellectual and the American University’; Ch 15 ‘Codex in Crisis: The Book Dematerialises’]

Bill Readings. The University in Ruins. Harvard University Press, 1996. 

[Of Particular Relevance: Ch 2. ‘The Idea of Excellence’ (21-43)]

Hefei Statement on “The Ten Characteristics of Contemporary Research Universities”. Announced by the League of European Research Universities (LERU), the Association of American Universities (AAU), the Consortium of China Research Universities (C9) and the Group of Eight Australia (Go8). Munich, October 2013. (6 pages)

Nancy Kline Time to Think: Listening to Ignite the Human Mind. Octopus Publishing Group, 2015

A summary can be found here:

Rosalind Gill. “Breaking the silence: The hidden injuries of the neoliberal university”. in Flood,R. & Gill,R. (Eds.) Secrecy and Silence in the Research Process: Feminist Reflections. Routledge, 2009

Michael Barber, Katelyn Donnelly and Saad Rivzi. An Avalanche Is Coming: Higher Education and the Revolution Ahead. Institute for Public Policy Research, London. Web.