A major partnership led by the University of Edinburgh and run by Edinburgh Innovations has been awarded £3.4 million to develop 500 research and innovation leaders from across the UK.
The second phase of the Future Leaders Fellows (FLF) Development Network will support 300 researchers and innovators appointed via rounds 4, 5 and 6 of the Future Leaders Fellowship scheme – UKRI’s flagship funding programme – as well as up to 200 additional Fellows.
Led by the University’s Institute for Academic Development, members of the Network will have access to specialist leadership training plus mentoring and engagement opportunities, designed to help them maximise the impact of their research.
Alongside the University of Edinburgh, the partnership brings together specialists from organisations in the academic, commercial and third sectors. These include Vertical Future, Cardiff University, Queen’s University Belfast, the School of Advanced Study, University College London, the University of Cambridge, the University of Glasgow, the University of Leeds, Vitae, and the Universities Policy Engagement Network.
The collaboration will run alongside the first FLF Development Network, established in October 2020, which supports 250 research and innovation leaders, including the first three rounds of appointed FLFs.
The second phase of the Network will support three further appointment rounds of FLFs and up to 200 additional research and innovation leaders, nominated by the Research Councils.
It will deliver tailored training and development opportunities, enable knowledge exchange and provide networking opportunities to help Fellows navigate the changing research and innovation landscape.
At its core is a partnership of eight universities which collectively host 25 per cent of all FLFs appointed to date. They are supported by a diverse range of individuals and organisations to create a powerful network of research and innovation leaders.
In addition, the Network will offer an internal Plus Funds scheme (£300,000), designed to catalyse and grow innovative ideas for collaborative working between Fellows in the Network.
The programme is funded for three years and will be run via Edinburgh Innovations.
Professor Jonathan Seckl, Senior Vice-Principal, University of Edinburgh, said:
The University of Edinburgh is delighted to have been chosen to lead this important programme. The UK’s Future Leaders Fellowships is a tremendous programme to develop the next generation of exceptional researchers. It will be their innovative vision that drives UK research to the highest attainable levels.
The Development Network is a partnership between academic and commercial research organisations. It delivers intensive learning and development to give Fellows the additional skills and perspectives to succeed as the research and innovation leaders of the future.”
Monica Dearden, Consultancy Manager at Edinburgh Innovations, said:
EI is committed to facilitating the innovation pipeline throughout the University and it is extremely rewarding to support a great partnership that will have such a far-reaching impact. We are delighted this great project is ongoing and that we are able to play a supportive role.
Dr Sara Shinton, Director of the Future Leaders Fellows Development Network and Head of Researcher Development at the Institute for Academic Development, said:
Our bid for the second phase of the Network places Fellows at the heart of our design and deliveries. We look forward to partnering with this exceptional community of research and innovation leaders over the next three years, as they engage with a vibrant range of outstanding training and engagement activities.