Meet the team

This Development Network is delivered by a powerful partnership of institutions across the UK: University of Edinburgh (lead); University College London; University of Cambridge; University of Leeds; Cardiff University; Queens University Belfast; and School of Advanced Study, University of London.

Combined, we have decades of expertise in engaging, supporting, and developing emerging research leaders. Consortium members already train and mentor Fellows – we know your talents, aspirations, and challenges, just as we know the breadth of UKRI’s mission and values. We will connect Fellows to an unrivalled network of local, national, and global leaders across the research and innovation landscape and beyond. We have developed a bespoke leadership capability framework to help Fellows realise their fullest potential as innovators, collaborators, and influencers.


Sara Shinton


Sara is the Head of Researcher Development at the University of Edinburgh and leads on the University’s Concordat response. She has a particular interest in inclusive research cultures, collaboration and wellbeing


Steve Joy

Deputy Director, Leadership and Engagement Lead

Steve is the Head of Researcher Development and a member of the Postdoc Academy at the University of Cambridge. He has been working with researchers for more than a decade, including five years as a Postdoc Careers Adviser.


Samantha Aspinall

Interdisciplinarity Lead

Samantha is the Head of Interdisciplinary Development at the University of Leeds and a panel member for FLFs. She has worked on development programmes for academics and research staff for over 20 years, but exploring disciplinary boundaries is her real passion.


Barry Smith


Barry is the Director of the Institute of Philosophy and its Centre for the Study of the Senses at the School of Advanced Study, University of London. He is the founding director of the Being Human Festival and since 2013 has been the AHRC’s Leadership Fellow for the Science in Culture Theme


Udeni Salmon

Equality, Diversity and Inclusion

Udeni is an academic whose research focuses on applying race and gender theory to issues of social justice, entrepreneurship and innovation. She holds research posts at the University of Bristol and the University of Keele.

Udeni was a member of the feminist anti-racist collective Building the Anti-Racist Classroom from 2017-2019, and she has contributed to justice initatives such as the Race Equality Charter, student-led decolonisation work and organising with minoritised staff and students.


Tracey Stead

Leadership, Coaching, Mentoring

Tracey is a trainer, facilitator and certified professional coach, with over 20 years of experience that spans academia and research, public and private sector. She runs a successful consultancy, working across the UK and internationally, specialising in leadership coaching, training and development with researchers and their stakeholders and funders.


Paul Monahan


Paul is a Learning & Development Consultant at Queen’s University Belfast, co-ordinating a range of development activities for research staff. He manages the Queen’s Fellowship Academy and supports mentoring across the University.


Bridget Mellifont

Community Manager

Bridget has previously worked as Policy and Project Officer at the University of Edinburgh, developing research strategy with a focus on Research Culture. Prior to that she supported the development and communication of UK national policy, and has built relationships in HEIs and local and national governments across the UK. Bridget will be the first port of call for all FLFs in the Network.


Charlotte Bonner-Evans

Partnership Manager

Having worked in the private sector, Further and Higher Education, Charlotte is an experienced team manager. A qualified project manager, she has managed a number of multi-million-pound research projects, developing a passion for supporting great research and combining this with her desire to support others to develop and grow through mentoring, management and training.


Cheryl Thomas

Project Manager

Cheryl is an experienced project manager with a background in economic development. She is well-versed in managing projects of all shapes and sizes, and having recently worked in research support, has had the opportunity to work with researchers at all career stages to secure funding for research projects.

As Project Manager for the FLF Development Network, she is excited to combine her experience in project management with her knowledge of the research funding landscape to help maximise the opportunities for FLF+s in the network.


Lisa Guenther

Project Co-ordinator

Lisa is the Project Co-ordinator at the University of Edinburgh where she supports the effective organisation and delivery of FLF Development Network events and enhancement activities. Prior to supporting Postgraduate Research Students in one of Edinburgh’s Research Offices, Lisa coordinated the Full Time Master of Business Administration at Lancaster University’s Management School.

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Liam Morgan

Peer Review

Liam is a Research Development Officer at Cardiff University who has a special interest in supporting individuals make the transition to independence through fellowship funding. Prior to this he worked in Researcher Development where he supported the University’s work to improve research culture and environment in line with the principles of the Concordat. He also led, as programme manager, on the award-winning Welsh Crucible leadership development programme for three years.

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Kay Guccione

Mentoring Specialist

Kay is Head of Researcher Development at the University of Glasgow and an experienced mentoring consultant. She specialises in mentoring for academic leadership and research career development and is a Masters qualified accredited coach and mentor, and a National Teaching Fellow. Kay edits the Supervising PhDs blog.

Contact us

Our Community Manager, Bridget, will get back to you.

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