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Meet the Team: Sara Shinton, Director

Updated: Jan 28


For 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.





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