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Meet the Team: Sam Aspinall, Interdisciplinarity Lead

Updated: Jan 28


Photograph of Samantha Aspinall

I have been a roving Panel Member from the outset of the Future Leaders Fellowships scheme, so there is a good chance that I have read your proposal and indeed, seen your interview from the back of the room. The roving Panel Member role isn’t actually about what you are doing, it is to ensure that the panels are consistent in their approach to your proposal, then your interview. I love being part of this scheme, the team are so professional and it is a carefully choregraphed process - I’ve learnt a lot about the behind-the-scenes challenges, I really don’t know how they do it! Being part of the FLF scheme has been very positive, through it I met someone who is now a mentor and, of course, it is great to be part of something that is life-changing for people involved research and innovation.


I have spent many years in Higher Education, working in the area of professional development for academics, research staff and PhD students. I have also sat on the BBSRC Talent and Skills Committee and regularly sit on panels for funding doctoral training and development. I am now the Head of Interdisciplinary Research Development, something I have had a passion for since working with Sara, our Director, on developing national Crucible Programmes. These are programmes where we bring people together from different disciplines over a period of time to give them real time and space to think about their own research in the context of working with others. I love hearing academics from very different disciplines bouncing ideas around and exploring novelty at the boundaries of apparently unrelated methods. It is the highlight of my role.


I made the closing remarks at the Future Leaders Fellowships Inaugural Cohort Event in September 2019, in the heady days when we were all in a hotel in London. I used this slide which is the opening slide I use on Crucible Programmes.



It struck me that, as Future Leader Fellows, you have an incredible combined power to develop exciting new approaches, ideas and even disciplines. And so I am really looking forward to working with you virtually and, when the time is right, in person on exciting interdisciplinary programmes and global citizenship initiatives.


If you have any thoughts or questions about those areas, please contact me via our Network email address hello@flfdevnet.com