Queen’s Fellowship Academy: Year One Overview
Background and Context
This January sees the one year anniversary of the launch of the Queen’s Fellowship Academy on 13 January 2020. Queen’s University Belfast is committed to recruiting, developing and supporting outstanding early career researchers; the Queen’s Fellowship Academy was therefore established to offer a comprehensive range of developmental opportunities to support these future research leaders and influencers with their professional, academic and personal development and progression.
Since its inception last year, currently 34 researchers from across the University who have successfully applied for internal and external fellowships have joined the Academy. In January 2020 there were 31 Fellows and during 2020 a further 7 researchers joined the Academy, with 4 leaving to take up prestigious posts in other Universities. (Currently AHSS: 8; EPS: 12; MHLS: 14.)
The Academy supports the development and progression of Fellows across three core pillars:
Research and Funding - From a variety of support services and the academic community aligned to achievement of high-quality research outputs and securing income.
Leadership Development – Providing access to academic colleagues and senior leaders to sponsor, mentor and support development.
Networking and Impact - Activities to support Fellows to make connections across Queen’s and beyond; to support impact, public engagement and to develop their research profile.
The Pro Vice-Chancellor for Research and Enterprise, Professor Emma Flynn, provides senior strategic leadership and provides updates/reports to the University Executive Board with input and collaboration from Faculties and Professional Support Directorates. People and Culture (Organisational Development) leads on the Fellowship Academy and works with Fellows and other colleagues in Research and Enterprise and the Vice-Chancellor’s Office to deliver the Fellowship Academy initiative, bespoke support for Fellows and events aligned with existing support via individual Schools and Faculties.
Whilst many of the planned activities in 2020 were by necessity virtual events, the focus and purpose across the three main themes of the Fellowship Academy remained, with highlights including:
- Bespoke training sessions focused on Impact and Communicating Research, including writing/interviewing techniques with The Conversation and Becoming a Research Social Media Influencer.
- Leadership in a Research Environment event with a range of internal speakers sharing their experience and expertise in research career development, highlights and challenges.
- Peer-coaching groups for Fellows to meet and provide guidance and support.
- Research Development Office supporting ongoing funding applications.
- Access to senior University management with individual support meetings with Pro Vice-Chancellor for Research and Enterprise, tailored information and training on University Finance from Director of Finance, and opportunities to join events with both internal and external strategic stakeholders.
- Establishment of an online, accessible Academy website and online Fellowship Academy Guide for further information and guidance for Fellows.
- Dedicated MS Teams site for Academy Fellows for peer support, mentoring and discussion.
- Representation of Fellows onto the Fellowship Academy Operational Team to help progress and develop ongoing activities and expand professional development and networking.
- Planned Activity for 2021
The development needs of Fellows will vary with both experience and discipline with an ethos of co-creation embedded within the Fellowship Academy to further develop bespoke and active development plans and activities.
Fellows are attending the Leadership in Action programme, hosted by King’s College London and including participants from The Francis Crick Institute, Brunel University, LSE, Queen Mary University of London, and University of Bath.
February 2021Based on feedback from Fellows further learning activities are offered in February on:
- Preparing for Interviews for Academy Fellows, focused on funding applications.
- Fellows Writing Retreat (online).
Further activities in 2021 will include:
- Project Management in the Research Environment
- Promoting Yourself and Your Research
- Impact of Brexit on Researchers
- How to Influence Policy?
- Networking and Impact
Fellows can attend Queen’s Innovation and external Catalyst Programmes. Fellows have joined peer-coaching groups and have the opportunity to review their mentoring requirements. Faculty-based networking activities will be organised by Fellows, including a series of showcases for Fellows to demonstrate their research activity and outputs.
The Fellowship Academy encourages and supports researchers to apply for further funding. During 2020, Fellows successfully applied for additional fellowships, including 3 for the UKRI Future Leader Fellowships.
Further information and guidance for Fellows is available here.
Dr. Leila MouraRoyal Academy of Engineering Research Fellow, School of Chemistry and Chemical Engineering
"The Fellowship Academy has empowered and given voices to all of the University’s Academy Fellows. As a consequence of the Fellowship Academy I feel part of a Fellows’ community and the Queen’s Team. As fellows we receive not only tailored training, support and advice but as a community we get to share our success and learn from others’ challenges.
I am very grateful to Professor Emma Flynn, the EPS faculty, the Organisational Development and Research & Enterprise teams and the many others who have supported the development of the Academy."
Professor Emma FlynnPro Vice-Chancellor, Research and Enterprise
“I can honestly say that working with the Fellows in the Academy is one of the most enjoyable parts of my role. Watching them make a significant and positive change to their discipline and to the world has been great. I’m so impressed with how they have come together as a cohort during the pandemic and really supported each other. It makes me feel reassured for the academic leadership of the future.”