Graduate School

Nottingham Research Leadership Programme


NRLP 2020
- Call for applications


Information on Nottingham Research Leadership Programme (NRLP) organisation, structure and nomination process can be found below

  1. Aim and Purpose

  2. What does a successful NRLP graduate look like?

  3. Nomination process

  4. Selection process

  5. EDI and personal considerations

  6. Outline of the Programme

    • Programme components
    • The international project
    • Ongoing engagement
    • Personal support
    • Financial support

Aim and Purpose of the Programme

The purpose of our NRLP is to enhance the professional development of our high-performing researchers. We are committed to developing highly skilled, engaged, collaborative and committed people. By doing this we will strengthen our networks of outstanding people who pursue excellent research, set local, national and international research agendas, contribute to the sustainability of our collective research culture and goals, who are visible role models, and who drive and enhance our wider research interests and achievements.

Applicants will be seeking to develop their careers and also to help mentor, support and inspire colleagues, in order that they can deliver internationally recognised, outstanding research activities, in pursuance of the goals of the University’s Research and People Strategies:

  1. Value all of our staff, support them to excel, value diversity and promote equality.
  2. Enhance the quality, scale and reach of our research profile, research management, reputation and impact.
  3. Enhance the contributions we make to people, organisations, nations and the economy.

Participation in the Nottingham Research Leaders Programme is a mark of esteem, and participants are likely to be approached to contribute to School, Faculty and University activities following Programme completion. Contributions offered by participants include: mentoring support to subsequent NRLP members, or Nottingham Research Fellows; involvement in selection/recruitment of Fellows; support and peer review for strategic external awards, review panels for internal funding schemes, and taking on research leadership roles within Schools, Faculties, the University and beyond. 

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What do successful graduates of the Research Leadership Programme look like?

Effective Research leadership calls for: consistent adherence to core values and standards; the ability to work with others, in teams and networks to deliver internationally impactful research; a personal commitment to be recognised for the originality, significance and rigour of research; transformative impacts through the delivery and communication of the highest quality research and knowledge exchange activity; the vision, presence and reputation to engage with and influence broader research policies and agendas locally, nationally and internationally; a compelling and deliverable vision for the future, and an ability to communicate this within, across and beyond the University.

Please note, that Programme members are already performing at a high level, and will usually be employed at level 6/7. Many participants achieve promotion to level 7 during or soon after completion of the programme.

Prospective Programme members will therefore have some of the following attributes at the time of application, and will be committed to developing many if not all of them, either through the Programme or other professional and personal development activities.

  • a commitment to being part of, and promoting, an inclusive, positive and diverse academic environment;
  • a commitment to developing their leadership and management styles;
  • highly effective interpersonal skills;
  • a commitment to developing and shaping the next generation of high quality researchers, teams and leaders in our University;
  • a commitment to developing strong and resilient collaborations in their own or more diverse fields, with local, national or international partners, including our overseas campuses and others;
  • the ability to develop research-orientated teams or networks;
  • engagement with the development and maintenance of a supportive, positive equitable and inclusive research environment and culture, to support the wellbeing, careers and personal development of researchers in the University.
  • the ability to develop and fund strategically important research and impact activities, and advise and support others in such objectives; 
  • a world-leading reputation in their research area;
  • authority within their disciplines and credibility within the university;
  • a commitment to promoting, embedding and maintaining the highest standards of research integrity;
  • an active engagement in driving interdisciplinary, cutting-edge research initiatives which include engagement more broadly than just their own discipline;
  • the ability to inform, influence and/or lead research agendas and policies;
  • a commitment to serving the wider strategic research interests and aspirations of the University;
  • an aspiration to be ambassadors for our University

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Nomination process and selection criteria

As part of your application you will need to identify a proposer and a seconder to supply supporting statements giving the case for nomination. The proposer is normally a senior member of your own School, for example Head of School, Division or Unit, Director of Research, Director of research group. The seconder must be from a School/Division/Unit that is different to the nominee’s own.

When you undertake the application process you will be asked to provide the following using a downloadable form:

  1. a personal statement (max 300 words) outlining your long-term career aspirations, how you expect to benefit from participation in the programme, and how your participation in the programme will enable you to contribute to our collective University research culture and goals.
  2. a brief statement (300 words) on how you meet, or aspire to meet the desirable qualities of NRLP participants (please write this with reference to this document), 

    and to upload the form and:
  3. a brief curriculum vitae, no more than 2 pages, that demonstrates your career trajectory, including any awards or measures of esteem, current and previous grant income over the last 5 years, and 10 of your best publications. Please do NOT include metrics such as journal impact factors or H index in your CV or application. 

The linked pdf document 'Desirable experience and capabilities of participants for the Nottingham Research Leadership Programme 2020' gives some examples of the types of evidence as to your personal and professional attributes that could be included in your personal statement and CV. 

If you require the application form in an alternative format or need any adjustments to enable your application, please contact us.

Deadline for submission of nominations: Monday 23rd September 2019 (closes at 12.00 noon). 

Apply Now

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Selection Process

Your application will be anonymised and assessed by a group of senior staff with significant experience of the NRLP. Long list selection will be made based on your personal statements, and the statements of your proposer and seconder. Final selection of participants will also include consideration of your CV. The latter is used primarily to assess career progression, which is expected to be on an upward trajectory.  

Selection for the NRLP will be based on criteria badged to the desired experience, attributes and qualities of effective research leadership listed above, namely: core values and standards; team working; original, significant, rigorous, internationally impactful research and/or excellent knowledge exchange activities; vision, reputation and ability to influence widely. Note that we do not expect every applicant to already possess/have all the capabilities, experience or attributes listed, and some will be not be appropriate for all applicants. 

Consideration will also be given to the mix of skills, abilities, and experiences across the group, to generate a diverse cohort. 

The application has space to include information on any personal circumstances that may have affected your career trajectory at any time. Information included here will be kept confidential to the selection panel. While applicants for the programme are normally expected to participate in all activities, due consideration will be given to any personal circumstances that may preclude participation in part of the programme. Please contact either Parmjit Dhugga or Lucy Donaldson if you have any questions in this area, or need advice. 

Successful participants will be notified during the week commencing 4th November 2019.

We will give unsuccessful candidates feedback on the reasons why their applications were not successful. Please note that there are often more high quality applicants than available places in the programme. 

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EDI and personal considerations

We aim to recruit a diverse and representative cohort to the NRLP 2020. To this end we will:

  • Distribute the call for nominations as widely as possible, including to all University Networks and representative groups; 
  • Anonymise applications prior to consideration and selection;
  • Include the opportunity to declare any circumstances, with due consideration for personal privacy, that may have affected career development or trajectory; 
  • Take declared personal circumstances into account when assessing applications;
  • Remind all proposers and seconders to use appropriate language and to be aware of potential for biases in their recommendations; 
  • Give feedback to all unsuccessful candidates. 

In the event of underrepresentation of any sector of the academic community in the first round of nominations, we will return to Faculties and University networks to solicit further nominations from any underrepresented groups.  

We will make efforts to make appropriate adjustments for relevant declared circumstances, in order to enable participants to fully engage with the programme.  

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Outline of the Programme

The programme will begin in January 2020, with the last formal session held in December 2020. The time commitment required by participants will be at least 15 days or part days. Dates will be released as soon as confirmed.

Our 2020 Programme will be delivered by a combination of expert providers, including external media training providers; members of the University of Nottingham senior team covering UNUK, UNM and UNNC; Research and Innovation (RI); University of Nottingham Professional Development; the Leadership and Management Academy (LMA), industrial partners, or civic bodies.

Programme components

The Programme has three phases:

  1. Months 1-3: initial meetings with other participants, including the outgoing cohort; establishing the group and team building; introduction to the programme including initial leadership skills, leadership style appraisal and education; preparation for the research project; initial 1-2-1 meetings with coaches; defining a personal development and action plan, including identifying mentors if appropriate.
  2. Months 4-9 (action phase): substantive team research project, usually conducted in an international setting (1 week); progression, reporting and implementation of the research project; ongoing experiential learning through workshops with other participants delivered by internal or external experts; participation in action learning sets; 1-2-1 coaching and/or mentoring continues.
  3. Months 10-12 (consolidation and forward planning): bringing the cohort together for group learning and reflection; individual reviews of progress against capabilities and future planning with coaches and/or mentors; developing a structure for maintaining the cohesion and momentum of the cohort; formal evaluation of the programme.

The project

The NRLP2020 will contribute to an international team research project designed to develop large research project skills in addition to contributing to University research objectives. In 2020 this project will be conducted at UNM and is planned for the week beginning April 20th 2020.  We expect all participants to join the international project, but this is designed to be an opportunity and not a barrier to joining the cohort. If you have questions or concerns about this aspect of the NRLP please discuss these with either Parmjit Dhugga or Lucy Donaldson prior to application, as adjustments can be made.  

Ongoing engagement

Throughout the programme there will be opportunities for experiential learning through workshops and seminars. All participants will have the opportunity for extensive media training with a local external trainer, including filmed (live and taped), and radio interview. For the benefit of participants located in UNM and UNNC, some of the media training sessions will be timed to be close to other activities (see also below under Financial support).

Personal support

Participants will have the support of an executive coach during the year of the programme. NRLP alumni who have agreed to be research mentors are also available to participants through a matching programme coordinated by the LMA. Participants are allocated to facilitated action learning sets that will meet throughout the programme.

Personal Action Plans are intended to enable participants to identify strengths and weaknesses and to work on increasing their research leadership capabilities, supported by other members of the group, their coach/mentor and with input from external and internal providers.

Formal sessions in the UK are recorded and made available to all NRLP participants, and in 2020 we aim to trial live videoconferencing for these sessions for UNM and UNNC participants unable to travel to the UK.

All participants will also benefit from the offer of a 360 degree review, to inform discussion with coaches and development of personal action plan; group reflection, discussions, collaborative working, and an opportunity to shadow a senior member of the University Leadership team.

Financial support

All participants receive financial support for the international research project to cover travel, visas etc., and a fund to support personal networking activity during the year. It is expected that colleagues from UNNC and UNM will have access to additional funds to be able to travel to the UK for at least two of the formal programme sessions, some of which will be planned to be linked to media training sessions to enable full value to be obtained from a visit to the UK. These visits can also be linked to personal research collaborative meetings to enable participants to build research capacity with NRLP participants or other partners.

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Point of contact:

Parmjit Dhugga
Head of Researcher Development
Graduate School
0115 84 68585

The Graduate School

The University of Nottingham
A floor, Highfield House
University Park
Nottingham, NG7 2RD

Tel: +44 (0) 115 846 8400