Researcher-led Initiative awards

The Researcher-led initiative awards are intended to enable postgraduate research students and early career research staff from the University of Exeter to be proactive and empowered to deliver new professional development activities for their peers that will develop the skills and experience needed to progress their careers.

The awards support short-term, well-defined initiatives that develop and deliver transferable skills training experiences and/or resources to the applicants’ peers across departments. Collaborative applications are encouraged. Applications will be reviewed on a case by case basis and all applicants will receive feedback after the awards have been allocated.

Winners of the 2018 call for applications

We are delighted to announce that this year there were 41 applications made to the Researcher-led initiative awards, with 20 being successfully funded. Thanks to all of those who applied for an award and congratulations to our new award holders. 

Lead award holder

Title of their Researcher-led Initiative


The Business School

Gemma Delafield

ExeterEnergy Seminar Series


College of Engineering Mathematics and Physical Sciences

Tinkle Chugh

Workshop on Multiple Criteria Decision Making (MCDM)


Charlie Kirkwood

How to share your code: an introduction to the Git ecosystem for early career researchers


Bob-Dan Lechner

Negative results: not junk, but an opportunity to learn


Penelope Maher

Careers in Climate (hosted by Women in Climate)


College of Humanities

Lisa Berry-Waite

Conceptualising statehood in the age of Brexit


Ashley Gannicott

Borders, Boundaries and Margins - Exclamat!on: An Interdisciplinary Journal's Annual Conference 2019


Veronica Heney and Zaina Mahmoud

Sensitive Interview Training

Wellcome Centre for Cultures and Environments of Health

Adrián Oyaneder Rodríguez

First South American Meeting at Exeter (SAAME)


Jessica Tyner-Mehta

An Introduction to SEO for Researchers and Creatives


College of Life and Environmental Sciences

Hazel Knipe

Postgraduate Mental Health Workshop


Benjamin Sherlock

Version Control Systems

Living Systems Institute

College of Medicine and Health

Ben Lee

Gene Expression and Synthetic Biology Symposium


Daisy Parker

Doing Quality Qualitative Analysis


Liz Shaw

Creative Communications: has your research gone far enough?


Tristan Snowsill

Linking with discipline specific cross-university early career researcher networks


Joana Viana

Reproducible and Open Science Workshop


Sarah Walker

ExeCTU: A Focus on Statistics in Regulated Clinical Trials


College of Social Sciences and International Studies

Jingya (Elaine) Liu

Creative Interviews in the Social Science


Virginia Thomas

The Academic Woman

Politics and International Relations

We are also pleased that we are able to financially support some aspects of the following initiatives.

Lead award holder

Title of their Initiative


College of Engineering Mathematics and Physical Sciences

Oluwanfunmilola Ola

International Women in Engineering Day 2019


College of Humanities

Matt Beebee

The Humanities Postgraduate Research Conference 2019


College of Medicine and Health

Ruth Gwernan-Jones

St Luke’s Volunteer Garden


Overview of criteria:

  • Lead applicants must be Postgraduate Research Students or University of Exeter staff on Research Only contracts, grades E, F or G
  • Beneficiaries of the initiatives must be Postgraduate Research Students and/or University of Exeter staff on Research Only contracts on grade E, F or G. NB: Applications from Postgraduate Research Students must include other Postgraduate Research Students as beneficiaries and applications from Research Staff must include other University of Exeter staff on Research Only contracts on grade E, F or G as beneficiaries.
  • The initiatives must be completed by the 30th June, 2019
  • Successful applicants must agree to fulfil the responsibilities outlined in the Award Holder Responsibilities document
  • The proposed activities must directly benefit parties beyond the named applicants.
  • We cannot fund activity that is essential for any already-funded project’s success – activities must be additional to that planned for existing funded activity
  • Activities should not replicate those which are already offered by the University
  • Activities need to be advertised through the Researcher Development team
  • We would welcome activities that are inter-disciplinary in nature

PLEASE NOTE: the deadline for applications for the 2018 call has now passed.



RLIs open for applications

30 September 2019

RLI applications close

25 November 2019 (12 noon GMT)

RLI Awarding panel to decide successful applications

3 December 2019

Decision to RLI applicants

9 December 2019

‘Award Holder Responsibilities’ meetings with successful applicants and funding agreements signed

16 December and 19 December 2019

Start RLIs

2 January 2020

RLIs need to be completed

30 June 2020

Final reports from award holders submitted to Researcher Development and Research Culture.

31 July 2020


A new postgraduate journal supported by the University of Exeter’s College of Humanities and Doctoral College’s Researcher Development team.

Our decision to start a new peer-review journal for Postgraduate Research and Taught students in the disciplines of English, Creative Writing and Film at the University of Exeter. We named it Exclamat!on: An Interdisciplinary Journal, and set no thematic constraints for the first issue, so as to appeal to the widest range of contributors possible. Our initial mission for the journal was simple. We sought to create an innovative space in which PGRs and PGTs could engage in current debates and interdisciplinary discussions; we wanted to bring together divergent and creative ideas, and fundamentally showcase work via a new publishing platform within the Department of English. We have recently published the second volume of Exclamat!on, which successfully builds on the success of the first volume. Read our blog to find out more.

Institute of Health Research focus days 2017 & 2018

Words of wisdom were thrown out like sweeties to attendees at the Institute of Health Research Early Career Researcher Network’s recent Focus Day. The theme being “Things the University is Doing that you Don’t Know About, that you Might Want to Know About, that Might Help you Progress your Career. Plus Helpful Career (and Life) Advice from People who’ve Been Where you are and Survived”. Or something like that.

On arrival to the Focus Day, attendees were given a copy of “Self-care for academics: a poetic invitation to reflect and resist” by Siobhan O’Dwyer, Sarah Pinto and Sharon McDonough. After a gentle start to the day, with colouring and refreshments, the thirty-five attendees were inundated with useful advice on a range of career-related topics, including: The Exeter Academic and how it relates to progression and promotion, the University of Exeter Doctoral College and how it supports development for early career researchers, the purpose and achievements of the Positive Working Environment Board and how to get the most out of mentoring and other one-to-one career support.

But equally valuable was the insight into the somewhat stochastic and unexpected career paths of those who have, somehow, navigated the world of the early career researcher and made it to the heady heights of mid-career researcher or even senior academic.

For more details of the Focus Day and the Institute of Health Research Early Career Researcher Network, see our blog post.

Machine Learning

Recent technological advances, such as high-throughput sequencing and remote sensing, provide life scientists with large and complex data sets. This data require several layers of computational processing, from data cleaning and preparation to employing rigorous statistical modelling and machine learning.

Typically, such analyses cannot be performed using off-the-shelf software. Instead scientists need to write custom code to create and automate their data analytical pipelines.

Python is a scripted high-level programming language that is arguably becoming the de facto standard for exploratory and interactive scientific research. The “swiss army knife” for researchers, Python is an easy-to-learn and versatile language that can be used to perform a wide variety of tasks: numerical computations, statistical analysis, data visualisation, image processing, video analysis and more. Moreover, Python is open-source and cross-platform, making software projects easy to disseminate and reproduce, without the need for expensive licences.

We are organising a series of workshops that introduce life scientists to Python. We will present the core aspects of the language and draw examples from a variety of life science applications to show how biological data can be analysed using simple scripts.

All the supporting workshop material has been publicly uploaded onto GitHub., for more details please contact 

The Academic Woman

‘The Academic Woman’ is a global network for all women in higher education and has been instrumental in bringing women together across the whole of the university with our ‘Inspiring Women’ seminar series which ran during last term from March – June 2018. We held 6 sessions which were lunchtime sessions with refreshments from 12-1pm starting with the newly appointed Head of Department for Management, Prof Alex Gerbasi and finishing with a talk from Dr Sawsan Khuri, Associate from the Medical School. All of the seminars were well attended and created lively discussions around issues affected women in academia in both their personal and professional lives. Attendees came from varied disciplines and included senior management and UG students.

Events were promoted via social media where we now have nearly 2000 followers, through our Facebook page and LinkedIn site. For more details, see our webpage.