SUSTAIN is a programme which enables female researchers to thrive in their independent research careers. It provides an innovative programme of training and support to develop participants’ leadership and career potential.

Key dates

SUSTAIN round three will be opening for applications in early October 2018.

We are currently planning round three of SUSTAIN. If you would like to be notified when the SUSTAIN opens for applications, please email


Not enough female researchers in science are securing senior leadership posts in the UK. A concerted effort is needed to ensure women are appropriately supported along their career trajectory to enable them to secure those senior positions.

SUSTAIN is a unique programme in the UK that is providing female researchers a fantastic opportunity to benefit from individualised support tailored to their career needs.



"SUSTAIN is the first programme that is tailored specifically towards women at the beginning stages of their independent careers. By integrating a range of approaches, SUSTAIN enables new PIs to develop their own, personal leadership styles needed  for their successful progression as scientists."

Dr Eva Hoffman, MRC Senior Non-Clinical Research Fellow, former Dorothy Hodgkin Fellow, University of Sussex

"Trying to build a career, deliver high quality science and raise a family can seem daunting. But you are not alone and many of the challenges faced by women in research are shared. SUSTAIN offers a structured programme of training and mentorship coupled with the opportunity to learn from and share with people who have walked (or are walking) in your shoes."

Dr Elizabeth Sapey, Clinician Scientist, former Starter Grant Holder, University of Birmingham



About the programme

The year-long programme offers interactive skills training and career development sessions, tailored mentoring and the opportunity to network with research leaders. It is designed so that participants are part of a unique cohort to share learnings and includes:

  • Interactive career development workshops

The programme starts with a 2.5 day residential workshop, followed by three one-day workshops spread across the next twelve months. A wide range of issues are addressed at these workshops, including media training, publishing strategically, finding your work-life blend and developing a personal leadership style. Each session is tailored to support attendees through the challenges of combining research, teaching, clinical practice and caring responsibilities. Additionally, participants are introduced to research leaders at an Inspiring Women event on one evening of the residential workshop.

Hotel accommodation in London is provided for two nights for the period of the residential workshop, and for the other workshops if necessitated by travel requirements. Travel costs can be claimed in accordance with the Academy’s policy for travel. Childcare support, if needed, is available up to £50 per child per day for Ofsted-registered childcare. 

  • A peer support network 

The group is matched in co-coaching pairs to enable ongoing peer support and discussion of issues/challenges. Small group work at each workshop helps to embed and put into practice key learning points.

  • One-to-one mentoring

Participants are mentored by a Fellow of the Academy. Bespoke training on how to get the most out of mentoring, and ongoing support is provided to both mentees and mentors over the course of the programme.


SUSTAIN round two was supported by the Academy of Medical Sciences, the Medical Research Council and the Royal Society.

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