First SUSTAIN programme ends on a high

The first year of SUSTAIN, the Academy's unique pilot programme designed to support women researchers to progress into senior leadership roles, reached completion yesterday with its last workshop.

While it might be the end of the programme, it won't be the end of its benefits, as SUSTAIN gave its participants a network of peers for continuing support and peer mentoring, alongside a long-lasting connection to the Academy.

Thanks to the success of the pilot and the great feedback received from the participants, the Academy is pleased to announce that SUSTAIN will continue for a further year, with a call for applications opening in the next few weeks.

Not enough women researchers in science are securing senior leadership posts. We need to ensure women are appropriately supported along their career trajectory to make sure they don't miss opportunities to secure senior positions.

The Academy's year-long initiative is designed around this need, and offers its 20 participants skills training, career development workshops and mentoring.

SUSTAIN's participants come from different research backgrounds. The programme is open to biomedical researchers (including researchers with clinical or non-clinical qualifications) and scientist from the physical and natural sciences .

Celebrating the success of SUSTAIN last night, the Academy's President Professor Robert Lechler said:

"Historically in our sector, biomedical and health-related research, we have underinvested in leadership. We spend thousands of hours learning how to become scientists but only a handful of hours training on how to become a leader. I had a similar experience in my career, and I quickly learned the error of that and continue to invest time in enhancing my leadership skills.

"The triggers for this particular programme include the appalling gender imbalance in the professoriate and the shortage of women in senior leadership positions. Consequently, I am very enthusiastic about this scheme, that offers leadership training at the right time of a female researcher's career, and I am delighted that we are running another cohort which will start towards the end of this year.

"I do hope the first SUSTAIN participants will be seen as the role models they are, to show the research community what is possible. We will follow their careers with interest."

SUSTAIN is supported by the Academy of Medical Sciences, the Medical Research Council, the Royal Society and the Royal College of Physicians.


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