“I’ve realised that being successful in academia is not only about research quality”: SUSTAIN round 4 launches

The Academy is delighted to announce that 24 participants from across the country have been selected for the fourth round of SUSTAIN, our ground-breaking programme to enable female researchers to thrive.

Dr Maria Jimenez Sanchez, who works on neurodegenerative diseases at King’s College London, said:

“Since starting my MRC Career Development Award, I’ve realised that being successful in academia is not only about research quality. I feel I have not received the appropriate training and support in many aspects that are essential to our roles, such as team management or communication. And when this training or support is available, it seems to be aimed at a stereotype of a leader with whom I don’t identify. At this critical point in my career, I am really excited about joining the SUSTAIN programme to learn from other amazing women who have succeeded in their careers.”

The programme targets people in their first independent positions from across the scientific research community, including doctors, scientists, and engineers. The year-long SUSTAIN programme includes mentoring from Academy Fellows, peer-coaching, and a series of bespoke training workshops.

Dr Tiffany Taylor, who works on evolutionary biology at the University of Bath, said:

“I heard about the SUSTAIN programme through the Royal Society as a Dorothy Hodgkin Fellow. I wanted to apply because I want to do the best possible job I can as an independent researcher and reach my full potential. I recognise there are barriers to senior positions for women in academia, and a lack of role models to learn from. I hope SUSTAIN will provide me with those role models and a support network to allow me to thrive as my role as a new PI.”

Female scientists are still greatly underrepresented at senior leadership level in the UK. This programme forms a key part of the Academy’s strategy to support women at all stages of their career, helping more women secure senior positions.

Dr Snehal Pinto Pereira, who works on health and ageing at University College London, said:

“I am at the beginning of my independent career while simultaneously trying to raise a young family. I sometimes find these competing demands on my time extremely overwhelming. I am looking forward to meeting a cohort of other women in a similar position to me so that we can learn from and support each other.”

This year saw a record high number of applications for SUSTAIN. As in previous years, applicants were chosen randomly by computer, and stratified by location. All applicants are grant awardees from either the Academy of Medical Sciences, the Medical Research Council, the Royal Society or the Royal Academy of Engineering.

The small-group learning and cohort support vital to SUSTAIN’s success means that we can only run this programme for 24 people at a time. However given the continued high demand for our support it is clear there is still more work to be done in this area. We are therefore keen to share our experiences and help other organisations develop their own similar programmes. For more information please contact sustain@acmedsci.ac.uk

Read case studies from previous SUSTAIN participants to find out more about the support we offer.

Round 5 will be open for applications in November 2020. Visit our SUSTAIN programme page to find out more.

To support the work of the Academy to develop talented researchers, visit our Supporters page.

The full list of participants taking part in the fourth round of SUSTAIN are:

  • Dr Natalie Blencowe, MRC Clinician Scientist and Senior Lecturer in Surgery, University of Bristol
  • Dr Rebecca Boston, Lloyd's Register Foundation and RAEng Research Fellow, University of Sheffield
  • Dr Maria Christophorou, Sir Henry Dale Fellow, The Babraham Institute
  • Dr Abbe Crawford, Clinician in Neurology and Neurosurgery, Royal Veterinary College, University of London
  • Dr Franziska Denk, Lecturer, King's College London
  • Dr Jennifer Dickens, Senior Research Associate and Honorary Consultant, University of Cambridge
  • Dr Nicola Fletcher, Ad Astra Fellow, University of Birmingham and University College Dublin
  • Dr Rachel Freathy, Sir Henry Dale Fellow, University of Exeter
  • Dr Marina Freitag, Royal Society University Research Fellow and Lecturer, Newcastle University
  • Dr Gisela Helfer, Senior Lecturer in Physiology and Metabolism, University of Bradford
  • Dr Maria Jimenez-Sanchez, MRC Career Development Fellow, King's College London
  • Dr Sara Macias-Ribela, Sir Henry Dale Fellow, University of Edinburgh
  • Dr Naomi McGovern, Group Leader, University of Cambridge
  • Dr Kathryn Peall, MRC Clinician Scientist, Cardiff University
  • Dr Dimitra Peppa, MRC Clinician Scientist, University of Oxford
  • Dr Snehal Pinto Pereira, MRC Career Development Fellow, University College London
  • Dr Helen Rowe, Sir Henry Dale Fellow and Group Leader, Queen Mary University of London
  • Dr Maria Secrier, Lecturer in Computational Biology, University College London
  • Dr Gemma Sharp, Senior Lecturer in Molecular Epidemiology, University of Bristol
  • Dr Sabrina Simoncelli, Lecturer in Nanoscale Characterisation, University College London
  • Dr Katherine Staines, Senior Lecturer, University of Brighton
  • Dr Tiffany Taylor, Royal Society Dorothy Hodgkin Research Fellow, University of Bath
  • Dr Gillian Tomlinson, MRC Clinician Scientist, University College London
  • Dr Marta Vignola, RAEng Engineering for Development Research Fellow, University of Glasgow


Key contacts

Mentoring masterclass - July 2022

Book Now

Health policy implications of climate change

Book Now

Career Development Event - Disability and mental health in academia

Book Now
View more
FB Twitter Instagram Youtube