Leading Across Boundaries: Researcher-Driven Leadership Development


  • Patrick S Grant

    University of Oxford

Project summary

Our vision for Oxford is to develop research leaders who can form positive relationships across boundaries – be they across disciplines, roles, career stages, sectors, geographies, or personal identities – to create environments in which people and research can flourish. Diverse and equitable relationships and increased permeability across boundaries improve research culture and drive creativity. To achieve this vision, we propose to test a model for developing an institution-wide leadership programme that is tailored to the situations and barriers encountered by researchers. In Oxford and elsewhere, leadership offerings focus on imparting a defined set of skills; these may be disconnected from researchers’ environments, contributing to limited engagement and efficacy. We propose a different approach: to design, deliver, and test a leadership programme in which researchers themselves identify their leadership needs and the boundaries they experience. The project comprises co-creation with researchers, a pilot across disciplines and leadership stages, and comprehensive evaluation. The programme will be applicable to, and shared with, other research organisations. Our aim is for a leadership programme that is effective and scalable, and that retains the institutional vision for culture change while providing the researcher with the agency to contribute to that change.