Annual Research Staff Conference

Turbocharge Your Career – Monday 29 January 2024, 9:30 am – 4:00 pm, Core Technology Facility

Location: Core Technology Facility, 46 Grafton Street, Manchester, M13 9WU.

Delegate pack including agenda, details of the panel, facilitators and wellbeing support can be downloaded here. You will receive a printed copy of the delegate pack at the conference so there is no need for you to print it.

Research staff possess a diverse and wide range of essential skills and experience, representing a huge talent pool that benefits UK and global research institutions, the economy, and society. The skills research staff possess can unlock a limitless range of career paths. But it doesn’t always feel that way and success and options for researchers can feel narrowly defined. This conference, organised by the Researcher Development team at The University of Manchester, will explore a range of career paths beyond the postdoc and examine how research staff can take practical steps to unlock their career potential and develop areas of leadership, collaborations, decision making, and grant writing.

The conference is open to all research staff at The University of Manchester, University of Salford and Manchester Metropolitan University.

Please note that this conference is not open to postgraduate research students, it is open to research staff only (postdoctoral research associates and research fellows).

Please note that it is free to attend this event and lunch and refreshments will be provided.

The AccessAble webpage provides details of the venue including the local public transport locations, toilet facilities, lifts and inside access:


Time  Activity

9:30 – 10:00

Registration with tea and coffee on arrival

10:00 – 10:30

Research Culture and Career Development for Research Staff

Professor Colette Fagan, Vice President for Research, University of Manchester

10:30 – 11:30

Exploring Diverse Career Paths for Research Staff

A panel session to explore and celebrate the wide range of different career paths postdocs and research staff from different disciplines can take in academia and beyond.

Confirmed speakers:

  • Dr Kara Filbey: formerly a Postdoctoral Research Fellow in Immunology and Parasitology, now a medical writer at Cence
  • Dr Aysa Latif: formerly a Postdoctoral Research Associate in Experimental Oncology, now Lecturer in Pharmaceutical Biology, University of Manchester
  • Dr John Miles: formerly a Postdoctoral Research Associate in Renaissance Literature, now founder and CEO of Inkpath
  • Dr Vishal Musale: formerly a Postdoctoral Research Associate on a British Heart Foundation funded project, now working as a Scientist for Hammersmith Medicines Research.
  • Dr Christopher Phang: worked for several years in cancer research and protein-protein interactions, now working as a senior software engineer and technical lead.

Chair: Dr Joan Chang, MRC CDA Research Fellow, Wellcome Centre for Cell-Matrix Research, University of Manchester

11:30 – 12:00

Coffee Break

12:00 – 13:00

Parallel Workshop 1: Turbocharge Your Skillset

Delegates attend one of four practical workshops aimed to develop different aspects of career development. Each workshop is repeated after the lunch break to enable all delegates to attend the two areas of most interest to them. 

  1. Turbocharge Your Collaboration – Dr Sarah Ashworth, Researcher Developer and a range of researchers with experience of diverse collaborations. This workshop will look at different approaches to collaboration that have enabled career impact for UoM researchers and explore what might work for you and your career plans.
  2. Turbocharge Your Decision Making with Prosper – Dr Anne Marie Sowerbutts, Researcher Developer. This session will start the journey from stuck to sorted in your career giving you exercises to ignite your thinking from the Prosper portal and consider different ways of exploring opportunities.
  3. Turbocharge Your Fellowship Application – Dr Gemma Muckle, Researcher Developer and a senior academic from The University of Manchester with experience of reviewing fellowships. This session will give you insight into how panels judge applications and explore what’s important for your own applications.
  4. Turbocharge Your Leadership – Debs Hirst, Executive Coach, Consultant and Facilitator with Azure Consulting Ltd
    This session will explore your leadership identity and values and how you can develop your own authentic leadership style to influence, collaborate and increase your presence.
13:00 – 14:30

Lunch (30 mins protected quiet lunch time), Professional Support Services Marketplace and Guided Networking Session (facilitated by Debs Hirst)

An opportunity to meet and create connections with colleagues in an interactive and engaging guided networking session, taking the pressure out of starting conversations with strangers!

There will also be the opportunity for separate ‘quiet’ activities for those who would prefer not to network in a larger group and a chance to learn about support available to research staff from a range of professional support services.

14:30 – 15:30

Parallel Workshop 2: Turbocharge Your Skillset

15:30 – 15:50

What Now, and What Next for Your Career?

Summary and closing remarks from Prof. Melissa Westwood, Associate Vice President for Research, The University of Manchester 


You can access programmes and keynote presentations from previous conferences on this page.


Keynotes from 2020 and 2021