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Success on the board: unlocking the power of underrepresented voices in research

Wellcome is funding ‘Success on the board’ for three more years, a development programme open to researchers and professional research services staff from underrepresented groups in UK universities and research institutes, who are interested in exploring joining a board.

Success on the Board is a development programme open to researchers and professional research services staff from underrepresented groups in UK universities and research institutes, who are interested in exploring joining a board.

After the successful running of two cohorts of the pilot programme, Wellcome is funding a further three cohorts of 'Success on the board' from September 2023 to October 2026.

This fully-funded development programme is designed exclusively for those in research that belong to groups currently underrepresented on higher education (HE) and research boards and governing bodies. 

Wellcome

Analysis of the diversity of UK university and research institute governing body membership, as well as data on governance from the Higher Education Statistics Agency, indicates that there is an underrepresentation of certain minoritised groups, compared with the sector and society at large.

Wellcome has put diversity, equity and inclusion at the heart of its new strategy and will work with the research sector on change. Advance HE's experience and ongoing strategic commitments to support inclusive governance and leadership mean we are well placed to deliver the programme. With increased gender, ethnicity and disability representation on UK HE and research boards, the diversity amongst key decision makers will be improved. Such changes in leadership will be essential to help build a better research culture – one that is creative, inclusive and honest. 

The programme aims to support participants to explore the membership of committees and boards of research institutions, universities, and other organisations relevant to the sector, such as charities, hospitals, funders and research organisations. 

Applications are now open for Success on the Board. Please read the FAQs for further information on the programme, the application process and the selection criteria. The application deadline is 12:00 (BST) on Wednesday 27 September 2023.

Apply now
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An introduction to the programme from the Chair of Wellcome, Julia Gillard

We spoke with the Chair of Wellcome and Former Prime Minister of Australia about her experiences.

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The programme

‘Success on the board’ is a comprehensive development programme running over 12 months. The programme aims to equip participants with skills and guidance on how to access opportunities. The programme includes:

  • online training
  • coaching
  • opportunities to shadow boards
  • reflective learning
  • online webinars
  • an online community across a year-long programme.
  • an in-person concluding event

Participants are required to commit to a total of three full days of scheduled activity and to commit to an additional four days in total over the course of the year to engage fully in the suite of activities and the community.

To ensure participants can get the most out of the programme, each applicant will need to find an institutional champion who will submit a supporting application. We will not be able to accept applications without the necessary institutional support. Advance HE can provide support to help applicants find an institutional champion.

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Key programme delivery dates

  • Introductory Webinar: 31 October 2023
  • Four half-day sessions delivered online: 15, 16, 27, 28 November 2023
  • Quarterly touchpoint webinars: 14 December 2023; 6 February 2024; 23 April 2024; 4 June 2024
  • One-day concluding event: 9 October 2024

Apply for Success on the Board

Further information on the programme, the application process and the selection criteria can be found on the FAQs page. The application deadline is 12:00 (BST) on Wednesday 27 September 2023. You can access the application form via the button below.

Application form
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Dr Shewly Choudhury discusses her experiences of joining a board

We spoke with Dr Shewly Choudhury, Trustee at the MS Society, to discuss her experiences of joining a board, and her top tips for those thinking about applying for the programme.

How will places be allocated?

There are 10 places available in each cohort. Applications will be assessed against an eligibility threshold and the places will be allocated on a first-come, first-served basis. More information on the eligibility threshold and selection process is available on the FAQs.

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