Skip to main content


Aurora is Advance HE's leadership development initiative for women and those who identify as a woman. It is run as a unique partnership bringing together leadership experts and higher education institutions to take positive action to address the under-representation of women in leadership positions in the sector.

Led by a team of leadership experts, participants will explore four key areas associated with leadership success: Identity, Impact and Voice; Politics and Influence; Core Leadership Skills; Adaptive Leadership Skills.

Over the past six years 7,000 women from over 175 institutions across the UK and Ireland have participated in Aurora.

Reflecting the challenges we all currently face, Aurora has been re-designed as a fully virtual experience. All Aurora activity will now be delivered online.

Aurora seeks to support women and their institutions to fulfil their leadership potential through thought provoking activities, collaborative problem solving activities and motivating stories supported by inspirational women role models. Participation embeds strong networks of early career women across the sector to share best practice, insights and experiences. 

Aurora 2020-21

All 2020-21 cohort activity will run online.

View our 2020-21 dates

Aurora has had a huge impact for Brunel. It has highlighted our commitment to gender equality and ensuring women have the opportunity to apply for more senior positons in the organisation and that we want them to stay, grow and develop with us. Aurora has helped our participants to maximise their talents and develop leadership skills and acumen. Several have succeeded in advancing their careers, either through promotion or by attaining new leadership roles."

Professor Lorraine De Souza, Aurora champion Pro-Vice Chancellor (equality, diversity and staff development), Brunel University London

How does Aurora work?

With cohorts running at a number of locations across the UK and Ireland, the Aurora programme is a mix of development days, action learning sets and self-directed online learning modules. Participants are guided by role models and supported by mentors from your institution.

Find out more about how Aurora works

Aurora 2020-21 cohort dates

All bookings on Aurora must be made through or with the permission of your institutions Aurora Champion (list found here).

South of England

Intro Webinar: 13 October 2020
Identity, Impact and Voice: 20 October 2020
Politics and Influence: 17 November 2020
Action Learning Set 1: 8 December 2020
Core Leadership Skills: 12 January 2021
Adaptive Leadership Skills: 9 February 2021
Action Learning Set 2: 16 March 2021


Intro Webinar: 3 November 2020
Identity, Impact and Voice: 10 November 2020
Politics and Influence: 1 December 2020
Action Learning Set 1: 12 January 2021
Core Leadership Skills: 2 February 2021
Adaptive Leadership Skills: 2 March 2021
Action Learning Set 2: 23 March 2021


Intro Webinar: 24 November 2020
Identity, Impact and Voice: 1 December 2020
Politics and Influence: 19 January 2021
Action Learning Set 1: 9 February 2021
Core Leadership Skills: 9 March 2021
Adaptive Leadership Skills: 20 April 2021
Action Learning Set 2: 11 May 2021

West and South West England

Intro Webinar: 18 January 2021
Identity, Impact and Voice: 21 January 2021
Politics and Influence: 25 February 2021
Action Learning Set 1: 18 March 2021
Core Leadership Skills: 22 April 2021
Adaptive Leadership Skills: 20 May 2021
Action Learning Set 2: 17 June 2021

North of England

Intro Webinar: 17 February 2021
Identity, Impact and Voice: 24 February 2021
Politics and Influence: 24 March 2021
Action Learning Set 1: 21 April 2021
Core Leadership Skills: 12 May 2021
Adaptive Leadership Skills: 23 June 2021
Action Learning Set 2: 7 July 2021

The Midlands

Intro Webinar: 19 March 2021
Identity, Impact and Voice: 26 March 2021
Politics and Influence: 7 May 2021
Action Learning Set 1: 21 May 2021
Core Leadership Skills: 11 June 2021
Adaptive Leadership Skills: 2 July 2021
Action Learning Set 2: 16 July 2021

Aurora case studies

Aurora and your institution

Institutions are responsible for coordinating Aurora within their organisation, providing mentors for their participants and supporting participants to attend the development days and their action learning sets. In each institution, Aurora is led by an Aurora champion

Find out more

Aurora - The Longitundinal Study

Our five-year longitudinal study of Aurora participants tracks the careers and aspirations of women working in higher education.

Read more

Register your interest in Aurora 

If you would like to find out more information about our Aurora 2020-21 cohorts, please complete the enquiry form below. We will keep you updated with further information as it becomes available.

Keep up-to-date with the latest from Advance HE
Let us do the hard work for you and keep you updated with services such as: the latest news, reports and research from around the sector, information on Advance HE services and awards that can support you in your role.

I agree to Advance HE contacting me via: