Attracting and nurturing the next generation of leaders

- Imperial Future Leaders Academy

Our goal: Imperial will provide sector-leading opportunities for early-career STEMB staff, from first year PhD students and postdoctoral fellows to those taking on their first position in academia, industry or policy.

Now: We prioritise the career development of all our staff through a number of initiatives, including the Technician Commitment, the Postdoc and Fellows Development Centre, the Career Development Skills offer, the People and Organisational Development Team, and the Academic Leadership Development Programme. Our academic, professional, technical and operational leaders work in partnership to create and sustain an environment of high-quality teaching, research and impact.

Today, the pace of change in our workplaces and our world is driving changes in how Imperial supports and develops people in their careers here. Some of the most notable developments we’re responding to include hybrid working, the mainstreaming of new technologies and AI, the importance of interdisciplinarity and multi professional teamwork to leading science, the increasing internationalisation of scientific research, and the need to promote and support non-linear career paths with movement between academia, industry and other knowledge sectors.

Next: The new Imperial Future Leaders Academy will bring together Imperial’s skilled organisational development professionals with academic and external experts to create a new suite of innovative academic management and leadership development programmes for our early-career staff. They will receive training in how to lead high-performing, and increasingly multi-site and multinational teams, as well as operational, finance and risk management skills. Core to its mission, the Imperial Future Leaders Academy will foster a dynamic, supportive and stretching environment that spans disciplines, fosters teamwork and encourages personal and professional growth.

The Imperial Future Leaders Academy will integrate the development opportunities we provide PhD students through to postdoctoral fellows and increase their awareness of the full range of fulfilling career options available to STEMB talent, including academic, policy, advisory, industry, media and regulatory.

Imperial will begin a major recruitment drive, the Imperial Future Leaders Campaign, to further boost our capabilities in priority research areas. Working with our academic departments and linked to our four new Schools of Convergence Science, we will collaborate with partners to develop new opportunities for top early-career talent to do more to address the grand challenges facing humanity and our planet.

“People make this place. Our focus is on inviting the brightest minds and most exciting researchers to the Imperial family, and ensuring they find a supportive culture of belonging and development when they get here.” - Harbhajan Brar, Director of Human Resources

Supporting early-career researchers

Imperial’s Centre for Quantum Engineering, Science and Technology (QuEST) is collaborating with central specialist support teams including the Postdoctoral Fellows Development Centre, Imperial Policy Forum and Enterprise Division to bring new approaches to upskilling its early career researchers. From Imperial Policy Forum Workshops and visits to Parliament to better understand how to inform policy making, to entrepreneurship masterclasses to move ideas to the scale up phase for a quantum-enabled economy, and seed funding and support to enable early-career researchers to make competitive independent funding proposals. These new approaches have inspired us to be even more ambitious in our work to raise the quality of career development support for all those researchers who are just starting out.