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Published on:

23rd Aug 2023

Industrial Research Fellowships and the Research Co-Culture podcast

In our weekly Research Culture Uncovered conversations we are asking what is Research Culture and why does it matter?

This is actually a bonus episode but it does align with the  aim of Season 5, where we are investigating the impact of impact on research culture. In this episode your host Ged is joined by Dr Lorna Daniels and Dr Shilpa Nagarajan.

Shilpa and Lorna are co-hosts of the Research Co-culture podcast . They are also both industry sponsored Post-doctoral Research Fellows at Oxford University. Shilpa has just finished her Fellowship and will be moving to a role as a Senior Scientist in a pharma company. Lorna will also soon be finishing her fellowship and will then take up a role as Senior Policy Advisor in the UK Government Office for Science (or GO-Science)

In this episode Ged discusses with Lorna and Shilpa the structure of their Fellowship programme and how industrial sponsorship plays its part. And of course what their podcast is all about. The key messages from the discussion are:

·       Even though these fellowships are industry-sponsored, the fellow needs to be proactive in driving discussions around any potential impact within the company.

·       In those discussions, initial contact is eased by having an industry mentor but you still have to convince others of about that potential impact..

·       Their Fellowships have given them the chance to explore and collaborate beyond their niche expertise, which has opened up their next career steps; both of which they weren’t anticipating.

·       Their podcast is a call to collaborate more fluidly across all sectors (academia, private sector, policy, etc) and for all those sectors to be more open-minded to collaboration. Season 1 is currently available with Season 2 starting in September 2023.

Shilpa and Lorna’s favourite episodes from season 1:

·       Interview with Anne Clark on International Day of Women and Girls in Science

·       Interview with Leanne Hodson on leading a lab

You can follow the Research Co-culture podcast on LinkedIn and they will be starting season 2 in September 2023.

You can follow Lorna on Twitter @LornaD90

You can follow Shilpa on Twitter @shilpainthelab

Research culture links:

Follow us on twitter: @ResDevLeeds, @OpenResLeeds, @ResCultureLeeds, @HallGed

Connect to us on LinkedIn: @ResearchUncoveredPodcast, @GedHall

Be sure to check out the other episodes to find out more.

If you would like to contribute to a podcast episode get in touch: researcherdevelopment@leeds.ac.uk

Transcript
Intro:

Welcome to the Research Culture Uncovered podcast, where in every episode we explore what is research culture and what should it be. You'll hear thoughts and opinions from a range of contributors to help you change research culture into what you want it to be.

Ged:

Hi, this is Ged Hall, and for those of you who don't know me, I'm an Academic Development Consultant of the University of Leeds.

Today's episode of our Research Culture Uncovered podcast is actually a bonus episode, but it still has close links to my season's focus on the effects of research impact. In this bonus episode, I'm delighted to be talking to Dr. Lorna Daniels and Dr. Shilpa Nagarajan Shilpa and Lorna are co-hosts of the Research Co-Culture podcast, which looks at how researchers from any sector can work together more effectively.

They are both industry sponsored Post-doctoral Research Fellows at Oxford University. And I've invited them along to talk more about how their fellowship program works, the role of their industry sponsor in benefiting the research and potentially increasing the chance of the research, having tangible, tangible impact.

And of course, to tell you lots about their podcast. But before we dive into the interview proper, I always like to get to understand people a bit more. So, you all know that I fall off bikes and, and that I eat pies. Um, so, which one of you wants to go first? Shilpa, can I come to you and just kind of say,

Shilpa:

sure. Yeah.

Ged:

What, what do your friends know about you that, uh, that isn't your passion for research?

Shilpa:

Uh Ooh. Okay. I guess they probably know that I've lived in a lot of countries and I love traveling and doing anything related to exploring cultures. So I cook a lot. I like to cook recipes from different cultures.

That's kind of my hobby slash passion. I know it's not as defined as what other people would call a hobby, but it's definitely something I get a bit more nerdy about outside of research.

Ged:

Mm-hmm.

Cool. I'll have to see if I can find some interesting pie recipes from you. And Lorna, what about you? What do your friends know about you that we, uh, that you'd like to tell us?

Lorna:

Yeah, I think, um, Shilpa can definitely, I'm definitely gonna vouch Shilpa be and my most international friend, so that's definitely true. Um, but yeah, I'd say outside of the lab, um, I'm quite active. I do, I do a lot of CrossFit, which for anyone who doesn't know what that is, it's basically a combination of weightlifting, running, conditioning, some bits of gymnastics.

So basically just imagine competitive adult PE is what most people refer to as, so, But yeah, but I also love getting outside and just kind of. Lots of running and kind of trail running and hiking. Um, and then the other part is that fuels all of this is my extreme consumption of peanut butter. So I think anyone that knows me knows that I love peanut butter, um, and

Shilpa:

very true,

Lorna:

I can definitely confirm this.

Um, yeah, so that's pretty much me. Sports and peanut butter is what makes me up

Ged:

smooth or crunchy?

Lorna:

Definitely crunchy. Definitely crunchy. I mean, I will accept smooth if someone wants to give me peanut butter. If any, if anyone, any peanut butter people out there wanna sponsor a podcast, that'd be amazing.

But yeah, def, definitely crunchy.

Ged:

Brilliant. That's the right answer from my perspective. You know, if it, if it still looks like peanut butter, it still looks like peanuts.

Lorna:

Yeah.

Ged:

Crushed up smothered smothered on toast. That's perfect. Yeah. Brilliant. Um, So, yeah, that's a pity cuz actually as you're both kind of food orientated and also outdoors, I could, we could just flip to that or should we carry on?

Should we carry on talking about research? Uh, I guess we, I guess we should, uh, or else we be mis-selling what this, uh, what our podcast is all about in terms of research culture. Um. But it, you know, interestingly, I asked you along to kind of get a, find out a bit more about your fellowship scheme. So I wonder if you could describe that to the listeners and, and how you got into it and how you, how you're finding it.

Lorna:

Yeah.

Do you wanna go Shilpa?

Shilpa:

Yeah, sure. Um, so the university actually has quite a number of industry fellowship programmes for postdocs. And so the one that we're on is a three year fellowship programme. Particularly geared towards, um, people that just finished their PhD recently, I think within four years. I know when we did it, it was within two years of finishing and.

You're based in an academic lab with an academic supervisor, and you also get an industry mentor that, uh, helps you with the project that you're with. Uh, but you can also, uh, do extra things with your industry company, uh, and have, they might invite you to do other things as well, but you do have one main project.

That is primarily based at the university, but you can get input from the company as well.

Ged:

Brilliant. So you, you get kind of get access to brains on both sides of the academia, non academia boundary.

Shilpa:

Yeah, and and resources too. You can do your experiments there as well, which is fantastic, but there is no like set thing that you do with the company versus your academic lab.

Ged:

Sure. Now, fellowships are normally about boosting career or establishing yourselves as, as research leaders. So what are, what are both of your aspirations? I'll come to Lorna the first, as Shilpa put up the, the first question.

Lorna:

Yeah. So you've actually caught, Shilpa and I, a kind of really interesting part in our, our journeys I guess because, um, I mean, Shilpa has just finished her fellowship so she can tell you all about her new career opportunity when it comes to her.

Uh, and I'm about to finish my fellowship in, in about eight weeks. Um, so we've been on our own journeys of over the past six months of trying to work out what our next steps are. Um, and really the, the kind of the term they use with this fellowship program is to, is to identify the, the next leaders in the kind of metabolic and diabetic fields.

Mm-hmm. Um, and hopefully Shilpa, and I'll be there one day. Um, but yeah, so I'm finishing up very soon and I've actually got a new position, um, but I'll be starting in the government, um, which is not something I ever. thought I'd be interested in, but it just, you know, something came up and I was like, that sounds great.

Um, so it's a, a position as a Senior Policy Advisor in the Government Office for Science, um, within their Research and Development team that's all to do like strategy and capability. So it's basically transitioning from the lab and very much moving into the big picture thinking on the research landscape.

Um, I guess thinking of research impact, um, yeah, so I'm super excited about that and, um, yeah, really looking forward to taking a, a deep dive into science policy and, and learning lots of, lots of new things. Um, and, and definitely the, the industry fellowship massively helped me with that, with the application process.

And I think being able to engage with industry over the past few years has gave me that perspective outside of the academic environment and it really opens up my eyes to the more, you know, strategic type of research and, and just, just out of that small niche lab environment that we're in a day-to-day basis.

So, um, yeah, so that's kind of my next steps.

Ged:

Congratulations on that. I'll have to, yeah, I'll have to get your new email when you, uh, when you have that.

Lorna:

Yeah. Yeah.

Ged:

Because we, you know, we, um, colleagues of mine, Policy Leeds, um, you know, really want to make connections with, um, you know, it's interesting. Policy makers is the wrong terminology actually, because, you know, it's really the, the ministerial level who are the makers of policy and mm-hmm.

Um, and civil servants who advise on how to implement it. So yeah, it'd be really interesting to kind of keep in touch with you, uh, as you, as you go forward in that. Yeah. Brilliant. So Shilpa us about your next exciting step.

Shilpa:

Yeah, it's super, super interesting because we've, we've actually, you know, had very similar fellowship experiences and where we've ended up is completely different.

fellowship program, I really [:

And the great thing about industry, which I found from listening to other people in industry and their own career journeys is that. I mean, it's a job, right? Mm-hmm. And you get to try new things as you try new jobs. In academia, we kind of get focused on the whole career story, the narrative that you've, you, you had this passion when you were 15 and you've just hyper-focused and you've just gone more and more niche over three, four decades, and it's really hard to pivot.

Mm-hmm. And what I learned by. You know, kind of increasing my network is that it's a job. You get to try new things. You get to try a new job in a new area with a new skill, and then if you wanna learn something else, Go somewhere else. And that was really exciting. I, that's what I wanted as my next step.

Ged:

Yeah, it's great to hear you seeing your career as an experiment and just kind of like, there isn't, there isn't such a thing as a failure. I mean, uh, there's, there's jobs I've taken that have turned out to be not what I wanted and you just kind of move on. Um, but great to hear that. Um, and, and I love the, I love the narrowing down because that, that for me is.

Was always one of the frustrations of, um, of academic research in that there was kind of almost that, as you said, that expectation of narrowing we're actually, you know, People like to change and like to explore different things and, and if we really, truly are curiosity led, we shouldn't be limited by where we ask questions. You know? That's a

Shilpa:

Absolutely.

Ged:

Yeah. Fascinating. Well, really, really really good look with both of those and, um, yeah. Okay. I bet there'll be lots of people trying to hang onto you in terms of, in terms of trying to, trying to establish impact from, from different types of research in that pharmaceutical company as well.

Um, so. Thanks a lot for that. Um, and, and next I kind of really wanted to kind of focus in, you both come into, as you said, the end of your, of your fellowships. So are you, are you able to describe the research you were undertaking and what kind of impact you hoped would emerge from it?

Lorna:

Yeah, I can go first.

Um, so I think the, the research I've been doing during my fellowship is that it's actually a bit different to what I did my PhD and, and kind of first postoc in, which was all, all to do with the heart. Um, but my time in Oxford, I've been very focused on the liver. So I've actually been looking at, um, circadian liver metabolic biology.

So this basically refers to liver metabolic processes that follow a daily rhythm or a cycle known as a circadian rhythm, which some people may have, may have heard that term. Um, but really the, the kind of big picture and the impact and why we're interested in this is um, because we know that disruptions to circadian rhythms through things such as.

Um, irregular sleep patterns, shift work, jet, uh, jet lag. These can all ultimately result in kind of metabolic disease. So really where the liver fits in with this is that we, um, our livers very much involved in kind of storing nutrients during the day, and then during the evening it's detoxifying and, um, basically allowing the, our body to utilise energy stores such as glycogen to keep our blood glucose levels, um, stable. So you can imagine that if you're not allowing your liver to go through these nice rhythmic patterns. Um, so if, let's just say for example, you are, you're eating at the wrong time of day, you're not allowing your liver to go through that fasting period where it can repair.

That can ultimately result in and really help contribute to metabolic disease, um, weight gain and, and disease such as type two diabetes. Um, so really what I kind of do on a day-to-day basis is my project is involved in, um, researching a variety of genes that we know are related to this process and looking at how manipulating these genes with drugs can ultimately, um, have beneficial effects on liver metabolic health.

So yeah, so that's kind of the, the deep dive into it. But really, um, one of the journeys I've been on myself recently actually is, um, and, and this is kind of what made me start to think a bit more about impact, um, is that I was actually approached by a company sometime last year to do some talks with them on sleep for effective leadership.

Um, and you know, I'm, again, my research project's not super related to sleep, but that is, that is the big picture of we, we sleep better, our metabolic health is better, and that's all linked with our liver. So I very much had to take myself out of the, the detail. And, you know, pitch at a different level.

And that's been a really interesting journey to go on to, um, to try and do some of that public engagement, which I think is really sometimes where the, where you can feel immediate impact. Mm-hmm. Yeah.

Ged:

Yeah, it's interesting in terms of that narrowing that we were talking about and somebody, you asking a question that's kind of, may feel tangential or certainly different, um, a different take on that.

So, yeah. Thanks a lot for giving that a good, a good explore and actually trying that because some people feel really would feel like, hmm, that's something I can say no to because it's kind of not grounded right in the centre of where I, where my expertise is.

Lorna:

Yeah, yeah, yeah. I think, and, and they're the kind of audiences where you get the, the curve ball questions as well where you're something you may not have thought about before.

So it's, um, yeah, it's definitely a really cool experience.

Ged:

Yeah. I think opening yourself up to different questions is really, really valuable, isn't it? You know? It's, it's not just us that can ask good questions.

Lorna:

A hundred percent. Yeah, definitely. I mean, I sometimes, get the best questions from my family where you're like, Oh yeah.

I didn't, I hadn't really thought about that. Yeah. Like a really simple concept.

Ged:

Yeah, absolutely. Shilpa what about your project?

Shilpa:

Yeah. Um, so my project is looking at the mechanisms that underlie both, um, fatty liver disease, which is a disease as the name suggests, where your liver accumulates fat and insulin resistance, which is where your body doesn't effectively, that your body's insulin doesn't effectively work.

And that can lead to an increase in blood sugar levels. So those two diseases tend to coexist quite a lot in people. And so my research is trying to understand why they coexist. Um, And looking at why one disease is related to the other. And so what I focus on is a group of people that develop one disease but not the other, and trying to figure out why.

Basically, for example, why do some people develop fatty liver, but they never become insulin resistant? And hopefully that's kind of the key to understanding why others do get both diseases. Um, and that's kind of the main scientific question, but I also work with the industry sponsor in finding new gene targets for both of those diseases and characterising what their function is and whether they're actually a good target to develop a drug for and, at the same time, I also work with my academic lab where they have access to a, um, clinic where we can try to see if some of the research that's been done in this area in rodents and cells can actually be seen in humans. So it's not a clinical trial per se, it's more of a dietary or physiology kind of trial.

But it helps us, um, kind of understand if the research that we have. Up to now is actually something that's happening in humans.

Ged:

Yeah.

So, so you've been able to do some, um, patient involvement in, in your research through that connection with the clinic. Have you?

Shilpa:

It's, it's quite interesting. So I don't actually do the patient involvement.

Um, there are, Uh, research nurses and doctors. Mm-hmm. And, um, people that are more equipped to deal with the, um, kind of human aspect of that research. They collect samples. Mm-hmm. And then our whole lab kind of shares those samples in doing different types of research. So I'm actually a cell biologist.

actually, you know, be with [:

Um, yeah. Which is quite nice for a basic scientist to have that experience.

Ged:

Yeah.

Yeah. Fantastic. Um, I just wanted to come onto how the industry sponsor has kind of helped shape the kind of consideration of impact within your two projects. So, um, Shilpa let's stay with you, um, so that people can remember the project.

And, and then Lorna, you can remind people what your project was when we, when we come to you. So Shilpa how's that worked that, uh, that consideration of impact and the liaison with the industrial sponsor?

Shilpa:

Yeah, actually, Lorna and I discussed this recently because, um, we were not sure how to answer that question.

It's interesting because. With the fellowship, there isn't a clear expectation on what the impact of your projects are. Uh, it's kind of up to you on what you want to do with your project, where you wanna take it. And as I kind of mentioned previously, you don't have to interact with the industry sponsor.

They're there to help you and guide you, but it's really up to you to ask for what you want from the company. So if you have a interesting gene that you've been characterising and you think it would maybe be something worthwhile to investigate from a pharmaceutical perspective. You have to pitch it to them.

You have to make those contacts and find the right people for the next stage and basically convince them and, and, um, see if they'd be willing to progress that part of your research. But they're not there to ask you whether there's something that could do with your project. Um, and I think that made it really tough, uh, in terms of figuring out the impact because I know I joined the fellowship thinking I'm gonna do something great with pharma.

Right? And then you're doing the project. We did have Covid, so a little bit forgiven there, but when, when you don't know how industry works, it's very hard to figure out how to be impactful. Even though you have this great resource, you don't actually know what that resource is. Mm-hmm. You know, in its in its completion.

Um, so it was a bit tough, I think, um, while I was in the middle of my fellowship, but at the end I think I learned to speak up and really seek the impact, really think about what could be the potential impact and find the people that could help me get there. It's quite a long process, but that kind of, thing can be done in any fellowship, in any job.

You don't need an industry fellowship for that. Um, the only benefit I would say is that you have the context there so that if you have an idea, you can email someone and someone will respond to you, which is great. But that was a hard part for the fellowship.

Ged:

Yeah. So it's kind of eased the first contact, but.

You know, in, in essence the, the same challenges. In other words, trying to work out what's, is this a value? Is this strategically important for that particular company? You know, you've still gotta get through those big hurdles.

Shilpa:

Absolutely. Yeah. And I think Lorna had a, had a similar experience as well.

Lorna:

Yeah.

Yeah. I was just gonna say, I mean, pretty much echo everything Shilpa said really. And I think, um, yeah, I think when you are, you know, I very much went into the fellowship like Shilpa said, like, yeah, I'm gonna do this amazing thing with pharma and get all this big data and really, really be impactful. But I mean, what did I actually mean by that?

Well, I, I, I still don't think I would've been able to answer you what I meant by impact. And I think if you'd asked me a few years ago, it would've just been like, oh, yeah. You know, the classic impact of publishing papers, presenting at conferences. Um, but I think we all know that that's not, that's not everything about impact.

Um, but I think in reality that is the key outcomes that come out of this, these type of fellowships. Um, but yeah, working with, with industry has been, yeah, it's been, it's been, um, I think it's just, it just takes time to build the relationship. Like, like any good collaboration, um, you know, you can have some interactions that you're like, oh my, great, that was great energy.

We can really move this forward. And then others where it's just, you just know it's trying to get blood out of the stone. Um, so yes, it's definitely kind of gone in waves of, you know, feeling like we're moving forward with something and then moving, meeting another stumbling block with, with the industry partner.

Um, but I think. Yeah, I think in terms of how consideration is built into the project, I mean, Shilpa and I were, were talking about this earlier, that yeah, I don't think we really know how it is built into it really. Um, it, it, and again, I, I think that's, just to go back, going back to the question of like, What, what is, what does impact mean?

Mm-hmm. Um, and it is quite wide ranging, so it, it's hard to know how it can be built in and maybe it just develops as the, as the fellowship goes on. Um, and you can see that with, with all the different fellows that have been through the programme. I mean, everyone's gone into such different roles. Um, and that that's kind of, you know, shows how everyone's experience was different and their, their impact throughout their fellowship will have been different.

Mm-hmm. Um, But yeah, I think at the start, at the start, it's not like this is the expectation of what your impact is going to be. Um, yeah, dunno if that really answers the question, but

Ged:

No, that's great. Just that, that final bit, the, um, I think I did a bit of nosing about on the university's, uh, Oxford's, uh, website, uh, about that fellowship.

So, so the past fellows get together regularly, do they?

Yeah.

Lorna:

Yeah. So I think, you know, she and I have had had such a good time on our fellowship program, and I think we sometimes sound a little bit biased when we talk about it, um, because it is a really nice community and I think there's over 30 fellows have been through it now.

So every year there's a, we have like a symposium in Oxford and I think whoever can come is, comes, um, kind of the past fellows. Um, and then every year we have. A meeting somewhere else with all the current fellows. So at one time there can be, I think up to 12 fellows on the program at once. Um, and we'll meet as a cohort maybe a few times a year, um, and, you know, present our research and catch up.

So it's this nice extra community that, um, away from just your immediate lab group and your immediate department, um, which is really nice to be part of.

Shilpa:

I was just gonna say that's definitely one of the benefits of the fellowship programme. I know both Lorna and I moved from Australia and New Zealand, so, uh, coming here and having this automatic cohort of people who are just as confused as you are, uh, was, was really, really useful.

Yeah. Especially during covid when we hadn't had any network at all. Yeah. Um, you know, we had only been around for a couple months before Covid hit and we had to go into lockdown and having that network of, of people that are going through the same thing as us in terms of trying to balance this industry, academia partnership.

Mm-hmm. Is super, super

useful.

Ged:

Yeah. Brilliant. It sounds like as, as you've said, you know, I'm just reflecting your own words, it's been a fantastic three years.

Lorna:

It, it has, it has on, you know, now we're at the end of it. But it definitely, you know, it's been, it's been a tough three years. I'm not, I think I might have aged about 10 years in the process.

In the process. So look back at my university card from three years ago, and I'm like, wow, okay. Looked a bit more younger then. Three years older.

Ged:

Well, maybe it's because of the amount of, um, of work you've taken on, not least of which has been starting to run your own podcast. Um, yeah, which I've really, I've really enjoyed and I've loved, um, I've loved one aspect of it actually really loads more than, you know, that's really stood out for me, which, um, which I'm gonna steal, which is your 60 second unfiltered tips section.

I, I think that's fabulous and. I don't believe that there are any new ideas, so I'm just going to innovate by iterating yours. Um, so I'm gonna give you, um, 30, you know, about 60 seconds just to kind of pitch your podcast at our listeners here on Research Culture on, uh, Research Culture Uncovered. So who wants to, are you gonna do it as a, as a double act that 60 seconds, or are you gonna do it over to you?

Shilpa:

Let's do a double act just to fill the,

Ged:

I'm gonna get my, um, stopwatch up, which you can't see even more challenging.

Lorna:

Um, you or I going first in a double act.

Shilpa:

You go first.

Lorna:

Okay.

Ged:

Okay. Timer is running.

Lorna:

Okay, so our podcast is called Research Co-culture, which is all about exploring the value of different sectors working together, so we're talking academia, pharma, private sectors, NGOs, whatever you can think of.

And awesomely how we can, we can better co-culture research.

Shilpa:

And the, the idea behind the name Research Co-culture comes from a lab technique, um, which is called co-culture. And that's when you have more than one cell type in one environment and you investigate how they communicate together, which is a great little pun for what the podcast is about, which is all about, um, looking at how different sectors can communicate more fluidly, and how we can all be in the same environment together.

Lorna:

So check out on Spotify and Apple Podcast and please. Happy co-culturing.

Shilpa:

Yeah,

Lorna:

is that really 60 seconds.

Ged:

Brilliant.

I always love it when pe, when presenters, you know, I used to do a lot of presentation skills training and top marks for people who come in under the time.

Lorna:

Yeah. Yeah.

Ged:

So, so, so well done. You had another seven seconds, but I think you, you smashed that.

So the, the kind of other thing I was gonna is just fire some questions at you. Uh, and I, I just want them to be, you know, about that research culture environment. So, um, we'll do it. Fire, fast fire, just like you do. Um, so we'll, we'll do it in the same order of who responds. So, because Shilpa is top of my screen and lower on the bottom, we'll go in that order.

Yeah. Um, but you both get a chance to hit the question. Okay. Okay. So favourite aspect of research culture?

Shilpa:

Ooh. Okay. Um, I guess my favourite aspect is, is it biased to say the podcast? Um, it's basically just the discussion that comes from it and asking for better. I really love research culture now because everyone, it's like a, a buzzword that everyone knows about and everyone's asking for it.

Um, and I really just like how it brings collaboration fluidity between sectors, just a bit more open-mindedness. That's my favourite part about what it could be.

Ged:

Brilliant.

Lorna.

Lorna:

I think it's a people for me. Um, you know, the people that Shilpa and I have met through doing the podcast and now the people that are meet, we're meeting from the podcast like yourself, Ged, and all of your team.

I think you meet amazing people who really want change and are very open-minded. They're curious. So I think research culture is just amazing that we're, that it's that having this term now, meaning that we can talk more and more about it and, and really get momentum going to create a better culture.

Ged:

Brilliant. Next question. So if I gave you each magic wand, what aspect of research culture would you fix?

Shilpa.

Shilpa:

I mean, the thing that would probably need to change is just getting rid of all the toxicity. I mean, that is the one thing that's causing so many people to change their careers, to change their dreams because of the toxicity in research culture.

But actually, I just think. Being more open-minded about what people wanna do and embracing all the skills. I think that is the one thing I would change. It sounds easy, but it's the hardest thing to change, right? Behavior change, mindset change. That's what I would do. .

Lorna:

I think mine's nothing new, but it's definitely stopping the publisher perish nature that we work in.

And I think changing what she has just said of people being more open-minded to people's skills and the way that we reward funding could really go some way to reducing that insane, toxic publish or perish nature that we, we currently operate in. Um, which is just, it's not keeping up with the times either.

Like knowledge dissemination is not via a pdf online now. Um, and, and we all know if these editors, these editorial companies make a lot of money. So that would be my one huge thing. I would love to change.

Ged:

Lots of, lots of effort there on the, uh, on the publishing business model. Aren't there?

Shilpa:

Needs a one, needs a magic wand.

Ged:

Yeah.

Yeah. Okay. I've given you time to think about the next one, although I haven't asked it, so that, you know. You'd be thinking about, uh, a blank canvas here, but you're both a lot younger than me and I'm kind of thinking, Hmm, you know, my career's gonna be up shortly. So if I was to put you in my situation, at the end of your career, what do you hope to be known for?

Shilpa:

Oh my God, I hate going first. What would I like to be known for? I think I'd like to be known for changing how research works in terms of, I'd love to be in a position where I was responsible for embracing the different sectors and creating more kind of collaboration points. That there is no such thing as being in one sector or another.

Everyone's working together, and I would love to be part of that change. I'd love to be known for that.

Ged:

Mm, fantastic. Yeah, that, um, that fluidity would be, would be lovely to see

Lorna. Give you a few more seconds to think.

Lorna:

Yeah, I know, I think Shilpa has basically taken my answer. Um, but I think, yeah, I guess the build onto Shilpa's is, yeah, I think just, you know, being known for someone who's kind of our ourselves moved around into different sectors and through all of that experience is able to.

To create a system where we are able to move between the, the different sectors. Um, you know, I think in all different careers now, people are not staying in their job for as long as they used to. Um, and I, it, it should be the same in academia. It should be more fluids. Um, so yeah, I think just, just having some impact that I've been able to.

You know, really open up people's minds and make it a lot easier for people to move around. And it'd just be a lighter environment. I mean, sorry, this is going way past your 60 seconds, but I think one of the other things that Shilpa and I have both experienced in working with industry is that when you collaborate with people there, it's a much lighter environment.

It's people don't seem to have the weight of the world on their shoulders. Whereas I think in, in the university, in academia, People are really open to collaborate, but it, they're, they're so busy and they've got so many competing interests that it just, oh, there's always this kind of, like I say, what feels like the weight on their shoulders.

Whereas in industry, I think because there's slightly more defined roles, it's a team, it's just a lighter environment and, and it, it's, it's just nicer. Um, so I think just, yeah, helping create some environment that's a bit, a bit nicer will be also good.

Ged:

Yeah, that, that's brilliant. Um, so listeners, um, we're, we're running out of time here and I've, um, I've really, really enjoyed talking to Lorna and Shilpa a about their fellowship schemes.

It, it sounds like, you know, Really lovely way that it's set up, really lovely way that it operates and, and really lovely that it requires the fellow to be really proactive in how they shape the fellowship and make the most out of it. You know, that's, that's an ideal situation to move on from. Um, From your PhD research where you do have that, that freedom and still have that freedom.

So it's fascinating to hear about that. And it's also been fascinating to hear about the podcast. Research Co-culture links to it in the show notes. If you want, if you haven't found it already by by other mechanisms, you can find it by a direct link there. Um, so favourite episode, final one I didn't tell you about that one.

Shilpa:

I, I automatically know it's the one with Anne Clarke. Um, if you haven't listened to it, it was for the International Day of Women in STEM, I think. And um, Anne Clarke is someone that works in our institute and she's been there forever, and it was about her lifetime as a scientist. Um, and all the challenges, but also all the like triumphs that she's been through, she's also just hilarious.

And, you know, takes, takes nothing. She will just go on and get things done and we loved it. It was unexpected. It was new stories and it was just a blast.

Ged:

Brilliant.

Lorna, do you have a different favourite?

Lorna:

Uh, I do. Yes I did. Did enjoy Anne's. But another one that I enjoyed was actually from another professor in our department, um, called Leanne Hodson, which is all about fostering a positive research environment.

Um, Leanne is, actually, Shilpa's PI, um, but she's become a really amazing mentor to me. Um, and she, yeah, her whole episode focused on how we can create a, a more positive lab environment, um, and create a team culture. So yeah, if you wanna, uh, recommend anyone checking out their episode if they want some tips on leading your lab.

Um, cuz yeah, she's, she's just an amazing person.

Ged:

Brilliant.

Um, thanks a lot for, um, for accepting the invitation to be interviewed on, on Research Culture Uncovered. And, uh, say bye-bye to our listeners.

Lorna:

Bye. And thank you so much for having us.

Shilpa:

Thanks. So thanks for having us.

Lorna:

Yeah. And we look forward to having you on our podcast.

So, We, we'll promote that another time.

Intro:

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About the Podcast

Research Culture Uncovered
Changing Research Culture through conversations
At the University of Leeds, we believe that all members of our research community play a crucial role in developing and promoting a positive and inclusive research culture. Across the globe, the urgent need for a better Research Culture in Higher Education is widely accepted – but how do you make it happen? This weekly podcast focuses on our ideas, approaches and learning as we contribute to the University's attempt to create a Research Culture in which everyone can thrive. Whether you undertake, lead, fund or benefit from research - these are the conversations to listen to if you want to explore what a positive Research Culture is and why it matters.

Unless specified in the episode shownotes, Research Culture Uncovered © 2023 by Research Culturosity, University of Leeds is licensed under CC BY-SA 4.0. This license requires that reusers give credit to the creator. If you remix, adapt, or build upon the material, you must license the modified material under identical terms. Some episodes may be licensed under CC BY-ND 4.0, please check before use.

About your hosts

Emma Spary

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I moved into development after several years as an independent researcher and now lead the team providing professional and career development for all researchers and those supporting research. I am passionate about research culture and supporting people. I lead our Concordat implementation work and was part of the national Concordat writing group. I represent Leeds as a member of Researchers14, the N8PDRA group and UKRI’s Alternative Uses Group.

Tony Bromley

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I've worked in the area of the development of researchers for 20 years, including at the national and international level. I was lead author of the UK sector researcher development impact framework charged with evaluating the over £20M per year investment of UK research councils in researcher development. I have convened the international Researcher Education and Development Scholarship (REDS) conference for a number of years and have published on researcher development evaluation and pedagogy. All the details are on www.tonybromley.com !! Also why not take a look at https://conferences.leeds.ac.uk/reds/

Ged Hall

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I've worked for almost 20 years in researcher development, careers guidance and academic skills development. For the last decade I've focused on the area of research impact. This has included organisational development projects and professional development for individual researchers and groups. I co-authored the Engaged for Impact Strategy and am heavily involved in its implementation, across the University of Leeds, to build a healthy impact culture. For 10 years after my PhD, I was a consultant in the utility sector, which included being broker between academia and my clients.

Ruth Winden

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After many years running my own careers consultancy business I made the transition to researcher development leading our careers provision. My background is in career coaching, facilitation and group-based coaching, and I have a special interest in cohort-based coaching programmes which help researchers manage their careers proactively and transition into any sector and role of their choice.

Nick Sheppard

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I have worked in scholarly communications for over 15 years, currently as Open Research Advisor at the University of Leeds. I am interested in effective dissemination of research through sustainable models of open access, including underlying data, and potential synergies with open education and Open Educational Resources (OER), particularly underlying technology, software and interoperability of systems.