Published on:

3rd Apr 2024

(Bonus) Unveiling the Art of Podcasting with Hannah Preston and Jana Javornik

In our fortnightly Research Culture Uncovered conversations we are asking what is Research Culture and why does it matter? In this bonus episode, Ged Hall, Academic Development Consultant for Research Impact, chats to Hannah Preston, Research Communications Manager from Leeds University Business School, and Dr Jana Javornik, Associate Professor of Work and Employment Relations, also in the Business School.

Hannah has been the driving force behind the Business School's Research and Innovation podcast since 2020. She joined forces with Jana in late 2023 to launch a new podcast called The Business of Policymaking.

The three key takeaways from the discussion of podcasting in the academic field were: 

1.  Podcasts are a powerful tool for transforming complex academic research into accessible discussions, broadening its impact.

2.  Cultivating a dedicated listener base that can translate insights into action is more valuable than chasing download statistics.

3.   Hosting podcasts offers unique learning experiences and the opportunity to hear from a diverse range of influential voices. 

Hannah also mentioned the Business School's Research and

Innovation blog in the interview.

If you would like to engage with Hannah, you can find her on Twitter and LinkedIn.

If you would like to engage with Jana, you can find her on Twitter and LinkedIn.

All of our episodes can be accessed via the following playlists: 

Follow us on twitter: @ResDevLeeds (new episodes are announced here), @OpenResLeeds, @ResCultureLeeds  

Connect to us on LinkedIn: @ResearchUncoveredPodcast (new episodes are announced here) 

Leeds Research Culture links: 

If you would like to contribute to a podcast episode get in touch:


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.


Hi, this is Ged Hall, and for those of you who don't know me yet, I'm an Academic Development Consultant at the University of Leeds, where my specialism is research impact, and that's the nature of all the episodes that I, uh, record for the podcast. Uh, so if you're interested in research impact in, in more detail, then have a look at the playlist, uh, which I've included in the show notes for today's episodes.

eir podcast way back in early:

Hannah 00:01:25

Hi Ged, thanks for inviting us.


Thanks for having us.


Oh, you're absolutely welcome. And thanks for, thanks for wanting to be part of this. Um, cause I'm sure, you know, it's, it's interesting. Lots of people have played with podcasts, uh, and, uh, and, you know, you've been, uh, you've been in the game a lot longer than, than the rest of us, Hannah. So, um, take us back to, um, Early 2020, why, why did you, um, and the, the Business School kind of decide to start a podcast and what kind of benefits were you hoping to generate as a result?


Okay, so my role as a Research Communications Manager is to help our academics reach a wider audience beyond academia. So I create platforms that can be used to host and share content that's more accessible for the general public and external stakeholders. People who won't be getting information from complex, lengthy journal articles that are often behind paywalls.

which has been running since:

So that's when I started to look at creating, um, an overall Business School research podcast so that we could host individual topics focusing on different research areas. And it's done what we've hoped for in that it's given us another platform to showcase and share our research in a, in a more accessible format and an accessible way.


Yeah, brilliant. Um, and there's been around 90, I think, episodes, uh, to date. Yeah. So can you give the listeners a flavour for, you know, is, is there a way of describing all 90 or is, uh, are you able to chunk it up?


Yeah, sure. So some of the, um, episodes are part of projects. So whether that's internally or externally funded research projects, and they act as like a mini series.

So, for example, um, those involved in the project might introduce the projects, explain the context, why it's come about, they might give updates and findings, they might feature guest stakeholders. Um, for example, we had a project on adapting offices for the future of work, um, which was really successful and the team, um, did some great updates as the project went along and also, um, kind of interviewed people on their mini series who were external stakeholders. We've got a current project at the moment, which is about just transitions. And it's a global exploration using 13 countries as case studies. And they're going to use an episode per country, which I think is a really useful and good way to showcase country specific findings.

Um, we also have episodes that are summaries of papers again, because most people aren't, you know, it tends just to be academics that are reading academic papers. So it's summaries of papers, summaries of presentations that are given at conferences or perhaps summaries of reports. So often the content is already there.

It's just sharing it in a different format. Um, we've also got topical episodes. So for example, the last few years, we've done some for International Women's Day. So we've done, again, a mini series or a mini play, a playlist around gender themes. Um, most of the episodes focus on individual topics. So there's not a common theme.

The common theme is that it's research that's common. Conducted by academics at the Business School. So I think of it a bit like the Ted Talks Daily podcast, where the format is the same for each episode, but the topics are incredibly varied. For example, I mean, we've got topics that have covered central bank, digital currencies, textile workers, and modern slavery, um, barriers migrants face when entering the UK workforce, early years, education, automotive industry, so incredibly varied.

Um, so it's not this one overarching theme, but the hope is, is that That with the formats, I mean, we kind of aim for about 15 minute episodes is that they're short enough that if you, you know, you're listening to it and you're still on your drive or you're still in your walk to work, then you'll stick around and listen to the next one.

So for us, I think our challenge is, um, it's quite hard to kind of build up a, um, a loyal fan base, so to speak of regular listeners, but that's why for us, it's not so much about the numbers, but it's about engagements. So for example, you could have 500 listeners to one episode. But if no one does anything as a result of listening to that, then it hasn't really served its purpose.

And I'd rather have an episode that's only got 50 listeners, but one of them then gets in touch and says, you know, this sounds really interesting. I want to use your findings. Can we chat about how I can implement this within our organization? Something, something like that.


Brilliant. Yeah, I was going to ask you about that because, um, you know, I guess we're quite niche in terms of, you know, if you're interested in research culture, you're likely to be within the research system, whether that's higher education, and actually more likely to be higher education, um, or whether you're doing it in a, in a, you know, corporate research, but it is about that, you know, people in the system kind of interested in how to make it better.

Um, but, you know, as you said, you know, you kind of gazumped my, uh, my follow up in terms of, in terms of trying to think, you know, how you're marketing to kind of different, you know, different audiences and things like that. So, I'm kind of going to move track in terms of, in terms of the follow up. Is there, has there been an episode that's really had that kind of significant engagement?

And, and for want of a better word, what was the secret source around that episode that generated that engagement?


Yeah, I mean, as with most kind of research communications and dissemination, it is really hard to evidence how useful they've been. I mean, you've got listening figures, but they're arbitrary, really.

Um, you know, you can't tell if someone's implemented any of the recommendations or the findings. Um, but we have had some really positive comments from colleagues. Um, I've made a list of some of the examples. Um, so one, one of our colleagues mentioned that she'd been invited to speak at various events off the back of her episodes.

So people have been listening and said, Oh, you know, she sounds, you know, she knows what she's on about. She sounds engaging. Let's invite her into our company or to speak at an event. And she says, even if it hasn't been as a direct result of the podcast, it's then been really helpful to send people the links and say, look, this is what I can talk about.

And it's had a bit of a snowball effect. So the more communication material she's produced, whether that's blog posts, podcasts, media coverage, she's raised a profile and been invited to speak with different organisations. And it's this kind of activity that has the potential to lead to impact. You know, that's the way that people can implement your findings.

Um, another colleague said that his mini series, so this was based on a funded project, which he used, I think it was about six episodes, um, within our platform to raise the profile. And he said it helped raise the profile both within the university and externally, and it helped to build connections outside the project team.

And it was really nice to hear him say that actually, he said, um, It was a really useful opportunity to bring the voices of other academics and partners from the project to a wider audience, which improves diversity of thinking and supported inclusivity, which is just great to hear. We've also had people say that, um, it's been really useful to share it, um, with people who are non researchers and thought it was convenient for commutes.

And then someone else said that, you know, they shared their findings with project stakeholders. It was a really large diverse project with. Different professional stakeholders and many of them weren't data confidence and the feedback that she'd had from sharing the episode was that, um, the head of the working group emphasised that he really loved having multimedia options for the same information.

So there's no particular episode. And unfortunately I don't have the secrets to a winning formula that will guarantee engagements. To be honest, it surprises us what does pick up well. And we do very much have to rely on the speakers' networks as well. Okay. You know, if you're just kind of, you know, if we're just sharing it on our School social media channels, and that's where it ends, it's not going to get as much, um, engagement.

But if, if you do have project stakeholders, or if you're part of, even if you're just part of a LinkedIn group, but it's something external to the, you know, the Business School, the University, um, being able to share it wider that way definitely helps.


Yeah, it's interesting that we've definitely noticed a pick up in people finding us via LinkedIn rather than, rather than any other social media.

So I think that's, uh, that's, that's really interesting point to make. So Jana, coming to you, um, in December last year, you and Hannah, as I said, in the intro started a new podcast and the Business of Policymaking, and I know that's a real interest and you've been active in that space for quite a long time, but can you tell us what the aim of that podcast is and what you've covered so far in it?


Sure. So as you know, I've recently returned from my trip to policymaking back into academia. And, um, for me, it's kind of like the, you know, the travel between the two worlds is quite frequent and it's, you know, I have frequent miles. Um, but a lot of colleagues approach me in terms of, you know, do you have any top tips?

How do we, how do we approach, uh, policy? Um, how do we deal with policy? Um, they have some really genuine concerns. Actually, some colleagues even, you know, have fears in terms of engaging with the external world. Uh, particularly, you know, something that's politically could be politically contested. So I thought, what would be the best format to bring all this.

rich experience from the policy world into academia. Obviously we could always go for, you know, a cafe kind of a thing, or, you know, invite and fly people over, which is so not green. And so Hannah and I kind of came up with this, um, with this idea, why don't we bring those voices, uh, to people's, um, computers or whatever, you know, wherever they listen podcasts from, uh, and they could listen and learn, um, at their convenience and, you know, whenever they, they have time and whatever they're interested in.

So, um, I spoke to, obviously I managed to build a quite rich network of, of, you know, policy makers and policy voices who, who were willing, you know, to contribute and volunteer their time and rich experience to Leeds University Business School. Um, and so, um, We started this incredibly adventurous journey, Hannah and I, uh, in terms of, you know, the logistics and, and all of that, it took about a year, didn't it, Hannah, uh, to actually get the podcast up and running.

Um, so. We managed to bring some big policy names, uh, to, um, wider, you know, to wider audiences. It's not just for, um, elite academics. It's actually for anyone out there who wants to listen, um, really kind of focusing on their top tips in how they engage with academics or academic research. And, uh, so we had conversations with the OECD, with the European commission.

With the United Nations, with the Scottish Government, um, with the, uh, one of the local, uh, governments in Yorkshire, um, one of the think tanks charities, uh, based in London, UK based, um, and I think, you know, the voices we managed to bring, you know, Um, was so incredibly insightful and they were so generous with very honest, uh, insight into, you know, the daily grind of politics.

And literally, I think one of the common findings or kind of one of the common, um, advice was, you know, you have to be out there as an academic. Uh, we won't be actively looking for you. You have to be actively looking for us. And another 1 is, um, you know, don't count. Don't count count on getting your research published only in, uh, you know, high impact journals, because we usually don't don't have access to those or the time to read them.

Um, so, um. And, um, I think another one was another big one was, you know, academic research is just one piece that informs our decision making. It isn't the only, uh, piece. And I think that to me was one of the most precious, honest accounts, um, that we got from one of the policymakers.


Yeah, it's interesting that that last point kind of indicates our own internal bias in the research system that we do think that the knowledge we create has a privilege sometimes, don't we, that actually isn't true out there in the rest of the world that, you know, knowledges are important wherever they're generated to kind of make the right, the right policy decision.

And it was also interesting, you kind of mentioned people being frightened of the, of the prospect, you know, sometimes, sometimes people, um, people think about policy almost as a, as a machine that, that is, that is as kind of as quite cynical and, and Machiavellian overtones, and they forget it's made up of individuals.

So I think that's a, that's the great point in terms of on a podcast, hearing the, hearing a person who's in that space and, and realising they're just another human just like you with similar insecurities, similar time pressures and all those sorts of things. Yeah, absolutely. Um, so coming back to the kind of topic, which was, you know, what, what have we learned about, um, Being podcasters, um, in the, in the kind of research impact space.

So I'm going to come to both of you. I'll come to Jana first, um, in terms of what have you learnt about hosting the podcast and developing engaging content?


Oh yeah, that's an entirely different experience. You know, kind of like as an, as an academic and a, you know, a policymaker, very active in, in, in a wider space, you know, I'm used to being a guest, right?

And you go there, you kind of do your spiel and, and you leave and, you know, you leave the grind to, to others and the magic then happens at the other end. Kind of like in this case, you know, you'll do all the, all the heavy lifting. Um, and, This time it was Hannah and I who had to do it, and it was mostly Hannah who had to do it, um, and so, you know, but I've learned so much, I got so much insight into, you know, all the, the negotiations, the, the, the politics behind it, because, you know, you are responsible for the content, and especially when you speak to it.

Some really, uh, you know, highly influential policymakers, politicians, you need to be sensitive to, to, to how, you know, to how you message things. And we managed to see that in 1 example, which kind of like backfired for, for 1 of our guests, but, you know, like, they managed to handle it, um, in terms of 1 of the statements, which was so innocent, I would say, um, but, you know, again, I'm an academic.

Um, so what do I know? And so basically I, you know, like I really, I really appreciate the, the, the responsibility we are given in terms of the messages we are trying to convey. And obviously also the hosts we get. Um, because sometimes, you know, you can, you can be so impressed by someone and you invite them into a podcast and you know, you don't know how, how they'll do in a podcast.

So I think it's a really, it really matters the relationship you have. And I think you need to do a lot of. kind of groundwork and work before the, the, you know, the actual recording. Um, you have to warm up people. Some people have stage fright, you know, or their voice, you know, like I was very young when I auditioned for, um, to be a radio, um, host.

I was really young. And obviously I failed miserably because apparently my voice wasn't sexy enough. And kind of like, you know, it was a doom and gloom for my audio kind of career. And, uh, so I'm kind of, you know, with the help of, of, um, Hannah, I'm now trying to kind of go back to that, my initial ambition to be, uh, um, you know, a host.

Um, but what I've really started to appreciate is how much audio, um, as a medium, um, I think this is one of the kind of like, you know, he has a really rich history. Uh, and I think it has a really bright future, but I think, you know, we'll, we'll, we'll probably talk about that, uh, later on, but I've learned, you know, like you can use a podcast, but it takes a really skilled, um, host, I would say to bring the best out of, um, the guest, because You know, it's very rarely that the guests would have all the talent and skills of presenting things in, in, in the exact way you want to.

So I think that's one of the kind of like hardest lessons I've learned.


I'm not sure. I'm not sure. I just, before I come to Hannah, I'm not sure I dare ask this follow up question, but how am I doing as a host?


Very good. You tick many of the boxes.


Fantastic. Right. Now, now that I've got my validation, I'll pat myself on the back. I'll come to Hannah. Hannah, what, you know, in terms of your extensive experience, what, what have you learned that you could pass on to, to our listeners out there who might be thinking about this?


I mean, it's funny, Jana and I have kind of swapped positions here. I mean, I am massively out of my comfort zone doing this. I'm, I'm the behind the scenes, behind the microphone, not in front of the microphone. But I thought it was a bit hypocritical of me to say to all of our colleagues, yeah, come on the podcast.

It's fine. It's easy. There's nothing to worry about. And I must admit, this is the second podcast I've been, um, asked on to, on the first one I did palm it off and to a colleague, mainly cause I thought she would do a fantastic job and she did do a fantastic job. And I just thought, Oh no, I don't want to be doing this.

But as soon as Jana said, yes, I was like, Oh, come on, I've got to. Got to do it. I'm sure, you know, I'm a communications manager. I should be able to communicate what it is that we're doing. Um, I think the thing that I've learned, and it shouldn't come as a surprise because it's the same with most projects, but it's how time consuming it is.

Everything always takes longer than you think. And it's not recording that's time consuming. You know, you can get it done under an hour. It's everything else. So obviously with the Business of Policymaking, I was lucky enough to do that with Jana and Jana was very much leading on that. Finding people and deciding the content, et cetera.

But with the Research Innovation Podcast, I'm a team of one. So it's finding speakers, suggesting the content structure, structure, giving them joining instructions, recording, editing, adding music. checking and editing the transcript, uploading, finding and resizing pictures, writing show notes, sharing on social media.

There's a lot to it. And it's like that with most communication platforms as well. It's, you know, the same with our blog. Um, sometimes I write the blog posts, but sometimes I only edit them. And even if it's just a quick edit job, it's then still, you know, dealing with the beast that is the university's website system, which is a, I won't go into because that will set me off on a rant.

Um, but again, it's getting the approvals, getting the images, resizing the images, because for some reason it's playing up, it's, you know, supporting it, making sure it then just doesn't sit stagnant on your website, but it's actually going to be shared. Um, but I think the surprising thing I found from doing the podcast, podcast is how much our.

colleagues have enjoyed doing it. Like, pretty much everyone has come back to me afterwards and said, you know what, that wasn't as scary as I thought, or it wasn't as time consuming, or actually I've got a bit of a bug for it now and I'd quite like to do more. Um, so that, that has been really nice to hear.


Yeah, that's great. There's so many, um, so many echoes in terms of our feelings. Cause we had a, when we got to our kind of first anniversary, we were thinking we better have a quick review meeting to kind of go, are we going to carry on, have we, have we enjoyed this? Have we learnt anything from it? Have we, um, yeah.

And, and I remember in our first year we did seasons. So we, we each had, um, Um, five of us, um, we've added our sixth host, um, to the team, uh, just recently, uh, Taryn, who, uh, episode of a couple of weeks ago introducing her. But in that first year, we had seasons of about eight or nine episodes each. And they were so tiring because it's kind of, first of all, getting all the content in the can, um, and, and all that.

you know, dealing with those anxieties of, of, of guests that you're, that you're bringing in. And, you know, have I, you know, from the, from the kind of imposter syndrome initially, have I got anything interesting that the people out there want to hear through to, have I got a voice that anybody wants to listen to?

And I kind of go, I'm from Blackburn word, you know, for heaven's sake.

of summer last, last year in:

And rather than having, you know, here's a chunk of time devoted to research impact and moving to Nick and yeah, him doing open research and what have you. So, yeah, so many things that, that chime with our experience.


Yeah. We found the same. So with the Research Innovation Podcast, I was very much like, it's going to be a fortnightly episodes.

It's going to go out on this date. And then I was like, I'm just putting unnecessary pressure on myself to have it done. Now it's the case of, if we've got something to say, we'll say it. I think, again, it helps that because we're not a, um, a regular kind of seasonal show, it's not like you're tuning in the latest episode.

It's you are interested in this topic. So you're going to find out about it. Um, so I think that helped relieve some of the pressure. I think for people who, I mean, not trying to dampen anyone's spirits, but for example, people, you know, colleagues in the Business School say, Oh, we want to do our own podcast and I'll say.

Would really advise you to use our platform and it's not that we're trying to, you know, squash anyone's creativity or anything, but it is so time consuming. It's been able to sustain it. You know, once you've got the excitement of doing your first three episodes, and then you've actually got all your conferences to attend and your teaching your markings to do are you going to be able to squeeze it in?

I mean, we had the same with the blog when we launched that. Many years ago, people were saying, Oh, we're going to do our own. And I'm going to do this. And it's like, actually use our platform. You've got support there. You've got, you know, the boring technical stuff, but you've got the SEO support as well, because you've already got a named platform and all of this and it's make life easy for yourself.

Let us do the hard work and just, you know, use, use our platforms.


Yeah, there was um, uh, a book published by Patrick Dunleavy and colleagues, uh, years and years ago called the, um, well not years and years ago, it makes me sound, sound ancient. Um, but Impact of the Social Sciences. And in that they were, they, they had a little section on kind of research comms, actually, and they were saying multi author or multi host in terms of a podcast is much, much uh, the better way to go.

Mainly because from, for two things. Keeps the content fresh and keeps you as the, as the author and the, uh, and the host fresh in that you don't kind of burn out and just leave a blog or leave a, leave a podcast hanging and no new content coming along. So yeah, it's really, really interesting. I had a kind of follow up, um, because you know, I've listened to loads of guests now and I've learned so much from the conversations with them.

So I just wanted to have a, have a quick check in. Jana, is there, is there anything you heard from your guests that you kind of thought, I just didn't know that even though I'm kind of been really active in, in the policy space?


I think everything they shared with me were, you know, was, was unique and kind of like, you know, I've heard it for the first time because, you know, when, when, when you are in the grind of it all as a policymaker, you don't think about those things.

And when you are actively invited to share these, you know, then. It is only then when you start thinking, how do I prioritize evidence? Whose evidence do I engage with? At what point? What's the power play? You know, what's the politics? Um, and even as an academic, who's very active as a scholar in the policy field and comparative policy, I, you know, I, and obviously interested in how evidence informs policymaking.

I really wasn't reflecting as actively, uh, until that very podcast. And I think that's why I was really interested, uh, kind of like I had this really high motivation for doing it in the first place. And then, you know, luckily Hannah kind of, um, joined me and kind of backed me up in, in, in this great idea.

Um, and. I think everything I've learned was so new because you know what, what happened was this amazing thing you invite this powerful, influential people to volunteer their precious time, you know, to, to, um, to you and then they share their, their rich experience in such an amazing way. honest, genuine way.

Um, that's something I was slightly kind of like, you know, I, I was aware of this might not happen and they might just give me a political, politically correct or, you know, diplomatic answers. No, they, you know, like Hannah can, can then, you know, can, can, can say what she thinks, but I thought they was, you know, they gave us such honest, brutal, sometimes brutally honest accounts.

And I thought, you know, like, okay, if, if, If academia is now engaging with not just policymakers, but politicians as well, you know, what's the slip potential slippery slope, what's potential risk. And we discussed that to, to a great extent, you know, what does that mean for, you know, for how, how we are managing potential risks.

Um, and sometimes I, you know, like, I think I, I was the one thinking, Oh, no, you really said that. And are you really okay with us kind of putting that out? Are they in the end? Yeah. And they were fine with it, you know, and it's so to me, that was also, I think. Putting on my, my political or policymaker hat, I think I've learned, um, you know, there's, there's a lot about transparency and you have this responsibility for really openly, uh, presenting how your work looks like from the inside to, to whatever, uh, audience, um, there is.

So to me, that was, that was a really great, um, experience. And nothing bad happened. Happened.


Yeah. Nothing, nothing does, but very rarely does anything bad happen. Um, And it seems to happen in the political sphere, doesn't it? So, so Hannah, is there anything that you kind of went, really didn't know that? I kind of know these people, you know, cause obviously you're, you're a part of the Business School yourself, but, and you know, these people personally, but is there anything you kind of went, wow, I didn't actually know that, that they were researching that and that it was so interesting.


Um, I think to be honest with every episode, I learned something new because you know, I'm like, I mean, I've been at the Business School for nearly a decade now, so I'm heavily, heavily involved in it. Um, very much part of the system. Um, but I don't always know the ins and outs. And I, I do genuinely love hearing about what people are working on and I can always tell when an episode is going well, because I realise that.

I've stopped listening as an editor and I started listening as an audience member and I'm kind of nodding along going, Oh, that's really interesting. And then all of a sudden I'm supposed to get, Oh, wait a second. Is the sound quality all right? You know, did they use an acronym that was supposed to spell out?

Cause, cause with the Research Innovation Podcast, I'm not a host. Um, it's always up to the academic and a guest or a coauthor or a postgraduate researcher to join them. But I'm always on the call just to say, Oh, hang on a second. Maybe can we go back to that point or, you know, Do you want to develop this further?

Um, but yes, sometimes I do get a bit lost just going, Oh, that's interesting. And I think with the Business of Policymaking, um, Podcasts that Jana was obviously leading on. I mean, that's just not my world. So I found all of it fascinating. But I think the thing that I enjoyed hearing the most selfishly was that I'd say nearly every episode, or maybe every episode, Jana, um, everyone said how important research communications is.

And obviously my job as a Research Communications Manager, that was just amazing to hear. And I think communications is something that's only just getting on people's radars. I mean, one of the big things I've been shouting about for years is when we apply for grants, is I've got a real thing about people say, how are you going to share the information?

You say, I'm going to have a website. I'm going to have a website and it's aimed at Businesses and policymakers, no, no, no. Who is going to come to this website? What are you going to put on it? Why should they care? What, what policymakers, what business professionals, you know, let's drill down. So, you know, for the past seven or eight years, I've been working on banging the communications drum.

So, Like Jana said, to have these amazing people who are very senior in their professions, you've got decades of experience behind them, who know the stuff, who are respected, to have them say, look, it's important to spend time on getting your research out there. It's not just about the journal articles.

It's not just about this and that, you know, I'm there in the background, just cheering silently going, yes, this is validating my points. So, uh, that was good to hear.


Yeah, that reminds me of a, um. I went to a workshop, so the funder was, uh, was putting on a workshop and they were talking about, um, here's some thoughts that we've had in terms of reading all this stuff about research impact in funding bids.

And one of the, one of the presenters said, internally, we have an acronym, the three W's. Websites, workshops, and waffle.




So, you know, I think, I think trying to avoid that is, uh, or at least trying to make it sound like a coherent story that you've properly thought through rather than just boilerplate that you've boilerplate text that you've moved from one project to another is really important.

Um, so. The topic of our podcast is research culture. So I wanted to ask a question about that in terms of have the two podcasts had any influence in terms of moving the research culture in a different direction within the business school. So maybe Hannah, I'll come to you first and then come to Jana as the, as the active academic.


Yeah. Um, I mean, it's nothing drastic. It's nothing that you could say, Oh, wow, big shift here. But I think it's just adding to our culture of making research open and accessible. It's just, I mean, we already do quite well. I mean, within the university, it's nice to see that Business School is often kind of held up as an example of sharing research and making it more accessible.

So I think for us, it's just been able to see that we've added another. platform to our suite of kind of making things accessible. And for the colleagues, you know, it's for them to say that they've enjoyed the process. I think for them to realise, you know, there is life beyond journal articles, which I appreciate obviously are important and obviously for career progression and everything else.

And, you know, um, I'm not dissing them at all, but from my perspective it's saying, you know, you've spent so much on getting these papers done, you've spent so much time, you've gone through revisions, you know, the blood, sweat, tears have gone into it. Why not just spend this little bit of extra time on making sure it gets out there even further?

You know, it's not saying that this isn't important. It's saying this is massively important. Let's share it even more. Um, so I think for us from a culture perspective, it's more just about continuing to embrace different platforms and continuing to make sure that we're always thinking about how can we make our research open and accessible.


So Jana, I'll come to you. Is there, is there anything as the, as the active academic where you'd be going, Hannah's underselling this in terms of the effect on the research culture in the Business School?


No, not at all. I think, I think Hannah really mentioned it earlier is that, um, you know, listeners, audience, um, non academic, uh, audiences, um, or, you know, engage with research, uh, in so many different ways, you know, typically as, as learning, you know, we, we have different learning styles.

We have different, you know, listening styles. And, um, I think podcast really has this fantastic, um, uh, kind of ability, um, Because it's, you know, it's intertwined with technology. Um, it allows you to engage with whatever content, even if it's super demanding, super complex, um, doing, I don't know, um, washing a car.

You know, that's probably not the case, but, uh, washing, whatever you're doing, you know, like you can do whatever you can be on a train, you can be on a commute. Uh, and that time can be, you know, can be used, uh, really effectively, um, for one as a learner. Um, but what, what, what I was really surprised. I was with, with our podcast was that we got what I would call.

massive response from academics outside Leeds. So not from our colleagues, um, but from, from, from other colleagues and also internationally. So even though Hannah and I always had this ambition, you know, to, to, um, to be inclusive and to have the content that would be of wider interest, not just, you know, to, to local, um, um, school or to our colleagues in, in, in Business School.

Um, I think I was a bit struck by surprise to see how much. Interest, appetite, and demand for that was outside, um, of, of Leeds University. And I think one, one of the reasons for that is that I, Hannah, please correct me if I'm wrong, but you know, Hannah has been spoiling us, as did you, Ged, and I think, you know, um, Juliet as well, um, you know, like, I think Leeds and particularly LUBS are doing, um, you know, Really, really well in terms of support, in terms of imagination, running really wild, um, on how research could be communicated.

Uh, whereas, you know, it's, that's not always the case. Um, so that was one of the, one of the big surprises to me. Yeah. We apparently, you know, managed to find a niche, um, but didn't get so much response from, from, from colleagues at Business School.


And, and look at that, even, even us as experienced hosts, we, we use an acronym, um, when all the time we've been going Business School, Business School, Business School, and then we go LUBS.

So Leeds University Business School for the


Thank you, Ged.


Yeah. Yeah. Well, we leave the bloopers in, we don't cut them out cause that's what, that's what makes it Oh, that's good. Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. Makes it real. Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. So kind of, um. Final question, really, and it's been brilliant to have this conversation with you and just kind of share some of the highlights and sometimes pains of, uh, of, of being a podcaster in the, in the research space.

But what are the future plans for the two podcasts? And, uh, are there plans to even branch out even further? So Hannah, I'll come to you first.


Yeah, so for the Research and Innovation Podcast, I think it's probably a case of. keep doing what we're doing. Um, I mean, I'd love to be able to do more to promote it and more to support the episodes.

For example, you know, writing more detailed episode show notes, um, perhaps creating some more visual content to share it on social media, maybe going back to revisit topics. But to be honest, it's a case of resourcing and how much time can we realistically spend on this one platform. And I'm happy that it's It's doing what we need it to do at the moment, you know, it's the way people are engaging it, particularly with projects has been so great to see.

So I think it's a case of making sure, um, you know, we keep promoting it within the School as well, because you forget that you have new people join the School, um, who might not know about these, these things, you know, you've been doing it for years. You're just saying, well, it's important to me. So everyone must know about it.

Um, but it's reminding people. So making sure we have new, new colleagues speak on it, um, speak on it as well. And they just. hopefully keep running with it. You know, I don't, I don't see an end date anytime soon. Um, I don't have the energy to expand it though, that's for sure. So I think just to continue what we're doing for the Research Innovation Podcast.


Fantastic. And Jana with the Business of Policymaking Podcast, what are the plans?


Yeah, Hannah and I always had plans to kind of have series two. Um, hopefully, you know, there will be more, but, um, series two, um, I'll just plug, um, it hasn't been planned. You know, discuss widely yet, but, um, what we are aiming to do is now give the voice to academics who have actively engaged with the policy world around the world, and not just locally.

Um, um, and we've already started doing that. Uh, so we do have, um. Some podcasts sitting, uh, in the pipelines. And I think, you know, it'll be the same story as with the previous series. It'll take forever before it sees the light of the day. Um, but that's, I think that's just the, you know, the daily reality of not non professional podcasters.

Um, I'd say, um, to do that as a, you know, as a voluntary activity sometime in the afternoon, late in the evening and over weekends. Um, but. But yeah, that's, that's what, what we are aiming to do. And we have some bonus episodes, uh, that we are still negotiating for series one. So, you know, stay tuned. They may be some nice surprises coming your way, um, in the near or distant future.


And I think it's important. I think we've got plans also to revisit the first series and push it further. I mean, the, the first aim was to get it out there. And that was, that was a limited series. It was, uh, was it six episodes? Yeah, six. Six episodes. And that was a weekly scheduled launch. So it was getting it out and then it was raising awareness of it, mainly within the Business School to start with.

And then like Jana says, it's fantastic, but it's gone further than that. But I think you can spend so much time doing something and then get it out there and then tick it off your list and it's kind of done. So I think what we'd like to do next, we're looking at, um, I won't say it out loud in case we're not doing this and I've held myself accountable, but we have got plans to how we can revisit this.

And then also how can we promote it further, you know, other networks externally, because I think it is a shame when, you know, so much is effort. And like Jana said, the knowledge contained in this, in this . Particular podcast series is so fantastic. It's so amazing that these, these senior people were so generous with the time.

It would be a shame, you know, it's not a one hit wonder. We can revisit it. You know, the information isn't going to date. It's still going to be relevant in six months, 12 months. So it's making sure we put those energies behind it to make sure we're still promoting it out there.


Yeah, absolutely.


The beauty of it, isn't it?

I'm sorry, Ged. I just wanted to say that that's the beauty of it. It's really, sometimes it's challenging finding the content that really kind of, uh, you know, kind of sees what's the test of time. Um, and I think this one will see the test of time because. It won't change. I can tell you I've been around for quite a long, and you know, like, I've been around all these different worlds for quite a long as well.

I haven't seen much change, apart from academia becoming far more active and proactive in, in, in communicating its research, thanks, you know, to people like yourselves. And so I think that will be, that will be a good one. There's one thing I would just wanted to say was I checked what's the average kind of life expectancy or shelf of a podcast.

And apparently it's 174 days. I think that's way too long. Um, especially for new podcasts. Um, but what Hannah says, I think is really important. First of all, the continuity, um, the kind of predictability. And, um, obviously Hannah and I only had six episodes and I've now started reading that there needs to be a mass of episodes before, you know, a prop kind of podcast series take, um, um, kind of really massively used and engaged.

But I don't think with the content that, that, that, that we are bringing with this. Particular podcast, you know, that ever was an ambition to become, um, you know, highly popular, um, podcast series or have far more, uh, episodes than, than, than we had. But, um, I think the continuity and predictability of when the next podcast going to happen, I think is one of the, uh, one of the tips on how to build your, your audience.


Yeah, so you weren't, um, you weren't hoping to kind of knock, um, Rory Stewart and Alistair Campbell and, uh, Ed Balls and, and, uh, George Osborne off their top slots in the, in the policy podcast.


One day, maybe. One day.


No, I'll leave, I'll leave men to have their own, you know, kind of league and, uh, you know, I'll find, uh, a, a, a niche kind of that works better for us.


Excellent. Well, it's been, it's been lovely to chat to you both. It's been too long for me having a conversation with you and now, uh, weirdly it's been recorded and it will be a podcast coming, coming out on the Research Culture Uncovered podcast soon. So can I ask you each to say goodbye? Bye to our viewers.

So Jana, anything, any last words you want to say and also say bye bye.


Just enjoy it and, you know, get back if you have any questions or, you know, comments, I'm always happy to, to, to get those and thanks for hosting us, Ged.


You're welcome, Hannah.


Do you know, when I do the podcast recordings, the sign off is always the worst bit and it's the bit we have to do numerous times.

And I always say to people, it's fine. You just say, thanks for listening. Bye. And all the way through this episode recording, I thought, Oh, I'm going to have to say bye at some points. How do I say bye? Do I say it in a normal way? So, um, I, I feel the pain now that all of our guests have shared, but yeah, I will also echo what Jana said and just say, um, Thanks to everyone for listening.

And if anyone does have any questions or wants to find out more about, you know, different ways of sharing research, uh, ways of making podcasts work, then yeah, feel free to get in touch. Thank you.


And, uh, and I'll echo that goodbye, listeners.


Thanks for listening to the Research Culture Uncovered podcast.

Please subscribe so you never miss out on our brand new episodes. And if you're enjoying the discussions, give us some love by dropping a 5 star rating and written review, as it helps other research culturists find us. And please share with a friend and show them how to subscribe. Thanks for listening, and here's to you and your research culture.

Show artwork for Research Culture Uncovered

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

Profile picture for Emma Spary
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.

Taryn Bell

Profile picture for Taryn Bell
I work as a Researcher Development Adviser at the University of Leeds. My focus is on career development, with a particular focus on supporting funding and fellowships. I previously worked at the University of York as their Fellowship Coordinator, developing and growing the University's community of early career fellows. Get in touch if you'd like to learn more (!

Katie Jones

Profile picture for Katie Jones
I am a Researcher Development and Culture Project Officer at the University of Leeds, where I lead projects within the Researcher Development and Culture Team. My role involves managing projects that enhance the development of researchers and foster a positive research culture across the University and the higher education sector.

Tony Bromley

Profile picture for Tony Bromley
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 !! Also why not take a look at

Ged Hall

Profile picture for Ged Hall
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

Profile picture for Ruth Winden
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

Profile picture for Nick Sheppard
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.