UCL Queen Square Institute of Neurology


Dr Lauren Byrne selected for Academy of Medical Sciences prestigious career development programme

21 December 2023

The Academy of Medical Sciences has launched its latest SUSTAIN career development programme, which brings together women in research to support each other and ensure they can thrive in their independent research careers.

Lauren Byrne

SUSTAIN helps individuals reach their full professional and leadership potential through sessions on career development, media training and networking. Participants are each mentored by a Fellow of the Academy. The year-long programme provides participants with individualised support tailored to their specific career needs. 

Twenty-four women researchers have been selected for the new round, spanning a diverse field of specialisms, career stages and personal situations – including supporting young families, embarking on first fellowships and working towards professorships. Several are working as clinician-scientists whilst in medical training. 

The programme was established in 2015, with the latest run representing its ninth round. The new cohort includes Dr Lauren Byrne, a Senior Research Fellow at University College London who has received a Medical Research Council Career Development fellowship award to form a team and research niche in Juvenile-onset Huntington’s disease. 

Dr Byrne said: “I was the first in my family to go to university and understand the barriers that researchers from non-traditional backgrounds can face in sustaining an academic career. Programmes like SUSTAIN are vital to providing the training, mentoring and connections to support talented researchers across all backgrounds in continuing to advance innovative research and create positive change. I’m excited to join this cohort of exceptional scientists and gain valuable skills to take my work forward in a sustainable way." 

SUSTAIN responds to the Academy’s call for coordinated, evidence-based approaches to equity and inclusion from research leaders, as highlighted in its recent ‘Future Proofing UK Health Research report. By providing vital training, mentoring and networking opportunities, the programme aims to dismantle barriers female scientists frequently face to leadership, funding and career sustainability. 

The SUSTAIN programme is funded by the Academy of Medical Sciences, the Medical Research Council, the Royal Society and the Royal Academy of Engineering.