UCL Queen Square Institute of Neurology


New initiative pioneered by ION helps technical staff & research assistants realise their potential

21 December 2023

A new initiative led by the UCL Queen Square Institute of Neurology (IoN) is empowering technical staff and research assistants in the Faculty of Brain Sciences, enabling them to recognise and cultivate their leadership potential.

people using post it notes around a table

The Technician and Research Assistant Leadership Development Programme was established in response to the identified need for more tailored support in the early stages of career development for these vital roles within the Institute. The programme, initiated in 2021 as an Equality Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) initiative and a pilot by the IoN, led by Professor and Deputy EDI Director Hélène Plun-Favreau and EDI Project Manager Ana Faro.

Building on the success of the pilot, the initiative expanded under the guidance of the current EDI Project Manager, Dimitrios Zachos and utilising funding from the UCL Research Culture programme, the Technician and Research Assistant Leadership Development programme reached all Institutes and Divisions within the Faculty of Brain Sciences in 2022. This comprehensive initiative includes open-entry masterclasses, an online leadership development program, and a specialised three-and-a-half-day leadership training course for nominated candidates from each Faculty of Brain Sciences Institutes/Divisions. The positive response from participants highlighted the programme's effectiveness in boosting confidence, fostering skill development, and providing a platform for meaningful conversations.

With the Faculty's commitment to continuing the programme, Dimitrios is optimistic about the long-term impact on participants' professional lives and mindset. The success of this three-year initiative underscores the UCL Queen Square Institute of Neurology and Faculty of Brain Sciences dedication to listening to its members and responding proactively to their needs. Professor Alan Thompson, UCL's Pro-Provost for London and Dean of the Faculty of Brain Sciences, emphasises the Faculty's commitment to recognising the invaluable contributions of technical and research assistant staff, aligning with their vision of supporting all staff members for excellence and innovation within the field.