UCL School of Life and Medical Sciences


ADAPT to Grow

Through one-to-one coaching, the ADAPT to Grow scheme takes a proactive approach to building resilience in early career scientists.

The online programme is based on cognitive behavioural therapy, mentoring and coaching techniques and enables early career researchers to position themselves for success in their future careers. 

Applications for our July- December 2023 cohort will open in May 2023. 

Please direct any queries to Alex Teale via a.teale@ucl.ac.uk 

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Why should I join the ADAPT to Grow scheme?

ADAPT to Grow is all about proactively building the skills to be a more resilient leader in your growing academic career. You are a leader of the future and this programme will help you to realise your goals. The programme is based entirely online, making it easy for you to fit into a busy schedule. Please note that you can only participate in ADAPT to Grow once: you cannot apply for an extra four sessions after you have already had four. 

I'm not depressed or anxious. Why do I need the scheme?

ADAPT to Grow is not a therapy. The programme is based around cognitive behavioural therapy but you can think of it more as structured coaching to develop resilience - the capacity to recover quickly from difficulties - in early career researchers. We all encounter difficulties and setbacks as our careers progress, and building resilience will help you reach your potential more quickly.

Is it free?

Yes! ADAPT to Grow is funded by the UCL Academic Careers Office through the NIHR UCLH Biomedical Research Centre and the Wellcome Institutional Strategic Support Fund. We do this because we are funded to train the research leaders of the future. 

How can I join?

Applications for our July-December 2023 cohort will go live in May 2023. 

What will happen after I sign up?

After the deadline the office will be in touch to confirm whether you got a place. 

Selected participants will be put in touch with a coach trained in proactive cognitive behavioural coaching. They will set up all their appointments directly with the coach at the start and off they go! Participants will have six months to complete their four sessions and they can space them out however they wish.

Who conducts the coaching and what to expect?

We are working with a group of 7 coaches who have a lot of experience with cognitive behavioural therapy, coaching and other support for early career researchers and students. 

How long is the programme?

You will be allocated four one-hour online sessions with a coach trained in a proactive cognitive behavioural coaching approach. You will have six months to complete your four sessions and you can space them out however you wish.

There are two rounds per year:

  • January - June 
  • July - December 
How is the coaching conducted?

The coaching is conducted through Zoom / Teams. You can participate in a session anywhere that you have a computer and access to the internet. We also recommend that you find a private space for the sessions where you will not be disturbed. 

How will UCL ensure my privacy?

All of the discussions between you and the coach are confidential and will not be shared in any form with UCL.

UCL will conduct surveys to evaluate the impact of the programme and allow us to make improvements to the scheme.

How to schedule appointment?

You will be asked to arrange the dates of your four appointments by email directly with the coach once your place in the scheme is confirmed. If you schedule an appointment with a coach you should make an effort to attend.

If you need to reschedule or cancel your appointment you should give the coach at least 48 hours' notice. All rescheduled sessions must be arranged before the end of the six months period.

If something comes up unexpectedly and you miss an appointment without giving proper notice, you should contact your coach as soon as possible to reschedule.

If you miss two appointments without giving notice you may be dismissed from the programme. We will have a discussion first, though.

How will the scheme be evaluated?

Surveys! Maybe some very short interviews if we're feeling really adventurous. We are using some measures of resilience and self-efficacy that have been validated in psychiatric studies. The questions might not seem as though they are relevant to career development, but Woolnough and Fielden (2014) note that these kinds of parameters of personal development are associated with greater confidence to set and pursue career goals, which we think is an important part of career development.

We will share our analysis of the surveys with the coach so that we can work together to improve the programme in the future.

What if I want to continue after my allocated sessions are complete?

If you want to continue to speak to your coach that's brilliant! It will have to be organised on your own, outside of this scheme but we would love to hear if you decide to continue.

What previous participants say about the scheme?

"This was invaluable. There were lots of aspects of my work in clinical practice and research I took as 'that is the way it is.' However this course taught me techniques to identify and improve things in practical ways. The coach was very good at tailoring the sessions to a jointly identified agenda and working through in a clear and non-cliche way. The emphasis on principles and tools that one could use long term is particularly helpful."  ADAPT to Grow participant

"Really excellent program. Such a great learning experience for me and I would highly recommend to others." ADAPT to Grow participant

"I have been taught principles of self-coaching, time management, self-ownership and stress management which I will aim to use on an every day basis in my work as a clinician and researcher." ADAPT to Grow participant

"The sessions has equipped me with a useful framework to think through challenges and set-backs - which being an academic, there are many." ADAPT to Grow participant

What if my coach and I decide that I need further support?

If you and your coach decide that you would benefit from additional support other than the coaching that the ADAPT to Grow scheme provides, this is something that will be organised outside of the scheme. Your coach can signpost you to a range of NHS services that might be appropriate for you. 


Woolnough H. & Fielden S. (2014). The impact of a career development programme on female mental health nurses. Gender in Management: An international Journal, 29(2), 108-122.