Solid support for increased responsibilities

In the academic world, leadership must often be learned alongside research work. A deep, multidisciplinary training programme provides support for future leaders.
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Priyadharshini Perumal (in the middle) is currently participating in the Science Leadership program, which teaches leadership skills needed in the scientific world.

“It has been very good and right on time,” says Priyadharshini Perumal, Senior Research Fellow at the Fibre and Particle Research Unit.

She refers to the Science Leadership programme she is currently undertaking. Perumal has recently started in a superior role which, in her words, can sometimes feel overwhelming.

“When you need to start thinking of others instead of just yourself, you have to balance in a new way and be able to give something up.”

The Science Leadership programme, fourth round in its kind, has offered intensive sessions and peer support in different fields of academic life: the three learning tracks are science leadership, interdisciplinary collaboration and impactful research communication.

Perumal has especially enjoyed practicing pitching in professional guidance. She also feels she has learned a lot about the university as a whole.

“We have learned more deeply about the focus areas and profiling themes of the university. The programme has taught me a lot about how the university works. We have for instance met with people who are responsible of different funding calls.”

Multidisciplinarity and support opportunities

University lecturer Heidi Enwald participated in the Science Leadership programme in 2021. She works in the Research Unit of History, Culture and Communications in a role that includes superior tasks.

“The programme was a positive experience, although you had to dedicate time to it,” Enwald says.

The training programme is divided into about seven 1–2-day periods when you focus entirely on the programme content. According to Enwald and Perumal, the workload between the meetings is quite reasonable.

“I was the only Faculty of Humanities participant in the 2021 programme, so it opened up the university’s multidisciplinary and multisectoral nature in a new way for me. For example, I got acquainted with many new medical and technical researchers,” Enwald says.

The programme also offers participants additional opportunities, including personal coaching.

“It is good to discuss your work role with someone and consider the workload with an occupational psychologist, for example.”

Enwald would recommend the programme to any researcher who is about to apply for an adjunct professorship, has recently won a project or works in a large consortium. According to the programme description, the programme is intended for researchers moving from individual research work to managerial roles.

The application period for the next program is open

The application period for the fifth round of Science Leadership, Class of 23, has just opened. The programme starts in April 2023 and lasts about a year. Some 20–24 advanced-level postdoctoral researchers are selected for the programme based on the applications.

A total of 72 researchers have already participated in the four rounds of the programme. The Science Leadership programme is the original idea of the University of Oulu. The originator of the idea was Taina Pihlajaniemi, Vice Rector for Research at the University of Oulu, who has since been an active visitor to the programme.

Apply for the programme by 14 January 2023.

Last updated: 23.11.2022