Researcher Academy unveils new training programmes and bids farewell to champion of research culture


September 26th, 2023

The Researcher Academy is set to release its new training and development programmes for researchers across the university. 

The news comes as the university says farewell to Professor Lucy Donaldson, who, as Associate Pro-Vice-Chancellor for the Researcher Academy and Researcher Career Development, has played a key role in building a positive research culture and establishing the Researcher Academy which supports researchers and research enablers at Nottingham.

Jane Wellens, Head of the Researcher Academy, said: “Lucy’s approach to her role as APVC for the Researcher Academy and Researcher Career Development has been underpinned by her passionate belief that a supportive and thriving research culture and environment is a collective effort and a pre-requisite to the delivery of excellent research.   

“She has been an active champion of all those involved in research, no matter what their career stage or job family. Her commitment to tackling some of the more intractable, long-standing and, in many cases, sector-wide challenges that researchers experience has been relentless. We will miss her enthusiasm and wisdom but I know that she will take this with her to her new role at Versus Arthritis, where she will continue to influence and inspire.” 

New training and development programme

The Researcher Academy provides training and development opportunities for all researchers at the university, from postgraduate researchers through to senior research leaders.  

The academy’s training for the new academic year will be released for booking on 10 October.   

Please visit its SharePoint Training Hub to view the courses in Researcher Fundamentals and to book a place on a thematic programme: 

  • Innovation and Knowledge Exchange 
  • Policy Engagement 
  • Public Engagement 
  • Research Administration and Management 
  • Research Methods 
  • Coaching and Peer Mentoring 

These programmes are open to all researchers from doctoral students, postdoctoral researchers through to academics looking to upskill in new areas of interest. Programmes and courses run from 1 November.   

In recognition of this sector-leading provision, the researcher training and development team has been shortlisted for a Professional Services Award for ‘Supporting Potential’. 

Victoria Sedman, Head of Researcher Development, said: “Our researcher community is at the very heart of everything we do and we take great pride in the sheer number of opportunities we are able to offer them. 

“Our new, specialist training programmes connect researchers with the skills they need to take their specialism out into the wider world.” 

Victoria added: “Our faculty-based inductions will be taking place over the next month where you can hear about how the Researcher Academy can support you as a researcher – these are useful for researchers new to the university and those who are looking for a refresher.” 

Farewell and thanks to Professor Lucy Donaldson

Lucy Donaldson is Professor of Sensory Physiology in the School of Life Sciences and served as Associate Pro-Vice Chancellor for the Researcher Academy from 2018 until September 2023. She began her career as a dentist before studying neuroscience and developing an interest  – “somewhat ironically for a former dentist!” – in the neurophysiology of pain. 

For the past decade at Nottingham, Professor Donaldson led research programmes focused on mechanisms of acute and chronic inflammatory pain, most recently with a focus on the contributions of alternative RNA splicing, vascular endothelial growth factor splice variants, and nerve, support cell and blood vessel contributions to pain. 

Her research work led directly to the foundation of three companies. Exonate Ltd and Emenda Therapeutics Ltd are focused on the development of novel inhibitors of alternative RNA splicing for various clinical uses, including treatment of pain, while Ranvier Healthcare Ltd is developing medical diagnostic tests for anxiety and depression based on taste perception.   

Professor Donaldson is leaving the university for a new role as Director of Research and Health Intelligence at Versus Arthritis, working to deliver direct positive impact for people living with arthritis. 

She said: “I am sorry to be saying au revoir to all my friends and colleagues, particularly in Life Sciences and the Researcher Academy.

“It has been an enormous privilege and joy to work with so many amazing people, across schools, faculties and departments of the University of Nottingham, where I have made so many great friends and had opportunities for professional and personal development that I would not have found elsewhere.” 

Professor Clive Roberts, Interim Pro-Vice Chancellor for the Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences, said: “In her time in the School of Life Sciences, despite her substantial university- level role, Professor Lucy Donaldson made a significant contribution to our research in her area of neuronal signalling in chronic pain, working towards more effective pain treatments.

“Just as impactfully, Lucy brought great positivity to our research culture, personally supporting many of our PhD students and early career researchers and academics with highly valued advice and mentorship.” 

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One Comment

September 30th, 2023 at 7:30 am

Kat Skeavington

Good luck Lucy! You will be missed.

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