Group of researchers gathered around a table

Professional Skills for Research Leaders (PSRL) Programme



Want to enhance your research leadership, management and engagement skills? Or expand your professional research network?

DCU's Professional Skills for Research Leaders (PSRL) is a blended-learning programme for researchers designed by researchers, academics and Learning and Development professionals. 

Target Audience:

Postdoctoral researchers and early-career academics


This programme will help you develop your career strategy in a broader research context. On successful completion of this programme, the learner will be able to:

  • recognise steps to take to keep their careers on track
  • advance their grant writing skills
  • build their capabilities as a team leader
  • navigate DCU's research support structure and funding landscape
  • establish and maintain fruitful research collaborations
  • develop their research communication skills in a variety of capacities


The programme comprises a blend of 6 Epigeum (Oxford Univ Press) online modules complemented with attendance at the first workshop on Getting the Best from the PSRL and 4 out of the 6 remaining workshops lasting 1 to 3.5 hours each. 

Application Process:

To register for the PSRL, please sign up for the INTRODUCTION workshop below, which provides an overview as well as specific theory and content.

The 4 workshops are chosen after the introduction workshop and you an also opt out after that if you so wish. 

Online Course

Online Workshop

Introduction to Professional Skills for Research Leaders 

INTRODUCTION: Getting the Best From the PSRL – 1st Nov 2022 12-1pm

To apply for the programme, sign up for this workshop (you can opt out after).

Developing and Consolidating your Research Career

WORKSHOP 1: Developing and Consolidating your Research Career – 7th and 14th December 22 (9.30-1.30) | Jan/Feb 23: One-to-ones timeslots TBD

Funding your Research

Funding your Research (2 workshops)

WORKSHOP 2: Developing your Research Funding Plan – Thurs Jan 19th '23 10-12pm 

WORKSHOP 3: Grant writing - Thurs 9th Feb '23 10-12.30pm

Managing a Research Team

WORKSHOP 4: Managing a Research Team – Thurs 9th Mar '23 9:30am – 1pm

Research Collaborations

WORKSHOP 5: Research Collaborations – May 23 - DATE TBD

Communicating your Research

WORKSHOP 6: Communicating your Research - Wed 21st June 2023 10-11.30am

These interactive workshops extend and discuss the online content and present new and up-do-date material and research relevant to the theme of focus.

Contributors include Principal Investigators and experts on the topics. Participants must achieve a pass mark of 70% for the course by completing an online quiz for each of the on-line elements.

Group mentoring (when available)

Group mentoring is a hugely beneficial approach of sharing knowledge with peers, exploring career paths and challenges, and receiving advice from seniors in the field of research.

All participants on the programme will be invited to take part in group mentoring, led by a Principal Investigator as mentor. The group will meet monthly to explore solutions to challenges that mentees face and potential areas for career development. Mentees will also benefit from peer to peer support and the opportunity to network and build relationships.

Fee: 100 euro charged to your school or research centre 

If you have specific questions on the PSRL, please contact

Key Contributors:

After many years as an academic zoologist, Dr Steve Hutchinson moved to the field of training and development now working at the forefront of researcher development practice. He has led researcher development centres at the Universities of both York and Leeds, is a Vitae course director and tutor and an associate and programme director for the Leadership Foundation for Higher Education. In 2006 Steve established his own company going on to design and deliver highly-acclaimed researcher development programmes across a range of institutions all over Europe.

Janet works as a career specialist teaching on the Birkbeck University of London Career Coaching and Management Masters programme and as Academic Supervisor at Kingston University.  She works across the practitioner / academic boundary, connecting career research and theory into the world of career coaching.  She runs her own Career Consultancy working with organisations to manage and develop careers and also coaches individuals in career transition.  Janet consults to career agencies, trains and supervises experienced career coaches in the UK and Ireland and is a fellow of the National Institute of Career Education and Counselling.

Dr Robin Henderson is a higher education consultant with a strong track record in delivering leadership and management development, and in supporting change-management initiatives within research-intensive universities. He works with a wide spectrum of staff within HEIs, including academic staff (from PhD students to senior professors) and professional service staff. He has worked with over 20 research-intensive universities within the UK and Europe. Find out more.

Jane Suiter is Professor in the School of Communications, her research focus is on the information environment in the public sphere and in particular on scaling up  deliberation and tackling disinformation. 

Jane is director of DCU's Institute for Future Media, Democracy and Society and is  PI on H2020 ICT28 Provenance, a multimillion interdisciplinary project to combat disinformation and PI on JOLT a Marie Curie ITN on harnessing digital technologies in communication. She is also leading a new project on  countering COVID-19 disinformation and the potential role of deliberation.

She is the senior Research Fellow on the Irish Citizens' Assembly on gender equality and  is co-PI on the Irish Citizen Assembly (2016-2018) and the Irish Constitutional Convention (2012-2014) and a founder member of We the Citizens (2011), Ireland’s first deliberative experiment. Read more

Alan F. Smeaton joined NIHE/DCU in 1987 from University College Dublin where he completed his PhD.He was subsequently appointed Snior Lecturer and then Full Professor of Computing, in 1997.  He has been Executive Dean of Faculty and Head of the School of Computing (twice).

His early research covered the application of natural language processing techniques to information retrieval. This broadened to cover content-based retrieval of information in all media, including text, image, audio and digital video. Alan’s current research interests are around human memory and how we forget and remember some things and not others. Read more