Challenge of Science Leadership 3 Day Course

Our Challenge of Science Leadership 3 Day Course

About the course…

This Course, soon to be in its 11th year, enables participants to make significant advances in their leadership journey in just 3 days – by increasing their abilities in areas, including thinking strategically, influencing others, building networks, getting buy-in, managing their time and developing their leadership practice.

The course, designed for professionals working in the sciences, contains a range of practical tools with many opportunities for interaction amongst participants.

The CSL course has been run over 80 times since its inception in 2014 and has received very positive response from participants. From a statistical analysis of feedback responses from 2014 to 2023 (sample size = 900):


95%  agreed the course met their expectations

91% agreed the course would benefit their organisation

96% said they would recommend colleagues to take this course

90% better understood what they needed to do to be more successful in their professional life

98% considered they had tools to help them be more effective and productive in their work

89% had a plan of practical actions for their personal development

82% were more aware of their potential as a leader

81% felt more confident about their ability to lead

The course is run both as an Open course several times a year and in-house for individual organisations. The 3 days of the Course comprise:

Day 1 – Thinking Strategically: Is a key attribute of science leadership – how to see the bigger picture and maintain this mindset amidst the demands of a busy workplace. The course provides tools and processes that enhance creative and strategic thinking.  Participants apply these to their own situations and use them for a big idea that they want to develop.

Day 2 – Influencing Others: Is another key leadership attribute – the ability to get things done through others where you have little or no direct control. It can take many forms – e.g. getting buy in for your proposal, enabling constructive feedback to be given and received, gaining support for a goal, helping bring on and develop others. Participants practice tools and processes on their own situations.

Day 3 – Developing Leadership Practice: This day has 3 main components:

  • Time management is one of the most frequently named challenges by course participants. And, as a result of attending this course, they might find there is even more they want to do. So, this session helps participants identify their best uses of time and how to free up more time for these.
  • Developing Yourself as a Leader – Participants are introduced to six primary leadership challenges that face scientists and then assess themselves on these challenges – Where are they now? Where do they want to be?  What do they need to start doing? This work is used as a basis for coaching and mentoring conversations in small groups.
  • Action Planning – In order to ensure that the knowledge from the course leads into action in the participants professional working lives, participants review all the tools and ideas of the past 3 days and draw up a practical plan to take knowledge into action.


For more information on CSL in-house see here.



Absolutely. We get many participants from the policy, regulation, advisory and NGO worlds from organisations like Cefas, Environment Agency, Defra and the IFCA’s. They face leadership challenges which have similarities to those faced by researchers and academics. And after many years of running the course we know that there is enough shared science background to facilitate communication and experience sharing between all participants.

3 main advantages that we hear from course participants:

1) It is easier to feel that you are away and thus get the maximum benefit of a 3 day course
2) You get to meet new people, which can give new perspectives and variety and can expand your network.
3) You may feel more at ease when if you are not sharing your experiences and challenges with people in your own organisation.

No pre-work, only a pre-course questionnaire which we send out with the pre-course information.

No, you will not need laptop, tablet or even your phone. The course sessions are completely off grid.

Usually 3-4 weeks before the course. Let us know if you need them earlier.

9:00 – 5:30 on the first 2 days and 9:00 – 5:00 on the 3rd day.

Book Now

Click here for booking information for the next course in Plymouth (3-5 January 2024) and in Cambridge (19-21 March 2024).