Research Leadership

University Leadership - Senior Research Staff

We are delighted to share with you this new addition to UCC’s suite of leadership and management development activities. Feedback and experience has indicated that a significant impediment to the implementation and completion of leadership development programmes on campus are the demands placed on senior research staff in fulfilling their leadership responsibilities and the difficulties of scheduling events to enable full participation. One of the means by which we are attempting to address this is to offer on-line training that is available to Heads of Research Groups, Senior Research Fellows and Research Managers according to their own schedules. To this end, UCC participated with a consortium of Irish and international Universities to work with Epigeum to develop a programme of online training specifically for the higher education sector.

The University Leadership and Management Course for Senior Research Staff is now available . The programme is currently being offered as a self-selection programme with participants able to log on according to your own schedules and according to the topics that are most pressing for you.

Launched via UCC Blackboard, we will monitor engagement with the programme, with a view to adding additional modules or offering further support for more challenging topics.

We look forward to your feedback of your experience with the programme and its content and welcome any suggestions you may have to blend this learning resource with other development initiatives to maximise its usefulness and impact. Please direct feedback to Mary O'Regan HR Research Advisor at .

Modules include:

  • The University Context: An introduction

Introduce you to the programme as a whole, explaining its structure and key elements of its pedagogical approach

Set the scene and give some information on the social, political and economic environment in which we are all working

Give you some tips on how to use this programme to enhance your skills as a manager – including a diagnostic exercise that will indicate those areas of the programme that will be most useful for you.

  • University Leadership and Management

Academic and teaching departments, Research Units and support or service units are the core of your university institution. They are the first-line units through which your institution fulfils its mission, serves its students and the community, and most directly engages in discovering and disseminating knowledge. These units do the 'work' of the university, and in many ways the major purpose of much of the rest of the university is to support them.

In the four areas of this course you will receive some ideas and suggestions on how to improve the functioning of your unit and your institution, while at the same time making your role more satisfying and rewarding.


  • Working with University Cultures

University culture influences the way people interpret and respond to their work setting. It guides the beliefs and even the most ordinary tasks that people perform. As head of your team, you may be experiencing some obstacles in changing people's behaviours and values. A better understanding of culture and its enactment in university settings can explain why some behaviours subvert and others support the university's desired priorities and your attempts to lead and manage. Whilst you play a major part in shaping the culture within your department or research group, you also need to understand the other influences that can affect the community.

This course therefore explores how university cultures operate. It focuses on:

  • The building of positive and effective cultures
  • How to deal with difficult or even toxic communities
  • Strategies that will guide change processes and cultural shifts in a consultative and inclusive manner
  • Increasing your awareness about your role in being an influencer, role model and change agent.


  • Strategic Planning

Despite its relative novelty, the importance of good strategic planning is widely recognised throughout the higher education sector – and the need for good strategic planning has arguably never been greater, in particular because:

  • Over the last generation, universities have experienced changes unprecedented in their history, and the pressure to embrace yet further change is as unrelenting as ever
  • There is pressure to secure greater value from the available resources
  • The decisions and choices facing institutions have become ever more complex as the requirements of students, staff, employers, society and governments change.

All these factors place a premium on good strategic planning and the need for it to improve year on year. That said, there is no single right way to undertake strategic planning: it varies within as well as between institutions, depending on the culture, needs and organisation of the institution.

There is, however, a common variable in successful strategic planning – namely, the ability and willingness of the individual leader or manager (as a head of institution, department, research group, service or unit) to take the initiative in developing the content of a strategic vision and the building of consensus around it.

This course acknowledges these realities and aims to help you do just that: to develop a strategic plan for your department, research group, service or unit that is collectively owned by colleagues throughout your area as a means of securing necessary change and performance improvement.


  • Managing People

As  head of a unit, you play the key role in motivating your staff, developing their competence, improving their performance, realising their potential and maximising their contribution. 

The aim of this course is to help you do just that, by looking at:
  • How you develop your own approach to managing people
  • The motivational climate in your department
  • Managing to maximise performance
  • Coping with demanding situations
  • Recognising the potential and value of staff development
  • Effective team-building
  • Welcoming and making the most of diversity...


  • Managing Resources

Your skill in managing the fiscal, facilities and human resources available to your unit will be essential to your success as a manager and to the success of the unit. As the fiscal issues surrounding higher education become more complex so does the role of the resource manager within a unit within a college or university.

The challenges are many and include an increase in the competition for funds in both the public and private sectors of the economy. Governments are faced with demands for increasing expenditure on infrastructure, as well as increasing demands for governmental services. In addition, higher education is becoming increasingly dependent on private funding to meet needs formerly met through government funding.

Concurrently, operational costs for institutions have risen, including – but not limited to – the cost of technology, other goods and services, and the increased competition for qualified academic and research staff.


These modules are accessed through Canvas.  Self enroll into the course using this link:


Department of Human Resources - HR Research

Ground Floor, Block E, Food Science Building, UCC