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Ideas Summit – Strategic Leadership in Research 2023

In this blog post we share highlights from the recent Strategic Leadership in Research Programme Ideas Summit and information about how you can apply to the 2024 programme.

About the Strategic Leadership in Research Programme

The Strategic Leadership in Research Programme is run by Edinburgh Research Office and the Institute for Academic Development, in collaboration with 64 Million Artists. The programme aims to equip some of our most promising mid-career researchers with the knowledge, behaviours, leadership, and networking skills required to win large scale strategic funding.  

The six-month long programme offers highly valued 1-2-1 coaching, mentoring and action-based learning support and comprises five key workshops which conclude with the always-fascinating ‘Ideas Summit’. 

What is the Ideas Summit?  

As part of the programme, participants took part in the 2023 ‘Ideas Summit’ on Tuesday 7 of November at the Playfair Library Hall. Here, programme participants had the opportunity to share their experiences and pitch innovative research projects to senior leadership, funders, and potential collaborators from across the University and beyond.  

On the Day – Big Idea Pitches  

Following enthusiastic introductions from Professor Christina Boswell, Vice Principal for Research & Enterprise, and Robbie Swale, Lead Programme Facilitator from 64 Million Artists, all 20 participants from this year’s cohort were given 90 seconds to pitch their ‘Big Idea’.  

We heard thought-provoking research project ideas from a range of disciplines throughout the University, including:  

Dr Glaire Anderson, Senior Lecturer in Islamic Art, Edinburgh College of Art.  

Big Idea: The Digital Lab for Islamic Visual Culture & Collections, Video Games & GLAM (Galleries, Libraries, Archives, Museums) – An entrepreneurship approach to decolonising history and cultural heritage for wide global publics 

“I spoke about how my son inspired me to consider video games, notably Assassin’s Creed, as a powerful artistic medium for making unfamiliar times and places more accessible to wide public audiences, and how this led to my work on the newest instalment of Assassin’s Creed, Mirage, which is set in 9th century Baghdad and the medieval Middle East.” Dr Glaire Anderson

Dr Chris Cummins, Reader in Linguistics and English Language, the School of Philosophy, Psychology and Language Sciences.  

Big Idea: Linguistics and Psychology in Emergency Medical Response: Using Insights about Behaviour, Speech and Interaction to Improve the Treatment of out-of-hospital Medical Emergencies.  

“Effective communication is vital to emergency medical response. Errors and miscommunications are a source of frustration to clinicians attempting to optimise outcomes for out-of-hospital emergencies such as cardiac arrest. Our project brings together professionals involved in emergency medical response with researchers in psychology, linguistics, informatics and mathematics, to look for marginal gains in communicative effectiveness which could yield improved survival rates in such cases.” – Dr Chris Cummins

Professor Maria Grazia De Angelis, Chair of Thermodynamics of Materials and Processes, the School of Engineering  

Big Idea: Divide et Impera – A platform for the development of low-energy separations in the chemical, environmental and medial field.


After the participants pitched their ideas, all event attendees had the opportunity to come together to ask questions and create lasting connections across the University and wider networks at our breakout stations.  

Hear from our participants and attendees

The process of crystallizing my own 90-second message about my big idea, why I do this work, and the impact I hope to make on the world has helped me develop greater focus and clarity about my academic mission and how to share it with a wide audience.”  –  Dr Glaire Anderson (Programme Participant). 

“I very much got a sense of how consequential the work being done across the University has the potential to be, to so many people.” –   Dr Chris Cummins (Programme Participant). 

“The Ideas Summit was a great way to network and be inspired by our University’s incredible researchers whose creativity and passion shone through” – Grace Harvey, Events and Communications Administrator (Ideas Summit Attendee).  

2024 Applications – deadline Friday 12 January 2024 

Are you interested or know someone who would be? Apply to be part of the upcoming Strategic Leadership in Research Programme cohort of 2024.  

Places are available for all eligible University of Edinburgh based colleagues in the College of Arts Humanities and Social Sciences (CAHSS), the College of Medicine and Veterinary Medicine (CMVM) and the College of Science and Engineering (CSE). 

Follow the link for further information about our programme and the application process:



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