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SFC Advisory Group on Supporting Scotland’s Postgraduate Researchers – Biographies

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The SFC Advisory Group on Supporting Scotland’s Postgraduate Researchers provides advice to SFC as it explores opportunities for supporting postgraduate researchers in Scotland that could be harnessed by a national approach.

Group Co-chairs

Dr Kay Guccione, Head of Research Culture & Researcher Development, University of Glasgow.
Kay Guccione (@kayguccione) is the Head of Research Culture & Researcher Development at the University of Glasgow. She is a Principal Fellow of the Higher Education Academy and a Masters qualified, accredited leadership coach. In 2018 she was awarded a National Teaching Fellowship in recognition of her impact in creating embedded whole-culture approaches to developing PGRs and Research Staff, and this is where her work at UoG and across the sector focuses. Kay’s interests lay in supervision, mentoring and other types of learning through dialogue – see the Hidden Curriculum in Doctoral Education blog and book series, the Supervising PhDs blog, and her work with the UK Council for Graduate Education to develop a Recognised Associate Supervisor Award for postdoctoral researchers.

Professor Nick Fyfe, Vice Principal for Research and Community Engagement, Robert Gordon University.
Nick Fyfe is Vice Principal for Research and Community Engagement at Robert Gordon University. Prior to joining RGU he was Dean of the School of Social Sciences at the University of Dundee and was the founding Director of the Scottish Institute for Policing Research, a pioneering interdisciplinary collaboration between 14 universities, Police Scotland and the Scottish Police Authority. The Institute has established Scotland as an international centre of excellence in interdisciplinary policing research and plays a major role in supporting postgraduate research on policing. Since 2017 Nick has also been a Visiting Professor at the Norwegian Police University College and in 2020 he was elected to the fellowship of the UK’s Academy of Social Sciences. He is a member of the Scottish Funding Council’s Research and Knowledge Exchange Committee and a Trustee of the UK Police Foundation.

Group Members

Frances Burstow, Director of Talent and Skills, UKRI.
Frances leads UKRI’s collective work on talent and skills. This includes the UKRI Future Leaders Fellowships and work to develop a New Deal for Postgraduate Researchers as well as the cross cutting work supporting careers occurring across UKRI. Frances was previously the Deputy Director for Skills and Methods at ESRC where she led their recent Review of the PhD in the Social Sciences. Her role involves engaging and collaborating with a wide variety of stakeholders and Frances has a wealth of experience of working in partnership with UK and international research funders including government departments, as well as other UK Research and Innovation councils. Frances joined ESRC in 2004 and has worked in a variety of roles in ESRC since then, including strategic lead for longitudinal studies and head of research grants and policy.

Professor Maxwell Chipulu, Research Professor, Operations and Analytics, Edinburgh Napier University.
Maxwell Chipulu is professor of Operations Analytics within the Business School at Edinburgh Napier University. He serves as strategic research lead for the Strategy, Operations and Economics subject group, and lead of the recently formed Napier Applied Business Research for Society (NABRS) research group.

Previously, he was associate professor of business analytics and head of teaching of the department of decision, analytics and risk at the University of Southampton, and thematic cluster pathway coordinator for the ESRC South Coast Doctoral Training Partnership. He had earlier served as a senior lecturer in operational research at the University of Hertfordshire.

Professor Iain Docherty, Dean, Institute for Advanced Studies, University of Stirling.
Iain Docherty is Dean of the Institute for Advanced Studies and Professor of Public Policy and Governance at the University of Stirling, where he leads the team responsible for the support and development of the University’s post graduate research community. Iain’s research interests focus on how transport and mobility choices contribute to economic, environmental and social change. He has held a range of public appointments, most recently as Commissioner on the National Infrastructure Commission for Scotland, and currently as a Director of the National Transport Authority of Ireland.

Dr Alison Hughes, Project Co-ordinator, Scottish Universities Life Sciences Alliance, University of Glasgow.
Dr Ally Hughes completed her PhD in marine biotechnology at the University of Strathclyde in 2021. Throughout her education, she has used her voice to advocate for support for her fellow classmates and has continued in this vein as a project coordinator with the Scottish Universities Life Sciences Alliance. This role allows her to develop training and professional development activities for students and researchers across Scottish universities, and work alongside universities to create a more diverse and inclusive research community.

Dr Vicky Farquhar, Scottish Universities Physics Alliance, University of Glasgow.
Dr Vicky Farquhar has worked in academia for a decade, first as a researcher then moving into researcher development in 2013, initially working across disciplines at Heriot-Watt University; now working within a single discipline across multiple institutions as a Graduate School Coordinator for SUPA – the Scottish Universities Physics Alliance.

Vicky leads on communications for SUPA, but you’ll also find her working on funding programs, running student focus groups, organising events, engaging with CDTs and other research pools, contributing to Scottish researcher development networks and promoting equality, diversity, inclusion and accessibility across SUPA.”

Aerin Lai, Postgraduate Researcher, School of Social and Political Science, University of Edinburgh.
Aerin Lai is a PhD researcher at the University of Edinburgh’s School of Social and Political Science. Before joining SFC’s advisory group, they were one of two anti-casualisation officers at UCU Edinburgh and worked closely with the PGR community to advocate for community-wide issues such as low pay, delayed contracts, and delayed pay. Previously, they were on the board of directors at East and Southeast Asian Scotland (ESAS), a charitable organisation that campaigned for better protection for the East and Southeast Asian (ESEA) community in Scotland against racist hate crimes.

Dr Lucy Leiper, Postgraduate Research School Manager, University of Aberdeen.
Dr Lucy Leiper is the Manager of the Graduate School at the University of Aberdeen where she Is responsible for developing and operationalising strategies for the recruitment, professional development, wellbeing and management of postgraduate researchers in line with institutional and national expectations.

She is passionate about supporting researchers to thrive and to make informed choices about their current future career paths. Lucy has a deep understanding of all stages of the PGR journey that includes different models and challenges which arise from the complexity of a population that straddles student and staff agendas and research and education strategies.

Mengxing Ma, Postgraduate Researcher, School of Geography & Sustainable Development, University of St Andrews.
Mengxing Ma is an ESRC Ph.D. student at the University of St Andrews. Her work investigates the intersection of population ageing and migration, focusing on the health and social (in)equalities
experienced by older adults from ethnic minority communities or with migration backgrounds. She has master’s degrees in social work and international development. Additionally, she has around 5-year experience in the third sector in China, Australia and the UK working for different underserved client groups with a diverse range of stakeholders. She aspires to bridge the academic and practical worlds and empower disadvantaged communities using rigorous and innovative research.

Dr Sandra Oza, Doctoral Academy Manager, University of Dundee.
Sandra completed her PhD in Life Sciences in 1999 and worked as a postdoctoral researcher for 10 years, followed by a successful transition into the field of Researcher Development. Since 2020, she has managed the Doctoral Academy at the University of Dundee with a broad portfolio around governance, strategy, research culture, postgraduate research experience, marketing, and recruitment. She specialises in professional and personal development, wellbeing, coaching, career diversity, and peer-support opportunities. She sits on several local and national committees relating to research and researchers’ interests and works extensively with colleagues across the sector on project-based initiatives for researchers.

Professor Lydia Plowman, Professor Emerita, University of Edinburgh. Formerly Dean of Research in the College of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences and Associate Director Scottish Graduate School for Social Sciences (SGSSS).
Lydia Plowman is Professor Emerita at the University of Edinburgh. She was formerly Dean of Research in the College of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences and was elected a Fellow of the Academy of Social Sciences in 2013. She was Associate Director for the Scottish Graduate School of Social Sciences, leading on interdisciplinarity, until July 2021. She has wide experience of successfully supervising PhD and EdD researchers and as an external examiner for doctorates in the UK, Australia and Republic of Ireland.

Dr Anindya Raychaudhuri, Senior Lecturer and Director of Postgraduate Studies (Research), School of English, University of St Andrews.
Anindya Raychaudhuri is Senior Lecturer and Director of Postgraduate Research in the School of English at the University of St Andrews, Scotland, UK. He is the author of two monographs, Homemaking: Radical Nostalgia and the Construction of a South Asian Diaspora (Rowman & Littlefield, 2018) and Narrating South Asian Partition: Oral History, Literature, Cinema (Oxford University Press, 2019). In 2016, he was named one of the BBC/AHRC New Generation Thinkers. His research interests include critical theory and Marxism, postcolonial studies, and memory studies. He is currently working on a cultural history of vertigo.

Professor Michael Rayner PFHEA FRSA, Dean of Research and Knowledge Exchange, University of the Highlands and Islands.
Michael Rayner is Dean of Research and Knowledge Exchange at the University of the Highlands and Islands. He is responsible for UHI’s Graduate School and associated infrastructure to support research students and their supervisory teams. He also provides broad-based leadership, guidance and support for institutional research excellence and culture, which includes a range of training and development initiatives (particularly for ECRs) and also research ethics and quality assurance. His research interests cover researcher development and support, and research-teaching linkage. Michael has been a member of numerous committees and boards, including the Institutional Level Environment (Pilot) Panel in the 2021 REF.

Professor Claire Squires, Director of Scottish Graduate School for Arts and Humanities and Professor of Publishing, University of Stirling.
Claire Squires is Director of SGSAH (the Scottish Graduate School for Arts and Humanities), and Professor of Publishing Studies at the University at Stirling. In her role at SGSAH, she has responsibility for AHRC and SFC funded PhD studentship programmes, as well as providing training and development opportunities for all of Scotland’s doctoral researchers in the arts and humanities across 17 HEIs. Squires’ research expertise focuses on contemporary book cultures and publishing studies. She has supervised numerous PhDs, including collaborative doctorates with external partners including Glasgow Life, HarperCollins, Publishing Scotland, the Saltire Society, and Scottish Book Trust.

Professor Bonnie Steves, Research Professor of Astrodynamics and Director of the Graduate School, Glasgow Caledonian University
Bonnie has over 30 years’ experience as a research leader, teacher, public outreach educator and senior manager. In 2006, she led the creation of the first university-wide Graduate School in Scotland. Fifteen years on, she is the longest serving Director of Graduate Schools in the UK, with responsibility for the strategic leadership and delivery of researcher development/experience for research students and staff. She is co-chair of the UK Council for Graduate Education’s Deans and Directors of Graduate Schools Network, Trustee of Scottish Universities Summer Schools in Physics and the elected Vice-President of the Division Fundamental Astronomy, International Astronomical Union.

Kirsty Woomble, Head of PGR Student Office, College of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences, University of Edinburgh.
Based at the University of Edinburgh where my current role is the Head of the PGR student Office in the College of Arts, Humanities & Social Science. I have worked at the University of Edinburgh for over 20 years in a variety of roles but most recently, the PGR community has been my main focus. The current themes in my own work include Transnational Education, EDI, student wellbeing, student voice, research sustainability, collaborative learning, relevant training and realistic funding.

SFC Strategic Plan 2022-27

Building a connected, agile, sustainable tertiary education and research system for Scotland.

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