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Funding opportunities, news and guidance from RKE at Manchester Met

Research Leadership Development Journeys: Interview with Dr Rob Drummond

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To celebrate the re-launch of the Future RKE Leaders programme, throughout February and March I will be posting interviews with a selection of previous Future RKE Leaders cohort members. Each kindly shared details of their research leadership development journeys, providing useful insights for those looking to develop their research leadership skills.

More details on the Future RKE Leaders programme can be found on our Research Development Sharepoint.

The deadline for nominations is this week: 12pm Wednesday 26th February.

Our third interview is with Dr Rob Drummond, Reader in Linguistics and a member of the 2015 Future RKE Leaders Cohort.

Dr Rob Drummond

Please name a research leader who you admire. What is it that you admire about them?

Rob named Professor Hannah Smithson, Head of the Manchester Centre for Youth Studies (MCYS) within Manchester Met Arts and Humanities Faculty. Rob works with Professor Smithson through his role as head of Youth Language in MCYS. Rob admirers Professor Smithson as she is ambitious and clearly communicates her vision. She is also open to other’s opinions and ensures the success of MCYS by building and nurturing a strong team rather than solely focussing on her own career.

What have been the key turning points or ‘light bulb’ moments in your leadership development journey so far?

Reflecting on his career so far, Rob was able to identify a series of pivotal training and funding opportunities. Rob feels that he was able to progress his career by making the most of each opportunity and taking care not to become complacent following a successful outcome. For example, starting with some accelerator funds, followed by a sabbatical period and a writing retreat, Rob submitted a successful bid to The Leverhulme Trust, which in turn led to the successful AHRC bid with colleague Dr Erin Carrie. Rob also commented that it can be difficult to model your career development on others as you only tend to hear about successful outcomes, especially concerning the grant application process.

How do you bring others along with you?

Rob consciously looks to work collaboratively where possible, especially with more junior colleagues. As part of their current research project funded by The AHRC, Rob and his co-investigator Dr Erin Carrie incorporated two Research Associate positions and a number of ‘jobs for students’. Through roles like this, Rob is able to support junior researchers to develop and grow and in doing so, extend the legacy of the grant funding.

In what ways do you use your leadership skills to promote your research outside of Manchester Met? 

Rob’s research is public facing and community centred, he is therefore heavily involved in a number of outreach activities including talks in schools. Rob regularly appears as a language expert on radio and television, working to challenge prejudice and promote linguistic equality. To this end, Rob is in the process of contributing evidence to an All Parliamentary Group on the teaching of oracy (spoken language) in schools.  

How did the Future RKE Leaders programme support you on your leadership development journey?

Rob felt the most valuable part of the programme was meeting fellow cohort members from other faculties and gaining a different perspective. He also appreciated the opportunity to meet, and have access to, senior leaders for their insight. As a member of the programme, Rob was granted additional status within his Faculty. This led to further beneficial experiences such as the chance to mentor others.

How have you continued to engage with your career development since completing the programme?

Towards the end of the Future RKE Leaders programme, Rob applied for progression to Reader, but unfortunately his application was unsuccessful. Rob used the feedback from his application to guide his career development over the following two years and actively addressed the gaps in his C.V.. This resulted in a successful application to Reader in 2019. In the role of Reader, Rob is looking to develop his leadership skills further by continuing to support early career researchers and feeding into Centre and Faculty leadership teams.

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