Michael Beverley Innovation Fellowship

Funded through a £1 million donation from Michael Beverley, a Leeds alumnus and Yorkshire business leader, this pioneering initiative is designed to support early career researchers to achieve impactful research by encouraging cross-disciplinary collaboration, developing partnerships and commercial awareness.

“Having people from different faculties is incredibly valuable. We all have different views on things and have lively discussions. Outside the Fellowship I wouldn’t ever meet these people. We tend to work within our own bubbles. It’s nice to interact with, develop networks, and help people from other faculties …I enjoy liaising with different people, and the Fellowship has the potential to really encourage people to consider collaborations.” Cohort 2 Fellow, Faculty of Medicine and Health.


The fellowship consists of four key strands – funding, taught sessions, team mentoring, and networking – providing a comprehensive, 360 approach to supporting researchers. This framework enables fellows to build their knowledge, skills and confidence and identify the right pathway for them so that impactful research is a natural outcome.

Each fellow receives up to £7,500 in funding to develop a concept such as creating a new policy, service, applied research, or external partnership. This helps to raise their profile in the academic arena and places them on a trajectory for future leadership roles within the university.

Taught Sessions:
Fellows are provided with the tools, techniques and methodologies to disrupt their traditional way of thinking, and are supported in incorporating impact in the early development of their research proposals.

They are shown how to pitch their research to external audiences and business experts, taking their idea from concept to reality.

They also hear from inspirational high-profile speakers from business and the wider university community, and engage in interactive workshops designed to inspire and build momentum for their ideas. Each session includes protected time for discussion and networking where fellows have the unique opportunity to share ideas with like-minded academics from all disciplines, who may be at a similar stage of their research journey or have experience they can draw upon.

Through our unique group mentoring programme adapted from MIT’s VMS model, fellows have access to an inspiring network of trusted business experts, senior academics, and peers. Each fellow is matched with a mentor from each of these groups, and all four people meet at the same time.

My mentors were very supportive, both in terms of the Fellowship and also my career. It is rare to have people in meetings who are there purely to help me, suggesting ideas of how to achieve my aims. I leave the meetings having a clearer idea and feeling uplifted. Their belief in me has been transformative in terms of thinking about my career and about the Fellowship.” Cohort 2 Fellow, Lecturer, Faculty of Environment.

During the programme and beyond, Fellows attend a quarterly networking group providing peer learning and support. They also have three dedicated mentors for the duration of the programme and the early stages of implementing their agreed research plan. Following the end of the programme, Fellows continue to be a part of the alumni network, a long lasting group supporting each other in their research and professional development.

“This unique fellowship programme will drive innovation engagement, supporting fellows to deliver impactful research. Michael Beverley Innovation Fellows will create a community of researchers that are outward facing and will drive entrepreneurial culture across the University. Not only will it help their research careers, but it will also build the reputations of the University, Leeds and the city region” – Nick Plant, Deputy Vice-Chancellor: Research and Innovation

For more information about the fellowship and how to apply, please contact Jo Howorth, Head of Skills Development

Similar opportunities:

ODPL, in collaboration with members of the University’s Impact Network, run Building Impact Momentum. This programme is primarily for those relatively new to thinking about impact beyond the academy and haven’t had much experience of trying to achieve it. It runs over a term and there are normally 3 programmes per academic year.

ODPL also offer an Impact Coaching service. This is entirely bespoke to the researcher / research team concerned. The coaching can last as long or as short as is needed with timing and regularity agreed between the researcher(s) and the coach

For more information about Building Impact Momentum or Impact Coaching, please contact Ged Hall.

Michael Beverley Innovation Fellowship scheme contact:

Jo Howorth, Head of Skills Development