LEAP: The PGR Leadership Programme

Why Research Leadership Matters?

Training in leadership skills is a vital component of all PGR development regardless of whether your subject area is in the humanities, sciences or social sciences.

From overseeing specific projects or programmes of research to fulfilling leadership roles within industry or learned societies. LEAP represents the first stage in your training as a future leader and will equip you with the necessary skills required to work collaboratively across sectors, disciplines, lead networks and teams.

Delivered by a renowned leadership coach and researcher Dr Steve Hutchinson, the LEAP certificate will enable you to understand what leadership is, explore how you can lead authentically and support you to get the best from the people around you.

This three-stage programme will provide you with tools, ideas and practical strategies to help you lead authentically in each of the following three areas:

  1. Shaping the PURPOSE of your field and leading intellectual decisions
  2. Directing PROJECTS that deliver impactful and meaningful results
  3. Guiding and developing PEOPLE to reach their potential

A certificate of completion will be awarded to those who successfully complete the whole programme.

If you are offered a place you will be expected to attend all 3 sessions within your cohort. You can find more information about this in our LEAP Programme Participation Agreement.

Applications for the next cohort will open in September 2024. 

How to apply

Due to the flagship nature of the programme and the limited number of places we have available we are asking that you apply for a place. Please note that applications for the will open in September 2024, and the LEAP workshops will take place on January 13th, 20th and 27th 2025.

Key Dates 

  • 11 September 2024 – Applications open
  • 15 October 2024 (midday) – Applications close
  • Week commencing 9th December 2024 - Applicants are informed of the outcome

Online application workshops and drop-in sessions (all times listed are BST)

In order to help you produce your application and to make sure the process is as accessible as possible to everyone interested in applying we will be holding two online workshops and weekly informal drop-in sessions between September and October. These sessions will be held on Zoom to allow you to ask any questions about the application. For general advice, please consult the FAQ document 

  • Monday 16 September 2024: 10.00 – 11.00 online workshop
  • Wednesday 18 September 2024: 15.30 – 16.30 drop in session
  • Tuesday 24 September 2024: 10.00 – 11.00 drop in session
  • Thursday 26 September2024: 15.30 – 16.30 online workshop
  • Monday 30 September 2024: 10.00 – 11.00 drop in session
  • Friday 4 October 2024: 15.30 – 16.30 drop in session
  • Tuesday 8 October 2024: 10.00 – 11.00 drop in session
  • Thursday 10 October 2024: 15.30 – 16.30 drop in session

The Process

All applicants will be asked to complete three questions. These answers will then be anonymised (this will be done by a member of the team not involved in the scoring process) and scored blind by two reviewers representative of the diverse research community at the University. All scores will then be recorded, ranked and discussed during a review panel meeting to take the final decisions.  

How do I know if I have a place?

All applicants will be informed in the week commencing 9th December 2024, for participation in the January 2025 Cohort.

  • If you have been successful you will be informed of the joining instructions and any pre-work
  • If you have been placed on the waiting list you will be given a date by which you will know whether a place has become available.
  • If you have been unsuccessful you will be provided a link to some bespoke resources which have been curated for you.
  • LEAP is a competative scheme with limited spaces, so we encourage you to reapply in the next round if you are unsuccessful on this occasion.

LEAP Further Training Opportunity

Postgraduate researchers who successfully complete LEAP 2025 will be offered a further development exercise. The LEAP Reviewer and Evaluation development programme provides a further opportunity to gain important skills in your professional development in reviewing and evaluating applications. This opportunity is only open to PGRs who are selected for LEAP and successfully complete the programme. Information will be sent to participants in February 2025. 


Please consult the FAQ document for advice before contacting the researcher developer team. 

If you have any questions please contact us at researcher@liverpool.ac.uk 

The final date for questions to the PGR developer team regarding your application is Thursday 10th October at 4.30 pm. After this time, we will be unable to respond.

Frequently asked questions

Eligibility Questions

I am in the first year of my PhD, am I eligible to apply?

Yes, LEAP is open to all PGRs regardless of when the doctoral training was started.

I am a part-time PG, am I eligible to apply?

Yes, LEAP is open to all PGRs

I am not based at the central University of Liverpool campus e.g., at XJTLU in China, am I eligible to apply?

Yes, we actively encourage colleagues who are not located at the central University of Liverpool campus to apply to the programme. The programme runs online. 

I would like to apply for the LEAP Reviewer and Evaluation development programme but not LEAP itself. Is there and option to apply for this separately?

No, this opportunity is only open to PGRs who are selected for LEAP and successfully complete the programme. Information will only be sent to participants in February 2025.


I can only attend two out of three sessions, can I still apply?

You need to attend all three sessions to complete the LEAP programme and receive your certificate. You can discuss potential issues in attendance directly with a member of the PGR development team, but please be aware a certificate of completion cannot be guaranteed. 

Application form

I am struggling to answer the motivation questions with regards to the LEAP programme. Is there any more information available? All I can see is the three bullet points about the programme?

We are running two online workshops this year which will help you formulate your responses to each question with specific reference to the LEAP programme content and participation agreement. We strongly advise applicants to attend one of these workshops. 

I am unable to attend the online workshops, can the information be sent out to me via email?

We prefer applicants to attend one of the online workshops where possible, but we will send you a copy of the powerpoint slides if requested after the workshops have taken place.

I have some general questions about the programme and application process that are not covered in the FAQ sections, can I email the PGR development team with these questions?

We will be running online informal drop-in sessions that are listed on the LEAP website (above) in which you can ask any questions which are not covered in this FAQ list. You can also email us at researcher@liverpool.ac.uk

The final cut-off date for all questions regarding the LEAP programme of application form is Thursday 10th October 2024 at 4.30 pm.

I have missed the deadline for the LEAP programme due to unforeseen circumstances, can I submit a late application?

Unfortunately, we are unable to extend the deadline as we receive a high volume of submissions. We strongly encourage you to consider applying when the programme runs the following year. 

Benefits of the LEAP programme outside of the research environment

I am not sure how this programme can help me improve my skills? I like research, how will this help my career in or beyond academia?

You can be a leader at any level, in any organisation. It's not to do with your job title, you can motivate and inspire people whatever you do and LEAP can help you with this. Leadership skills are relevant in any career and having the LEAP certificate can really help enhance your CV. Participation in the LEAP programme demonstrates to potential employers that you can understand how to motivate people and lead teams of individuals to achieve shared goals. Strong leaders can contribute to positive outcomes for teams and organisations as well as individuals. It is important to develop as a leader who can address the needs of the organisation and create an environment that allows teams and individuals within the organisation to work effectively.