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Centre for Academic and Researcher Development

High quality, interactive professional development for clinicians, academics and researchers.

We provide development opportunities to support you and your organisation to drive your future success.

We have over 20 years' experience developing and delivering interactive workshops, online learning and executive coaching.

Based at The University of Manchester, we work with the NHS, industry, funders and universities nationally and internationally.

We specialise in:


Research excellence with impact

We work with a range of national and international partners to drive forward excellence in research.

We’ve developed a wide range of training packages that support career advancement at all stages of the research career. We cover topics including:

  • research publishing
  • research presentation
  • research practice, governance and stakeholder engagement
  • qualitative and quantitative research methods
  • steps to independence

Most of our courses are open to our external clients through our online store, though we can also develop bespoke training packages that meet your strategic organisational needs.

Informative, energising and motivating for our postdocs and PhD students who are interested in, but possibly daunted by, fellowships, alongside new insights for those who know what securing a fellowship entails… Rachel has run fellowship writing workshops for us since 2015 with consistent positive feedback from participants.

Dr Anne Forde / Life science postdoc careers advise, University of Cambridge


image of student


Inspirational teaching and learning

Develop your skills and learn to drive forward teaching excellence with the help of our training programme.

As national teaching fellows and principal fellows of the Higher Education Academy, we have created outstanding pedagogy and staff development programmes.

You can choose from short bite-sized one minute videos, lunchtime sessions or more in-depth masterclasses. A full timetable and previous session resources are available on the programme website.

To discuss the creation of a bespoke programme, please get in touch.

Judy is one of the most dedicated and gifted in her field, she produces innovative materials and imaginative lessons that remain sensitive to the audiences’ needs capturing hearts and minds, infecting others with her enthusiasm.

Vice Chair / UK Council for Graduate Education and Director of the Graduate School, University of Reading

Career advancement and coaching

We aim to create nurturing and supportive organisational cultures that enable individuals to thrive.

Our expert and accredited coaches and mentors have years of experience supporting staff and students of all levels and career stages.

Get in touch for more information including availability and pricing structure.

To support individual career development, we also provide a number of courses, from CV clinics and interview skills through to establishing successful working relationships and developing as a leader, which are available through our online store.

Judy and Rachel bring huge insight into the challenges faced by academics at all career stages, but also empathise with the strategic drivers of senior leaders. This combination allows them to design development interventions that not only benefit individuals but also make a strategic contribution to an organisation.

Dr Lucy Thorne / Organisational Developer, Lancaster University


Student studying


Enhancing leadership and management capability

We can support your talent management, as well as helping you to build leadership and management capacity.

We will work with your organisation to create one-off workshops or full development programmes accredited by external bodies.

To discuss your requirements, please get in touch with one of our consultants.

I have learned that I am much better than I knew myself. That with planning I am able to achieve what might have looked impossible.

Government Minister / Head of Women’s Health Uganda

Bespoke consultancy

Use our consultancy services to create an academic and researcher development programme for your institution.

With over 20 years’ experience of leading transformational academic and researcher development programmes, we now provide bespoke consultancy services.

We have worked with a wide range of universities and organisations nationally and internationally.

If you have a bespoke development opportunity or project that you would like to discuss further, get in touch.

Judy has played an integral role in supporting our HEA accredited Learning and Teaching Professional Recognition Scheme as our external examiner from the outset. Her collegiate approach has been instrumental in supporting us to maintain excellence and scrutinise the underpinning processes that support applicants and assessors.

Dr Nigel Russell / University of Sheffield


Student studying


Our strategic partnerships

Our expertise is leveraged by our strategic partnerships which help to support the development of the clinical workforce across Greater Manchester.


Meet our experts

The Centre is led by experienced academics who are passionate about developing researchers, educators and leaders to reach their potential.

Professor Judith Williams

Professor Judith Williams is Director at the Centre for Academic and Researcher Development, the Deputy Associate Dean for Staff Development and Chair in Academic Enhancement in the University of Manchester's Faculty of Biology, Medicine and Health.

Judy’s teaching is highly regarded and since co-founding the Centre in 2004, she has received The University of Manchester Teaching Excellence award, a Distinguished Achievement Medal for Teacher of the year, a Principal Fellowship from the HEA and a National Teaching Fellowship.

In the past, Judy has been shortlisted for a number of awards including the National Times Higher Award for Outstanding Support for Early Researchers. She was also awarded the North West Hub of Vitae in 2008 which enabled her to develop a team to provide support and training for researchers across the region.

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Dr Rachel Cowen

Rachel is a Senior Lecturer in the University of Manchester's School of Medical Sciences, co-founder of the Centre for Academic and Researcher Development and University Lead for Equality, Diversity and Inclusion.

She has extensive experience in cancer research and people and organisational development in higher education and the corporate sector.

She develops ‘gold standard’ development programmes strategically aligned to organisational goals whilst promoting individual excellence and leadership capability.

Rachel holds a senior fellowship with the Higher Education Academy and is an Institute of Leadership and Management accredited executive coach.

She has a portfolio of international consultancy with leading universities and funders, and is passionate about creating a nurturing, inclusive work environment in which everyone is supported and rewarded.

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Contact us

Get in touch to discuss collaborating now.

tel: +44 (0)161 275 1365


Twitter: @acadresdev