Personal Development

This course has been a major contributing factor in my recent promotion to Full Professor.


The support we offer each other has been affirming and valuable for our roles as leaders.


Probably the most influential week of my academic career.


"Building research capacity though networks and leadership"

"The future of primary care research"

See the past programme cohorts ➥


Evan Kontopantelis and Fiona Stevenson

Two members of Cohort 10 have written a blog about their experience of their initial cohort meeting:



Tania Winzenberg

I joined the Oxford International Primary Care Research Leadership Programme in 2011. It was a major commitment for myself, due to the distances required to travel from Australia, and a major investment for my university to enable my attendance but both have been very worthwhile.

The structured training within the program provided exposure to a variety of leaders in primary care and a number of tools to use in developing my leadership skills. The opportunity to develop collaborations is excellent. The groups in which we work provide peer support, collegiality and friendship.  The course is prestigious in Australia and opens doors in career progression as well as the benefits of personal and professional development. Taking time out for strategic thinking in this environment has been terrifically useful for generating, focusing on and accomplishing important goals.


Marienke van Middelkoop

In 2011 it was encouraged to apply for the Oxford Leadership Programme. I was very happy with this encouragement, although I didn’t know what to expect when I arrived for the first time in Oxford. The programme has not disappointed me in any way. I have had the privilege to listen to outstanding speakers in the fieldof general practice, management and leadership and to meet excellent researchers from all over the world every year. In addition, cohort 6 has offered me an excellent peer group of researchers with who I can exchange experiences, reflect and drink a beer in the pub.

As a direct result of the programme, I was given the opportunity to spend five weeks at the Menzies Research Institute in Tasmania Australia on a visiting fellowship. In addition, the joint residential meeting has led to new collaborations with primary care researchers worldwide. For example, one of the PhD students I am supervising in Rotterdam has spent 5 weeks at the University of Melbourne to work on a collaborative project. This all would not have happened without the Oxford Leadership Programme.


Sarah Purdy

It feels like a tremendous privilege to take time away from 'real work' and spend three or four days in the beautiful surroundings of an Oxford college. Over the past four years these meetings have become one of the highlights of the year. It is rare to spend time on reflection, to have the opportunity to focus on one's own development or to be challenged and stretched by conversations with people you have grown to know and trust. As a result of participating in the Leadership Programme I have developed new research links, a network of colleagues across Europe and Australia and the confidence to aspire to and take on new challenges in both my research and wider academic roles.


Jose M Valderas

I joined the International Leadership Programme in 2008 as part of Cohort 3, one of the biggest. I have thoroughly enjoyed my participation both from an academic and social perspective (and possibly even a

personal one). The whole experience took to a whole new level when we started to attend the Leadership Programme meetings including several cohorts. The possibilities were suddenly dramatically increased.
As a result of my participation in the Leadership Programme, I decided to move to Oxford and join the Department in 2010. My particapation in the programme was also a catalyst in my research on multimorbidity: we created with other members of the Leadership Programme, a network of researchers with an interested on multimorbidity, and as a result of this collaboration two international workshops have been organized, we have put together a number of applications for funding and written a number of manuscripts.

Kamal Mahtani


Kamal Mahtani

I wasn't quite sure what to expect from a "leadership" programme and had thoughts of listening to smart people in smart suits talking about "blue sky thinking". What I experienced, and continue to, is a fantastic, rich variety of opportunities to learn more about my own skills, current and future goals and areas to develop to become not just a good leader but someone of value to a team of researchers. One of the principles of the programme is to create a peer support group made up of people at similar stages of their career. The group or cohort can share their own experiences in research development as well provide a supportive environment for each other for the future.

Within six months of my cohort meeting we supported each other on a research project that lead to a review paper being published in the BMJOpen journal. We are already planning our next collaboration and make time to speak to each other every 4 months via conference call. This also allows us to discuss any problems we have encountered and for the remaining group to offer support and advice. We hope to continue this for many years to come.


Alastair HayDr Alistair Hay

My default position regarding leadership and management courses was to be sceptical. However, it was my rapidly growing management and leadership responsibilities, with an accompanying sense of ‘being out of my depth’, that provoked me to apply for a place on the ‘Senior Cohort’ in 2010.

For the past 3 years, we (eight like-minded clinical and non-clinical primary care academics from the UK, Norway, Australia and the Netherlands) have met annually for 3 days in Oxford. During this time we have built up sufficient trust for all of us to be ‘vulnerable’ to one another in a way that would be more difficult with ‘within-institution’ peers – despite the fact that four of us are from two institutions.

Each time we meet, we review the past 12 months and bring to the group a particular work related challenge. I have benefited most from the group’s ideas and wisdom when I have been honest, and I have never felt anything other than confident in the group’s decision to maintain confidentiality at all times.

As a result, I have:

  • Approached some working relationships differently (for example, one that changed from being characterised as ‘competitive’ and ‘tense’ to being ‘productive’ and ‘friendly’)
  • Felt more confident in discussing promotional issues with my home institution
  • Realised that, however it may appear, most of us are challenged by aspects of our roles and leadership responsibilities – this is normal

Although I always wonder if the time will be productive, I always look forward to our meetings since I know that I will learn from everyone’s (including my own) experience and I fully intend to continue meeting with my peer learning set for as long as possible.


Cohort 3Input from all members of Cohort 3

The International Leadership Programme has given us a unique opportunity to extend our professional networks and broaden our horizons, either through discussions in Oxford or by visiting other departments.

Being part of this excellent research network increases (young) researchers motivation in research and self-confidence in advancing their career, and is also a figurehead on the CV.

Our cohort is a safe place to reflect on our work, career progression and balance between personal life and work. We learned leadership skills to increase our personal effectiveness and to distinguish between signal and noise. The cohort offers a tremendous peer support in all of these aspects.


Dan LassersonDan Lasserson

The Leadership Programme has supported and developed my academic career far more than I had thought at the outset of the programme. The peer interaction, combining fresh thinking, critical insights and new collaborations, has had an energising effect on my research activity and career vision going forward. The collaboration forged in my cohort, with the empowering leadership training, has successfully developed a large multinational research project from a highly competitive funder and multiple studies will spin out from the core project. This will develop my skills in additional methodologies, and result in greater integrated research activity that can translate biomarkers to populations and how to best deliver primary healthcare. This would not have happened without the support and training from the Leadership Programme.


in short...

‘provides an excellent opportunity for reflection during teleconferences within the group but also during the annual meeting in the inspiring colleges of historic Oxford. It is not about a network, but about the people within it’

‘The residential week is one of the highlights of my year. It is protected time where I have freedom to reflect with friends who understand the pressures of a clinical academic career’

‘The programme has given me the opportunity to understand other models of research (eg. PhD led research in NL)’

‘It has supported me in the transition to Chair and then moving to Oxford’

‘is a “safe” place where I can say things without fear of seeming foolish’