Emerging Research Leaders Academy

Leadership training to support research excellence

The Emerging Research Leaders Academy considers the unique needs of mid-career faculty to achieve research success. This program provides vital leadership and team science training that will help faculty pursue large, multi-PI grants, lead campus research initiatives, enhance their own research programs, and ultimately position Illinois for research excellence.

Program details

Throughout the fall and spring semesters, a series of monthly in-person workshops will support development of leadership and management skills and encourage the application of those skills to research. Each participant will develop a 5-year action plan and receive recognition as an Emerging Research Leadership Scholar upon completion of the program.

Participants are expected to attend the orientation and at least five of the six workshops throughout the fall and spring semesters. Each three-hour workshop will include a presentation by an on- or off-campus subject expert and an interactive discussion or activity. Participants will also be encouraged to attend supplemental lunchtime discussion sessions ("critical conversations") between the main workshops to dive deeper into the concepts covered in the workshops and potential applications to research.

2024-25 Workshop Sessions

Sept. 18, 2024

Orientation and CliftonStrengths

Welcome address from the VCRI and institute directors. Introduction to the workshop series, expectations, and CliftonStrengths workshop.

Oct. 23, 2024

Leading and Managing Teams

Collaboration and teamwork are essential to a successful career in science, especially if you want to take your research program in a new direction. This session will build on the team science concepts previously introduced with a focus on how to lead and manage teams, strategies for communication and conflict resolution, and collaboration tools.

Nov. 20, 2024

Building Diverse and Inclusive Teams

Diverse teams have been proven to be more innovative and productive. Team science concepts for building research teams will be introduced. Participants will also learn strategies for building diverse interdisciplinary teams and ensuring everyone on the team is included and has an equitable voice.

Jan. 15, 2025

Strategic Leadership and Management

We all have ideas of which qualities make someone a good leader. This session will discuss what those qualities are and how to harness them to build your leadership identity and make a positive impact on your colleagues and organization. Strategies for project management, goal setting, and creating a 5-year action plan for both personal and research growth will be introduced.

Feb. 19, 2025


At this point in your career, you have likely built an extensive mentoring network made up of relationships in which you are the mentor or mentee. This session will discuss the importance and mutual benefits of mentoring relationships and how to enhance them. Strategies for mentoring students and postdocs, balancing supervision and mentoring, and cultivating ethical behavior will be presented. Participants will identify their mentoring network, articulate their mentoring philosophy and plan, and identify who will keep them accountable for their individual action plan.

Mar. 19, 2025

Effective Research Communication

Scientists are taught how to communicate their research to other scientists, but how do you communicate your work to a broader audience? This session will cover how to effectively communicate your science to the public/lay audiences and how to talk to the media. You will construct an elevator pitch for your research and learn innovative ways to promote what your lab is doing and why people should care.

Apr. 16, 2025

Presentation of Action Plans and Graduation

The cohort will present their action plans to peers, department heads and other campus leaders. Certificates of completion will be presented during a celebration reception.

Eligibility and selection process

The Emerging Research Leaders Academy is designed for associate professors and newly promoted full professors who have not yet led a large, multi-PI grant or campus initiative. Participants should be at least one year post-tenure or equivalent. Non-tenure track faculty and research scientists with a record of independent funding as single-PIs and are now looking to lead larger efforts will be fully considered for the cohort. Participants must commit to attending the orientation and at least five of the six workshops.

All nominations must be submitted online by the nominee’s dean, department head, or director. Once nominated, the nominee will be asked to complete an application, including a current CV and statement of interest. A financial commitment of $500 from the department of each person selected is required to participate in the program. This fee will help cover program expenses and materials.

A selection committee will review the applications and select the cohort of approximately 12–15. Applicants will be evaluated based on their commitment to finishing the program (i.e., attending the orientation and at least five of the six workshops) and potential for future leadership.


  • May 1, 2024 – Call for nominations opens
  • May 24, 2024 – Nominations due
  • June 5, 2024 – Applications due
  • June 30, 2024 – Selected cohort notified
  • September 18, 2024 – Program begins
  • April 16, 2025 – Program ends

Please contact Maggie Berg for more information.

This program is facilitated by Interdisciplinary Health Sciences Institute in partnership with Beckman Institute for Advanced Science and Technology, Carle Illinois College of Medicine, Carl R. Woese Institute for Genomic Biology, Center for Social & Behavioral Science, College of Applied Health Sciences, College of Liberal Arts & Sciences, Grainger College of Engineering, and Office of Proposal Development.