Funded by Advance HE, the aims of this important project are to explore and report on Higher Education Institutions' (HEIs) mechanisms for supporting both current and aspiring women leaders.

This will include:

  • how institutions are working with Aurora alumnae and current Aurora participants
  • how institutions support women in other ways, prior to or complementary to Aurora
  • what support is available outside of involvement with Aurora

The project will seek to explore both the perspectives of current and aspiring women leaders, and higher education institutions, with regard to support mechanisms available.

Find out more about Advance HE 


The project aims are designed to benefit the higher education sector and Advance HE members through the generation of data and findings that can inform policy and highlight best practice to address the support mechanisms needed to develop current and aspiring women leaders within HEIs.

The findings will represent the views and experiences of current and aspiring women leaders in a range of disciplinary and institutional contexts: STEM and non-STEM disciplines; academic and administrative posts; pre- and post-1992 universities, and the diverse and varied populations of women working in HEIs, reflecting the protected characteristic groups. These will be gained through a survey methodology targeting relevant social media groups and participants in women-only leadership programmes.

Online Survey

Current support mechanisms will be investigated from two perspectives:

  • The perceptions of both current and aspiring women leaders' views of the support mechanisms available to them

If you would like to participate in the project and share your views and experiences please click on the link below for the online survey. All responses will remain anonymous.

Take the Survey

We would appreciate your completed responses by Tuesday 10 July

  • Institutional perspectives of support mechanisms available

This survey will collect standard data, such as numbers of women in leadership roles and types of roles held, as well as more targeted information on support mechanisms, resources available, impact measures, examples of best practice and any collaborations or networks, for the advancement of current and aspiring women leaders.

If you would like more information about this survey please contact us.

We would appreciate your completed responses by Friday 20 July

For more information, or any queries you would like to discuss please contact:


Project team

Principal Investigator
Professor Lesley Diack

Professor Sarah Pedersen
Susan MacLennan

Research Fellow
Dr Midj Falconer

Steering group members
Dr Morag McFadyen
Dr Emma Gillibrand
Alison Watson
Melissa Ruxton 

Aurora Conference 2018

A successful workshop was held at the Aurora Conference 2018 held in London on 7 June.

The workshop was attended by 20 participants, from a variety of backgrounds in Higher Education including academic and professional support staff in both University leadership roles and at the start of their leadership careers. Following an introduction to the project by Professor Lesley Diack, three tables of discussants led by members of the project team used a 'Talking Wall' approach to explore the value of leadership training for women in HE, how it might be improved, and their own experience of such training. All participants were assured of anonymity of their contributions.

The materials produced in the workshop have been collated, and once analysed, this qualitative data will be used to inform the final report.