Overseeing development for academic staff means you are balancing numerous competing demands…

Defining the L&D strategy that aligns with your University strategy; Listening to the concerns of your Senior Management Team, your early career researchers, your Research Leaders, Heads of School, Heads of Department and Centre Directors; Keeping up to date with the latest policy directives and initiatives; Keeping yourself up to date with new thinking, new ideas and new delivery methods; Balancing your (often threatened) budget; Consulting with staff about what they need; Designing and delivering training and events yourself; Developing your team and making sure the nuts and bolts are happening...the list goes on…

And the chances are you are doing all this with a small team that already feels stretched.

You’ve got brilliant ideas for new programmes and you want to say yes to facilitating bespoke away days and events but the preparation takes so much time you find yourself having to say no. You want to retain your profile and keep control of your strategy rather than have a disjointed development offering.

This is where I can help you.

Hello, I'm Kate Tapper

I am a Programme Designer, Facilitator and Coach. I have always been inspired by academic collaborations and privileged to work with some very gifted people, helping them to overcome the people-related blocks that prevent collaborations from really happening.

Kate Tapper

When we stop to think about it, it is an urgent priority.  Our gifted academics are working on some of our greatest global challenges and equipping our students to face them too. Yet I have seen time and time again how working relationships and difficult dynamics stop this from happening. Research funding wasted because collaborators don’t trust each other enough to share information or coordinate their efforts to make the breakthrough that is almost within reach.  

Having worked as a staff developer in a prestigious research-intensive university, I know how difficult it is to respond to this situation.  I remember my Director telling me that it was the adhoc and bespoke facilitation that I was doing that added the most value to the organisation. Like many developers, I loved this work, but it was impossible to say yes to everything!

Nowadays I specialise in helping academic leaders, aspiring leaders and collaborators to unblock their collaborations so that true breakthroughs are within their reach.

I can help you to deliver on your academic development strategy, so that key developments and the benefits to your university will start happening now. Whatever the goals that you are tasked with supporting; attracting more grant funding, aligning research directions, improving teaching quality, enhancing your students’ experience.  This doesn’t need to be postponed until you have more time.


There are five ways I can help you: 

  1. Expert facilitation of Leadership Development for Research Leaders

  2. Complete design and preparation for leadership programmes that you can deliver in-house yourself

  3. Expert facilitation of away days and bespoke events

  4. Complete design and preparation of away days for you to deliver in-house yourself

  5. Mentoring programmes to support research leaders navigating complex dynamics in their collaborations


1. Expert Leadership Development for Research Leaders

I have been in your shoes and I know that commissioning in-house delivery of leadership development for academics is no easy feat.  Your delegates will have zero tolerance for any facilitator or programme that doesn’t meet their high standards and that doesn’t understand their expertise or the complexities of their work.  The big and obvious players are expensive and you cannot commit your entire budget to one programme.

This is why I developed the Leading Academic Teams programme.  Established with the University of Bristol in 2010 this highly credible and successful programme has supported academic leaders at the Universities of Bristol, Bath, Bath Spa, Reading and Coventry and has had over 400 participants to date.  100% of participants recommend it to a colleague. The programme includes four workshops and four action learning sessions and typically takes place over three months. The exact content is always tailored to meet the needs of your specific group in line with your university’s strategic objectives.  

Workshops typically cover:

  • What leaders do

  • How to meet different challenges with different leadership styles

  • What teams need from you in order to be effective

  • How to respect personality differences that affect communication, decision-making, treatment of information and approaches to planning

  • How to bring people together across boundaries of identity, culture, hierarchy and discipline

  • How to move beyond unhelpful working dynamics to empowered ones

  • How to improve participation and engagement of colleagues and collaborators

  • Ways to handle disagreement

  • Ways to promote innovation and collaboration

  • Ways to maximise influence

  • How to engage diverse groups towards a common goal.


The four action learning sessions provide space for delegates to explore current situations of importance to delegates in their leadership role.  Recent and typical outcomes of action learning include:

  • Progressing research collaboration by transforming key relationships with collaborators that were becoming hostile

  • Aligning own research portfolio with strategic research themes

  • Formulating a strategy to deal with endemic challenging behaviour

  • Identifying tangible actions to create and foster a culture of intellectual enquiry

  • Making conscious and well-considered decisions about strategic priorities

  • Collaborating across boundaries where personality differences had previously presented a barrier to understanding.

  • Renewing focus and energy.


To find out more about about how the programme could work for your organisation, please book a discovery call below.

The Leading Academic Teams programme typically costs between £15000-£20000 for a cohort of 20 research leaders over a period of three months.

Due to the intensive face-to-face delivery of this programme, we can only deliver in-house for a limited number of clients each academic year.  If you have dates in mind, please book a call now so we can hold them for you.


2. Deliver in-house yourself - Complete design for academic leadership programmes

There are times when you want and need to deliver a programme yourself but you just don’t have enough time for all the design and preparation that a new programme involves. Imagine waving a magic wand and the programme that you imagine in your mind suddenly existing as a set of ready-to-go materials. All of it tailored to your specific learning objectives, beautifully formatted and ready to go.

Your wish is my command! Tell me about the programme that you want to create, the strategy it aligns with, the outcomes for participants, the ‘feel’ you want it to have.  I will take that and create your programme for you, complete with all the resources you need to run it and a facilitator’s guide to each and every activity. It’s so comprehensive that you can have different internal facilitators pick it up and run with it.

Book a discovery call to find out more about how this works and what we could create for you.

3. Facilitate away-days that need external input

There are times when you know that an event will be transformed by expert external facilitation.  My gift is creating a space where people are heard, really heard and are enabled to have conversations in a safe, exploratory and solution-focused way – and enjoy it! I understand the fatigue and skepticism that can limit engagement and draw on a wide range of approaches from strategic models and personality typing to outdoor learning and metaphorical drawing.

Design and facilitation of one day events starts from £1380 + VAT

Book a discovery call to find out more about how we could facilitate for you.

4. Deliver in-house yourself - Complete design and preparation of away days and bespoke events

Sometimes it is really important you are the one leading a facilitated session, but the amount of time it takes to design and prepare a bespoke event limits the amount of facilitation you can offer your internal clients or stakeholders.

Imagine how many more face-to-face interventions you could offer if someone else could understand everything you wanted to do and prepare a full programme of activities and resources for you. All of it tailored to meet your defined outcomes, accounting for the personalities and the politics involved, informed by latest thinking, creatively crafted, beautifully formatted and ready to go.

I can make that happen! Tell me about the event that you need to facilitate, the objectives, the personalities and the politics, the potential pitfalls, the strategy it aligns with, the outcomes for participants and the ‘feel’ you want it to have.  I will take that and create a complete event programme for you, together with all the activities you need to run it and a facilitator’s guide to each and every step.

Complete design and preparation of your event starts from £700 + VAT

Book a discovery call to find out more about how this works and what we could create for you.

5. One-to-one mentoring for academic leaders

Academic leaders overseeing key collaborations are central to the success of their university but there is often not enough internal capacity to provide the support that they need on the ground. After years witnessing how the incredible impact of research and teaching collaborations can be held back by difficult dynamics at play within them, I developed a one-to-one mentoring programme that supports leaders to find the focus, clarity, awareness and courage to solve the problems holding them back.  

Working intensively one-to-one, the programme provides weekly mentoring calls and regular email support over three months to get research leaders past the blocks holding back their collaborations and onwards achieving the impact that gifted collaborators can make together.

Book a discovery call to find out how mentoring could benefit your key academic leaders.

Or share this link with an academic leader who could benefit from this programme.