The Researcher Development Programme team

Our programme is unique in that all our trainers have PhDs and research experience in a broad variety of fields. The team thus has first-hand experience of the challenges and opportunities postgraduate students face, matched by expertise in researcher skills development.

Dr Dawn Duke

Head of the Researcher Development Programme

Dawn received her PhD from Imperial College in the field of Neuroscience.  In 2008, she moved from researching and teaching neuroscience to concentrate fully on researcher development.  She has worked to embed and normalise skills training in order to better prepare researchers for the variety of opportunities available to them.

Through her work at Surrey and a partial secondment as Director of Graduate Training for the Southeast Physics Network (SEPnet), she has focused on bringing researchers together with employers from a range of sectors, integrating this wider range of expertise into training, creating spaces for discussion and experience sharing.

Dawn believes that the world would be a better place if the amazing research that is done within our Universities had an even greater impact on policy, society and the economy and is dedicated to enabling the next generation of researchers to take on this challenge.


Dr Christian Gilliam

Researcher Development Training Officer

Christian joined the Researcher Development Programme (RDP) at the University of Surrey in September 2016. He has a particular interest in doctoral training within the arts, humanities, and the social sciences. Indeed, he has he designed and continues to deliver workshops on research paradigms.

Christian has a BA(hons) in Politics from the University of Surrey and a PhD in political philosophy from Royal Holloway (University of London), where, in addition to lecturing at the University of Kent, he worked as a visiting lecturer. Following this, Christian worked for the Open Research team at the University of Surrey, where he gained experience and expertise on Open Access and monograph publishing. He has published several works himself, specifically on modern French and political philosophy.


Dr Sam Hopkins

Researcher Development Training Officer

Sam joined the Researcher Development Programme (RDP) at the University of Surrey in November 2011.  She has developed and designed a range of training and support activities for researchers at PGR and postdoctoral level. Sam now leads the mentoring programmes and the part time and distance provision for the programme.

Sam studied BSc Zoology in the UK and then completed her MSc and PhD in South Africa. Following completion of her doctorate, she held positions as a Tutor and then Lecturer at the University of the Western Cape. She then continued her post-doctoral research career in biological sciences at the University of Surrey and spent time at the Zoological Society of London creating a course for fellows on the EDGE Programme. Sam is now applying these experiences to her role in the RDP team.


Dr Alex Pavey

Researcher Development Training Officer

Alex joined the Researcher Development Programme in November 2018 from the University of Portsmouth, where he was a Research Assistant in the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences and taught on the History undergraduate programme. His PhD, undertaken part-time in the Department of English at UCL, focused on policing, race and mobility in the history and culture of Los Angeles.

After completing an MA in Philosophy and Literature at the University of Warwick in 2004, Alex worked for ten years in the creative and media industries. This included jobs at Sony PlayStation, the Independent, and the Green Man music festival, where he supported and promoted new science engagement activities as part of a Wellcome-funded project. It was this experience that sparked his enthusiasm for working with researchers across different disciplines. He also has a particular interest in supporting interdisciplinary research, ECRs and part-time researchers.


Dr Michael Rose

Researcher Development Training Officer

Michael joined the RDP team in 2018, having completed his PhD on Wittgenstein, poetry, and the inexpressible at the University of Exeter. This followed MAs in Creative Writing and Continental Philosophy, and a BA in Philosophy, from the University of Warwick. He has variously worked in academic publishing, gifted and talented education, and university administration, with teaching at all levels from secondary school to postgraduate. A monograph, The Creative Wittgenstein, is in the works.

Michael is a member of the Training, Employability and Development group for SeNSS, and devotes a lot of time to collaborative and interdisciplinary support. This includes co-ordinating the Surrey Arts and Humanities Research Group, supporting the Surrey Undergraduate Research Journal, improving digital and online learning, and promoting public engagement for doctoral researchers. Outside Surrey, Michael runs Spindlebox, a small poetry press, teaches a summer school on Tolkien, and is learning Dutch.


Dr Kate Turner

Teaching Fellow in Academic Writing

Kate joined the Researcher Development Programme (RDP) at the University of Surrey in December 2018. She delivers writing workshops and one to one academic writing support for postgraduate and early career researchers.

After completing her MA (Hons) in English literature at the University of Edinburgh, Kate undertook PhD research in Scottish literature and politics at the University of Westminster. Since then Kate has held teaching positions at the University of Westminster, University of Brighton and Queen’s University (Canada). Kate provides doctoral students and early career researchers with training in academic writing that includes; thesis writing, confirmation reports, conference abstracts, journal publications, and funding bids.

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Researcher Development Programme
10 LB 05
University of Surrey