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Institute of Continuing Education (ICE)


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Welcome to the Postgraduate Certificate in Research and Innovation Leadership. This University of Cambridge award is offered by the Institute of Continuing Education (ICE) and was designed in collaboration with the Researcher Development Team and the University's Postdoc Academy. 

This programme is targeted at postdoctoral researchers and fellows from all disciplines with the aspiration and potential to achieve leadership positions in a variety of fields including: academic, commercial, public and not-for-profit organisations or self-started businesses and social enterprises. It supports participants to develop their research identity and the capability to lead independent research projects.

This course is also available as an Apprenticeship.

Main image: Image by Free-Photos from Pixabay 


Teaching & Assessment

Course content

The course is made up of four modules and leads to the award of a named Postgraduate Certificate, a nationally recognised qualification which is equivalent to 60 credits at FHEQ level 7. Modules 1 and 3 are weighted at 20 credits each. Modules 2 and 4 are weighted at 10 credits each. Module 2 is delivered online with mentoring support and may span delivery of other modules.

Module 1: Building a research vision & identifying core values (20 credits)

Participants analyse the political economy of higher education in the 21st century. They identify their own place in this framework by examining key policies and initiatives that are impacting universities, affecting what research is carried out, how, and by whom. Issues are presented in the context of shifting ethical, social, and political expectations. Crucially, participants explore the values and knowledge – personal, collective, institutional – at play in this complex ecosystem. They create a roadmap for the research they would like to pursue, how to secure funding and approval, and the kind of research networks and teams that will be needed to carry it out.

Module 2: Using entrepreneurial skills as a research leader (10 credits)

This module explores the shared behaviours of successful innovators in research and other contexts. It uses lessons from entrepreneurial thinking to develop insight into the mindset, knowledge and skills researchers need to identify and act on opportunities, whether to develop research independence in an academic career, pursue a commercial opportunity, achieve a successful policy intervention or other means of producing research that has an impact on the wider world. Participants gain knowledge of research enterprise and innovation ecosystems and develop skills relevant to creating value from their research through engagement and collaboration with industrial and academic collaborators, consultancy and work across other sectors.

Module 3: Managing research projects & leading successful teams (20 credits)

This module enables participants to examine the practical and interpersonal aspects of successfully initiating a research project and seeing it through to completion. Participants explore the ethical and legal requirements of funding, data management, recruitment, HR, inclusive leadership, and open research. Participants are introduced to leadership models from the recent academic literature, and theories of team dynamics and the factors which allow some teams to thrive when others fail.

Module 4: Leading engagement and impact in academia and beyond (10 credits)

Participants explore the ‘social contract’ discussed in Module 1 – that is, the duty to share insights and findings with wider society. Participants learn methodologies for developing research ideas in dialogue with research users and stakeholders, maximising the social impact of their research through public and media engagement.


All units on the course use discipline-relevant summative assessment approaches. These may include, but are not limited to: critical analysis of case-studies, assessment of evidence-based portfolios, discipline-specific report and application preparation, assessment of presentations and projects, short answer questions, essays, data handling and analysis, and research evaluation.

The scheme of examination for the Postgraduate Certificate in Research and Innovation Leadership (Apprenticeship) requires

  1. Submission of work of 9,000–15,000 words or the equivalent

Students receive continual formative feedback throughout the course using a variety of strategies and techniques including regular reflection.


Unless otherwise stated, teaching and assessment for ICE courses are in English. If your first language is not English, please refer to our Information for Applicants pages for further guidance.

Course dates

01 Oct 2022 to 30 Sep 2023

Course duration

1 Year

Apply by

31 May 2022

Course fee

Home: £6,000
Overseas: £9,501

Academic Directors, Course Directors and Tutors are subject to change, when necessary.


Various locations
United Kingdom

Qualifications / Credits

60 credits at Master of Studies

Course code