Blue sky. Photo by Anna Xambó.

Getting to Know Each Other

This 2021/22 academic year I have been selected to be part of The Vice-Chancellor’s Future Research Leaders (FRL8) Programme at De Montfort University. The goal of this programme is to help raise the strategic research competence of a specially selected cohort within the university to become leading researchers in the university. As part of the FRL Programme, each cohort member has been awarded up to £1,000 development fund. I feel privileged and honoured as well as proud to represent music technology in this initiative.

The programme is led by Professor Mike Baynham from the University of Leeds and is scheduled for a period of ten months. I’ve decided to blog about the whole process as a way to reflect on the experience and to share with others the lessons learned. This blog post is about the first meeting.

The first session, “Getting to know each other”, has been focused on introducing ourselves, discussing successes and failures in our research, and starting to think about ideas for using the £1,000 allocation.

We are a total of 13 early-career researchers with varied backgrounds (e.g. economics, politics, law, fashion design, mechanical engineering, history, biology, music technology, and many more) but when talking about each other we also found that we had commonalities. The discussion about our successes was interesting, especially sharing with others the publications and research grants that we are most proud of.

What I found particularly interesting was to talk about failures and how can we learn from them e.g. not getting a job, not getting a grant, not getting a paper accepted. Mike shared this nice “Fail Better” quote from Irish author Samuel Beckett:

Ever tried. Ever failed. No matter. Try again. Fall again. Fall better.

Finally, we talked about deciding what to do with our research development funding. Mike’s advice is to promote networking activities that can generate future income. This approach confirmed my original plan, which I hope to develop throughout this programme.

The next session is in early December, where we will be talking about writing. Stay tuned!


Many thanks to my research mentor Professor Leigh Landy and to my colleagues at MTI2 for their constant help and support. Also, thank you to Leicester Media School, CEM faculty and DMU for their support and trust.