top of page

Here are the key contacts for each institution, if you have questions or problems:


Mike Rose

Researcher Development Training Officer

University of Surrey

(also for participants from Techne, SeNSS or AREF institutions)

University of Otago (NZ)


Kim Brown

Professional Practice Fellow


Sarah Stein

Director of Distance Learning

University of Otago (NZ)


Kwong Nui Sim

Learning and Teaching Consultant

Auckland University of Technology (NZ)


Christian Gilliam

Researcher Developer

University of Cambridge (UK)


Swapna Kumar

Clinical Associate Professor, Educational Technology Coordinator

University of Florida (USA)


Maria Northcote

Director Higher Degree Research

Avondale University College (AUS)



James Edward Armstrong completed his PhD in Music at the University of Surrey in 2019. His research combined environmental psychology and music performance to explore and better understand how and why musicians make different decisions based on their surroundings. James is currently a lecturer in Music Composition and Technology as well as year 2 leader at the University for the Creative Arts in Farnham. Outside of academia, James runs the record label Rusted Tone Recordings, and is a regular performer within the experimental music scene.


Beau Bell is Surrey’s Communication and Experience Manager for doctoral and early career researchers, and a real stickler for good visual design. They support training on LBGT+ awareness, run the Doctoral college blog, and are able to provide Star Wars memes for all occasions.


Kim Brown is a wearer of many hats – figuratively and literally. She works as a professional practice fellow at the University of Otago Graduate Research School, which means she develops, facilitates, and delivers researcher development for PhD and Master’s students. Much of Kim’s work involves partnership with other service providers at the University, many of whom you’ll find among the contributors here. Kim also lectures in Education Studies at the University of Otago College of Education, with particular interests in the social, cultural, and political context of education, and in how people learn.  When not pounding the pavements to get from one side of campus to the other, Kim tries to maintain an organic vege garden (an ongoing battle with less edible organics) and likes to relax doing yoga. She also wears a lot of hats – the weather in Dunedin can come straight up from Antarctica!


Russell Butson is a senior lecturer in higher education/educational technology. His research is focused on the learning that takes place within the university setting. He is currently leading a research program that incorporates innovative topics and methods to explore, understand and change our conceptions and approaches to academic learning. He is a pioneer in the use of digital devices and sensors to capture naturally occurring behavioural data (Reality Mining). His current research is focused on the role of Information Communication Technologies (ICT) in the academic development of faculty and students.


Richard A Carter is a Lecturer in Digital Media at the University of Roehampton. Carter is interested in examining questions and issues of agency, whether framed as human, nonhuman, or more-than-human, as they manifest within digital art and literature - considering how these generate insights into what it means to perceive, to articulate, and to act within the world. Carter’s research is embedded within his artistic practice, developing art works that meditate on the potentialities of sensing, knowing, and writing at the intersection between human and machinic actors.


Andy Corrigan is the Digital Library Co-ordinator at Cambridge University Library and an associate of Cambridge Digital Humanities. He has a background in photography and design, a BA in Archaeological Practice and six years’ experience working in commercial archaeology. Andy has been working in higher education at Cambridge University Library since 2011, where he has also worked on the Darwin Correspondence Project. He has experience in public and academic engagement with digital content, analysis of its use, and its use in teaching and research, digital asset management and the workflow of digital content to both digital and print publication. Andy has a particular interest in the matrix of technology/resources, research and pedagogy, and filling the gaps between them.


Dawn Duke is Head of Programmes for African Research Excellence Fund (AREF). She oversees AREF’s professional development programmes for postdoctoral researchers in Africa, supporting researchers’ transition to independence. Previously, she was Head of Researcher Development and Engagement at the University of Surrey, supporting doctoral and early career researchers throughout their career journeys and providing supervisor training.  Dawn is also an author and editor for the Sage Success in Research book series, an HR Excellence in Research Peer Reviewer and a member of the UK Council for Graduate Education Executive Committee. 


‘Kia ora, my name is Nikki Fahey, I am the Graduate Wellbeing Coach at the University of Otago’s Graduate Research School. I am Registered Occupational Therapist; my main practice area has been mental health in roles across New Zealand and Ireland. My role focusses on the interplay between wellbeing and performance, coaching students to be productive, maintain a good work/life balance and successfully complete their degree.


Yvonne Gaut has worked at the University of Otago’s Career Development Centre as a career adviser since 2001. She has a Bachelor of Education (Teaching) as well as a Master of Career Development. She is passionate about the work she does to support the careers of the people she works with. Yvonne takes a futurist view of the system that interrelates with individuals and helps look for clarity in the complexity of life.


Christian Gilliam is Researcher Developer for the Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences at the University of Cambridge. He supports the development of doctoral students through both Researcher Development and the Schools of Arts and Humanities (SAH) and Humanities and Social Sciences (SHSS). Christian has a particular interest in developing the skills and pedagogy necessary for enhancing interdisciplinary research, and likewise for the concept of the 'public intellectual'.  He holds a PhD in Political Philosophy from Royal Holloway, where he worked as a visiting lecturer in Modern French Philosophy, with an undergraduate background in Politics. He primarily researches in the areas of political philosophy and higher education studies; otherwise he is engaged in playing the drums, studying the movement of cows, or dreaming of owning a bookshop on a small Greek island.


Elaine Hickmott runs her own career development business; the mission to help nurture our Knowledge Engine through lifelong learning and professional development. Her adventure began with a PhD in chemistry followed by experience working as an industrial chemist and in various corporate business leadership roles. Elaine says she’s happily gone from boiler-suit to boardroom and beyond.


Sam Hopkins started out looking at Amphibian ecology in Sub-Saharan Africa, moved onto circadian rhythms in people and after a short spell at the zoo segued into supporting PhD students and research staff. She did this for eight years during which time she was lucky enough to manage the mentoring programmes and initiate projects such as the 23 things for research and AcWriMo. Sam has an unhealthy obsession with coffee and biscuits which has fuelled all of her work so far and will continue to do so.


Swapna Kumar is a UFL Clinical Associate Professor and has led the design and implementation of the online EdD in Educational Technology since 2010. She studies various aspects of online education, with the aim of identifying what constitutes excellence in online education in general, and online doctoral education in particular. Her current research centers around online pedagogy, online dissertation supervision/mentoring, and online program quality, with an emphasis on connections between theory, research, and practice.


Clinical Associate Professor Bojan Lazarevic’s educational background is in instructional technology with emphasis on online learning, media development and emerging technologies. His dissertation was focused on the instructional design and the role of video technology in developing a Community of Inquiry in online learning. The scope of Dr. Lazarevic’s research interest at UFL encompasses the intersection of emerging technologies, virtual reality (VR), augmented reality (AR), 3D modeling/printing, interactive multimedia development, cognition and learning, Web2.0 technologies, and online teaching methods.


Rana Marrington joined Surrey University in March 2019. She is a professionally qualified careers professional with extensive experience working out in the labour market and education with a broad range of adult clients, including professionals and managers from sectors ranging from engineering and IT to education and the arts, providing careers counselling and coaching and outplacement support. In between careers contracts she has worked at the Royal Society of Medicine and the Brewing Research Institute and taught English as a Foreign Language. Her first degree is in English Language and Literature from Exeter.


Alice Motes is the Research Data and Preservation Manager at University of Surrey, where she provides advice and training on all things research data management and open data. Before entering the wild world of academic libraries, she did a PhD in sociology at University of California, Irvine looking at regional newspaper coverage of the marriage equality movement in the US. Alice enjoys trying lots of new craft beers, but never remembers which ones she liked.


Maria Northcote is the Director of Higher Research Degrees at Avondale University College in NSW, Australia. Much of her current role involves supporting her fellow colleagues in their supervision of postgraduate candidates, and coordinating support to Avondale’s higher degree research (HDR) candidates. Maria loves to learn new skills and she especially gets a kick out of seeing others learn, including her colleagues and students. Her research interests include researcher education, higher education assessment and online learning. This is Maria’s first year in the 23 Things International program and she’s enjoying the experience.


Alex Pavey is a training officer for the Researcher Development Programme at the University of Surrey, which provides support and training for postgraduate research students and research staff across the University. He is particularly interested in supporting interdisciplinary research, ECRs, and part-time researchers. Prior to this he was a Research Assistant in the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences at the University of Portsmouth, working on the Supernatural Cities project, and taught several units on the History undergraduate programme. His PhD, undertaken part-time in the Department of English at UCL and awarded in 2018, focused on policing, race and mobility in the history and culture of Los Angeles.


Mike Rose is a Researcher Development Training Officer in the Doctoral College of the University of Surrey. He leads on online learning, public engagement and external collaborations, with an arts, humanities, and social sciences focus. Alongside research into academic writing and publishing, Mike’s background is in philosophy and literature, with a PhD from the University of Exeter in Wittgenstein, Poetry and the Inexpressible. His current projects include co-editing Anglo-Dutch Connections in the Early Modern World (Routledge, 2021), running Spindlebox poetry press, and organising a series of seminars for the Techne Conflux ‘Philosophy and Critical Methods’ and the Surrey Arts and Humanities Research Group. He is very slowly learning Dutch and at this very moment fantasising about living by the sea.


Daisy Shearer is a PhD candidate in experimental physics at the University of Surrey’s Advanced Technology Institute. Her PhD focuses on semiconductor spintronics for quantum technology applications. Alongside her academic research, she frequently engages in science communication, writing for Physics World, Massive Science and her blog 'Notes from the Physics Lab'. She is passionate about equality, diversity and inclusion in STEM with a focus on disability and neurodiversity. Daisy makes online content on a variety of physics and inclusion topics as well as regularly talking about her experiences as a physics researcher.


Kwong Nui Sim is the senior lecturer/learning and teaching consultant at AUT Learning Transformation Lab, Auckland University of Technology. Her primary role is to contribute to the development and implementation of the university’s plans for digitally enabled teaching and learning. Her leadership in teaching and learning scholarship focuses on academics’ and students’ Information Communication and Technologies beliefs/practices in teaching and learning with a central focus on doctoral education.

Kwong Nui began her academic journey as a qualified teacher and tutor in both primary and secondary schools in Malaysia, which provided her a solid education background in understanding conceptions of teaching and learning. Apart from her teaching and research work in the areas of educational technology as well as academic development, she is available to supervise postgraduates in higher education who wish to undertake research into any aspect of academic life/teaching and learning within professional and university settings, particularly where there is a focus on the use of digital technologies.


Shiobhan Smith is the Manager of the Research Support Unit at the University of Otago Library and has over 10 years’ experience working in Libraries and Museums.  Recently she developed a Research Librarian Capability Framework ( and is in the very early stages of beginning her PhD through the School of information Management at Victoria, University of Wellington.  Her professional areas of expertise include bibliometrics, research data management, and supporting scholarly communication.


Rachel Spronken-Smith is a Professor in Higher Education and Geography. She trained as a geographer and moved into higher education about 15 years ago. Rachel is currently Dean of the Graduate Research School at the University of Otago. She continues to supervise and has research interests in inquiry-based learning, doctoral education and doctoral outcomes.


Sarah Stein is the Director, Distance Learning at the University of Otago. In this mainly strategic role, Sarah works in collaboration with the Deputy Vice Chancellor (Academic), Pro-Vice Chancellors, Heads of Departments, programme coordinators, teachers, administrators and others to facilitate change and development in distance education. Sarah grew up and was educated in Brisbane, Australia. Her past work experience includes primary school teaching, curriculum advising in primary and secondary schools and academic staff development at the University of Queensland and the University of New England in Armidale, Australia. In her role at Otago Sarah undertakes research projects and supervises postgraduate students. Her research is in teaching, learning, curriculum and evaluation in higher education settings, with a specific focus on educational technologies, distance education, technology and science education, student evaluations and, of course, teacher professional development.


Simon Usherwood is Professor of Politics at the University of Surrey. When he’s not blogging, he works on the changing UK-EU relationship and EU politics more generally: between 2017 and 2019 he was Deputy Director of the ESRC’s UK in a Changing Europe programme. He is also active in matters of learning & teaching, being a National Teaching Fellow and co-editor of the Active Learning in Political Science blog.


By day Richard White is the Manager for Copyright & Open Access at the University of Otago. He has been an open access advocate since he fell into the copyright space by accident about 12 years ago. Current research interests focus on citation advantage for open access publications and New Zealand academics’ attitudes to open educational resources. By night he is a member of alt-rock-indie-loop-band The Fabulists ( ).


Clare Wunderly is the Doctoral College Employability and Engagement Manager at the University of Surrey.  She leads the researcher development and employability team in engaging and supporting PGRs and ECRs in professional skills training and employability focused development opportunities, as well their transitions into employment. Clare, is a qualified Careers Consultant, and has substantial experience of working in the public and private sector within the employability, enterprise and research agendas.  She also has a proven track record of programme and project management.

She sits on the Vitae Researcher Careers Working Group and is a member of the Association of Graduate Careers Advisory Services (AGCAS) and the Institute of Student Employers (ISE).

bottom of page