Human Resources


Advance HE's initiative for women and those who identify as a woman, prior to taking their first significant step up to a leadership role.

What is the Aurora initiative?

Aurora is Advance HE's leadership development initiative for women and those who identify as a woman. It is run as a unique partnership bringing together leadership experts and higher education institutions to take positive action to address the under-representation of women in leadership positions in the sector.

While most leadership programmes are aimed at leaders and managers already in role, Aurora is designed to enable a wide range of women, in academic and professional roles in higher education, to engage with leadership development at an earlier stage in their careers.

Who is Aurora for?

Aurora is for those who identify as women, up to senior lecturer level or the professional services equivalent, working in a university, college or related organisation who would like to develop and explore issues relating to leadership roles and responsibilities. Participants should have the endorsement of their line manager and be committed to developing and enhancing their career.

2022/23 Cohort dates and nomination process

The majority of the cohort will be delivered online via zoom, with one in person whole cohort networking event with guest speakers where you will consider Your Future in Higher Education. Delegates will also have the option to host their 2nd and final action learning set (ALS) where or however they prefer.


There are 7 regional cohorts with South of England starting on 4th October and the Scotland cohort beginning on the 20th October. A further 5 regional cohorts then begin each month up to February / March 2023. We therefore expect to have more places than there will be interest for and so do not require a competitive nomination process this year. Anyone interested in attending should simply select the cohort dates which work best for them and ensure they have the  £925 (£975 if register after 30th September) funding available to attend the virtual and in person elements.  

You can register your interest below and we will then send you the booking link to register with AdvanceHE directly once this goes live on the 18th July.


South of England - 

Scotland -

Republic of Ireland & Northern Ireland -

Wales & South West England -

The Midlands -

North of England -

UK & Republic of Ireland -


You can register your interest up to 2 weeks before your preferred cohort dates begin, meaning registration will still be available up to February 2023 for the later cohorts however we do expect Scotland to fill quickly.

Exact timings and locations are still to be confirmed however we expect something similar to the following:

  • Welcome and introduction session – 10am to 1pm
  • Workshops and Action Learning set days – 10am to 3pm
  • In person event day – 10am to 4pm (includes delegate lunch and refreshments)

Participants will be asked to:

  • consider their objectives for attending the initiative and select an appropriate University of Edinburgh mentor to support them on their development journey
  • attend an introductory session
  • attend four development days
  • participate in two action learning set days (the first is on ZOOM and the 2nd can be in person/virtual or hybrid if the group wish)
  • undertake self-directed learning, aligned with developing interests
  • be prepared to access leadership opportunities and champion for change.


Please see here for a more detailed overview:


Supporting managers will be asked to:

  • have development conversations to ensure Aurora is the correct development option and help delegate set development objectives
  • ensure that delegates on Aurora are supported to attend all of the required events. This may mean helping to reallocate workload to ensure availability for development days and self-directed learning
  • authorise/arrange payment of the fee either through local business area or individual Purchase Order
  • support staff member to select an appropriate mentor, if required
  • support the development of the delegate past the Aurora initiative

Aurora Mentoring

If you are interested in mentoring an Aurora delegate this year, you may find the following resources useful:


Further information

Further information regarding how the Aurora initiative works, case studies and testimonials are available from the AdvanceHE web pages:

Aurora Further Information