Having begun academic life as an occupational therapist, Dr. Eneida Mioshi occupies a special niche within the department of Psychiatry. Following a successful move into research in 2004, she is now emerging as a world-class scientist investigating cognitive and behavioural symptoms in dementias, as well as the functional disabilities they cause. Already during her career, Dr. Mioshi’s achievements have had notable impact, including her work on the Addenbrooke’s Cognitive Examination Revised (ACE-R), a veritable tour de force with several hundred citations, and she has recently held a prestigious, four-year early career fellowship with the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) in Australia.
Following her return to Cambridge to establish a programme in applied dementia research, Dr Mioshi also gained a coveted place on the University’s Emerging Research Leaders’ Development Programme (ERLDP). Designed for postdoctoral researchers aspiring to achieve independence in order to lead their own group, demand for places on this course is high, with more than 130 applications for only a few spaces.
Before the start of each course, participants are asked to identify where their strengths and weaknesses as a researcher lie, and what they hoped to be able to do as a research leader. Having already gained experience working with other researchers across a range of disciplines and seniorities, Dr. Mioshi came to the course prepared with skills in listening and supporting others she was working with, persevering with grant applications and establishing international collaborations. Of what she wanted to be able to do as a research leader, Dr. Mioshi said: “I want to be able to develop my own research programme independently, while securing a permanent position in the next few years. This would facilitate the support I can provide to my staff and students, and I could continue to work collaboratively in both the national and international arena. I would also like to continue producing work that is appreciated and meaningful not only on the scientific and healthcare levels, but also families of people with dementia.”
Divided into several components, the course offered skills training in the areas of leadership, self-management, self-assessment tools, and grant writing. Some participants were also selected to be mentored by a senior manager from outside of academia. Dr. Mioshi was one of four selected for this exciting opportunity and was assigned a mentor from the financial sector, who has continued to support and advise her following the course. Finally, the course also offered each participant three coaching sessions, which were completely tailored to the needs of the individual. For Dr. Mioshi, these sessions were the highlight of the course. She said: “I believe that having both a coach and mentor is a key to success and continuous self-analysis. The coaching sessions enabled me to evaluate and analyse difficulties in a non-judgemental and protective setting. The coach is trained to support and guide but they will not offer answers. It was fantastic to have someone help me find my own solutions and new approaches to deal with difficult situations.”
For Dr. Mioshi, the ERLDP course has been a great success in helping her on the road to becoming the type of research leader she would like to be. When asked how the course had helped, Dr. Mioshi replied: “It has increased my confidence in the skills that I already had, and it has also provided me with new tools to evaluate my career steps and choices.” Having also obtained excellent advice on funding applications, Dr. Mioshi has kept herself busy with these since completing the ERLDP course. We wish her the best of luck with all of them, and hope to hear more about her development as an emerging research leader in coming years.
Cover image credit: Jerwood Library by Andrew Dunn, Flickr.