Aurora Programme logoAurora is a woman-only leadership development programme addressing the under-representation of women in higher-education leadership roles. It brings together leadership experts and higher education institutions to enable participants maximise their own potential. Combining development days with self-directed learning, it gives participants the freedom to pursue areas of need or interest in their own time while in-house mentoring assists them apply their learning within their own institutions.

SBBS enthusiastically supports its female staff members in developing their leadership skills and influence at every level. We are proud to boast several Aurora alumni who serve as important role models for all our community, but particularly our female students and early career researchers. You can read some of their testimonies below to learn about what Aurora meant for them personally and professionally. 

If you are are interested in taking part in Aurora, please let us know. You can learn more about the program and making an application at UCD’s Learning and Development site and the Leadership Foundation’s Aurora site, 

Alternatively, you can contact one of UCD’s Aurora Champions:

Professor Joe Carthy (Principal, College of Science) -

Edel Quinn (People and Organisation Development Specialist) -


SBBS Aurora Alumni

Dr Jennifer Mitchell, Assistant Professor and Associate Dean for Study Abroad in the College of Science

Completing the Aurora Leadership program gave me confidence that anyone can be a leader, regardless of their career trajectory and winding paths to success (however you define it). For UCD, it marked me as someone who was willing to take on a leadership mantle and I was appointed as the Associate Dean for Study Abroad students in the College of Science.‌ I was also the chair of the Women in Science committee in UCD and was appointed to the University's Athena SWAN committee and appointed as a subcommittee chair of the UCD Athena SWAN application.


Dr Tara McMorrow, Associate Professor, Director of the UCD Centre for Toxicology, and Vice-Principal of Research, Innovation, and Impact in the College of Science

I was delighted to be selected for the Aurora training programme after a competitive application process. My Aurora training greatly helped me to develop both my leadership skills and my confidence in exercising them for the benefit of myself and my colleagues. This experience has played a significantly positive role in my career and since completing the programme I have been promoted to a senior leadership position in UCD, Vice Principal of Research for the College of Science.

Aurora gave me the tools to develop my aspirations to become an engaging and motivating leader, which prepared me to grasp this opportunity. It also equipped me with the skillset to identify both potential opportunities and barriers to my progression, allowing me to progress my leadership skills and grow more confident in my ability to become a leader in academia. As a programme alumna, I also continue to benefit from the networks and support processes I forged during the programme.

Overall, this programme inspired me to become a motivational leader who can encourage and support my colleagues. It has made a significant contribution to my professional development, and I would therefore encourage all women to apply for the programme as I strongly believe it is an excellent opportunity to inspire more women to undertake leadership roles in academia.

Finally some great advice from 2017-18 Aurora participants:

‘Accept opportunities that will challenge you’

‘Seek first to understand’

‘Everybody has negative people in the room, just accept them’