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Experienced facilitators of Creativity@home projects. 

Tailored "transferable skills" training and development programmes for CDTs. 


Business acceleration and enterprise development programmes.

What We Do

Our mission is to do our part to advance scientific discovery and the commercialisation of research. We do this by creating and delivering training programmes that equip researchers with essential soft skills, empowering them to reach the highest levels of success, achievement and professional fulfillment.

Who We Work With

We develop and deliver programmes for universities, CDT’s, research centres, innovation centres, business accelerators and EPSRC Project Leads.  Programme participants often include PhD students, early career researchers, academics and professional staff in universities and industry. 

Our Approach

We design & deliver business and soft skills training programmes for researchers. We identify best in class tools and methods and tailor them to meet the unique needs of researchers and academics. We then incorporate sector-specific elements, resulting in programmes perfectly suited for the research community. 


Bespoke Learning & Development Programmes for Scientists, Researchers and Tech Startups

Centres for Doctoral Training and Research Centres

Skillfluence works with CDT programme leads to build researcher development programmes that enhance the student experience by giving them leadership and transferable skills that align with Vitae’s Researcher Development Framework. We design and deliver programmes which include training and peer to peer learning, customised specifically for the CDT and area of research. Learn more about our work with CDTs.

Creativity@Home and Workshop Facilitation

Creativity@home is an EPSRC funded initiative designed to help scientists and researchers infuse more creativity into their research. It’s a bespoke multi-day facilitated process that leverages the academic group as the key resource. Facilitators work with the group throughout the initiative, focusing on the process, so the group can think freely about the challenge. The specific objectives are determined by the group. Read more…

Enterprise Development & Business Acceleration

Skillfluence develops and runs programmes designed specifically to help university spinouts and early stage technology startups learn and apply skills, tools and methods to accelerate commercialisation and business growth.  Past programmes have included everything from one day workshops to week-long industry innovation camps for as many 30 companies.  Learn more about our Enterprise Development programmes. 


Skillfluence has delivered a wide range of programmes for leading universities, research centres, industry associations and economic development agencies. Below is a sample of some of our recent projects.

Working with Industry – Blended Programme

The Working with Industry Blended Programme was developed in partnership with Kings College London to address 2 specific challenges. 1.)...
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The 4-Day MBA

  Skillfluence has been working in partnership with SynbiCITE since 2015 to help run the “4-Day MBA” programme.  The aim of...
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Presenting your Science

This workshop for PhD students delivered through SULSA offered participants the opportunity to learn how to speak clearly and confidently about...
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PhD Cohort Programme

Skillfluence delivers a programme of eight workshops that are offered to each cohort of students over the course of their...
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On-line Academy – AGRIFORVALOR

  AGRIFORVALOR is an ongoing project funded through the Horizion 2020 Research & Innovation Programme with the stated purpose “to...
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Making it Concrete – Investing Women Angels

  Investing Women Angels is a network of angel investors who are passionate about entrepreneurs.  They support entrepreneurship with investment,...
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Innovation & Industry Engagement Academy

This was an Innovative, first of its kind programme run in partnership with Scottish Aquaculture Innovation Centre (SAIC). The programme...
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Graduate Leadership Programme

Working with the Scottish Aquaculture Innovation Centre, Skillfluence designed an 18 month Graduate Leadership Programme.  The programme consists of a...
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Creativity@home – Edinburgh Centre for Robotics

Working closely with Edinburgh Centre for Robotics we designed and ran a 2 day EPSRC creativity@home workshop for their PhD...
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Business Bootcamp – Train the Trainer

Working with Edinburgh Research & Innovation as part of Projecte EMISHA, funded by ERASMUS+, Skillfluence designed and delivered a comprehensive...
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Business Boost for Social Sciences

Business Boost for Social Sciences This course helps researchers in the Social Sciences identify opportunities for industry engagement and develop...
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BioRenewables Innovation BioCamp

We designed and deliver two, 1-week programmes for the BioRenewables Development Centre in York. This is a European project from...
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We have a unique capability to combine multiple competencies to build a single cohesive programme - whether it's a 1-day workshop or a 12-month "curriculum". This approach amplifies the cohort effect and simplifies administration by working with a single supplier.

Collaboration & Multi-Disciplinary Working

Researchers learn how to apply tools and techniques that support and promote effective collaboration, including group decision making and consensus building.  

Entrepreneurship & Commercialisation

Participants explore and gain a deeper understanding of 4 common pathways to commercialising technology, as well as a guide for navigating the startup ecosystem. 

Responsible Research & Innovation

Researchers learn to anticipate and assess potential impacts and societal expectations of their work.  They learn the importance of an inclusive and sustainable approach to research. 

Working with Industry

Researchers learn to understand industry drivers and how to speak the “language of business”. Participants learn to explain their research in a way that is relevant and compelling to industry. 

Presentation Skills

Learn how to create and deliver impactful presentations. This includes presentation design, dealing with difficult questions and how to present complex data. 

Career Planning

Define your long term career aspirations and map out a plan for achieving your goals.  Then learn practical ways to strengthen your CV and improve your interview skills.

Social Media Skills

Researchers learn how to navigate the world of social media, discovering how to use social media as a career development tool and as a powerful research tool.  

Leadership Skills

Practical approach to leadership that teaches researchers how to build cohesive teams, get the best out of people, lead under pressure and how to pro-actively develop personal leadership skills.

Science Communication

Learn how to effectively communicate your research to a range of different audiences, as well as exploring specific strategies for increasing public engagement. 

Project Management

Learn proven and effective project management techniques and methodologies specifically tailored to the lab environment as well as planning and managing PhD theses.    

Innovation Tools

Participants learn the key stages of the innovation process and specific tools and methods that when applied, can significantly increase innovation success rates. 


Providing PhD students with practical strategies, tactics and tools to strengthen mental and emotional resilience enabling them to effectively cope with the stresses of academic life.

The Team

A Diverse & Talented Team of Trainers, Coaches, Content Developers and Entrepreneurs

Alison Gray

Alison is the founder & Director of Skillfluence. She has a worked for over 15 years in the skills arena for Skills Development Scotland, Scottish Enterprise and Careers Scotland. Alison studied cutting edge Training Design at UC Berkeley, Collaborative Leadership at the American Management Association and Lean Startup methodology at Stanford University. She is passionate about science & technology and specialises in tailoring innovative training programmes for science professionals.

Zach Sorrells

Zach has been working in the field of innovation and entrepreneurship for over 15 years.  He’s an experienced trainer, facilitator, coach and entrepreneur and believes in a disciplined, structured and systems-based approach to innovation and business growth.  He has applied, or taught, this approach in a variety of roles with individuals, companies and organizations ranging from multi-nationals, SMEs, economic development agencies, universities, SMEs, angel investors, startups and high school students.

Joanne Hagerty

Joanne is a creative and entrepreneurial consultant and trainer who loves using systematic innovation tools and techniques to bring ideas to life. She has first hand experience building and growing enterprises across a range of sectors. Joanne enjoys working on porjects where technologies emerge and sectors converge. Joanne has extensive experience, delivering workshops to over 800 enterprises helping them grow their enterprises through practical and pragmatic use of innovation.

Jamie Gallagher

In his role as the public engagement lead for the University of Glasgow, Jamie has worked improving the reach, profile and impact of research in a range of academic disciplines. As an award winning speaker and trainer, he speaks to thousands of people each year and has been published in 19 different countries. He has a PhD in Chemistry and Electrical Engineering and was named one of the “100 leading practising scientists in the UK”.

Jessica Fox

Jessica Fox is a film director, author and nerd-whisperer. She has over 15 years of directing experience with credits that span film, theatre and TV. Her memoir, “Three Things You Need To Know About Rockets” was Waterstone’s book of the month and named ‘romantic memoir of the year’ by the DailyMail.  She was a storyteller for NASA and between productions enjoys working with scientists exploring the relationship between storytelling, creativity and communication.

Dr Ian Archer

Dr Ian Archer joined  the Industrial Biotechnology Innovation Centre as Technical Director in 2015 where he is responsible for directing the technical strategy of the Centre. Ian worked at Ingenza from 2004 after spending 6 years as a Work Group Leader in Process Technology with Zeneca (latterly Avecia) in Grangemouth, Scotland. He received his degree and PhD in chemistry from Imperial College, London. Ian is an Honorary Lecturer in the School of Chemistry at the...
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Dr Simon Bennett

Dr Simon Bennett is an experienced trainer, consultant and registered Growth Coach with over twenty years experience ranging from startup to IPO / trade sales. Previous roles have covered all aspects of business and corporate development. He mentors and advises early-stage businesses and works for several companies advising on strategy, supporting business development, licensing and scouting activities. He has a strong track record in building and growing companies as a founder member of the team.

Heather Livingston

Heather is an experienced trainer, facilitator and coach. She specialises in helping individuals and groups work positively towards effective career transition, change and development.  Heather is a fully qualified Careers Adviser and member of the CDI (Career Development Institute) with 20 years career management experience across all sectors. She is skilled in developing and delivering workshops to help people successfully develop and progress in their careers with confidence and purpose.

Dr Jen Allanson

Jen is a successful academic with an international profile. In 1999 she became the first full-time female lecturer in Computer Science at Lancaster University. She became a senior lecturer in The School of Computing & Mathematical Sciences at LJMU and held an honorary lectureship in The School of Psychology while researching human-computer interaction. Since 2005, Jen has been a professional trainer & facilitator, delivering nearly 300 workshops & training events in the UK, Europe and Japan.

Kev Walls

Kevin is an action oriented consultant and trainer who loves working to accelerate growth in early stage start-ups. In his previous role at Entrepreneurial Spark in just 2 years he supported over 100 entrepreneurs in accelerating their businesses. Collectively they have generated over £7m in sales, raised £1,5m in funding and created 26 new jobs. He works closely with entrepreneurs delivering workshops in areas including business model canvas, knowing your customers and pitching.

Heather Asiala

Heather is a marketing and programme management professional with experience in supporting emerging entrepreneurs in the higher education sector. Heather is SEN Programme Manager for Strathclyde Entrepreneurial Network (SEN), University of Strathclyde, which helps Strathclyde students and graduates with business creation and growth. She has a background in non-profit administration and communications and is experienced in working in higher education institutions both in the US and the UK.

Leigh Biagi

Leigh is a communication skills trainer and coach with over 25 years’ experience. She trained and worked as an actor and uses elements of her acting training to help people develop soft skills. She specialises in presentation and public speaking skills and is experienced in delivering a range of communication skills training, including; managing meetings, difficult conversations and influencing and negotiation. Leigh is passionate about showing how small changes can amplify an individual’s personal impact.

EPSRC's Creativity@home

Find out more about our bespoke creativty@home workshops and facilitated ideas labs

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Clients & Partners