Herschel Logo

More than 500 technicians from over 70 UK institutions have completed the Herschel Programme for Women in Technical Leadership since it launched in 2021.

It is designed for technicians who identify as women to help address the lack of women in technical management and leadership roles.

Programme overview

The Herschel Programme for Women in Technical Leadership is a national programme designed to elevate and advance opportunities for women, who are current or aspiring leaders in technical roles.


This programme is free* for UK technicians from any discipline, working in universities and research institutes. The programme is funded by Research England. *(See below for reference to celebration event)

Delivery method

• Online
• In-person celebration event


Places for technicians

There are 200 places for technicians who meet the criteria in the 2024 cohort.

Who is the programme aimed at?

Current and aspiring technical leaders who identify as women. Technicians from all disciplines are encouraged to apply from arts, creative industries and textiles, engineering and science roles.



The programme runs for 6 months from January 2024 – July 2024.

Eligibility and selection criteria

• Technicians who identify as women
• Working in higher education or research institutes
• Line manager approval to attend, in writing
• Strength of application

Time commitment 

Approx 6 days or 40 hours over 6 months.

 “It helped me find the confidence to apply for a secondment within a higher technical role, which I was successful in.”

Only 32% of technical leadership roles are held by women

This career development opportunity addresses the lack of women in technical leadership positions in academia and research.

Caroline Herschel


The programme is named after Caroline Herschel, a pioneer in astronomy. Responsible for the discovery of comets and nebulae, she also assisted her brother William in making calculations from his observations. Caroline was an early ‘technician’ at the turn of the 19th century who paved the way for the women of the future to contribute to and play key roles in scientific endeavours by forging her legacy in a male-dominated field.

Read more about Caroline Herschel here

Caroline Herschel
Course content

Technicians who take part in the programme will expand their network and develop leadership skills with like-minded colleagues.

The structured six-month programme includes modules on:

• You as a leader
• Context and culture
• Influencing and negotiating
• Confidence and empowerment

Time commitment for participants

The Herschel Programme is a structured programme consisting of:

• Launch event. 1 x 4 hour session. Online. 31 January 2024.
• Module workshops. 4 x 3 hour workshops. Online. Between February – May inclusive.
• Action learning set group meetings. Online. Typically 1 x 3 hour meeting, once a month. January – July inclusive.
• Celebration Event. All day in-person event. 18 July 2024. *Travel and subsistence costs to be covered by your institution.

By submitting an application, you are agreeing to participate in all these elements to realise the full potential of the programme.

Herschel Programme for Women in Technical Leadership FAQs
Is the programme delivered online or in-person?

Most of the programme is delivered online, including the launch event, your action learning set group meetings and your modules. The only in-person element is the celebration event in July 2024. Travel and subsistence costs to be covered by your institution.

What dates will the online workshops be held?

The module workshops in February – May will take place online and they are 3 hours in duration. Dates for these are in the process of being confirmed and we will publish them as soon as possible.

Is the in-person celebration event mandatory?

Yes, participants will need to attend this event. There will be an opportunity to network and hear from keynote speakers, which will be of benefit to delegates on the programme. It will also be an opportunity for you to meet your action learning set group members and all other delegates face to face for the first time.

Are expenses covered for the in-person celebration event?

No, your institution will need to cover any expenses incurred by your attendance at this event. Please ensure you have agreement for this before applying to the programme.

When will applications for the 2025 programme open?

Applications for the 2025 Herschel Programme for Women in Technical Leadership are expected to open in Septemeber 2024. 

The annual Herschel programme was previously delivered through the Research England funded TALENT Programme.