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Café culture in Life Sciences

Enhancing SLS research culture and inspiration from Café Culture approach.

This project, led by Dr Elizabeth Fullam from the School of Life Sciences (SLS), used the Wellcome Trust’s Café Culture approach to explore building and enabling an enhanced SLS research culture. It initiated discussions with all members of our community around:

  • The current research culture challenges faced within SLS

  • What a better research culture would look like

  • Generating solutions for positive change

  • How to drive new initiatives and inform the SLS Research Strategy

Plan of Action

Explore the issues | What are the challenges? | What can we change?

The project explored building the SLS culture and community and developing a research culture strategy. Café Culture workshops and focus groups were held for all SLS members, in which colleagues discussed issues, shared ideas and asked "Can we reimagine how we do things?"

Café Culture workshop series 1: Challenging on Behaviours

Workshop series 1 outcomes: how do we support a positive SLS research culture?


  • The SLS Café Culture initiative was a huge success:

  • All participants (across all roles) welcomed and enjoyed the opportunity to be listened to and have their say

  • The team explored what helps and hinders a positive research culture in SLS

  • The feedback/ideas/solutions has fed in directly to the new SLS Research Culture Strategy

    • This has led to a shared commitment to the creation and sustainability of SLS Research culture and is not a top-down ‘document’

    • It is helping to drive new initiatives within SLS

  • Sharing this approach and findings to the wider university community has already been helpful:

    • Problems/solutions are now more likely to be recognised across the University

    • It was easy to implement Café Culture workshops (and there has already been interest from other departments)

    • It will help inform the wider University Research Culture Strategy

Image credit: Osborne Photography