Sara Shinton and Janet Wilkinson are the driving forces behind entrepreneurial knickers.


Since 2000 I have run Shinton Consulting Ltd, a researcher development company. Focusing on academic career issues and skills development I work with institutions across the UK and in Europe. My background includes postdoctoral research (physical chemistry), careers guidance and academic development and I’ve worked at Heriot-Watt, Swansea and Newcastle Universities. I work predominantly with Russell Group Universities, often in partnership with internal staff and experts to develop programmes with lasting impact.  This is demonstrated by having been short-listed for a Times Higher Education Award on two occasions (2007 and 2010 – both times based on collaborative projects with Janet!), winning in 2010 for our role in designing and facilitating the Scottish Crucible and Scottish Futures programmes. I have worked with leading researchers across the UK through my involvement in the prestigious NESTA Crucible between 2005 and 2010 (when the programme was rolled out across the UK) and am currently involved in three Crucible programmes – Scottish, Welsh and Heriot-Watt University.

I regularly write about academic and researcher career development issues and have written a number of editorial pieces for the Journal of Analytical and Bioanalytical Chemistry (on topics including creativity, politics, rewarding and motivating researchers, career break management and social media). I’ve contributed chapters to “The Postgraduates’ Companion” and “Skills Training in Research Degree Programmes” and am currently writing a chapter for the latest edition of  “Research Methods for Postgraduates”. I write regularly for the Institute of Physics and am currently researching a guide to career break and career balance, having recently completed a guide to boosting researcher employability. I was also the lead contact for the recent Vitae project “The Collaborative Researcher” and co-write the course handbook, with Janet. We have recently completed “The Enterprising Researcher” for Vitae (due for publication in April 2012). In 2004 I wrote “What Do PhDs Do?” the first ever analysis of doctoral destinations.

I have an active social media profile, including Twitter (@sarashinton), and write a blog at

I also co-organise a small science festival, Bang Goes The Borders, which connects school children in the Borders with exciting researchers engaged in cutting-edge research (more contributors always welcome) and have raised all the funding for this event and managed the media strategy (all on a voluntary basis). A major motivation for the development of Bang Goes the Borders is the desire to bring excellent role models to meet children in the Borders, not least my three daughters! As with most enterprising women, all this is only possible because of the support of Keith Morgan – partner in Shinton Consulting, father to three daughters and all-round good guy.




If you’ve read Sara’s biog you may already feel that you know what I do and this points to the collaborative nature of how I work!  I do some similar things to Sara (work with researchers at different career stages at UK and Irish Universities) and also some different things.  I’ve run Three Times Three Consulting since the start of 2004 and we operate across three sectors of the economywith three broad areas of people development (workshops, 1-1mentoring and wider materials development) at early, mid and later career stages.  My particular interests at work are in career development for women, enterprise skills and building management capability.

My background is quite different from Sara’s and herein lies much of our collaborative and enterprise strength.  My undergraduate degree in Economics was at Newcastle University and led to a Rotary Foundation Scholarship at Newcastle University, Australia for postgraduate study in business.  I followed this with fifteen years of management and leadership roles in large UK organizations. This culminated in me leading the Research function for four years in a FTSE-100 company, was consolidated in an MBA and led to a career transition.   I am an Associate Fellow at Warwick Business School with international cohorts of operations management and marketing postgraduates and, like Sara, I am also involved in the Welsh Crucible with an Enterprise focus.

My writing involves a range of publications and development programmes for Vitae and the UKRC for Women in SET including the publications Sara has mentioned above and the range of diversity related materials ‘Every Researcher Counts’ launched in 2011.

I’ve been dragged into the social media world by Sara and you’ll see the occasional tweet from me @Jw3x3 and lots of re-tweets of work related information.  I regularly flirt with writing a blog but haven’t done it yet!

I am, however, an active user of LinkedIn as I’m very keen to be involved in diverse networks for personal and professional development. Together with Sara we set up a professional networking group for senior women in Edinburgh in 2011 ( and in 2012 I am extending this to Bristol where I live with my extremely supportive husband and son and where we manage diaries with what seems like military precision to make all of the above possible.

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