Dr Emma Gillaspy

Digital Teaching & Learning Manager


I am passionate about helping people with their academic and career development. I am an outstanding educator at all levels including senior managers, staff and students. In addition to my work in Greater Manchester and across the North West, I am regularly invited to lead programmes across the UK, Europe, Africa and Australasia.

I have a particular interest in engaging students and staff through online and social media and have built an international reputation for developing teaching for academics in their use of social media and other Technology Enhanced Learning.

I am also interested in helping people find and achieve their ideal career paths. I am a qualified executive coach and MBTI practitioner and use these skills to help others improve their performance and careers.

Other areas of expertise include public engagement, communication and personal effectiveness. I am always looking to develop my own skills and I am currently working towards senior fellowship of the HEA.

Before moving into the field of academic development, I managed the UK and Ireland contributions to Orphanet, a Europe-wide initiative to raise awareness and improve the diagnosis and treatment of rare diseases. I originally trained as a clinical molecular geneticist at the National Genetics Reference Laboratory (NGRL) Manchester following graduation from a PhD studying the genetics of osteoarthritis.


I have an international reputation as an educator and developer of teaching abilities. Selected highlights include:

·       I have designed several introductory and advanced sessions on using social media to enhance research and teaching practice and I am regularly invited to deliver these as a consultant at universities across the UK and beyond.

·       I developed international teaching packages for researchers and academics including:

o   The Engaging Researcher (co-author)

o   The Digital Researcher (co-author)

·       I have been integral to the development and implementation of the Researcher Development Framework in national and international universities and have developed several teaching resources to support this process including:

o   I designed the widely used RDF graphic from the full text of the framework.

o   I led the development team in the production of the first generation of RDF reflective portfolio tools. This free tool, launched in 2010, was well received by the sector and led to the development of a second generation tool – the web-based electronic portfolio now known as the RDF Planner. I was the HE advisor on the development team for this software.

o   I developed a workshop manual, slides and resources for educational professionals to introduce their researchers to the process of reflective practice and how to use the RDF as a framework to aid this practice.

o   Co-authored the popular RDF Development Cards and associated teaching activities.

o   Authored and presented several video resources to support researchers and teachers in using the RDF and associated RDF Planner. An example of my work can be viewed at www.vimeo.com/54763637.

·       As PGR Development Lead I successfully managed the delivery of a programme of professional and career development support for over 700 research students. The programme included over 90 developmental workshops and events, nine online learning modules and social media engagement.

Over a period of 7 years as Vitae NW Hub Manager I led the development and delivery of 71 regional events and courses to enhance the employability of research staff and students based at NW universities. I personally taught sessions on 31 of these events, thereby making a positive impact on the professional and career development of research students and academics across the region.

Research Interests

My research focuses on the evaluation and development of adult learning interventions in researcher and academic development.

I have a particular interest in Technology Enhanced Learning and the use of coaching to develop academics TEL abilities.

As a teaching-focused academic, I am always looking to conduct research on my current teaching practices.

Qualifications and Memberships

PhD Genetics of Osteoarthritis

Institute of Leadership and Management Level 7 Certificate in Executive Coaching

Institute of Leadership and Management Level 5 Certificate in Coaching and Mentoring\

Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) Step I Practitioner

BTEC Level 5 Professional Certificate in Management Studies


Book chapters and reports

·       Gillaspy E (2014) ‘Online Networking’ in Daly I and Brophy Haney A (eds) 53 interesting ways to communicate your research. The Professional and Higher Partnership Ltd, Newmarket.

·       Co-author: A pan-European professional development framework for researchers - A feasibility study by the ESF Member Organisation Forum European Alliance on Research Career Development (2008) European Science Foundation.

Peer reviewed articles

·       Gillaspy E, Spreckley K, Wallis G, Doherty M and Spector TD (2002) Investigation of linkage on chromosome 2q and hand and knee osteoarthritis. Arthritis Rheum 46, pp. 3386-7.

·       Greig C, Spreckley K, Aspinwall R, Gillaspy E, Grant M, Ollier W, John S, Doherty M and Wallis G (2006) Linkage to nodal osteoarthritis: quantitative and qualitative analyses of data from a whole-genome screen identify trait-dependent susceptibility loci. Ann Rhuem Dis 65, pp. 1131-8.


·       Kompf M and Denicolo P (2013) Critical Issues in Higher Education. Springer, pp. 144.

·       Hawkins et al (2011) Preparation and validation of the first WHO international genetic reference panel for Fragile X syndrome. Eur J Hum Genet 19, pp. 10-17.

·       Jaffé A (2005) Orphan lung diseases in childhood: still unadopted? Thorax 60, pp. 892-894.



Conference contributions

In addition to being invited to share my teaching practice, I have successfully presented my latest work at the Vitae Researcher Development International Conferences on an annual basis including the following sessions:

·       ‘The Engaging Researcher’ and a Box of Ideas - developing public engagement skills in early career researchers (2012)

·       The use of social media by researcher development professionals: What's in it for me? (2012)

·       Developing the global researcher: The ‘what’, ‘so what’ and ‘now what’? (2011) Nature Blog article: http://blogs.nature.com/naturejobs/2011/09/12/becoming-a-global-researcher

·       The engaging researcher – public engagement training resources (2011)

·       The engaging researcher (2010)

·       Integrating technology into researcher training (2009)

·       Pathways – from small beginnings (2009)



Spoken presentations

·       Gillaspy E (2008) The ORPHANET database: a free online tool for Molecular Geneticists and Cytogeneticists. Clinical Molecular Genetics Society Conference.

·       Gillaspy EE, Strong K, Taylor J, Ayme S and Donnai D (2006) ORPHANET – Data Collection in the United Kingdom: Experience and Progress British Society of Human Genetics Conference (J Med Genet 43 suppl 1, SP48).

·       Gillaspy E, Rice J, Cross N, Metcalfe P, Barton D and Elles R (2005) A Survey of UK Demand for CE Marked and Certified Reference Materials for Genetic Testing. Clinical Molecular Genetics Society Conference.


Poster presentations

·       Gillaspy E, Clark L and Reeves J (2012) Developing ‘The Global Researcher’: What role for institutions? Going Global International Education Conference.

·       Gillaspy E, Aymé S and Donnai D (2008) Orphanet: What’s in it for you? UK case studies. Eur J Hum Genet 16 Suppl 2, P09.48.

·       Gillaspy E (2007) Orphanet. European Conference on Rare Diseases

·       Gaudebout C, Thibaudeau V, Morris MA, Dequeker E, Corveleyn A, Dallapiccola B, Mingarelli R, Schmidtke J, Rommel K, Donnai D, Gillaspy E, Urbero B and Aymé S (2007) Information on genetic testing in Europe : successes and difficulties Eur J Hum Genet 15 suppl1, P1347.

·       Gillaspy EE, Rice J, Byrne E, Hawkins R, Stacey G, Barton D and Elles R (2005) Prototype genomic DNA-based Reference Materials for Fragile X and Hereditary Non-Polyposis Colorectal Cancer testing. Eur J Hum Genet 13 suppl1, P0793.

·       Heptinstall LE, Gillaspy EE, Loftus HM, Till J, Walter JH, Wraith JE and Besley GTN (1998) Mutation Analysis in Propionic Acidaemia. J Inherit Metab Dis 21 suppl 2, P79.