Staff Profile

Dr Sarah Whalley

Research Strategy Manager


About me

I have a track record in developing and implementing strategies that enhance the research environment and student experience within Higher Education settings, working in partnership with academics and students across career stages and disciplines.

As Research Strategy Manager, I support the Pro-Vice Chancellor for Research Strategy and Resources, the Dean for Research Culture and Strategy, and the Director of Research Strategy and Development with the implementation, development, and monitoring of the University's Research Strategy. I manage the Research Strategy team within the Research Strategy and Development Service. 

Professional Background

I joined Newcastle University in 2015 and I have worked in Research Management roles within the School of Engineering, the Faculty of Science, Agriculture and Engineering, and within the University's Research Strategy and Development Service. I have experience of: research funding bid preparation and project costings; horizon scanning; PGR administration; strategy development and implementation; project management; and, research evaluation (including management of quality audits for REF).  

Prior to this, I worked at the Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine (LSTM) and Durham University where I developed, monitored and enhanced the student experience at PGT and PGR levels. At LSTM, I delivered a broad range of student support services, and developed sector-leading student voice initiatives. At Durham University, I mentored postgraduate students, and coordinated the University's flagship Presessional Collegiate Experience Programme for 500 International students. 

Educational Background

I gained my PhD in English Literature from the University of Nottingham in 2012. My thesis focused on cultural debates about literature's social utility from c.1870-1920. I offered a wide-ranging account of theories of reading in the works of Walter Pater, Vernon Lee, and Henry James. In particular, I examined how these authors formulate ethical frameworks of response by reference to early neurological principles (e.g. sympathy and empathy). My methodology blended formal analysis and literary history. 

Alongside my PhD, I delivered tutorials and lectures to Undergraduate students, I provided pastoral support as a Resident Tutor, and I worked in a range of Professional Services departments at the University of Nottingham (Marketing, Student Disability Support Services, and Careers).


  • APM Project Management Qualification (2021)
  • PhD in English Literature, University of Nottingham (2008-2011)
  • MRes in English Literature, University of Nottingham (2007-2008)
  • BA(Hons) in English, University of Nottingham (2004-2007) 


  • Articles

    • Townley S. Rewriting Paterian Sympathy: Vernon Lee and Elitist Empathy. Literature Compass 2012, 11(9), 861-872.
    • Townley S. Redefining British Aestheticism: Elitism, Readerships and the Social Utility of Art. PhD Thesis University of Nottingham 2012.
    • Townley S. Vernon Lee and Elitism: Redefining British Aestheticism. English Literature in Transition, 1880-1920 2011, 54(4), 523-538.