Dr Maria McPhillips

  • Challenge Programmes Director (Research Services)

email: Maria.McPhillips@glasgow.ac.uk

11 Professor's Square, Glasgow, G11 6PB

Import to contacts


My career as a research professional has spanned multiple facets of the research ecosystem. I have been an active bench researcher, gaining experience in national and international environments. I moved into research management via the Wellcome Trust where I was responsible for the allocation of funding and the design and delivery of national and international strategic initiatives. From this foundation, I pursued my interests in research, strategy and policy development at the University of Glasgow.

I played a key role in the establishment of the MRC-University of Glasgow Centre for Virus Research, a new national virus research centre, including supporting the Centre’s research response to the COVID-19 pandemic. From this research-intensive setting, I moved into the central University environment and the Research Services Directorate to develop my experience of working collaboratively across the institution. I combined this with a secondment at the Scottish Funding Council where I led the ‘Alliances for Research Challenges’ initiative. Most recently, I established a new central portfolio and team – Strategic Research Initiatives - with the mission to integrate our research support ecosystem and enhance the University’s collaborative ambition, culture and environment for the benefit of our research community.

In 2024, I took on the new role of Challenge Programmes Director in the Research Services Directorate. In this role I have professional oversight of Strategic Research Initiatives (SRI) and a new institutional programme - Glasgow Changing Futures (GCF) – the University's commitment to integrating research, innovation, education, and partnerships to advance solutions to local, national and global societal challenges. The Challenge Programmes portfolio recognises the synergies between GCF and SRI, whilst also acknowledging that GCF extends beyond research.

As a quiet leader, I bring a blend of strategic thinking, an analytical and curious mindset, and a strong commitment to collaboration and collegiality. I enjoy forming coalitions of support for new ideas, inspiring others to take action, collaborating with diverse teams to develop innovative solutions and building consensus to drive change.

Contact me to:

  • Find out more about the Strategic Research Initiatives portfolio, our areas of expertise, how we work, upcoming activities, and how we link to other key portfolios and teams;
  • Find out more about our plans for the Glasgow Changing Futures programme, our approach to codeveloping impactful solutions to major societal challenges through equitable partnerships built around collaborative creation and delivery, and how we link to other key portfolios and teams;
  • Discuss a collaboration or partnership.


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