Professional Activities Group

The RSFSA brings members together with other former RS staff through a Professional Activities Programme. We share a set of professional interests that draws on the enormous breadth of knowledge, expertise, experience, skills and contacts of those who have worked at the RS at one time or another. This wider group is very impressive, covering all areas and levels of administration and management in the charitable, public and commercial sectors, including in professional & learned bodies and within educational settings. The Professional Activities programme enables members to become part of a wider network, enabling them to pick up advice, contacts, influence, etc. while building or maintaining their careers, and even changing their lifestyles.

Nick von Behr is Programme Lead, with Rachel Tobbell organising the programme of events, and support from Caroline Chipperfield, Pippa Cox and Scott Keir.

RSFSA Members will be kept informed of future developments and your input is always welcome, including through a regular survey of members (see below). Please contact the PAG lead at pag[at]

Previous activities

2 March 2022 - Coaching Skills for Life and Work. Ruth Wilson, who works in organisational development for the NHS and has implemented a work-based coaching programme, addressed this topic and to share some coaching tips, explaining how coaching works, how it compares to mentoring and what impact coaching can have on the coachee.

15 December 2021 - Technical education - purpose, prejudice and progress. Ginny Page (RS 1999-2009) spoke about key changes in technical education and shared some insights from the Gatsby Foundationís experience in effecting systemic change in education in England to produce future scientists and engineers.

4 March 2021 - The facts about cancer: fighting a life-threatening illness. RSFSA Member Lynn Turner, Director of Research at Worldwide Cancer Research, covered topics including: what cancer is and how it develops; survival rates; what scientific advances are being made in cancer research; and risk factors and what simple lifestyle changes can we make to reduce our cancer risk.

December 2020 - An online workshop on 'Bouncebackability: How can we boost our resilience?' led by Rachel Tobbell to share some of the ways that the pandemic is requiring us to be resilient and how well we are coping with this.

September 2020 - a workshop facilitated by Nick von Behr and Scott Keir, looking at lessons learned from lockdown about professional networking, with the added bonus of an RS quiz as an icebreaker!

March 2020 - PAG published the outcomes of its first survey of RSFSA members on professional activities. A summary of the report can be found here.

November 2019 - a workshop was led by an external expert, Steve Preston of SMP Solutions, on portfolio careers.

June 2019 - member Jill Nelson led a workshop called 'Creating Sparks' focusing on lessons from her career experiences at and since leaving the Royal Society.

March 2018 - member Rachel Tobbell led a seminar on Mentoring.

Last updated: 3 Mar 2022