CUPA 2019 Winner


Winner of the UHR / CUPA Bursary 2019

Rhona Bain

HR Diversity and Inclusion Partner at Edinburgh Napier University




We’re delighted to announce that Rhona Bain, HR Diversity and Inclusion Partner at Edinburgh Napier University, has been awarded the UHR / CUPA Bursary for 2019.

The Bursary scheme is now in its third year. Our friends and partners CUPA-HR are our equivalent organisation in the United States and represent more than 25000 American higher education HR specialists. The Bursary enables a visit to the annual CUPA-HR Conference - this year being held in Denver, Colorado – as well as a study tour of one or more American universities. Building reciprocal links with our colleagues in the US allows for learning, and shared development of ideas, policies and behaviours.

Rhona’s study project will take her to Colorado State University and will include meetings with two leading academics working in the area of sexual violence. The focus for the study trip will be to look at their strategy to tackle sexual violence, harassment and misconduct in the university community, the policies and practices they have developed and how a zero-tolerance culture to gender-based violence is being embedded. Crucially, Rhona will consider how Colorado have successfully built their communication campaign around this aspect of culture change. This will better inform the approach Edinburgh Napier takes as it sets out to develop new HR policy and practice, as well as the planned victim support framework for staff and students.

“As a trained Sexual Violence and Misconduct Liaison Officer I know that issues of violence and harassment on campus have to be handled sensitively,” Rhona said. “Some US universities – and Colorado is one of them – are clearly ahead of us in thinking about this. It’s really exciting to be given the chance to go out and learn from those with good strategies, and to come back and share within the Scottish and UK contexts. It’s an opportunity to explore and seek out people who are doing it well.”

The previous winners of the Bursary are Sophie Harris (formerly of SOAS and now Assistant Director of HR (Organisational Effectiveness) at Queen Mary University of London) and Rashmi Patel (Head of HR Operations at Nottingham Trent University). Both came back to the UK brimming with energy and ideas to improve their own professional practice, their teams and departments, and via the UHR network and elsewhere, to share their learnings. We’re sure Rhona will do exactly the same.

For Rhona, the entire piece of work around diversity and inclusion is huge and multi-faceted. She shares an interest with Sophie Harris, whose study project was on the theme of supporting better female academic progression. Rhona will be looking at ways in which her US academic hosts support more women into STEM subjects, and how they work to eliminate bottle-necks that stop female progression.

Rhona Bain will be sharing news on her US visit both at the time (October 2019) and later, via blogs and other activities for UHR, and with networks within Scotland and more widely around the UK. To follow her story and share in her learnings:

Visit the UHR website at

Follow UHR on Twitter: @UHR_UK @HelenScottUHR @UHRChair


This site uses cookies and other tracking technologies to assist with navigation and your ability to provide feedback, analyse your use of the site and services and assist with our member communication efforts. Privacy Policy. Accept cookies Cookie Settings