This October sees the launch of the Postgraduate Researcher Enterprise Programme. The new programme will provide all postgraduate researchers with the knowledge and skills to help create an impact, both in their current research and in their future career, academic or otherwise. Through employer-led events, workshops, resources and funding opportunities the programme will enable researchers to recognise opportunities and take practical action to make things happen, generate ideas, promote themselves and their work, form networks and attract funding.
The Launch Event of the programme will take place on Wednesday 10th October. A keynote speech will be delivered by Jackie Labbe, Chair of the Board of Graduate Studies, and attendees will hear from academics and Alumni across all faculties who have been through the PhD process and are successfully established their career.
The programme, designed by Student Careers and Skills following consultation with employers, academic staff and postgraduate research students from each faculty, builds on the success of the Research Student Skills Programme (RSSP). Feedback from stakeholders regarding this programme showed that PGR’s welcomed the opportunity to receive free skills training beyond the immediate scope of their projects and to engage with the wider research community. Supervisors told how they appreciated the extra support given to their students and the provision of resources at an institutional level; and employers welcomed training that helps exceptionally talented research students to recognise and market their skills. In particular, Careers and Skills have received feedback from Employers telling us that they value enterprising behaviour and commercial awareness, and actively look for these qualities when recruiting. It is within this context that the Postgraduate Researcher Enterprise Programme has been established.
Following the launch event, students can look forward to a full programme of workshops and employer-led events throughout the academic year. The events will cover eight themes: collaboration, innovation, impact, ideas, creativity, opportunities, communication and networking. A key feature of the programme will be a series of workshops, delivered by a cohort of highly experienced tutors from within and outside the University. A programme of workshops and activities has been designed for each faculty, alongside opportunities for cross-disciplinary working.
Booking for programme events will be available through the Careers portal, MyAdvantage. The workshops will cover a diverse subject matter. Throughout the programme there will be a strong focus on Impact - shown to be increasingly important both within and outside academia. With research councils insisting on it when granting funding, and employees looking for impact as an indicator of how likely you are to have a positive effect on their business in the future, the dedicated Impact workshop will give students an opportunity explore what impact is and discover strategies to demonstrate it. During ‘Promoting yourself and your research’, students can learn how learn how to get their contributions recognised in order to further their career. In a session provided by Research Support Services, Students can develop the skills needed to put together an attractive research proposal. Another workshop will help students to take ownership of their research by developing their initiative and innovation skills. Students can also receive guidance on how to negotiate and influence – a key skill to ensure positive outcomes in academia and beyond. Other sessions will focus on how to generate and evaluate ideas, how to protect and commercially exploit intellectual property, and how to make that first collaborative project a reality. There will also be sessions on consultancy and training on engaging the public with your research.
A number of hands-on activities complement the workshop series, allowing research students to practise and apply the skills they have acquired. Café Enterprise events will provide an opportunity for students to showcase how they have been enterprising in their research and learn from their peers. There will also be Video seminars by international speakers and several informal ‘Life after your PhD’ events, where PhD graduates will talk about how they have used the skills and knowledge they gained from their research degree. These events provide an opportunity for our students to hear from academics who have been through the PhD process and have successfully established their career, and can give an experienced perspective on this topic.
In addition to workshops and events, the Postgraduate Researcher Enterprise Programme is offering financial awards of up to £1000 to support enterprising activities relating to student’s research in the context of the 8 programme themes.
A key feature of the programme is the high level of contribution from guest speakers; there will be regular input from employers, alumni and academics that are willing to share their experiences. Employers such as Rothamstead Research and Bank of America Merrill Lynch will lead workshops which focus on translating the skills and expertise gained during postgraduate study into life outside of academia.
As our research community continues to grow, the challenge for the Student Careers and Skills is to to keep abreast of the shifting expectations in an increasingly diverse PGR population and to continue to equip researchers with a wealth of invaluable skills and expertise to guarantee their future success.
PGR’s at Warwick are part of a varied and vibrant research community, renowned for its excellence and ambition. The Postgraduate Researcher Enterprise Programme helps Research students work effectively during their degree and build a portfolio of transferrable enterprise skills for their future career.