The programme

The Enterprising Researcher Summer School comprises a series of eight workshops run during June and July (full details of the workshops are found below):

  • Lessons from past projects
  • Intrepreneurship, impact and employability
  • Building and developing teams
  • Structuring technology projects
  • Financial literacy for beginners
  • Budgets and venture finance
  • Introduction to intellectual property
  • Innovation and entrepreneurship

Who is it for?

PhD students, research and academic staff.

How to apply

You may choose to attend the whole programme or choose the workshops of interest to you.  Please register in advance for the workshops you wish to attend by using our online booking system

Workshop details

Lessons from past projects

Everyone is talking about 'Knowledge Exchange or commercialisation...' So how come we aren't all doing it and are all rich? Let's consider the statistics of new technology commercialisation:

  • It takes about 50 ideas to generate about 5 development projects.
  • One in seven new technology projects make it through to commercialisation.
  • Only half are successful once launched.
  • In Britain and America around half of companies' development money is spent on projects which never reach the market.
  • In Britain we have a long and not-so proud history of failure to exploit our undoubted scientific expertise.

So what goes wrong? This interactive workshop examines typical failure factors in technology commercialisation projects from their inception, development, financing, market studies and market launch. Liberally spiced with anecdotes and quotations from a number of failed projects, the talk attempts to draw some wry and specific lessons from the hard-won experience of the participants. The project failure factors are usually quite independent of the science involved.

Intrapreneurship, impact and employability

Is work something you do because your boss tells you to? Is it just a way of staying alive? Would you like to actually do worthwhile projects, to change things that need changing and to develop your impact and your career?

This workshop looks at the philosophy and practice of intrapreneurship. Can you start and foster teams? Can you work across departmental boundaries? Is ‘empire building’ a bad thing? Can you be rewarded for new initiatives even if you don’t change jobs?

There are a number of techniques and behaviours which can make people's work lives much more rewarding in both a financial and non-financial sense. There are also processes that managers can set in place to encourage intrepreneurial behaviour, and we look at examples ranging from those in a large NGO to a small computer games.

Finally we will look at entrepreneurship, some ways and routes to leave an organisation and set up a new activity. The good news is that it doesn't have to be permanent!

Building and Developing Teams

This half-day workshop covers the basics of business partnering, recruitment, and team building for scientists and technologists.  How do you recruit people, and what does it cost? What agreements do you need before going into business? The workshop will feature work on team roles such as:

  • Are you a plant or a shaper?
  • Why should you love completer-finishers?
  • What can you do with this knowledge?

The workshop will also include team building exercises including:

  • How tall can you build a spaghetti tower?
  • How would you get a full bucket of water round an assault course?
Structuring Technology Projects

Want to build a new research centre? Start a company and launch a new product? Build a new Scottish Parliament? Or just want to know about Gantt charts because they've asked for one in your grant application?

This workshop examines the key skills and tools required for projects to be delivered on-time and on-budget. Poor project management has been identified as a key failure factor in many projects in the UK.

We will look at structuring and planning projects: working out what activities need to be carried out in what order.

We will look at management protocols such as PRINCE2 and software tools such as Project and FastTrack.

We will illustrate some techniques for risk management, and some of the issues around project budgeting.

We will finish with a multi-faceted practical PM simulation with interlocking and dependent tasks, with time and budget constraints.

Financial Literacy for Beginners

Given what’s happening in the world, isn’t it time you learned about money? This workshop is aimed at people with little or no financial background, who want to have a basic business financial literacy. We will introduce basic business finance and accounts, so that us 'mortals' can at least interact with company/organisation finance people and have half a chance of knowing what they are saying. We will signpost situations when we absolutely must use professional accountants.

You should come on this course if you:

  • are interested in understanding finance but find the arithmetic and the jargon intimidating,
  • would like to understand what the stock market is about,
  • have to deal with external suppliers and customers and want to know whether they are financially secure,
  • are thinking about applying for a job with a commercial organisation and would to understand its accounts.

At the end of the workshop you will be able to:

  • understand what profit/loss statements and balance sheets are and how they are constructed,
  • tell how quickly a company pays its creditors and gets paid by its debtors,
  • understand the difference between capital and revenue items,
  • understand the difference between full and marginal costing,
  • understand the difference between overheads and direct costs,
  • know the meaning of accruals, depreciation, creditors, reserves, and other accounting terms.
Budgets and Venture Finance

Are you interested in becoming an entrepreneur? Are you trying to raise money for a company? Or are you a researcher or manager having to 'do a budget' for the first time?

We will look at the principles behind doing simple budgets and show how to use a simple Excel template to produce an operational budget. We will discuss the different types of costs (fixed, variable, etc) that go into budgets and how they are classified. We will then turn from operational budgets to capital budgets, using discounted cash flow methods, and show you how to calculate them using Microsoft Excel. You will become familiar with terms such as net present value, internal rate of return, risk-free rate and risk premium. As a side effect you will also understand more about the banking and financial crisis!  This workshop explains how to understand the bit on 'Dragon's Den' when they say 'I'm offering 37.5% of my company for £500,000'. Where do those numbers come from and how are they calculated?

As well as potential entrepreneurs, this workshop would be of interest to anyone working in areas where large capital projects are planned, costed and valued - architecture, civil and chemical engineering, aerospace, and renewable energy to name just a few.

(For any maths-phobics, the level of arithmetic required is somewhere around 10 year old primary classes - no long division!)

Introduction to Intellectual Property

Would you like to patent something and make millions? Do you have a secret recipe for a drink, or a desire to write a great novel (or a pop song)? Have you an ingenious engineering design, or a new variety of rose? Then this workshop is for you! It looks at intellectual property (IP) from the perspective of the inventor or technologist. It addresses basic questions such as:

  • Why do we have intellectual property?
  • What types of IP are there?
  • How much do they cost?
  • Who owns it?
Innovation and entrepreneurship

This workshop is for those researchers who have an idea that they don’t know what to do with, for those who want to start a business but don’t know how, for scientists who are interested in new careers paths or for those who just want to ‘make a difference’ in the ‘real world.

The workshop will look at the features that make an invention of commercial interest, different ways of making money, how to do market research and how to count the money. We finish with a simulated stock market game that lets teams test whether they can beat the investment professionals and become theoretical millionaires.

Uniquely, having run workshops of this kind for over 10 years, the trainers can point to ‘real people who have become real millionaires’ in the years after attending one.