Engineering Young Entrepreneurs Scheme (YES)
- University of Nottingham
- Date first submitted:
- 26 Nov 2009
- Date last modified:
- 25 Mar 2011
- Personal effectiveness
- Career development
- Working with other people, Self awareness, Receiving and acting upon feedback
- Postgraduate researchers
- Doctoral researchers
- Industry mentors, Funding providers, Senior management from related agencies and bodies
Rationale, aims and outcomes
What is the rationale for doing this?
How does it fit with institutional strategy?
What are the main features of the provision?
What are the aims and expected outcomes?
For many years the Graduate School has offered a range of enterprise skills development interventions. These have been popular and well-received amongst a small section of the researcher community. ‘Engineering Yes’ seeks to build on current offers by offering researchers a cross institutional opportunity to develop an awareness of the needs of industry in respect to the breadth of skills that an employer is seeking. The ‘Engineering YES’ competition is delivered in partnership with Loughborough University.
The competition has been designed to help researchers further understand the processes involved in bringing new technologies to the marketplace, and is based on a highly successful competition run for the biotechnology sector. The inaugural competition was held in 2009, and entry was limited to teams from Nottingham and Loughborough universities. In 2010 the competition is being expanded to allow up to 12 teams to participate. The competition will be opened up to all universities within the East Midlands and a minimum of 4 team places will be allocated to new HEI’s. In addition an opportunity will be provided for other HEI’s to observe ‘Engineering YES’ with a view to the extension of the competition to other UK regions.
This development fits with our overall vision of encouraging greater collabrative working amongst research students and research staff drawn from a range of engineering and engineering related disciplines. Collaboerative working is encouraged with researchers at Nottingham and with other engineering related research communities in the region.
The practice aims to improve the existing provision, giving individual the opportunity to learn more about how technology businesses work, and to make contacts and network with people who work in the industry. The competition helps to develop a range researcher facilitation skills which include communication, personal effectiveness, networking and teamworking.
Are there any pre-requisites for engagement, e.g. levels of skill, years of experience, essential pre-activities?
How many participate in each 'activity'?
Participation is limited to postgraduates and early career research staff working on engineering or engineering related topics. Research students are likely to be approaching the later stages of their research degree. Post-doctoral research staff will have completed their research degree no more than 4 years previously. The competition is open to participants of all ages from Engineering, Chemistry, Physics, Mathematics, Biomedical Sciences and Computer Sciences.
Recognising the pressures on participants time, the competition over the shortest time scale that is reasonable. To achieve the competition goals it is necessary for each team of participants to come prepared with a potential business idea and to have carried out the market research. To assist with team and ideas formation, a half day briefing event is held approximately 3-4 weeks prior to the competition.
Evaluation: benefits, challenges and next steps
How do you monitor effectiveness?
Who do you seek feedback from?
Do you have benchmarks?
There are three groups who have benefited from this competition. Firstly the participants on the courses who are receiving a comprehensive introduction to the commercialisation of research ideas and receiving valuable advice from senior industry managers. Secondly, the industry speakers, mentors and funders who are exposed to the richness and diversity of engineering related ideas at the particpating HEI’s. Thirdly, the competition convenors and facilitators who have benefited from the professional development offered as part of the process, particularly through working closely with industry and funding contacts.
The challenges are of engaging researchers who have not previously engaged with the enterprise development agenda, motivating senior academic collegues to encourage their researchers to recognise the value in participating and managing team working dynamics during the competition
The success of this initiative has encouraged us to extend the competition across the East Midlands and also offer HEI’s in other UK regions the opportunity to observe the competition.