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Mpls enterprise development programme



Course Title



An Introduction to Enterprise and the Researcher


Includes lunch


The Idea Generator

9.30 -13.00

31/10/17 Enterprising Women Lunch and Mixer 12-14.00 Lunchtime
06/11/17 Pop-up Business School taster events

 12-14.00 Lunchtime 

or  18-20.00

15/11/17 Developing your ideas: planning with room for opportunity. 9.30 -13.00
22/11/17  Innovation & entrepreneurship – bringing Oxford ideas to life

9.00 -13.30  Includes lunch

29/11/17 Protecting your Intellectual Property.   9.00- 12.30
04-08/12/17 Pop-up Business School - Social Enterprise: profits with a purpose Week long intensive
24/01/18 Pictorial Planning - using the Lean Canvas for enterprising researchers. 9.30 -13.00
31/1/18 From Researcher to Entrepreneur (Postgrads) 9.00 -17.00
06-07/02/18 The Enterprising Researcher (ECRs) 2 days
14/02/18 Promoting your ideas for collaboration and investment.  9.30 -13.00
28/02/18 Pitching for funding 9.30 -13.00
07/03/18 Innovation & entrepreneurship – bringing Oxford ideas to life

9.00 -13.30  Includes lunch

25/04/18 Being part of an effective and enterprising team 9.30 -13.00
09/05/18 Personal pitching 9.30 -13.00

19-22/06 18

Making an Impact: innovation, enterprise and developing your ideas for funding

4 days



Core Enterprise Programme (half day courses and Lunchtime sessions)

An introduction to enterprise and the researcher: how does this fit into my research and career development?  

This half day interactive workshop will examine the attributes of an enterprising researcher and explore how these could can be enhanced during research activities and and signpost the opportunities for developing these further.

 Participants will explore:

  • the attributes of an enterprising researcher and of an entrepreneur
  • the opportunities to develop these attributes
  • their own enterprising behaviour
  • recognising enterprising behaviour in their own research environment
  • how they can be enterprising in developing their career  (Fits with D3 of RDF)

The idea generator: creativity and evaluation for research and tech transfer.  

Generating ideas is key to being a researcher: whether those ideas are what to research next, how to tackle a tricky research question or thinking about the impact of your discoveries. Knowing how to evaluate these ideas is the obvious next important step. These skills are also part of the entrepreneur’s toolkit. We will use creativity and evaluation tools from a variety of sources to get beyond the “blank page” and find the gems in the ideas generated. The course will be interactive and use your research project as a starting point.

 This course will cover:

  • Tools for evaluation, thinking in both research and commercial terms
  • Demand pull ideas
  • Technology push products
  • The potential impact of ideas
  • The next step for ideas (funding, spin-outs etc.)

 (RDF areas: A2, A3)


 Enterprising Women: Ask someone in the street to name an entrepreneur and more often than not they name a man. But women are out there in research, corporate settings and start ups being successful – and many of them are in Oxford!  Come along and join us as we hear from an inspiring woman scientist and entrepreneur, then network over lunch.

We will also be joined by people from  Enterprising Oxford, Student Hubs, TechTonic, Oxford University Innovation,Innovation Forum and Science Innovation Union ready to tell you about what they offer and how they can support you in developing your ideas and skills as a budding entrepreneur.

 Innovation & entrepreneurship – bringing Oxford ideas to life    

This half day event offers a whistle-stop tour of how to be enterprising with your research, where established academics share their stories of being innovative and enterprising, Oxford University Innovation explain how to make the most of your work whilst protecting your ideas and CEOs of recent start-ups offer case studies of how to create successful ventures. A great opportunity to understand what lies behind the jargon of' Enterprise and Entrepreneurship', and how much more interesting and varied the outcomes can be beyond 'spinning out' a profitable company.   

Developing your ideas: planning with room for opportunity.  

Possession of a ‘thunderbolt’ idea is not enough to guarantee success in research or business. Planning the practicalities and routes to an end ‘product’ (publications, further funding, marketable items) are a necessary step. Often this planning process brings opportunities and threats to light. This half-day interactive course will use the popular business model canvas combined with your research project as a starting point to develop your ideas further.

Aims: To explore the use tools from the world of the business to plan and develop your research project. These tools will help identify stakeholders, map out the possible impact of a project and identify possible road blocks.  (RDF areas: B2, C2)

Pictorial Planning - using the Lean Canvas for enterprising researchers.

Got a great idea? Then it will take careful planning of all the details to bring it into reality. Planning the practicalities and routes to an end 'product' (publications, further funding, marketable items) are a necessary step. Often this planning process brings opportunities and threats to light. This half day interactive course will use the popular business model canvas combined with your research project as a starting point to develop your ideas further.          (RDF areas: B2, C2)

Protecting your Intellectual Property.  

Inventions come at the beginning of the Innovation process, when a new idea is developed and eventually turned into a new product or business. It is important to know how to protect ideas and understand the whole process of patenting. This half-day course will take you through the process.

It will include

  • Discoveries versus Inventions.
  • Who the inventors are
  • Publications versus Patents
  • The patenting process and timelines
  • Searching the patent literature and understanding their structure.
  • Other forms of Intellectual Property  (RDF areas: C1, C2) 

Pitching for Funding

Those with funding need to know about you and why they should place their investment in you and your venture. This may be a pitch for research funds, a pitch in an enterprise competition or a presentation asking for an R & D budget. It is a skill that is much needed for the next career step. 
This interactive course will use your research as a starting point but feel free to come with a business venture idea too.

This course will cover:
• The structure and elements of a pitch
• What different funders are looking for in a pitch
• Opening and closing your pitch
• Team pitching 
• The use of props
• Making your message clear

Objectives: by the end of this session participants will have:
• Practised a variety of pitch elements
• Thought about the audience and meeting their needs
• Explored the structure and elements of a pitch
• Received feedback


Promoting your ideas for collaboration and investment.   Science seldom exists in a vacuum - working with other groups, institutions, charities and commercial enterprises brings many benefits not to mention funding. This half day course will explore how to investigate potential ‘markets’ and offer tips and tools for successful delivery and implementation. (RDF areas: B3, D3 )

 Being part of an effective and enterprising team.  Contributing to your discipline or building a team to take a venture forward? Understanding your contribution to a team setting and how to work successfully with others are essential to moving forward in your career. This half day interactive course uses the Belbin team roles inventory as a starting point to explore the makings of a great team. (RDF areas: D1 )

Personal Pitching.

Make the most of every opportunity” is often stated as key to a successful career but how can we make the most of those opportunities? 
Using your research as a starting point this interactive course will have you practising a series of pitches with your peers, interspersed with tips and tricks. The aim is to hook the audience in, whether it is about your research or a new business venture.

This course will cover:
• Spoken pitches in variety of settings
• Written short pitches 
• Networking tips
• Thinking about your audience

Objectives: by the end of this session participants will have:
• Looked at networking tips and tricks to meet the audience
• Worked on a variety of short pitches – written and verbal
• Pitched for a variety of audiences 
• Received feedback on their pitches


From Researcher to Entrepreneur

This 1-day course explores how the two worlds of research and entrepreneurship overlap and how - through the application of a creative problem solving framework - business opportunities in research activity can be identified and progressed. This framework (which is also useful for streamlining the research activity itself) includes a number of tools and techniques that can help nurture a more creative mind-set that may be applied to both business development and research.

Areas covered: 
-What is an entrepreneur?
-What do we mean by creativity and innovation?
-The research cycle and how it maps on to the practice of Entrepreneurship
-Drivers for innovation
-The Entrepreneurial skill set and the elements of business planning
-Creative problem solving and the generation of ideas
-A simulation on setting up a new business 

Attendees will gain:
-Experience in exploring the business potential of their research in its widest sense (ie the research itself, the tools and techniques of the research, and their own tacit skills & knowledge) 
-Experience in applying an idea-generation tool to a research field in order to identify new research and business opportunities
-Greater understanding of the skills of entrepreneurship and how these relate to research skills
-An understanding of the essential aspects of business development
-An understanding of visual business planning, including product definition, marketing, intellectual property rights and finance.

 Making an Impact: innovation, enterprise and developing your ideas for funding   

aka Defence Against the Dark Arts:  Real World Survival skills for DPhil Students    

4 day long course offering participants: 

• greater understanding of how to communicate the impacts of their research and expertise 
• develop their skills in problem solving, team working, and project management 
• understanding of the significance of Intellectual Property and Patents 
• understanding of how to research the needs and requirements of funders, stakeholders and industry partners 
• tools for working confidently and productively with business/industry and other partners 
• learning how to pitch successfully to fund projects 

Led by a highly experienced consultant with a strong industry background in commercial development, this interactive course uses context and problem based learning, games and group work to further develop the skills that industry employers and collaborators are looking for in communicating, working in teams and problem solving.

Feedback from recent attendees: 

Out of all the courses we've had so far this stood out by miles, was so interesting and informative and useful.

I was really sceptical about this course, as someone who plans to stay in academia, but I found it really useful and would recommend it. It will help me to give talks/ apply for grants/ generally communicate what I do and why it's important.

Actually made me consider new career pathways, and very effectively helped me learn how to sell my research to non -experts.

It integrated business ideas into a framework where it was clear to see how this was relevant to both our current research and communicating that to non-specialists and also to any future careers outside of academia.

I think it has built confidence in myself and that skills learnt during my PhD are relevant to other people outside of academia.


Supporting Programme (lunchtime talks and evening mixers)

Mix@Six events are regular meet ups offering the opportunity to meet up with other enterprising and entrepreneurial students from across different parts of the university and from the external community, in a friendly and informal setting. Drinks and nibbles provided!

The next  Mix@Six event in Michaelmas Term, is

 at the Oxford Hub (Turl St Kitchen) with a Social Enterprise focus

PhD to Start-Up MeetUps are evening mixers with an enterprise talk, happening twice each term. 

To join us, please sign up at:


Other partnership events are local ones that our partners are offering which we think may be of interest so will list here:



The Oxford Saïd Entrepreneurship Forum (OSEF) is Saïd Business School’s exciting flagship entrepreneurial event. It is an intensive and immersive experience for anyone interested in all things entrepreneurial – from pursuing startup ideas to taking a transformational approach to building their future careers. 

This year we look forward to welcoming back some top-flight speakers from last year's event: Biz Stone (co-Founder of Twitter and Jelly) & Phil Libin (co-Founder of Evernote, and MD of General Catalyst). In addition, Will Dean (CEO and Founder of Tough Mudder) will be joining us for the first time to speak at this year's event.

Plus masterclasses, panel discussions, a student pitching contest, networking sessions.

 OSEF 2017 is open to everyone, and tickets are on sale now! Current student - £20.00; Oxford University alumni and staff - £30.00



Venturefest Oxford:  The theme this year is ‘From Start-Up to Scale-Up’. Wednesday 21st June 2017 at the King’s Centre, Osney Mead with free entry for students.



For future reference- 1 and 2 day Courses offered in MT and HT:



Satellites 101: a unique opportunity to spend a day with the Earth Observation specialists at Harwell understanding more about the types of data that are available and how to access and make use of them in your research. This is your chance to explore if and how satellite/remotely sensed data could be applied in your research, even if it has not been part of your thinking until now.


An Introduction to TRIZ: systematic tools for problem solving

TRIZ is the science of creativity derived from a systematic examination of almost all patented scientific and engineering solutions developed in the last 30 years of the Soviet Union. This created a unique innovation problem solving toolkit covering different ground to all other toolkits created at the same time elsewhere; the principal TRIZ tools direct us to find the best ways of solving a problem, to find new concepts and map the routes for developing new products.

The individual tools are straightforward, the problem-solving process is systematic and repeatable, and when we move fast with TRIZ we can uncover the best possible solutions and keep our brains at their most creative. Today engineers and scientists probably understand TRIZ better than anyone else because it comes from their recorded successes. However, while TRIZ was developed for inventing and solving technical problems, the tools and approaches can be used to understand and solve ANY problem so it can be applied with equal success to any discipline.

The TRIZ tool-kit and process directs us to the best solutions to fit our circumstances and constraints. Many problem solving techniques, such as brainstorming can be uncertain and hit and miss but are universally popular as they lead us to remember, find and combine concepts and solutions – normally those already known to us. The power of these methods is extended in TRIZ as they are the important starting point on the routes to locate the best answers. TRIZ is an important addition to other systems, as it leads to the most efficient use of the world’s current knowledge and is based on the methods of identifying contradictions in problems and systematically taking us to the range of good and relevant solutions (a complete catalogue of just 40 good solution triggers) derived from the world’s patent database of recorded past knowledge. The TRIZ process will also direct us to the right places for relevant current and new knowledge – although created in the last century it enables us to the locate most efficiently the best access of internet knowledge.

TRIZ enhances and multiplies natural abilities of intelligence and creativity and works even more dramatically on people who don't regard themselves as naturally creative and prefer pragmatic approaches. Everyone's creativity is improved. 

This 2-day course will be a fast-paced introduction to the tools and process, which can be tailored to any discipline. For those who want to know more there is also the possibility of joining other advanced courses run in Oxford with industry participants in future.