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Course Title


3 May 17

Being part of an Effective and Enterprising team

Half day

10 May 17

Innovation & entrepreneurship – bringing Oxford ideas to life

Half day

24 May 17

From Research to Patent: or I'm a researcher so what use is a Patent office to me?

2 hours lunchtime

19-23 June 17

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

5 days



Core Enterprise Programme (half day courses)

  1. 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 )
  2. 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.   
  3. From Research to Patent: or I'm a researcher so what use is a Patent office to me?  Ever had people telling you that you should be careful to protect your research ideas and look after your IP? Wondered what all this talk about patents is really about and if any of it is really relevant or useful to you? Well this is your chance to find out from someone who has been on the journey from Oxford DPhil student to European Patent Examiner, so come along and find out first-hand how patent searches could be used to help you identify trends in specific fields as you develop your research.  Vit Sipal completed his DPhil in the Dept of Engineering before becoming a Patent Examiner at the European Patent Office. Vit will be sharing his experiences of moving from one form of research to another, and what he likes about working as a Patent Examiner. He and his colleagues will also be explaining "What I wish I knew about patents when I was doing my DPhil", how the patent classification system works and how it can be used to search for existing patents and to identify trends in the researcher's field.


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

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

 Week 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 workshops 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 will be in Trinity Term, at the 

Oxford Hub - 17 Turl Street - OX1 3DH Oxford - United Kingdom 
(more details coming shortly!)

PhD to Start-Up MeetUps are evening mixers with an enterprise talk, happening twice each term. The next meet-up will be on April 26th, at OeRC

Matt Ritchie co-founder of multi-prize winning Biocarbon Engineering  http://www.biocarbonengineering.comwill talk about Building Momentum

To join us, please sign up here

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

#Started in Oxford Demo Fair 

Tue 23 May 2017 18:00 – 21:00

The #StartedinOxford Demo Fair is an all-new event, jointly organised by the leading lights of Oxford’s startup community, to celebrate the Oxford startup scene and showcase the best early stage startups Oxford has to offer.

If you want to get plugged into the startup community in Oxford, then the #StartedinOxford Demo Fair is the place to be! Sign up here


For future reference- Core Programme half day Courses offered in MT and HT:

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)

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) 

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

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 )

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.

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.

  1. Design Thinking: rapid prototyping for developing new research areas
  • As researchers are increasingly asked to demonstrate different elements of impact of their research, identifying the potential areas of impact at the outset will enable better communication. Identifying and refining potential research questions is a creative process which is strengthened by considering the kinds of user /stakeholders who may be affected by the outcomes of the research as part of the idea generation. 
  • Design Thinking is a creative, action learning process with a focus on the groups of people who will be impacted by the research. It is an open source process, originally developed in Stanford, that has been heavily promoted and integrated into many areas of academic life.
  • This is a series of 3 linked lunchtime workshops which will use design thinking to help you to rapidly develop and test prototypes.
  • We are keen to understand what would help support enterprising women to develop their ideas and projects across Oxford and we want to hear about your ideas and experiences. This is a great opportunity for you to contribute your thoughts about what works well and what is missing so that we can build an enterprising ecosystem for women entrepreneurs
  • Starting with Prof Dame Carol Robinson sharing her insights on how to combine academic and entrepreneurial success, over lunch we will work in small groups to identify some of the key opportunities and obstacles to women succeeding in enterprise and entrepreneurial ventures, and what else Oxford can do to support our researchers to take this path successfully.