Piloting a programme to support mid-career researcher engagement with startups

•• Phase 2


Aspect members: Zinc, Cardiff University, University of Exeter, University of Glasgow, Queen’s University Belfast.  

What was the project doing?

This project piloted a new programme to provide mid-career researchers with an exciting and dynamic commercial experience at low cost and minimal burden. The program emphasised short-term immersion in the world of early-stage innovation with the aim of helping researchers to both teach in and learn from research-related engagement with start-up founders. A small cohort of researchers from different disciplines and institutions was supported to work with founders over a total of five days (spread over five weeks from early June). As well as receiving some bespoke training, they applied their research expertise and skills in direct work with founders.

Why was this needed?

Mid-career researchers typically have fewer opportunities than ECRs to explore developmental routes outside academia. This limits opportunities for professional and personal development among this cohort, particularly in terms of their familiarity with and understanding of ways of working with commercial partners.

How could members get involved?

Each confirmed partner recruited at least one mid-career researcher to join the project and provided support for those individuals to participate. These costs were minimal but included researcher buy-out (where required) plus travel and accommodation for in-person components. Other members were welcome to join on the same terms.

For further information, please contact Dr. Sal Malik (salman@zinc.vc) or Rachel Middlemass (rachelm@zinc.vc).

Training & resources

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Programme to support mid-career researchers with venture engagement for professional development

This is a report about the Zinc Mid-Career Researcher Innovation Safari 2022. It explains how mid-career researchers have fewer opportunities than ECRs to explore developmental routes outside academia, which leads to limitations of opportunities for professional and personal development.

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