Aspect member: Zinc.

What is the project doing? 

This project pilots new programme to provide PhD Candidates (mostly 2nd year of their doctorate) with an opportunity to complete a placement within an early-stage venture for three months, full-time. The programme emphasises short-term immersion in the world of early-stage innovation with the aim of helping early career researchers to both teach in and learn from research-related engagement with start-up founders. In addition to their placement, they will receive training and develop commercial awareness; a transferable skill they can take back to their doctorate. 

Why is this needed? 

The placements programme is specifically intended to facilitate and amplify both the use of existing social science research in commercial contexts and the opportunities for meaningful collaboration between social scientists and early-stage innovators. The project expects both placement holders and venture hosts to benefit from their collaboration during the placements themselves. Furthermore, it is hoped that some placement holders will be inspired by their experience to work with or for ventures in the future. 

How can members get involved?

Doctoral Training Partnerships (DTPs) across the UK will be contacted with a specific focus on Social Science departments and faculties. Invitations to apply will be distributed via the DTP Programme Manager to PhD Candidates exposing them to the opportunity. 

Contact: Dr Sal Malik ( or Rachel Middlemass (