ARC Centres of Excellence are hubs of knowledge and ideas based on cutting-edge research.
Existing and new business are about to benefit from the expertise and ideas implemented by the upcoming cohort of researchers from the ARC Centre of Excellence for Electromaterials Science (ACES) because they will become well trained in both science and business.
The new and revolutionary training program was recently trailed at UOW (in collaboration with Sydney Business School, University of Wollongong). It allows research students to gain businesslike competencies.
The University of Wollongong Executive Dean (Faculty of Business) Professor John Glynn had seen ACES students as highly motivated and eager to learn much about how to adapt to the business environment. “The course work was tailor-made for the students and helps put their doctorate in context in the business world.” “They learnt a lot about business risk and personality profiles,” he said.
According to students the 12-month course exposed them not only to the scope of entrepreneurial projects but also help them to gain competencies needed to survive in the globally competitive environment. It has been highly recognized by this year graduates for its multidimensional nature impacting their mindset that can lead to changes in their career paths.
ACES PhD student Aaron Waters said “A lot of businesses are looking for people having an entrepreneurial approach to their work,” he said. “It was a good taste of the entrepreneurial life and I will be able to relate better to roles in accounting, management, HR, etc,” he added.
IPRI and ACES Director Professor Gordon Wallace said the course shaped “bilingual graduates that can traverse the ideas to industry chasm. These will be the first graduates in an integrated course bringing scientific researchers’ skills into the workplace in an integrated way,” he said.
For future entrepreneur and Australian National Fabrication Facility staff member Adam Taylor the graduate certificate allowed him to learn more about the collaboration between the engineers and the business people. “It’s been really complementary to my engineering degree,” he said.
Furthermore, this program changes the way he approached to everyday problems. “I find myself seeing the potential of everyday things I might have overlooked in the past,” he said. The highlight of the course for Adam was introducing a personalised cancer treatment as part of the course’s innovation. However he emphasised other benefits to be gained from the course ”The other thing I took away from it was the value of networking – the number of contacts I made,” he said. “This was a good chance to get a lot of interdisciplinary contacts … in law, business, HR – I’d definitely recommend it to PhD students.”
Intelligent Polymer Research Institute PhD student Leo Stevens, who also completed the University of Wollongong’s Graduate Certificate in Innovation and Entrepreneurship, added "For a scientist, it can be difficult to step back and see the real-world applications of your research,” he said. “Training in business and entrepreneurial skills has helped make that commercialisation journey much more tangible.”