By Falko Döring, President of the EIT Alumni Board
On behalf of the EIT Alumni, I was invited to the EURODOC Conference 2018 in Tampere as a speaker on the topic “Research career – a living dream?”. As the title suggests, most participants had an academic background, either as a researcher, PhD candidate, professor or post-doc. They all agreed that the landscape for an academic career is changing and that there is a challenging future ahead of us. While the number of PhD graduates is increasing, the academic career options are decreasing.
To preprare for my talk I listened to my personal network, talking to two PhD graduates who exchanged their academic career for an entrepreneurial adventure. Here, I would like to thank Sandro, CTO of Thermovault, and Alex co-founder of Caala for their inspiring input!
A few things I learned on this journey and I would like to share:
First, PhD candidates gain many competencies through their academic life, which are very relevant in their entrepreneurial adventure, in particular:
- Trust and knowledge in their topic/product/service
- Persistence (Every no brings me closer to a yes – Mark Cuban)
- Communication skills (PhD candidates are always defending their topic to their supervisor, in papers, on conferences)
Second, an external opinion on one’s topic can actually be the trigger to leave the academic path and pivot towards starting your own company. I received feedback from many PhD candidates, that being exposed in depth to one topic feels like wearing blinders to alternatives.
This is one of the benefits of the EIT Alumni. Being part of an interdisciplinary community allows you to step outside your field and gain invaluable expertise from fellow innovators from other sectors.
I took this as my mission for the conference, to encourage PhD candidates to combinine their academic knowledge with industry contacts and venture into the entrepreneurial world.
You can watch Falko's presentation here.
EIT PhD Programmes
The EIT supports the creation of tomorrow’s entrepreneurs and promotes a real change of mindset towards an entrepreneurial culture and attitude. With this perspective, the EIT's various Knowledge Innovation Communities (KICs) have developed their own PhD and Master's programmes that have a very strong focus on the delivery of entrepreneurship and innovation skills.
EIT Climate-KIC PhD Education
All EIT Climate-KIC's Ph.D. candidates work on solutions that either have a clear path to climate innovation or directly support one or more of EIT Climate-KIC's main climate change challenges.Students will participate in the Journey, an intensive climate innovation summer school and can follow up with the EIT Climate-KIC PhD Catapult.
EIT Digital Doctoral School
The EIT Digital Doctoral School educates the technical leaders and entrepreneurs needed in Europe. The EIT Digital Doctoral School provides, as one of the few European academic institutions, industry embedded, market focused industrial doctorates. The Industrial Doctorates bridge the present to the future to lead the digital transformation.
- Read more about the EIT Digital Doctoral School here
EIT InnoEnergy PhD School
Join the sustainable energy revolution and boost your personal and career prospects. Combine your current PhD studies with customised training in innovation and entrepreneurship. Positions throughout Europe. Mobility support included. The EIT InnoEnergy PhD School is tailored for students who have technical excellence together with a drive for Business and Entrepreneurship (B&E).
- Read more about the EIT InnoEnergy PhD School here
EIT Raw Materials PhD education
EIT RawMaterials’ PhD Education strand provides students with an outstanding foundation for their future career. Programmes enable students to strengthen their technical expertise while fostering the entrepreneurial and innovation skills, knowledge and attitudes needed to ensure a sustainable future for the raw materials sector.
- Read more about the EIT Raw Materials PhD programmes here.
Eurodoc’s mission is to represent and consolidate the community of doctoral candidates and junior researchers in Europe in their pursuit of a decent professional life. We aim to be the effective and efficient voice of doctoral candidates and junior researchers at the European level.
Their vision is an ERA (European Research Area) and EHEA (European Higher Education Area) in which doctoral candidates and junior researchers are duly recognised and respected for the essential roles they play.
Published by: Robin in Uncategorised