We are permanently OPEN to receive expressions of interest and applications from early career academics from all faculties to start anytime from now, 2022!
This is a unique and flexible opportunity for early career academics (PostDocs and Lecturers) to explore outside the lecture theatre and/or lab and take part in a programme of impact, knowledge exchange and commercialisation activities within Innovation Strategy. The fellowship will provide you the opportunity to acquire commercial skills, develop business acumen and networks, and gain valuable experience for career development through on-the-job learning and dedicated training.
Please email your questions, interest, and applications to email@example.com (link to download the application form is at the bottom).
Due to the success of the fellowship we are expanding the offering even further and in collaboration with both Dr Andrew Rogoyski (the Surrey Institute for People-Centred AI) and Dr Tamsin Woodward-Smith (ESRC IAA Manager). This will be our third cohort of fellows. In 2020 (our pilot year) we had two fellows, both from FEPS; in 2021 we have five fellows across all faculties.
Impact, knowledge exchange, and innovation are increasingly important from a UKRI and government perspective (e.g. HESA, KEF, Impact ranking), and an important part of development for academics in terms of achieving research funding and career mobility. Despite this, historically awareness of innovation (and therefore the opportunity to gain key skills) has been limited to a few.
As a Commercialisation Fellow, you will work on real projects within the Innovation Strategy team and develop solutions to improve how the University supports our researcher community through collaborating with businesses, commercialising intellectual property and increasing entrepreneurial activities - see last year's projects here (Surrey SharePoint). During the fellowship, there will also be opportunities to connect with corporate partners, investors and entrepreneurs, and you will have the dedicated time to explore and develop your own skills, networks and pathway to impact.
Note: you do not need to prepare or present a proposal. If you do have research or ideas of your own you’d like to cultivate, then that is a bonus and we’ll happily support you during and after the fellowship.
This is a highly flexible internal secondment that you can commence anytime from now, 2022 e.g. you can start in May, June, July…whenever is best for you. (See Funding below for more details.)
- Develop a practical understanding and application of Impact and Knowledge Exchange, and how it is critical for both research and innovation
- Hands-on experience with real projects across technology transfer, industry partnerships, and enterprise and incubation
- Comprehensive training covering spin-outs, licensing, intellectual property, contracts, industry collaborations, negotiation and more
- Culminates with a project chosen by the Fellow to apply their new knowledge and affect change within their department and/or faculty
- Engagement with broader Faculty/Departments in addition to your own research group
What did the 2021 Cohort say?
Before beginning my Commercialisation Fellowship, I probably would have defined innovation as simply being curious and trying new things to ultimately come up with new ideas, processes, materials, products, etc. A month into the Fellowship, I can certainly see that novelty alone is not what defines innovation. While novelty is still a core part of innovation, successful innovation should include strong motivations, such as benefiting society, and that the pathway to impact is a part of innovation itself. A novel idea alone is not enough. Innovation, therefore, should be at the core of university life, in both teaching and researchDr Michael Short, Lecturer of Chemical and Process Engineering
It [the fellowship] will provide you with a great insight into how the commercialisation of research works, who to talk to, why commercialisation is important and why you should care. It will also give you some much needed dedicated time to explore and get involved in a range of projects that could link with your own research interests and goals, allowing you to produce future commercialisation ideasDr Emily Corrigan-Kavanagh, Research Fellow in Design Research
Usually, you think of an idea and then do research around it. But now I am beginning to see how ideas can be shaped by potential adopters (industry) and I am looking forward to applying the soft skills I have learnt in future research developmentDr Femi Adeyemi-Ejeye, Lecturer in Video Technology
I have massively expanded my business lingo – pivot, segments, return on investment! I have spoken to about 15 different stakeholders which has been really insightful and honed my communication skills. I was anxious starting as I find business and innovation all quite overwhelming, but that has settled somewhat. I thought engaging with stakeholders would be a lot more stressful – most are really nice and just want to helpDr Zoe Harris, Lecturer in Environment and Sustainability, NERC Industrial Innovation Research Fellow
I have learned that innovation is a long process, and that you need to start thinking early about who could help you, and how to get in contact with them. It takes time to build relationships with people in industry. I have learned a lot about writing Innovate UK bids, particularly how they need to be business focused in terms of how they are writtenDr Andrea Darling, Postdoctoral Researcher
Checkout these articles for more details about their experiences:
What did the pilot 2020 Cohort say?
[Matt] “The fellowship changed my perspective about how my research can be applied in the real world and whether there is a route to market!”
[Stella] “He [Tech Transfer Manager] was a great manager/mentor for me. In every opportunity he had, he got me involved in various projects to get the maximum out of the fellowship I really appreciate his guidance and learned many things from him!”
This fellowship is currently funded by the EPSRC Impact Acceleration Account (IAA), which aims to support knowledge exchange and the generation of impact from research. The funding will also be supplemented through other IAA's and the AI Institute as interest and eligibility allows.
The programme will buy out your time on your current salary and will be managed as a secondment.
Fellowships are part-time and their recommended duration is between 3—6 months.
If you are a PostDoc employed on a research project and its deadline truncates this fellowship, we are very willing to support your request to the relevant Research Council for a research deadline extension for you to accommodate the fellowship.
You should consider several aspects of your fellowship, namely the number of months duration, FTE commitment and start date (labelled below as A, B and C, respectively) depending on your circumstances and teaching/research commitments, here are a few illustrative examples:
- A-month programme (B FTE) from C 2022
- 6-month programme (0.5 FTE) from April 2022
- 6-month programme (0.4 FTE) from April 2022
- 4-month programme (0.75 FTE) from June 2022
- 3-month programme (0.8 FTE) from July 2022
To ensure you and the Innovation Strategy gain the most possible from the fellowship, we recommend a minimum commitment of 0.4 FTE (i.e. 2 out of 5 working days) for at least 3 months. You can do 0.2 FTE. If you think you need less, we are always open to discuss this further with you, just get in touch.
A travel budget may enable travel to meetings and develop relationships and networks e.g. with businesses, catapults, investors, KTN, etc. (government restrictions permitting). All or part of the fellowship may be delivered online.
You need to be a lecturer or researcher employed by the University of Surrey, with the right to work in the UK for the duration of the Fellowship. This fellowship is not intended to support either a visa application, or visa extension.
We welcome and encourage all ECRs from all faculties irrespective of their research grant funder.
Successful applicants will have and be able to demonstrate two critical aspects:
- Motivation – interest in impact generation through industry collaboration and/or commercialisation of research
- Capacity – time to commit to this fellowship
This fellowship is aimed at early career academics who are within 7 years of completion of their PhD (not including any breaks from employment) however, don’t self-filter if you are past this. We want to accommodate all and we’re keen to hear your interest or concerns.
How to apply
We are OPEN to receive expressions of interest and applications from ECRs based in all faculties for the new 2022 Cohort! Email your questions and interest to firstname.lastname@example.org
Please note that approval from your Line Manager or Head of Department will be required for the application to be considered.