DAS Monthly Employability Seminar: Finding Funding in STEM

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Following the March Department of Applied Sciences Monthly Employability seminar, Sophie, one of our writers, has excellently summarised and captured the essence of the talk delivered. If you are in search for or are suspecting you may need funding in the future, this article is definitely for you. Enjoy and be enriched as you read.

An essential part

Funding. The dreaded F word in the world of science and the topic of the March Monthly Employability Seminar. This talk was hosted by Dr David Fernandez – a primatologist and conservation biologist, and Dr Alex Greenhough – a cancer biologist and principal investigator on projects funded by a number of institutions, as well as being a frequent grant reviewer himself. Both lecturers were well versed in what it takes to be awarded funding, having both received grants from a vast number of various sources.

Places to start

Dr Fernandez started off the talk by explaining the different types of funding available from charities, government bodies and international organisations having various money pots. He then listed the steps for a successful proposal, which, as someone who loves writing lists, is very useful for, and of which I will keep for, any future applications (so that I can satisfyingly tick each section off one-by-one).

Writing a funding bid is all about selling your story. You are probably, and hopefully, extremely passionate about your research proposal and this is more than likely the biggest setback you are facing in launching your project. Use your passion to convince the organisation that this project is exciting, innovative and needed.

Photo by Shane from unsplash.

Things you need

You must have a clearly defined goal that is achievable so funders can easily understand what you intend for this project to accomplish. In addition to this, there needs to be a consistent message throughout; keep your idea simple and strong – don’t let them forget what the project is about.

You also need to demonstrate your ability to prove you can actually conduct the work. Do you have experience on this topic or will you be bringing in collaborators who do? Having experts involved reassures funders that you will be able to achieve what you set out to do. Therefore, if you are just starting out in the research world, using someone who already has a name for themselves will most likely provide you with an advantage. Your budget also needs to be feasible and realistic; make sure to check what can and can’t be covered by the funding and that you can justify every expense you deem as being necessary (you may want to get some insight on this from those who have had experience with funding before).

The final few stages bring the whole bid together by making sure your writing is clear, can be understood by non-experts of this topic, and ensure that you have adhered to the grant application guidelines. This applies even to things that may seem trivial, such as using a specific font size, layout etc. Funding is almost always highly competitive and if you can’t follow instructions, you probably won’t get the funding (first impressions of your application really do matter!). Finally, linking back to the first point, be convincing. You understand why your project is one of the most incredible things in the world, but they don’t, so tell them.

Photo by Clay Banks from unsplash.

A smart approach

Both Dr Fernandez and Dr Greenhough expressed other important factors that are required for a successful funding campaign. One examples of this is finding the right funding body. This may seem obvious, but often projects do not meet all of the funding requirements and so this will waste yours, and the reviewer’s time.

The second top tip was about writing the proposal. These things, like everything in science, take a lot of time. Everything mentioned in your bid has to have a purpose and be completely accurate. There are questions you need to ask yourself: have you met their criteria? Are there any spelling or grammatical errors? Is your proposal reasonable, realistic, and correct? Dr Greenhough reiterated all of these points in his top tips for getting funding and provided us with an insight into how the grants are assessed and why they fail. These were simple, yet crucial, things such as checking if the project has already been done or assessing whether it is unrealistic – such as when someone asked for too little money for their project!

As an undergraduate looking for a Master’s degree, information like this is invaluable. Unfortunately, from personal experience I have found it to be near impossible to obtain funding for a Master’s project. Despite this, I know there will be many times in my life where I will have to spend my evenings calculating costs and filling out forms, trying to persuade people that my project is a worthy investment.

Photo by Andrew Neel from unsplash.

Final thoughts

Finding funding is a long, tedious and potentially frustrating experience. Dr Greenhough touched on the fact that you will get rejections, everyone does, but with everything in life, you have to keep persevering. This is the most important lesson I took away from the talk. Having the structure to write a funding bid is extremely important, but being prepared for reality and rejection is not only necessary, but reassuring to know it’s just an extra hurdle you have to face.

Finally, thank you to David and Alex for taking the time to share their insider knowledge, and to the Department of Applied Sciences for organising such a useful talk.

Thank you for reading.

Written by Sophie Harris

Edited by Jessica Griffith

Sophie Harris


Sophie is in her third and final year at the University of the West of England studying Wildlife Ecology and Conservation Science. She is the creator of Peculiar Pangolins, a blog dedicated to all things pangolins related and has been invited to Uganda to see Chester Zoo’s Giant Ground Pangolin project.

Whilst on a six-month internship monitoring wildlife on a game reserve in South Africa, she fell in love with the world’s most trafficked mammal, the pangolin. After being fortunate enough to see one in the wild, she decided to apply to university, to help these illusive creatures. She was also the creator and President of the Wildlife & Environment Society in my first and second years.

In Sophie’s spare time she can be found in nature reserves, mostly looking for birds to add to her list, or climbing, either indoors or out, depending on the weather.

Note from the editor: Thank you for taking the time to read this article. We hope you feel more informed and assured that whilst the journey to obtaining funding in launch of your project can often take some time, with perseverance, you can successfully secure funding and lift your project off the ground.

As always, we welcome new contributions to our blog, whether it’s by sending us an article or joining our team of writers. If you are interested, please do get in touch with us by emailing ScienceFutures@uwe.ac.uk. You can also connect with us on LinkedIn and Twitter

Until next time, take care and enjoy your summer!

Breaking the Stereotype of an Entrepreneur

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If you’ve ever been curious about entrepreneurship or even wondered how to get started, this is the article for you! Izzy Rodriguez, one of our writers, has written an excellent summary of the key ingredients she needed and the steps she took to running her own business as an entrepreneur. We hope you enjoy the read!

Introduction

To me, a year ago, becoming an entrepreneur sounded like something you would do later in life, with considerable investments and a lot of knowledge on how to run a business. Little did I know that, one year later, I would be running my own business during university – “winging it” and learning as I go. Despite the stereotypes, business, for example, does not require middle-aged men in suits with a company car to be working ‘9-5’ in an office, but creating a profit from a single ‘side hustle’ – that’s it.

Drive and passion

Drive and passion are the two ingredients, in my opinion, required to ensure a business is successful. In my case, I wanted to educate people, young women in particular, on good nutrition and how to lose body fat sustainably.

With the rise of social media, misinformation spreads like wildfire. This happens especially in diet culture, alongside trends recommending new supplements, “detoxes”, and fitness regimes almost every second. Having become a victim of such trends throughout my teens, I felt resentment towards diet culture, which heavily impacts people’s lives and health who don’t possess the knowledge to know what is true and what is not. I decided I wanted to make a positive change and start producing educational content to try and curb the hidden epidemic of eating disorders.

Knowledge

Firstly, I needed a credible qualification and to be educated on evidence-based nutrition. Fortunately, I still had a job during lockdown and was able to save up enough money to pay for an online course.

With the extra time that resulted from the pandemic, I completed an accredited level 4 diploma in nutrition and weight-loss management and became an online nutrition coach. Whilst completing this course, I built up a social media following by posting nutrition facts, recipes and workouts on Instagram. This is where I learnt how powerful social media really was – with its algorithms favouring misinformation and diet trends, gaining followers was a slow, but steady process. 

Learning and adapting

Understanding what does and doesn’t work and why is crucial for any business. In my case, I had to learn how people liked information to be presented, what content was popular and what was not. Followers tended to love my recipes but not my workouts, so I stopped posting workouts. Controversial nutrition videos tended to be more popular than food pictures, so I stopped posting food pictures. The cycle is a never-ending process and the ability to adapt, accept failures and create solutions is not easy, but incredibly important for progress.

Asking favours 

During this process, the biggest thing I’ve learned is not being afraid of asking for help or favours when you need it. Having contacts skilled in areas you are not will help you in building a business.

I was lucky enough to have a friend who designed my logo for free – so I gave him some nutrition advice and recipes in return. I also had a friend whose parents own a gym; I asked them if I could set up an online nutrition course for beginners in cooperation with them. They warmly welcomed the idea (still being developed) and also gave me some valuable business advice. If you ask nicely, most people are willing to help!

Profit


The great thing about this kind of online business is that the costs are low. I also learnt that I didn’t need hundreds of thousands of followers to monetize my business, but just a few who trusted me. Afterall, I can only balance university with a maximum of four clients at a time; no number of followers would change this.

I started to think about how I could make my knowledge and services accessible to more people without giving up more of my time and decided to set up an engaging online course where multiple people could learn about nutrition and ask questions simultaneously. By doing this, I could still dedicate the same number of hours a month, but reach more people and subsequently yield a larger profit. ‘Work smarter, not harder’. 

Time

The phrase “little and often” resonates with me. It’s very easy to dedicate a lot of time to your business in a rush of excitement, but to then burn out a few weeks later.

Try assigning yourself short but regular slots a week to focus on your business idea. With time, it will build up into something far more robust than you could have imagined originally. Additionally, remember you can work when it suits you best. If you work better in the evening, then do it as you no longer need to conform to the regular 9-5 system, allowing it to coincide with university or your other commitments.

Final thoughts

If you have an idea that you’re passionate about and can dedicate some time towards it, this is your sign to do it. Being an entrepreneur doesn’t have to be about making millions, but just generating an income from doing something you love. It might not be easy, but if it has the potential to improve people’s quality of life – including yours, then, in my opinion, it’s worth it.

Thank you for reading.

Written by Izzy Rodriguez

Edited by Jessica Griffith

Izzy Rodriguez

Isabela (Izzy) Rodriguez is currently in her 3rd year at UWE Bristol studying Biomedical Science. She intends to study post-graduate medicine after her degree to eventually become a doctor.

Last year, she set up an online nutrition coaching business which has become very rewarding; she also loves the perks of being self-employed as it fits around university life very easily. Izzy hopes her story of setting up a business during the pandemic will inspire others to do so aswell as a result. She is a big believer in being ambitious and that you can do anything you put your mind to.

In her free time, she enjoys triathlon training and is part of the UWE athletics and cross-country club, and the cycling club which she finds to be a great stress reliever.

From the editor: Wow! It’s really refreshing to hear another person’s perspective on entrepreneurship. It’s also great to see how productive some people have been during lockdown and encouraging that you can still accomplish things, even during a global pandemic. We hope you enjoyed the read as much as we did!

We always welcome new contributions and look forward to new additions to our team, so please do get in touch if you’re interested. To reach us, please email ScienceFutures@uwe.ac.uk. You can also connect with us on LinkedIn and Twitter

Until next time, keep well and safe.

References:

Photo of ‘profit’: https://www.callcentrehelper.com/cost-to-profit-centre-126838.htm

Photo of with ‘clock’: https://www.freepik.com/premium-vector/flexible-working-hours-work-life-balance-focus-time-management_11412207.htm

What Does Entrepreneurship Mean to You?

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In her first article on this blog platform, Isobel Gordon has brilliantly summarised the Department of Applied Sciences (DAS) February Monthly Employability Seminar, featuring one of our very own writers, Joseph Myatt. If you’re intrigued about entrepreneurship and how this relates to you, keep on reading!

Every Sector & Entrepreneurship

The February DAS Monthly Employability Seminar, ‘An Introduction to Enterprise’, was hosted by Callum Usher-Dodd, an enterprise consultant and lecturer at UWE and Joseph Myatt, a second-year biomedical science student and young entrepreneur.

You don’t need to be working in business or enterprise in order to be an entrepreneur. Callum defines entrepreneurship as anything that involves getting an idea, business or project off the ground, and he made it clear that any field of work or any university degree can incorporate a certain level of entrepreneurial activity. He also explained that the skills you gain from enterprise can be beneficial to any future job, in any work type; making the point that employers are always looking for people who can think and behave like an entrepreneur, even if it’s not the main part of the job.

The University of the West of England (UWE Bristol) is trying to ensure that enterprise can be incorporated into all areas of the University and be available to students from all the various degree courses. This is being done in the hope that by 2030, it will evolve into a world-leading enterprise institution. As a science student, I would have never considered myself able to be an entrepreneur, however, Callum makes it clear that no matter who you are, what you’re doing or where you want to go, the skills you can gain from enterprise will always be beneficial to you.

Photo by Clark Tibbs from unsplash.

What do you see?

A simple activity was carried out within the meeting, whereby the listeners were asked to draw what they saw when they thought of an entrepreneur. When asked what they had drawn, many students stated their picture included things like lots of money, businesses suits and IT equipment. Most of the students also admitted that they had drawn a man.

I too fell into this trap and straightaway envisioned the typical billionaire businessmen such as Elon Musk (Chief Executive Officer of Tesla Motors) and Mark Zuckerberg (Co-Founder & Chief Executive Officer of Facebook). However, this rich businessman image is just what the media has portrayed the typical entrepreneur to look like; this doesn’t mean this is what you have to be in order to be one.

One stereotypical image of entrepreneurs that needs to change, is that they are normally associated with men! History has shown us that women are just as capable of entrepreneurial activity, it’s just less well-known and talked about. Marie Curie, for example, managed to integrate the world of science and business into her work with radioactivity. More recently, Nina Tandon, another female scientist, is one of the Co- Founders of EpiBone, a biomedical engineering company that creates bone tissue from patients stem cells for bone grafts. Both of these women are entrepreneurs, yet when we think of the word ‘enterprise’, we don’t associate it with them.

Photo by KOBU Agency from unsplash.

A new perspective?

Entrepreneurship isn’t all about making money and building big businesses. What it’s really about is adding value to other people’s lives and making a difference! One UWE student that has demonstrated this and shown that it’s possible to be a scientist, as well as an entrepreneur, is Joseph Myatt. Whilst studying a biomedical degree, he has founded a site called WRENt, an online site with an aim to make the whole house renting process for students just that little bit simpler.

Joseph admits that he wouldn’t have been able to have achieve the founding of WRENt, if it hadn’t been for the support that UWE offers to young entrepreneurs. In 2020, Joseph was one of the few winners of the UWE Summer Enterprise Scholarship, which offered students who would win, £1,000 to bring their business or project idea to life. Despite the experience of this scholarship being virtual for Joseph, due to the pandemic, he still valued the whole experience and enjoyed being part of a community of like-minded people who he described at ‘doers’. Joseph commented that one the most valuable aspects of the programme was the mentorship that you gain from the staff at the university, as he believes ‘in the early stages, mentorship is more valuable than the money!”.

This scholarship is an amazing opportunity and is open to all students on any course and the project or idea that you pitch, can be related to anything you are passionate about. The skills that you obtain from the summer internship, will set you in good stead for any graduate job or future career you may embark on. If you feel that this is something that you would want to be involved in, or just want to find out some more information, check it out on the UWE webpage.

Photo by Danielle MacInnes from unsplash.

Thank you for reading.

Written by Isobel Gordon

Edited by Jessica Griffith

Isobel Gordon

My name is Izzy Gordon and I am a final year Wildlife Ecology and Conservation Science Student at UWE Bristol. I am currently in the process of finishing my final year research project, studying the accumulation and distribution of microplastic pollution along the South coast of the UK. Having grown up in this part of the UK, I have spent most of my life either in or by the water, and have developed a real passion for marine conservation and ocean science as a result.

This September, I hope to continue my education here at UWE, by studying a Masters in Science Communication. From this masters degree, I hope to gain the skills and knowledge to be able to educate and increase awareness surrounding the problems the marine environment currently faces. I also hope to inspire people to want to make changes that will benefit our ocean. In the future, I would love to be able to influence more young people to consider marine conservation as a possible career, and to help people appreciate just how important this environment is.

From the editor: Thank you for taking the time to read this article. We hope it has widened your perspective on the influence of entrepreneurship in every sector. We also hope it has sparked some inspiration in you, whether to become a full-time entrepreneur or bring entrepreneurship into your own chosen career pathway.

As always, we are keen to have more writers/ contributions, so please don’t hesitate to get in touch with us via email – ScienceFutures@uwe.ac.uk and connect with us on LinkedIn and Twitter.

Enjoy the rest of the week and month!

Take care and stay safe.

Up and Beyond the Labs | From UWE to Space

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Piotr has written yet another excellent article to explore another dimension of science; space. Many scientists dream of doing things on Earth, but if you are interested in expanding your scope and exploring your curiosity, have a read of this article as you begin your scientific journey in space.

The beginning

Biology and Space. Here we go! Launching in 3…2…1…

There is a wide array of disciplines and research areas within biological sciences, and, naturally, there are plenty of career paths that concern themselves with everything earthly. However, there is also yet another path, one that can lead you closer to space and to what may be waiting beyond our habitable planet. Like myself, you may be wondering how one gets from a biology-related course to working in astrobiology or for European Space Agency. Therefore, I will share what I have gleaned from attending January’s Employability Event, From UWE to Space, where Dr Nicol Caplin, Deep Space Exploration Scientist at ESA, shared her own experience in her science journey.

Photo by Richard Gatley from unsplash.

Biology and Space?

A few years ago, I learned about astrobiology for the first time. Any scientist that was described as an astrobiologist appeared to me as some sort of mistic who somehow managed to obtain the title and knowledge that seemed to be imparted within. At the time, I heard little about the discipline, yet I found it intriguing, and I have checked if there is any university offering an undergraduate course in it, yet to no avail. Nowadays, there are still very few dedicated astrobiology courses. However, there are several fascinating PhD programs across the globe. I sometimes happen to mention that I would like to work as an astrobiologist to my friends or family, and what I sometimes hear back spans from ‘Oh, you would like to meet and talk with aliens?’ to my father enquiring about ‘the alien base on the dark side of the moon’ of which he has been informed of its existence by scientists on one of those pseudoscientific documentary series one can find on TV. I then go on to explain what it is that I would most likely do, and a whole new interesting conversation takes place.

Photo by Donald Giannatti form unsplash.

Branching out in science

Astrobiology is a multidisciplinary scientific field and whether you study biological sciences, astronomy, chemistry, or geology, you may be able to find your own niche in this area of work. Nicol studied Environmental Sciences, taking particular interest in plants and radioactivity, and little she knew, she would end up working for European Space Agency (ESA). Unknowingly at the time, certain steps she undertook, enabled her to pursue that path.

Whether you have already set your eyes on the sky and what is beyond, or you’re still searching for what you want from your life and career, I think that Nicol could not stress enough the benefit of making the best of the time you have to complete your degree. Internships were one of the recommendations she made as an option during summertime, as they provided her with invaluable experience. Being interested in plant-related science, she completed an internship with Soil Association, an organic farming charity, in her first year and then with Plant Impact, an agrochemical company in the second year. Another option you might like to consider for your summer is The Summer Scheme, an opportunity to participate in an 8 week summer internship. Not only it will give you a chance to build your skill and confidence, but it is also a paid internship.

Nicol also mentioned another aspect of her career, namely science communication. When studying her PhD, she has decided to pick the Science Communication module, which is great in relation to astrobiology – astrobiology is often a controversial topic, quite complex in its nature and the ability to deliver it to the general public is especially important. Nicol mentioned exciting projects she partook in, among others, Q&A video for school children- Space Rocks, which involved science communication efforts in association with ESA, employing artists and figures from media; and Star Trek convention, where she delivered a presentation about ESA and astrobiology.

Photo by Patrick T’Kindt from unsplash.

Your journey

When it comes to getting your first experience working with European Space Agency (ESA), there are internship opportunities you can read about on ESA’s website, such as ESA Young Graduate Trainees or National Traineeships. However, bear in mind that due to their competitive nature, you may have higher chances to get your spot having completed or nearing completion of a Master’s degree. I do like to think that it is not a rule that is set in stone, and that if there is a brilliant enough mind, they will be able to land their place at such an internship even earlier. Nonetheless, it is certainly an option to consider later as an undergraduate student or aspiring professional.

I have reached out to Nicol after the talk, and she got back to me with a few more tips, putting some of my worries to rest. When starting a degree, especially through a Foundation Year, the prospect of completing it seems dauntingly distant. Nicol reassured me by saying that she herself began her studies with Foundation Year, and similarly to myself, was first in her family to access Higher Education. Being proactive and searching for opportunities throughout the whole studying period will likely yield benefits to those who invest their time and energy.

Photo by Greg Rakozy from unsplash.

Final Thoughts

Considering that astrobiology is so broad, getting experience in many areas will allow you to later put the transferable skills you have gained to your advantage and improve your standings in recruiters’ eyes. Even if you do something that seems unrelated to astrobiology itself, like joining carting or poetry club, or a blogging team, you may still gain skills that could be translated into future roles, such as team working, team management, writing and presentation skills, etc. There are also societies and clubs outside of university that may align with your interests and which you may wish to join, and they are all but an online search away.

If you find yourself not knowing much about astrobiology, or you know someone who is eager to know more, have a look at the following astrobiology primer from NASA: https://astrobiology.nasa.gov/education/primer/ . It outlines current pursuits within the field and is directed at a young scientist who may be interested in this fascinating aspect of science.

Thank you for reading.

Written by Piotr Sordyl

Hello, my name is Piotr (I can assure you it is not as difficult to pronounce as it may seem) and I am a mature, international student on Foundation Year Biological Sciences course. I am originally from Poland, however, Bristol has been my home for over 7 years now (which sometimes makes me stagger when asked where I am from).


I take great pleasure in weaving tales, and so I have been writing and working on ideas for novels. I am interested in neuroscience, zoology, astrobiology, planetary science, to name a few and I intend to use the knowledge gained through my studies to write books, popularizing it to a wider audience.


I run roleplay games sessions for my friends, collaboratively telling stories that become alive in our shared imagination. I am also an aspiring violinist, learning how to take my first steps.

From the editors: Thank your taking the time to read this excellent article from Piotr, a great summary of one of the DAS Monthly Employability seminars. We hope this has piqued your curiosity and expanded your awareness of how much you can do in the sciences.

Please do share with those you think need some inspiration and reach out to us if you would like to share one of your interest on this blog platform. You can get in touch with us via email – ScienceFutures@uwe.ac.uk and also connect with us on LinkedIn and Twitter.

Enjoy your Easter holiday and see you next time!

Think Different, Be Different! Develop an Enterprise Mindset

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Mr Iheanyi Ibe, Enterprise Adviser at UWE Bristol and Coordinator of the Student Ventures Hub recently delivered a workshop on Enterprise as part of the Department of Applied Sciences Monthly Employability programme. Iheanyi gained a first degree in Pharmaceutical Science (BSc) and proceeded to a Masters in Business Administration. He worked in the Biopharma sector for several years before taking a different route into  entrepreneurship  developing expertise in this area and now supports entrepreneurial programmes across different institutions the UK.

So why enterprise and should it matter to you as a scientist?

Typically, students do not understand the term enterprise and automatically assume it is starting or owning a business. According to Iheanyi, it is more than that. He says, “Think of enterprise like a stem cell. ” Stem cells are special human cells with the ability to develop into many different cell types. Enterprise is just like that. Skills that give you the ability to do anything you want to.

It has been defined by the QAA (2012) as “applying creative ideas and innovations to provide practical situations. Therefore, it combines creativity, idea development and problem solving with communication and action.”

For students in the sciences, aspiring scientists, academics, or even those already working in the field, enterprise is very important and should be part of your thinking and your mindset. It is really about how to identify problems and proposing solutions to addressing them.

“There is nothing new about enterprise. In fact, as a species, it can be argued that we exist today because we are enterprising.”

So broadly speaking, having an idea you can capitalise on and can meet people’s needs OR having a business, are both descriptions of enterprise.

Do you need special skills to be an entrepreneur?

The answer is NO!

Iheanyi described a discussion he has with his son about something his son wanted him to do. The nature of the conversation and the outcomes from it indicated that right from an early age, we get to apply different skills that are entrepreneurial in nature. These skills include recognising what you want or need, negotiating and communication.

“The inherent skills you use in everyday life such as negotiating with parents, negotiating with your children (for some of you) and compromising with friends are the skills we tend to take for granted, but use them in our everyday life.”

Does it matter if I do not want to be an Entrepreneur?

It does! Employers are looking for candidates that can demonstrate these skills. “20% of employers reported ‘alarming weakness in skills around team working’ and a similar proportion identified weaknesses in problem solving skills among graduates.”

In a article published in the Guardian, employers expressed dissatisfaction with the quality of some graduates, with a third of companies unhappy with graduates’ attitude to work, citing lack of resilience, self-management skills, cultural awareness, and customer awareness article. In addition, the CEO of Be Wiser Insurance group, added “You would expect that university education would teach some basic business etiquette, and certainly communication skills.”

These are the skills you are expected to demonstrate to employers regardless of your subject area and field of study and these are examples of entrepreneurial skills.

What are these Entrepreneurial skills?

  • Commercial awareness
  • Creative and innovating thinking
  • Prioritisation and time management
  • Problem solving
  • Communication, negotiation and persuasive skills

“These are no different from the skills you gain on your programme through presentations, writing essays, doing assignments, final year projects, team sports and society activities etc. do not underestimate the amount of skills you have gained through each year of your study, many of you are ready to succeed in the commercial world to embark on enterprising projects and initiatives.” – Iheanyi

Do you have the mindset of an Entrepreneur?

The speaker gave an example of people who go to a pub and are comfortable speaking to others, communicating to different folk, however struggle to speak in other settings or unable to do a presentation. This, he described is a problem with “mindset”. For you to succeed in your career, in the scientific world or as entrepreneur, you need to be willing to challenge your mindset, move out of your comfort zone otherwise you would be similar to graduates described by the CEO of Be Wiser Insurance group (“not prepared for the real world of work and often requiring ego-massaging”).

Testing your Creativity – Group Task

The students were put into groups of two to identify how many uses they could find for a paperclip. This was a 2-minute challenge and from the groups (6 in total), the ideas included: (a) a sculpture (b) a back scratcher (c) for cleaning hard-to-reach areas (d) bracelet (e) ear piercer etc.

Challenge to you – How many different uses for the paper clip did you find?

If you are able to think of a use for the paperclip, you have just demonstrated enterprise. Thus, enterprise is having the idea, mindset and action to create solutions to problems. Something you do regularly!

Skills audit

Can you identify what skills you demonstrate or utilise in the following tasks?

  • Writing an assignment
  • Writing a project proposal
  • Delivering a poster presentation
  • Group work
  • Examinations etc.

 Group Exercise

The students were given a task to perform based on this scenario.

 “You are meant on be on a trip to Singapore, what do you need to do before you go, while you are there and when you return?”


We would encourage you to try this task in your own time as those who attended the workshop found it useful to think through the scenario and to identify challenges as well as create new opportunities.

What will you do?

  • Before – this is where you plan
  • During – this is where you learn
  • After – this is where a lot of the reflection is, knowledge is gained and shared

Final notes from the speaker

  • Your personal life is not so different from the commercial world. What matters is your mindset
  • Improving your enterprise skills and your ability to identify and develop opportunities will benefit you whether you pursue a career in academia or decide to move into business or develop your own company. 
  • It is relatively easier to develop ‘Commercial Awareness’ from a technical and scientific background than doing things the other way round.
  • As a student, you demonstrate enterprise in your day-to-day activities, during the degree, general social situations and work experience. What is most important is learning to recognise these skills and articulate them!

If you enjoyed reading this article, please share it with others. Also, if you have an article or topic you would like to share with us, do contact us at ScienceFutures@uwe.ac.uk 

You can learn more about the speaker by visiting Iheanyi’s LinkedIn page here .

For information about opportunities to develop your own business, apply for enterprise grants or for advice and mentoring contact the UWE Bristol enterprise team at enterprise@uwe.ac.uk 

Continue reading “Think Different, Be Different! Develop an Enterprise Mindset”