Delivering skills coaching to Oxford PhD students 

The leap from being a researcher to an innovator and potential business owner can be daunting – even for the most astute scientist. Gaining an understanding of the core business and leadership skills that any entrepreneur requires – as well as the mindset you need to set-up and grow your own company – is essential.

Helping people to develop their leadership skills is core to our work here at OEC and so we were delighted to be invited to participate in the development and delivery of a new Innovation Strategy for Life Sciences and Healthcare course that is being run by the University of Oxford’s Medical Science Division (MSD), MRC DTP and the Oxford Academic Health Science Centre.

The pilot course, which takes the form of three modules and was initiated by Bryan Adriaanse, a postdoctoral researcher in the Weatherall Institute of Molecular Medicine, includes Leadership and interpersonal skills; Innovation Policy and Entrepreneurship – building a business. It aims to broaden students’ horizons by putting research skills acquired during their DPhil into a broader perspective of the innovation landscape.

We delivered the first of the three course modules – Leadership and interpersonal skills – to 17 students from across the MSD.

Paul explains, “Organisations depend on people working together. This is as true for a high-tech bioscience company as for any other. Graduate student have a high intelligence quotient (IQ) and have acquired a great deal of specialist knowledge and skills (SQ). To be at their most effective in a business, they’ll require adding Emotional Intelligence (EQ) to these other abilities.”

“This interpersonal skills module helps students to understanding themselves and others, develop their influencing skills and the way they work in teams and introduces the idea of leadership. We demonstrate a number of useful models, including the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator, the Five Dysfunctions of a Team, the Brankin Barometer and Action Learning Sets. The course is very interactive and involves small group discussions and exercises.”

Participants found the course really interesting and useful. One of them commented, “What I have learned today has really changed my thinking and I am now more committed than ever to setting up my own company.”

If you’re interested in talking about how we could help your students, get in touch.

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