Enthusiasm and collaboration at ECR workshop on funding and partnerships

On 10-11 October, we hosted a toolkit workshop in Sheffield for early career researchers across the country to support them in taking their funding or business ideas to the next level.

The event was organised with three of the BBSRC Networks in Industrial Biotechnology and Bioenergy (NIBBs): the Biomass Biorefinery Network (BBNet), High Value Biorenewables Network (HVB) and Environmental Biotechnology Network (EBNet), and facilitated by Jo North of The Big Bang Partnership.

Through a series of talks, facilitated discussions, knowledge-sharing and advice clinics, we learnt about developing research proposals and investment pitches; how to approach industrial collaborations; incubating and launching start-ups; legal implications and IP; navigating the funding landscape; and how to network better.

Participants also had the opportunity to book a mentoring session with our expert speakers: Neil Bruce, BBNet Director; Claire Flannagan, PNO Consultants; Yvonne Armitage, CPI; Adrian Higson, NNFCC; Joanna Sparks, Supergen Bioenergy Hub; Jason Hallett, Imperial; Astrid Lorenz, Symbiosis IP; Dhivya Puri, Fiberight; Sonia Heaven, EBNet Director; Veronica Ongaro, BBNet; Angie Bywater, EBNet; and Gail Shuttleworth, HVB.

The facilitated discussions and activities gave participants an opportunity to develop their ideas with peers and get feedback from the expert mentors. Discussions and networking continued over breaks and dinner, with participants establishing new connections and exploring new partnerships.

Patricia Thornley comments: “It was a fantastic event covering an incredible breadth of topics. I was honoured to act as a mentor to support ECRs in developing winning research funding strategies.

“They all brought huge enthusiasm, vision and commitment to the event and I can’t wait to see what transpires from their work in years to come.”

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