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Networking

Here you can find several networking activities developed by the Graduate Spirit participants. One of those is to support meetings and networking opportunities for PhD candidates with alumni or representatives of companies, to promote their career opportunities outside of academia. A second is to cooperate with external partners to deliver joint activities. A third is to establish collaborative projects with private companies that help both PhDs and companies gain insight into one another’s approach to concrete issues.

Activity: Support meetings and networking opportunities for PhD candidates with alumni and/or representatives of companies, to promote their career opportunities outside academia. One example takes place at the University of Leuven (DSHSS). Here, YouReCa organizes regular PhD career talks where Doctorate holders who have moved away from academia, share their experiences with PhD candidates. These PhD candidates are also encouraged to extend their network. Another example is the PhD Career Day at EGSH in Rotterdam. This is an event consisting of a combination of presentations, skills workshops and private consultancies, aimed at stimulating PhD candidates to start thinking about their intersectoral career opportunities in time.A third example are the so-called ‘Doctor’Preneuriales seminars’ at UVSQ (Paris-Saclay). As part of the two sessions of the ‘Doctor’Preneuriales seminars’, PhD candidates are divided into multidisciplinary teams that all face two challenges. They have three days to propose new solutions to address major societal issues, thus focusing on intersectorality. Next, they have four-and-a-half days to propose a strategy of valorisation of technologies developed in their thesis or within another framework by the participants themselves. These seminars also provide the PhDs with an intersectoral, professional network.A fourth example is the LinkedIn group at UVSQ (Paris Saclay), called ‘PhD Candidates & Alumni University Paris-Saclay’. It was created in 2018, with nearly 2500 members. In the survey on the employment of doctors, it was found that 32% of doctors found their first job via a LinkedIn network, which confirms the importance of these professional social networks.Finally, since 2015, UVSQ is also partner in the organization of the intersectoral PhD Talent Career Fair. It is organized at the Ile de France. In 2015, the forum welcomed sixty corporate stands, then eighty in 2016 and finally a hundred stands in 2017. All spaces made available each year were booked. In 2017, the PhD Talent association became a start-up and no longer needed a grant from Ile de France’s doctoral colleges to organize the ‘Career Fair’. During these three consecutive events, doctoral students from Paris-Saclay University represented the largest contingent of PhD candidates at the Ile de France. Training is offered by the doctoral college, upstream, to help them prepare their interviews with companies and make the most of the day.

Activity: Cooperate with external partners to deliver joint activities. One example is the planned cooperation between the University of Helsinki with DEMOS Helsinki, an independent think tank. DEMOS works to solve societal problems and challenges, aiming for a democratic and sustainable society in which everyone can shape the future in personally meaningful ways.Another example is also from the University of Helsinki: a planned course with the UH Business Team.

Project: Establish collaborative projects with private companies that help PhD candidates become familiar with concrete problems companies are dealing with, while the companies gain new insight into the scientific process and the way it may benefit their enterprise. An example is the so-called COHU project of the University of Helsinki. In this co-creation model, five companies and seven researchers from the humanities and social sciences work together in six workshops throughout the spring. Together, participants will define interesting research questions, to select a number of them for further elaboration and solving. The project is less about finding an ideal solution than about learning to discuss across disciplines and creating a common language. The project´s designers aim for a win-win situation: the researchers become familiar with concrete problems the companies are confronted with, while the companies gain new insight into the scientific process and what it can offer. COHU will help create new skills for the facilitation of dialogue processes. This new information will be published in the form of a handbook that will help the University to implement the model in its efforts to collaborate with industry. As any co-creation project, COHU will also build connections among its participating companies and researchers. These network effects are an important part of the impact of the project. They will lay the foundation for collaboration between research in the humanities and social sciences, companies and public organizations.

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