Energy researchers from universities across the UK are being offered the chance to sharpen their business skills in a new national competition organised by University of Nottingham Institute for Enterprise and Innovation (UNIEI) and the Network of Energy Doctoral Training Centres.
The Energy Young Entrepreneurs Scheme (Energy YES) will help energy PhD students to develop entrepreneurial skills that will enable them to solve some of the most serious challenges facing the energy industry.
With a prize of £1000 for the winning idea, the competition follows on from the success of other 'YES' competitions, such as Biotechnology YES which has helped to improve the business skills of over 3500 scientists over 17 years.
Professor Simon Mosey, Director of the Institute for Enterprise & Innovation (UNIEI) at The University of Nottingham, said: “We are delighted to be working on Energy YES, as the challenges society faces in providing sustainable energy are significant.
"At UNIEI, we are helping energy researchers to develop much needed entrepreneurial skills. These are critical, as their ideas will help overcome institutional and market based barriers to the adoption of new technologies.”
Into the Dragons' Den
During the competition, researchers take part in a workshop to develop business plans for the energy sector. Each team develops a plan for a product or service that they pitch ‘Dragons' Den’ style, as though seeking investment. The competition gives the participants the opportunity to develop their business skills in areas such as marketing, finance and intellectual property. It also allows for valuable networking with industry experts.
Neil Robertson, Chief Executive, Energy & Utility Skills (EU Skills) Group, commented: “We work closely with employers to ensure that they have the skills they need now and in the future. Energy YES is an exciting new partnership between academic researchers and industry which will help to address some of the key skills challenges faced by the energy and utilities sector. We are proud to be supporting it."
The inaugural Energy YES workshop will bring together around 50 researchers from all of the supporting partners and will take place on 21 – 24 May 2013. Taking part in the competition is also a team of researchers from the centre on Efficient Fossil Energy Technologies (EFET), based at The University of Nottingham.
Valuable real world experience
Professor Colin Snape from The University of Nottingham, who is the EFET Centre Director and lead for the Network of Energy Doctoral Training Centres, added: “We are excited to be launching Energy YES, our flagship competition. Energy YES will offer our researchers valuable experience and will provide them with an insight into the business world, enabling them to develop skills and advance their careers.
"It will also help them to develop key skills that they will need to become the future leaders of the energy industry.”
The top two teams from the workshop compete in a head-to-head to find the overall winner and will also be given the opportunity to be pitched against finalists from the Engineering YES workshops.
For more information about energy research and the Energy YES competition, join the LinkedIn group, 'Energy CDT Network', or visit the website.
Photo shows: Professor Colin Snape of The University of Nottingham, EFET Centre Director and lead for the Network of Energy Doctoral Training Centres.