There is currently a strong demand for excellent and truly interdisciplinary scientists in Universities at both postdoctoral and academic staff levels. Discussion and consultation with our industrial partners, including major UK employers GE Healthcare, PerkinElmer Life Sciences, GSK, Renishaw, and Smith and Nephew, reveals a further strong need for physical scientists trained at the interface with biology and medicine in order to maintain and increase UK competitiveness in this area of rapid growth. These scientists must be able to communicate and research across these disciplines, such that they are flexible, innovative workers who can move between projects and indeed disciplines as company priorities evolve and change. Graduates of our programmes are in demand to fulfill these needs, as evidenced by the career successes of our alumni.
Communication skills and networking
The training provided by the centre equips students with valuable communication skills, and experience communicating across the scientific disciplines and beyond to the general public. The multi-supervisor training approach produces scientists who are ideal facilitators of new collaborations and fosterers of interdisciplinary projects, as evidenced by the success of many of our alumni in academic roles.
Students develop sought after skills and build networks through exposure to our external partners at annual showcase days attended by representatives of many industry and academic organisations; through highly encouraged attendance and presentation at national and international conferences; and through involvement in science communication and public engagement projects. Our graduates carry these advantages into their future careers and are highly valued by both leading academic institutions and in careers outside academia.
Support for business skills training
As well as activities and training organised specifically for Sci-Phy students the university also has extensive provision, through the Business and Graduate Schools, for students to gain skills relevant to their future careers, attendance at which is supported and encouraged by the centre.
Award winning social enterprise founder and centre alumnus
“...the training and the contacts I made have been very useful to me, and presented a valuable opportunity to get thinking about business and the world outside academia.”
IP and transferable skills training is provided to all students in the first year of the programme, and further development of these skills throughout the PhD is encouraged by the support for student attendance at the many courses on offer at the university of Birmingham, such as the Postgraduate Enterprise Summer School, the Leading Academics and Talent Pool programmes, and B-Enterprising workshops. Business acumen
Foundations of an academic career
The training provided by the centre, and the opportunities within the university to gain business and leadership skills result in students developing skillsets which make them very attractive prospects for a number of different employers. However, many of our graduates do go on to careers in academia, and the centre provides ample opportunities to develop the skills required for success in this career, as well as scientific expertise.
Student run seminars give every member of the centre the chance to develop and practise presentation skills in a supportive environment. Many students in the centre use their seminar presentation as a practise run before presenting their work at a conference. The centre encourages and supports all students to attend and present at national and international conferences throughout the PhD, which is a valuable opportunity for students to begin to raise their profile in their field and to make useful contacts for securing jobs post-graduation.
Students presenting at the Transmed CDT conference 2016, the Three Minute Thesis competition and networking in between conference sessions at OSA Biomedical Optics in Miami
Students in the centre also have a strong publication record, being either a first or named author on 2-3 papers during the course of their studies, on average, with some publishing significantly more. A strong publication record is a huge benefit when applying for post-doctoral positions, and thanks to the multi-disciplinary nature of projects in the CDT there is often the potential for multiple papers focussed on different aspects of the work, within each project.