#EIF2020 I 3 days of festival highlights

The European Innovation Fest is one of the flagship events of PhD Hub. The very first edition of the EU-wide festival was organised online on 14, 15 and 16 September 2020. 400 early-stage researchers (ESRs), researchers and industry stakeholders including big to small-size enterprises and public organisations took part in the 3-day celebration of research and innovation.

3 days of festival highlights and takeaways

Picking highlights from our jam-packed programme was not an easy task, but here they are:

★Monday 14 September: The PhD thesis pitches were one of our favourite parts of the event, being both exciting and innovative. 19 PhD candidates and graduates competed in 3 different categories – the competition was fierce. Congratulations to the winners! This year’s edition also featured Work Field Visits together with Indra, Municipality of Thessaloniki and PMMH-RI – an interesting format allowing participants to chat and learn more about one’s company research and innovation projects and processes.

★Tuesday 15 September: The day was dedicated to knowledge sharing and coaching between early-stage researchers with valued contributions of Eurodoc members and PhD Success (an interesting platform offering peer-to-peer support to PhD candidates) on transferable skills, open science and mental health – three very relevant topics that may change your perspective on planning your career within or outside academia as well as conducting research.

★Wednesday 16 September: Remarks raised by the high-level speakers from EUA, Madri+d and Docmob EU project highlighted the importance of adopting new strategic approaches (hybrid and online) to PhD education and training in the wake of the covid-19 pandemic. Even now, the international dimension of doctoral programmes is still relevant and matters greatly to pave the way to a more robust European Research Area. The closing co-design discussion on the future of the PhD Hub showcased the online platform, notably the soon-to-come additional feature Training offers” on transferable skills for ESRs and an easy and widen access to the platform.

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Tap into industry-driven opportunities

Powered by the PhD Hub project, the European Innovation Fest successfully promoted research and innovation but how can ESRs transfer more systematically their knowledge to industry and society? Here are a few tips that may help you get started:

  1. Work on your business talk/pitch: Academia helps you get prepared to present your research and improve your public speaking skills but how trained do you feel when it comes to selling your research to potential investors? Can you make yourself shine in the eyes of your wanted employers? Prepare a 5-minute elevator pitch in which you lay down the most interesting findings of your research and the innovative component (value proposition). Keep in mind it should be fairly easy for people without great expertise in your field to follow and don’t forget to present the context and market opportunities.
  2. Boost your transversal skills: Unlock your full potential – you are acquiring a lot of expertise and competencies during your academic time. Transversal skills are greatly valued in the labour market, boosting them will not only make you be more employable but grow on a personal level. Check the 2018 Eurodoc report on transferable skills.
  3. Join high-impact events where business and research meet: These types of event can help you both gain valuable practical experience as well as get in touch with interested partners or peers from different disciplines. Quite often, the prize pools are attractive and can help you scale up your value proposition – take for example the PhD Hub Hackathon, BCU’s Innovation Fest or any real-life problem-solving workshops. Challenge yourself!
  4. Embrace interdisciplinarity: Too often researchers are isolated. Breaking the silos in research and embracing interdisciplinarity can boost your creativity and increase your innovative and entrepreneurial mindset. Find likeminded researchers on phdhub.eu.
  5. Look for co-operation opportunities with industry: It is not easy to find relevant, reliable or interested industry partners to collaborate with. Use the PhD Hub platform to boost your chances to find partners, continue your passion and match your research interests with other users.

Congratulations to the winners – EIF2020 PhD thesis pitching sessions

The two top best value propositions were awarded to:

  • In the Bioengineering category with the participation of Medtronic Iberia:
    • 1st Anastasia Ntracha, Aristotle University of Thessaloniki
    • 2nd Nitin Satpute, Universidad de Córdoba
  • In the Green city development category with the participation of Pheno Horizon:
    • 1st Paweł Jarosiewicz, University of Lodz
    • 2nd Elżbieta Mierzejewska, University of Lodz
  • In the Green technologies’ category with the participation of Hellenic Petroleum:
    • 1st Daniel Santamargarita, University of Alcalá
    • 2nd María Gallego, University of Alcalá