The PhD and missing skills: capacity and capability building for social science engagement with industry


  • Joanna Margaret Ferrie University of Glasgow
  • Anna Scott Datalab



Business, Industry, PhD, postgraduate training, pedagogy, graduate school


Responding to a call for a national level change around the quality of research teaching to identify and meet industry needs, and to this being interdisciplinary, this paper reports on Business Booster Training. Produced with 3 UK universities, intersecting with knowledge exchange and impact teams and with a national Graduate School of Social Sciences, the training took place over 4 days, at 3 sites, and delivered, incrementally, the skills PhD researchers need to engage with industry: event 1 - to build confidence in use of industry-related terminology; event 2 – to practice translating research ideas for industry; event 3 – to pitch research ideas to actual industry partners. Thirty places were available nationwide, and over 100 applicants from across Scotland. Low attrition (from one event to the next) indicates the quality of the training. The paper will reflect on this incremental strategy as a pedagogic innovation, building relationships between the next generation of social scientists and our business communities. Feedback revealed that interacting with other students, engaging directly with colleagues from industry and finding relevance to their own research and research strategies, were highlights of the training. The training succeeded in improving confidence and skills around working with businesses.

Author Biography

Anna Scott, Datalab

Anna Scott was Knowledge Exchange & Partnerships Manager for the SGSSS-DTP, working with public, private and third sector organisations on the delivery of national industry-focussed skills training initiatives designed to connect doctoral research with policy and practice. Anna currently works for The Data Lab – Scotland’s Innovation Centre for Data and AI.


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