Connect to Collaborate

Identify and connect with potential industry partners to develop grant-funded R&D opportunities.

Who is this programme for?

Connect to Collaborate is an output-focused programme designed for university academics and research staff who want to develop a collaborative R&D project with industry, but don’t have a partner.

Many academics and research staff don’t have the contacts, skills or confidence to engage with industry in a way that leads to collaborative R&D projects. Connect to Collaborate guides participants through a structured process to help them identify, and connect with, potential partners.

I found the course very informative and enjoyed the opportunity to develop my own project in relation to the course material. I feel I have a template, based on the materials provided and the notes I made to develop a commercialisation opportunity in relation to my reserach

Dr Andrew Graham

Teesside University

How does it work?

The programme is delivered for a small cohort (maximum 15 participants), through a combination of workshops and group coaching sessions. 

Everything is applied to your situation, so you will be actively working on connecting with potential partnersThe programme is designed to create outputs that overcome specific challenges academics and researcher staff face in the context of engaging with industry:

What are the programme outcomes?

Participants will realise a measurable change in their knowledge and confidence in critical areas that correlate to applying the innovation process to:  

  1. Personal Industry engagement & action plan.
  2. Increased number of industry contacts.
  3. Initial meetings with industry partners.
  4. Increased confidence in your ability to engage with potential partners.
  5. Better understanding of how to move from interest to grant funded project.

You’re invited to the Connect to Collaborate Taster Session on May 1, 2024 to learn more.

This 60-minute session provides a quick introduction to the programme to see if it’s right for you, and equips you with an immediately applicable framework you can apply to start identifying, and connecting with, potential partner companies.

The programme is delivered as a series of workshops, coaching sessions and self study.  Participants should expect to spend 1-3 hours per week on the programme including actioning what they have taken from each session.

23rd May 2024

10:00 – 13:00 (lunch until 14:00)
In-person workshop

6th June 2024

14:00 – 15:30
Implementation Coaching Session 1

13th June 2024

13:00 – 14:30
Online workshop

20th June 2024

10:00 – 11:30
Implementation Coaching Session 2

2nd July 2024

10:00 – 11:30
Implementation Coaching Session 3

15th July 2024

10:00 – 12:00
Final Workshop

The coaching sessions will involve working with your peers to share activities, learnings and group-problem solve, while the workshops will focus on defining your ideal partner profile, developing a plan for resource-relevant outreach and outlining your next steps and how to access support for the next stage of your journey

Application closes 8th May at 12 noon

There are limited spaces on this programme so capacity is being managed via an application form.

If necessary, applicants will be shortlisted by Innovation Services and the I2Ri team at Sheffield Hallam University based on alignment with R&I plans, availability to attend the sessions and to ensure a balance of applicants.

The programme is delivered by Skillfluence Ltd.

Skillfluence is a UK-based skills development company with a mission to help researchers deliver maximum socio-economic value from their research, while realising their life and career goals. Over the last 8 years they have worked with over 80 universities and delivered programmes for more than 20,000 researchers, academics, PhD students and professional service staff.

Meet the Trainers

Marie Ranson

With a 15-year corporate background, Marie has a proven track record in C-level stakeholder engagement — a vital asset in the competitive research commercialisation landscape. As a professionally trained coach and having navigated learning and development roles at organisations like Deloitte, Teesside University, American Express, and News Limited, Marie is a seasoned expert in interpersonal skills development. 

Committed to fostering personal and professional growth among postdoc researchers, Marie’s sessions empower individuals with the skills needed to excel in both academic and commercial spheres.

Zach Sorrells

Zach has been working in the field of innovation and entrepreneurship for over 15 years.  He’s an experienced trainer, facilitator, coach and entrepreneur and believes in a disciplined, structured and systems-based approach to innovation and business growth. 

He has applied, or taught, this approach in a variety of roles with individuals, companies and organisations ranging from multi-nationals, SMEs, economic development agencies, universities, SMEs, angel investors, startups and high school students.

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