Professor Rick Rylance: What starts in the tea room can end in the boardroom' - Postgraduate Study - Postgraduate - The Independent

Professor Rick Rylance: What starts in the tea room can end in the boardroom'

Research councils UK Champion for research careers

In the late 1990s, when Professor Shankar Balasubramanian and his colleague Professor David Klenerman bumped into each other in the University of Cambridge tea room, little did they know that years later their research partnership would develop the world's leading DNA sequencing product, and that their spin-out company, Solexa, would be sold for $600m (£380m), making it the most successful the university had ever seen. That's the power of working in partnership – not only between researchers but between academia and the wider world. It shows the importance of supporting the brightest minds and the best research.

We live in a knowledge economy, and if research is the application of knowledge and skills then nothing is more important than the people who hold that knowledge and communicate it to others. We at Research Councils UK (RCUK) believe it is crucial to develop a seamless way for people to move from being talented undergraduates to postgraduates, where they develop and specialise their skills, and to continue their development as post-doctoral researchers and beyond. But the story does not end there. Research fans out across the economy into diverse destinations and opportunities. What starts in the tea room can end in the boardroom.

A rewarding and challenging research career does not only mean the academic sector. Researchers are highly sought after by business and industry. Recent data show that 94 per cent of doctoral graduates use research skills in their job, whether in academia or other occupations. In fact, RCUK-funded researchers currently work with more than 2,500 businesses from across the UK, and these partnerships can lead to direct employment, spin-out companies or financial support for a PhD studentship.

The point is, research is valuable. It is a national asset that helps the UK grow and prosper. You, who are among the most talented, are crucial to all our futures.

RCUK currently funds more than 19,000 PhD students, and there are a variety of ways in which you can receive support. Typically, the majority of funding is awarded through research grants, which are highly competitive and selected through rigorous peer review. Research project proposals are judged according to the excellence of the research, and only the best are funded. Project proposals can be submitted by individuals or groups of people, and in partnership with other institutions and universities from across the UK and overseas.

Fellowships are awarded to outstanding individuals often shortly after they complete a doctorate to enable them to continue developing their research. Unlike research grants, which are awarded on the basis of a project, fellowships are awarded to individuals on merit.

Another mode of funding involves a PhD student working in partnership with business, industry, charity or civil society organisations, and can often lead to a partnership going beyond the doctorate. Depending on the level of involvement, the partner organisation can have a direct engagement with the direction of the research, and, over the years, postgraduate researchers have worked in partnership with some of the biggest names in UK business, industry and other sectors, including British Airways, Oxfam, Unilever, GlaxoSmithKline, Airbus UK, Rolls-Royce and Procter & Gamble.

The opportunities for furthering your research career are vast and varied, and can open doors beyond the world of academic research. They are certainly worth exploring!

Next month, this column will explain more about the research funding application process, and consider the future of UK research over the next few years.

More information about RCUK can be found at www.rcuk.ac.uk

News
Paper trail: the wedding photograph found in the rubble after 9/11 – it took Elizabeth Keefe 13 years to find the people in it
newsWho are the people in this photo? It took Elizabeth Stringer Keefe 13 years to find out
Arts and Entertainment
Evil eye: Douglas Adams in 'mad genius' pose
booksNew biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Sport
FootballFull debuts don't come much more stylish than those on show here
News
i100
PROMOTED VIDEO
Life and Style
Kim Kardashian drawn backlash over her sexy swimsuit selfie, called 'disgusting' and 'nasty'
fashionCritics say magazine only pays attention to fashion trends among rich, white women
Arts and Entertainment
TVShows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Arts and Entertainment
Hit the roof: hot-tub cinema east London
architectureFrom pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
Travel
travel
News
The ecological reconstruction of Ikrandraco avatar is shown in this illustration courtesy of Chuang Zhao. Scientists on September 11, 2014 announced the discovery of fossils in China of a type of flying reptile called a pterosaur that lived 120 millions years ago and so closely resembled those creatures from the 2009 film, Avatar that they named it after them.
SCIENCE
Life and Style
tech
Arts and Entertainment
Matisse: The Cut-Outs exhibition attracted 562,000 visitors to the Tate Modern from April to September
art
Life and Style
Models walk the runway at the Tom Ford show during London Fashion Week Spring Summer 2015
fashionLondon Fashion Week 2014
News
Kenny G
news
News
peopleThe black actress has claimed police mistook her for a prostitute when she kissed her white husband
Life and Style
techIndian model comes with cricket scores baked in
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Student

Teacher

Negotiable: Randstad Education Sheffield: Year 5 Teacher RequiredThis temporar...

Reception Teacher

£100 - £163 per day + £100 - £163 per day: Randstad Education Leeds: We are a ...

KS2 Teacher

£80 - £100 per day + negotiable : Randstad Education Bristol: Key stage 2 Teac...

KS2 Teachers needed for day to day, long term, permanent roles

£110 - £130 per day + TBA: Randstad Education Reading: Primary Teachers needed...

Day In a Page

Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
How to make a Lego masterpiece

How to make a Lego masterpiece

Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam
'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

Exclusive extract from Janis Winehouse's poignant new memoir
Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

The Imitation Game, film review
England and Roy Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption in Basel

England and Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption

Welbeck double puts England on the road to Euro 2016
Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Pictures removed from public view as courts decide ownership
‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

Donatella Versace at New York Fashion Week