Careers webinar proves success

The first careers webinar of the academic year took place on 8th October.

How to apply successfully for grant, how to patent your ideas and how to take your research from the idea to the business stage were three of the main issues covered in the first virtual seminar on career transitions organised by Gates alumni.

The webinar took place on 8thOctober and was organised by Pradipta Biswas, Rose Spear and Maja Milicevic. The keynote speaker was Pat Langdon, Senior Research Associate at the Engineering Design Centre, University of Cambridge, and the panellists were Dan Greenfield, Director of Fonleap Ltd, Cambridge, Andrew Robertson, Chief Policy Officer, BIO Ventures for Global Health, Ivy Chia, Policy Officer at the Council of Private Education, Singapore, and Maja Milicevic, Assistant Professor in the Department of Linguistics, Belgrade.

The aim was to bring together alumni with experience in academia, government, and entrepreneurial start-ups to give advice to scholars about everything from writing funding proposals and securing funding to shifting to non academic careers and entrepreneurship.

Pat Langdon mentioned the importance of conveying research ideas in a clear and concise manner when applying for grants and spoke about the size of grants that scholars should apply for at the start of their career. Andrew Robertson highlighted the specificity of patent law between countries and the strength of University technology transfer offices in taking a technological idea from the concept to business stage.

Dan Greenfield, who recently founded his company, Fonleap Ltd, spoke about the hard work and long hours needed to set up a business, but also of the inspiration from successful companies and the supportive entrepreneurial environment in Cambridge. He emphasised the importance of having support from a business partner, about the UK tax credits system, visa limitations for students, the patent process, and increased opportunities to apply for an entrepreneurial visa.

Maja Milicevic addressed the transition from a developed country to a less-developed country, saying such transitions required a lot of planning and careful review of the regulations in the country of interest. For instance, it took six months for her to validate her degree before she could take up her position in Serbia. She also emphasised the importance of networking. Ivy Chia highlighted the stability of government positions in Singapore compared to contract research in academic positions.

More webinars are planned in the future, possibly combined with face to face seminars. Pradipta Biswas said: “We are proud to bring together a high quality of speakers and panellists for the benefit of alumni and scholars.”

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