University of Nottingham
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Good for your career

To mark the ten years of Biotechnology YES, Nottingham University Business School1 carried out an investigation into the career paths pursued by participants during this period. The data used was collected in two parts, the feedback on questionnaires completed by the 1021 PhD students and postdocs who had taken part during this period and a second careers destination questionnaire circulated last year and completed by 156 respondents.

The overwhelming view that emanates from this study is the significance that participation in the Scheme has on the career aspirations of, and the career choices made by, a majority of those who have taken part. The workshops provide excellent networking opportunities with practitioners from the Biotech community – both companies and those involved in the supporting services e.g. patent attorneys, accountants, business and commercial development consultants. It is clear that these opportunities stimulate a realization that there is a multitude of career opportunities for those who seek to move out of the academic environment.

Feedback from the workshops provided some interesting data

  • 40% of the participants showed an interest in a managerial career in industry
  • more than 25% were interested in starting a company, and
  • at 35%, a significant number of participants were looking to stay in academia.

The second part of the survey focused on participants who had taken part in Biotechnology YES in the earlier years from 1996-2002. This revealed that many students had fulfilled their earlier aspirations expressed at the workshops. Of this cohort,

  • 50% had stayed in academia
  • 7% had moved in to administration, including universities
  • 43% had moved to the private sector, of which:
  • 17% worked in business/management
  • 13% were in biotechnology
  • 7% worked in the chemical/agrochemical industries
  • 6% were in the pharmaceutical industry

Comparison of this data with that collected by the Office for Science and Technology2, a few years earlier, was interesting. The latter showed that only 23% of BBSRC funded students went to work in the private sector for their first job. The larger proportion of students and postdocs in the YES participant community moving to this sector suggests that the Scheme may help many young researchers think more broadly when it comes to making a career choice.

1 Investigation of Biotechnology YES Past Participants Career Aspirations and Destinations (1997-2004). Nottingham University Business School: October 2005

2 Science, Engineering and Technology Indicators 1994-2001

Young Entrepreneurs Scheme

  • Haydn Green Institute for Innovation and Entrepreneurship
  • Nottingham University Business School
  • Jubilee Campus
  • Nottingham, NG8 1BB