November 16, 2022, by aczjb1

YES: Demystifying knowledge exchange, innovation and enterprise 

For today’s Global Entrepreneurship Week post, Tracey Hassall-Jones, Manager of YES, writes about the new collaboration with TALENT and welcoming more technicians onto the programme.

During Global Entrepreneurship Week, I want to give a huge shout out to all technicians! Technicians who love their craft and are constantly sharing and disseminating knowledge to promote innovative thinking to benefit society.

Technicians contribute immensely to knowledge exchange, but their role is still one that is hidden and often isolated from the formal knowledge exchange activities that are undertaken within universities. With this in mind, YES felt it was only right to widen its reach, and we achieved this earlier this year by teaming up with TALENT to open up participation in the programme to these technicians who are so vital to the university ecosystem. 

TALENT is a transformation programme funded by Research England and partners, and awarded to the Midlands Innovation consortium of universities, leading change to advance the status of, and opportunity for, the technical community. 

With YES’s 27-year track record, we have truly impacted global entrepreneurship – not only by supporting innovate learning activities across borders, but also through over 6,300 alumni going on to share knowledge of all things business, innovation and knowledge exchange, as well as developing new ventures worldwide. 

Extending the reach of YES has been in response to the momentum building around the commitment to supporting technicians in Higher Education. It has been great to have the first cohort join us this year, benefiting from this unique type of experiential entrepreneurial training and developing important transferrable skills. 

Three of our technicians share their personal encounters of YES and their own distinct reasons to becoming involved. 

“After starting my new role, I discovered that I am now more heavily involved in procurement, providing business cases and setting up small research facilities,” said Russell Wilson, Senior Laboratory Technician in the Institute of Life and Earth Sciences at Heriot-Watt University. “Although the sport and exercise science programme only launched this September, it has become apparent that commercialisation and developing partnerships will play a significant role, especially as our laboratories are in Scotland’s National Sports Performance Centre. YES has offered me the opportunity to develop business skills and gain commercial awareness, which has opened my eyes into to a whole new world of opportunities. It has helped demystify what exactly knowledge exchange, innovation and enterprise mean and helped me identify how these specifically relate to my role as a technician, which I previously believed had little relevance to my job.” 

Sunny Sunshine, Senior Research Technician in the Oncology Department at the University of Surrey, also registered to learn the skills needed to make a business case. “In my department, we operate like a small business, receiving funds from charities to support our work, so I wanted to understand what I didn’t know. We are halfway through YES and I have learned so much already – how the business grows in stages, what investors are looking for, potential exit routes, and return on investment. I hope to set up a service at the University of Surrey over the coming year and feel the skills gained will give me the business foundation I will need to form a business case for support. I am glad to have this opportunity and look forward to the upcoming sessions.” 

“I joined out of curiosity and a desire to meet new people.” said Ross Wilson, Teaching and Research Technician in the School of Biomedical Engineering at the University of Reading. “I recognised that with the skills I possess, and the opportunities afforded by technology there would be ample opportunity to create and develop a business if I wished to in the future. However, I lack the relevant business knowhow and YES looked like a good opportunity to learn such skills.” 

With technicians joining the YES family, we are committed to supporting an inclusive ecosystem for knowledge exchange for the future. 

Please shout loud for all technicians today and for those technicians interested in finding out more about YES we would love to hear from you.

Register your interest for YES23

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