Transferable Skills Workshop TSW3

This Transferable Skills Workshop is organised jointly by projects FONTEREAL-NETMOCCA and WON, with additional selected participation of students from MEFISTA, POST-DIGITAL and  Aston Institute of Photonic Technologies.

The aim of this 3-day workshopis is to give an overview of Entrepreneurship, Project Management and Science Communication, conveying their broad principles and cover methodes used to achieve their objectives. Due to COVID-19 the workshop will be helt entirely online in an interactive format allowing group work and high-level discussions with experienced facilitators.


22-24th March2021 virtually and online (due to the COVID-19).

NOTE: All times are local Brussels/Paris/Berlin/Rome time.
Please check time-differences to your own location.

A participation link will be emailed closer to the time

Day 1:   Mon 22 March 2021

Entrepreneurship Facilitator: Warrick Harniess of ‘ Scandinavia Stories
08:00-12:00 Session 1: Designing the Customer Experience (4 hours)

Introduction (45 minutes)
• Personal introductions
• Explanation about how the two half-day sessions will work (participants work in groups of 4-5 people on a series of activities related to growing an IP-rich agri-tech startup)
• Introduction to the case study (AgriSensaur)
• Introduction to the Business Model Canvas framework

Activity 1: Understanding Customers (45 minutes)
• Introduction to customer segmentation
• Break
• Participants complete customer persona activity in their groups

Activity 2: Mapping the buying journey (45 minutes)
• Introduction to customer journey mapping activity
• Participants complete customer journey mapping activity in their groups

Activity 3: Designing a brand and a business model (45 minutes)
• Introduction to brand design and business model design
• Break
• Participants complete brand design and business model design activities in their groups

Presentations and discussion (60 minutes)
• Each groups presents a short summary of their output from the session’s activities
• Participants will be encouraged to ask questions of one another, particularly about the differences in decisions between groups
• I will also answer any questions participants may have

13:00-17:00 Session 2: Designing the Operating Model (4 hours)

Introduction (30 minutes)
• Recap on session 1, including reminder of the case study
• Overview of session 2

Activity 1: Creating the company value chain (45 minutes)
• Introduction to value chain activity
• Break
• Participants complete value chain activity in their groups

Activity 2: Staffing the value chain (30 minutes)
• Introduction to organisation structure design activity
• Participants complete organisation structure design activity in their groups

Activity 3: Preparing the pitches (85 minutes)
• Short overview of how to use the output from the two sessions into a financial plan (for information only)
• Introduction to pitch template and how to fit their output from the two sessions into a story-led pitch
• Break
• Participants create their 5-minute pitch in their groups

Presentations and discussion (60 minutes)
• Each group delivers a 5 minute pitch for their business, using all the ideas and insights they’ve generated over the two sessions
• Participants will be encouraged to ask critical questions of the other groups, particularly about the assumptions they’ve made regarding the businesses they’ve designed
• I will also answer any final questions participants may have

Day 2:   Tue 23 March 2021

Project Management Facilitator: Dr Robin Henderson


Project Management: Your PhD and Beyond

This interactive workshop will explore the practical application of project management to research projects. Working through a project lifecycle we will explore:
• How to work with collaborators and stakeholders to define project success
• How to effectively plan projects taking into account the iterative nature of research
• How to pre-empt issues and risk manage the project
• How to assess progress and resolve issues with the project.
Throughout the workshop we will discuss how the same skills that can be applied within research can be applied to future projects that participants may undertake both within and beyond academia with a variety of stakeholders including in industry, business start up and public sector.

Key topics explored:
• Definitions: projects and project management
• Brief introduction to the project lifecycle (define, plan, execute, close) and agile approaches to project management
• Defining project success – how to work with stakeholders to define a clear view of project success. For PhD students we use an activity focussing on defining success for their PhDs with stakeholder views including funders, collaborators, and supervisors.
• Working effectively with project stakeholders – how to set up meaningful contracted relationships with the stakeholders within the project with a focus on discussing and agreeing expectations.
• Project planning – we use a “Rolling Wave” approach to planning where the high level plan is developed and then the detail is added as the project progresses. This is very similar to Agile and offers a good planning process which works effectively for research. Within the planning process we would explore:
o How to develop structured breakdowns for the work.
o Putting together timelines.
o Identifying risks and how to manage these.
o Signpost to budget management, and research data management requirements
o How to effectively share the plan.
• Project control – methods to assess progress and techniques to address issues on the project. Dependent upon requirement we can also slip in a bit of time management here.
• Project close out – capturing lessons learnt and end of project knowledge management

Workshop approach:
A blend of plenary input and lots of small group discussions (project success), group work (identifying and mapping stakeholders, work breakdown structures, risk management), and signposting to additional resources (including project management tools, sector specific resources, project management best practice).

Day 3:   Wed 24 March 2021

Science Communication Facilitator: Prof John Dudley
10:00-12:00 Science Communication for Early Career Researchers
Effectively communicating science to different audiences is essential for all researchers. This workshop and open discussion will look at what makes effective science communication to a variety of different audiences.


Warrick Harniess is the founder of Scandinavia Stories Ltd, a learning and development consultancy that specialises in marketing-communications and business start-up support. He regularily teaches at UK universities such as University College London, Imperial College, University of Manchester, University of Southampton, University oh Hull, University of Liverpool, University of Southampton and University to name but a few.

Warrick learned his craft during a ten-year career at Pearson Education, and as a lifelong musician inspired by punk rock and the do-it-yourself ethos. Warrick’s book, Red, White and Radical: What Organisations Can Learn About Change from the Rise of American Conservatism was published by Routledge in 2020.


Dr Robin Henderson is a Higher Education consultant with a specific interest in enhancing institutional research capacity through developing researchers and research leaders. Through his work with over a dozen research intensive universities he has a deep knowledge and understanding of the challenges academics and researchers face in undertaking world leading research and regularly works with PhD students, PDRAs and academic staff.

Robin facilitates around 130 workshops each year with a mix of training (focussing on leadership and research management) and facilitation (focussed on the development of strategy and research themes). Before working as a consultant, he was a postdoctoral research fellow and lecturer in the School of Engineering at the University of Aberdeen. Whilst in academic roles he published over 15 peer reviewed research papers and was involved in grant capture of £700k. Much of the research work he undertook was funded by industry and resulted in several innovations which were implemented by industrial partners.  He currently teaches on two MSc programmes linked to project management.


Prof John Dudley does not require an introduction to students of Photonics! Having a long string of acronyms to his name, John Dudley PhD FOSA FEOS FIEEE FInstP FSPIE DSc h.c. Hon FRSNZ received B.Sc and Ph.D. degrees from the University of Auckland, New Zealand in 1987 and 1992 respectively and is Professor at the University of Franche-Comté in Besançon, France.

He has made particular contributions in the fields of ultrafast optics, supercontinuum generation and the science of rogue waves, and has published over 500 contributions in journals & conference proceedings and delivered over 120 invited talks at major conferences.  His research has been extensively cited (14700 times Web of Science; 23000 times Google Scholar) and his h-index is an impressive 59/63/71. He has been awarded numerous scientific prises for his work (Harold E. Edgerton Award of SPIE, R. W. Wood Prize of OSA) and been elected an Honorary Fellow of the Royal Society of New Zealand Te Aparangi.

Apart from his scientific accolades,  John, an SPIE Senior Member, is known as a thought leader in his field as well as for his dedicated outreach and science-focused communication in the public sphere. As chair of its steering committee, he was instrumental in creating UNESCO’s International Year of Light and Light-based Technologies for 2015.