Innovative research and technological development holds the key to making Europe “the most competitive and dynamic knowledge-based economy in the world, capable of sustainable economic with more and better jobs and greater social cohesion.”1
Clearly, research cannot be carried out without researchers, and it has been estimated that Europe will need to train some 700,000 additional scientists in the coming years if it is to compete with other global players in research and technological development. With changing and evolving demands on society and the economy, researchers is the future are likely to find themselves employed in areas not directly related to their field of study, and will use their research training in many different capacities over their careers. Employers seek people who are not only highly trained, but also highly adaptable and mobile, able to function effectively in a variety of different contexts – both academic and commercially oriented – during their professional careers.
For both those wishing to establish a research career, or those who wish to use a PhD qualification in other contexts, learning about research funding, knowledge management and exploitation as well as academic entrepreneurship are now considered essential “generic” skills training. Although many PhD programmes now recognise this and offer some provision for training, the availability of transferable skills training throughout Europe is very uneven.
The ReMaT project aims to open up access to transferable skills training and encourage a much wider availability and broader take up. This is to be achieved by providing a pilot programme to introduce research and knowledge management skills to PhD candidates in the life sciences. ReMaT workshops have been developed by individuals and organisations with many years of practical experience from academia and industry. The workshops are initially being offered in four locations throughout Europe and are open to PhD students from Europe sent by their host organisation for the purpose of encouraging institutions to develop similar schemes.
1 Lisbon Paper