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Why are transferable skills courses critical for your ITN proposal success?

1st November 2019 at 2:23 pm

Are you currently preparing a grant application for an Innovative Training Network (ITN) under the MSCA-ITN-2020 call with a submission deadline on 14 January 2020? Be it a European Training Network (ETN), a European Joint Doctorate (EJD) or a European Industrial Doctorate (EID), transferable skills are a critical element of your training programme.

Why are transferable skills courses “mandatory” in ITN training programmes?

Firstly, the Early Stage Researchers (ESRs) to be recruited in your ITN need to be prepared for their future careers in academia, industry and other private and public sector organisations. Research skills alone will not enable them to make the cut. Complementary skills are required to ensure they enter the job market as competitive job applicants.

Secondly, the acquisition of transferable skills represents one of the seven Principles for Innovative Doctoral Training. Following these principles will strengthen your entire project and also convince the reviewers of the high quality of your ITN training programme.

Thirdly, the need for equipping your ESRs with transferable skills during the project implementation is explicitly mentioned in the “Guide for Applicants”. Indeed, on page 8, it states that “These programmes should respond to well-identified multi- and inter-disciplinary needs in defined scientific or technological areas, expose the researcher to the academic and non-academic sectors, and offer a comprehensive set of transferable skills relevant for innovation and long-term employability (entrepreneurship, commercialisation of results, Intellectual Property Rights (IPR), communication etc.)”.

But what are transferable skills?

How are transferable skills defined and how can the ESRs acquire these in your ITN? According to the European Science Foundation “Transferable skills are skills learned in one context (for example research) that are useful in another  (for example future employment whether that is in research, business, etc). They enable subject- and research-related skills to be applied and developed effectively. Transferable skills may be acquired through training or through work experience”. Examples include project management, organization, communication, knowledge of ethics best-practices and regulations, sound understanding of Intellectual Property Rights, teamwork, etc. Business and entrepreneurship skills, while not always strictly considered as transferable skills, will also be an asset to help doctoral graduates be more attractive job applicants for industry positions.

What transferable skills courses can accelopment offer?

We at accelopment strongly believe that ESRs with strong complementary skills are a real asset to the job market and have great career perspectives. For this reason, we have been supporting many ITNs over the past decade and offering three types of transferable skills workshops for hundreds of ESRs. These are:

In 2019, for example, Jacqueline in our team gave a talk on “science communications” in the first annual LightDynamics Weeks in Bologna and Jeanette, our CEO, gave a one-day workshop on “EU funding opportunities and proposal writing” at the ImmerSAFE TechDays in Rome.

To provide such courses, accelopment is typically involved as a Partner Organisation within the network. Our course(s) is then briefly described in the proposal document (Part B1), and our partner profile and Letter of Commitment are included in Part B2.

If you are interested in having accelopment involved as a Partner Organisation providing one of the above mentioned workshops, please contact us as soon as possible, Jacqueline Strehler will be happy to help with your enquiries. Additionally, if wished, we can provide project management and dissemination support. More details are available here.