Do you want to pursue a PhD without leaving your job or perhaps you want to collaborate with industry on research? The Royal Commission for the Exhibition of 1851’s industrial fellowships aim to encourage profitable innovation and creativity in British Industry – to the mutual benefit of the Fellow and his or her sponsoring company.
Dr Jon Otter epidemiologist at Imperial College, London shares his experience of how the fellowship has helped him to progress his career.
“If I asked 10 scientists or engineers whether they had heard of the Royal Commission for the Exhibition of 1851, I would wager that 9.9 would say no. I find this remarkable. It’s an organisation with a fascinating history, and one that does some tremendous work to foster the development of useful, applicable science and engineering research. It has also given me vital support to further my career – and I am proud to be an alumnus.
“The unique thing about the ‘1851 Commission’ is its focus on the interface between British industry and universities. Having spent the first decade of my career working in industry, and more recent years in the NHS / university sector, I know first-hand that there is a great deal of energy, innovation, and money in industry waiting to be productively channelled into useful research. The 1851 Commission offers a range of fellowships and awards that work right on the interface between industry and universities, allowing the expertise of the university to guide the research needs presented by industry.
“I was working full time in industry (for Bioquell) when a letter landed on my desk advertising the 1851 Commission’s Industrial Fellowships. The application process was very straightforward (nowhere near as onerous as for an academic grant) and I was selected to be an Industrial Fellow, in partnership with King’s College London. The award was extremely good news for my employer (paid for half my salary plus university fees and some conference expenses), the university (a FREE PhD), and not least for me (I made full use of the free tickets to the Royal Albert Hall!). The award has also left a legacy in terms of the research that was delivered – this has assisted the company’s commercial operation whilst at the same time resulting in some high-profile publications for the university. Six years later, I came out with a PhD and now I find myself working exactly where I want to be – as an epidemiologist in the field of heathcare-associated infection at Imperial College – with a great deal of gratitude for what the 1851 Commission has done for me.
“If you are a researcher or an employer interested in research in science / engineering, then you should get familiar with what the 1851 Commission has to offer!”
The deadline to apply for the next round of Industrial Fellowships is 28 January 2016.