Low Cost High Value Engineering Placements

I attended a really interesting Medtech event in Dundee this week. Speakers covered the initiative in Manchester to integrate Medicine and Innovation Technology www.mimit.org.uk, the latest developments at SHIL which is the commercialisation arm of the NHS in Scotland and which is now ISO 13485 certified www.shil.co.uk and some new government initiatives including the new OLS Blueprint. There are some attractive opportunities for companies of all sizes in these various initiatives and it is well worth SMEs exploring the websites with open minds.

The presentation which really interested me however was about the EngD offered by the ISLI, an academic collaborative venture of Edinburgh, Glasgow, Strathclyde and Heriot Watt Universities. While offering the academic rigour of a PhD the course is enhanced by a three year industrial placement during which the student works as part of the sponsor’s R&D team on one or more projects. For the student there is the opportunity to truly understand how research is applied and must respond to real life issues, while gaining genuine work experience and a slightly higher stipend. The employer gets a pretty much full time highly motivated employee for only £10.5 k pa without any headcount implications, all the IP created by that student during the placement and the opportunity to build a closer relationship with the academic community. There is no size limit on the companies that can sponsor a student and about 50% of sponsors have been SMEs. A further attraction for them is that although there is a three year commitment the company is not obliged to maintain the same preject throughout the period and the student can offer a portfolio of research for their degree. More information can be obtained from Sian Williams at sian.williams@sli-institute.ac.uk or on the website www.sli-institute.ac.uk

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