Early career researchers kick off EIRA’s first residential training course


EIRA hosted it’s first residential training course for early career researchers this month. Academics from across the EIRA network came together for this exclusive training course which was held in Center Parcs, Elveden Forest – right in the heart of East Anglia. Academics from partner institutions who aligned with EIRA’s three core themes of Digital Creative, Artificial Intelligence and Biotechnology were encouraged to apply for a place on the course. Selected applicants were invited to join a private LinkedIn group where they could meet other attendees and make early connections ahead of the course. Attendees also shared lodges at the venue, which aided the atmosphere of collaboration and community.

The training course was delivered by both EIRA and University of Essex staff (including Head of Business Engagement, Rob Walker). Zach Sorrells from external delivery partner, Skillfluence lead the training with a particular focus on commercialisation. Overall, the course covered skills in the following areas:

  • Business engagement
  • Networking
  • Elevator pitches
  • Value proposition
  • IP
  • Commercialising your research
  • Access to funding
  • Making your research accessible to different audiences
  • Social media skills for academics

With 20 academics attending from 4 different EIRA institutions, the group were given an intensive introduction to working with businesses, whilst spending time networking and sharing information about their research areas. There was even time for team building activities, with half the group taking on the high energy challenge of the Aerial Adventure and the other half competing against each other at Target Archery.

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Ultimately, the residential training course allowed for new connections and collaborations to form between EIRA institutions. With time away from busy university environments, people were able to consider, perhaps for the first time, how their research could be of value to businesses and other academics. The group were given opportunities to work together on activities, role play business engagement tasks and research potential businesses they would approach in the future. Another outcome of the course is that EIRA now have a network of academics working across the region who are fully briefed on funding and opportunities available through the project, which they can share details of with their colleagues.


“A fantastic experience all-round. The ECR training was a great opportunity to network and collaborate with other like-minded academics, whilst also gaining some great tips about collaborating with industry.” – Jordan Tsigarides, UEA


With so many academics from EIRA institutions enthused and inspired by the training, it’s hoped that the group will be able to meet again for further networking and discussion on future project collaboration.


“I left the training full of enthusiasm and energy, and with lots of ideas” – Marina Ezcurra, University of Kent