Monday evening saw the launch of DCU’s ENRICH framework for research students by DCU president, Prof Brian MacCraith. The framework is an exciting initiative designed to foster an enterprising mind-set and enterprise readiness among DCU’s graduate researchers. It encourages students to identify, target and obtain a range of skills which augment their research skills, and ensure they are well prepared for a wide range of careers.
ENRICH was designed in collaboration with colleagues from DCU Business School, the Faculty of Engineering and Computing, INVENT, GSO and the Careers Service. At the launch, Prof MacCraith emphasised the “need to enable our graduates to flourish in society, in the workplace and in their personal lives”. He advised that ENRICH provides a “framework for developing PhD graduates for this age that can flourish in the broader world”.
The event, held in the Business School, Glasnevin Campus, brought together members of the DCU community including the DCU Ryan Academy, INVENT and DCU Alpha, the innovation campus. We were also joined by stakeholders from SFI, the Irish Research Council, IUA, as well as IBM (partners with DCU on a research student internship programme). All were supportive of this exciting and practical initiative which aims to help students navigate in a more positive way, the gap between policy priorities, and the expectations, ambitions and self-identity of researchers.
Key speakers on the night included Prof Lisa Looney, Dean of Graduate Studies and Dr Teresa Hogan, Senior Lecturer in Enterprise Development, DCUBS, who spoke to one of the modules offered in the framework, IP & Commercialisation. Dr Hogan said that the module aimed to give “PhD students a practical introduction to the protection and management of IP in a research environment”.
The research student perspective was represented by Lucca Bernardinelli, a PhD student in the School of Mathematical Sciences, who gave an engaging and inspiring account of his own experiences of an internship with IBM in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. “Starting a new job in a different country with a different culture is a good way to push the boundaries of your comfort zone. Overall, the experience was worth even more than the credits.”
Prof Looney closed the evening by emphasising the importance of providing a flexible framework, “because students start graduate programmes with different levels of professional and enterprise experience behind them”. She said, “one of the things we wanted to ensure was that the framework was flexible enough to accommodate the discipline difference and starting point. There isn’t one size that even fits most, it had to be student driven and flexible”.