Industrial PhD scheme – Doctoral projects in industry
Companies seeking to enhance their research expertise and activity may apply for funding for a doctoral project.
Under the Industrial PhD scheme, a company collaborates with a university or university college on a doctoral project. The doctoral project is carried out by an employee and must be of clear relevance to the company’s activities.
An Industrial PhD project culminates in concrete research and development results that enhance the company’s core activity, products and/or services.
The company employee receives researcher training with specialised expertise related to the company’s needs and challenges.
The collaboration with a university or university college expands research competency and knowledge for the doctoral candidate and the company as a whole.
Thus an Industrial PhD project benefits at least three different parties:
- The company receives support to enhance its core activities, services and products. The company has the opportunity to expand its expertise within its own specific framework and needs. An Industrial PhD project is also an excellent opportunity to establish or maintain a valuable collaborative relationship with the academic sector, and provides access to the research organisation’s knowledge, expertise and infrastructure.
- The doctoral candidate earns a PhD and obtains researcher training enriched by insight into key business-related challenges along with the research competence to address them. The project provides the candidate with access to invaluable insights within his/her company as well as to the research organisation’s expertise.
- The degree-conferring institution has the opportunity to establish or further develop collaboration with a dynamic company that has unique expertise in its field. Universities and university colleges also gain doctoral candidates that possess a business perspective and insight into private-sector challenges and needs.
It is important that all significant changes to the projects are reported via My RCN web.
Good tips for a well-executed project
It is important that the project is firmly rooted in the company's needs and in the company's management. Internal communication and dissemination of results from the project along the way are important for maintaining interest among colleagues throughout the project period. This also helps the company to make the most of the results and competence enhancement that the project contributes to. It will also help solve challenges that may arise in projects.
Specific tip: Create meeting places where the candidate and/or project manager can communicate research results and involve colleagues in the project. Experiences and useful information from the research project can also be communicated via simple newsletters to colleagues and stakeholders.
A doctoral project is a collaborative project between three parties: the Project Owner (company), the candidate and the degree-conferring institution. As a candidate, you have one foot in several camps, and the expectations from the employer will not necessarily match the expectations of the degree-conferring institution. Therefore, it is crucial to have close cooperation between the company, the degree-conferring institution and the candidate throughout the project period. 3-4 years is a long period, and challenges may arise along the way. Good communication and close cooperation between the employer and the university/university college are therefore necessary.
Specific tip: Clarify the parties' expectations of the project both in advance and along the way. Organise regular meetings, at least once a semester, between the degree-conferring institution, the company and the candidate where you discuss the project's development, results and further progress. The purpose of the meeting is to strengthen cooperation and establish a common understanding of the project.
The Industrial PhD was evaluated in 2013. The results showed that one of the most important success criteria for the project was that the candidate was well integrated into the academic environment at the university/university college. This is central to ensuring the academic quality, and the background for the requirement that the candidate must stay at least one year at the degree-conferring institution.
Specific tip: Participate actively and in relevant academic environments at the degree-conferring institution. Keep track of relevant events, and participate in seminars, breakfast meetings and other activities that are relevant to your professional circle.
Messages at time of print 29 January 2023, 13:59 CET