Queen's helps PhD students become business leaders

Queen's helps PhD students become business leaders

Students engaged in the team cookery challenge at James Street South restaurant as part of the Innovation Academy

Queen’s recently played host to PhD students from three universities as part of a joint venture to help them develop the skills they need to become the business leaders of the future.

Seventeen PhD students from Queen’s, University College Dublin and Trinity College Dublin spent a week in Riddel Hall, under the tutelage of the Leadership Institute, for a module in Leadership Development as part of the Innovation Academy.

The aim of the Innovation Academy, which is a joint venture between the three universities, is to give PhD students the entrepreneurial skills they need to be able to best exploit opportunities arising from their postgraduate research. Modules are hosted by all three partner institutions, and at the end of the process the students receive a Postgraduate Certificate in Innovation and Entrepreneurship.

Professor Eileen Harkin-Jones from the School of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering is Course Co-Director of the Innovation Academy. She said: “The Innovation Academy provides a fantastic opportunity for PhD students to gain the practical experience they need to become an entrepreneur. It is also very encouraging to see the three universities coming together in partnership to provide this opportunity for their students.”

This is the first year Queen’s has hosted a module of the Innovation Academy, and the theme of Leadership Development seemed like the natural topic to cover given the expertise available at the Leadership Institute at Queen’s. Feedback from the students was extremely positive.

Susan Dick, a PhD student in the School of Chemistry and Chemical Engineering at Queen’s, said: “The module was really challenging and enjoyable. I gained a lot of insight into my own leadership style and how to bring about the best performance in others.”

If you would like to find out more about the Innovation Academy, please contact Richard Walker in the Research and Enterprise Directorate, or 028 9097 2598 or visit

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