#DIF12 – SFI planning hybrid entrepreneurial PhD programme

23 Mar 2012

SFI's director general Mark Ferguson at the Digital Ireland Forum in The Convention Centre, Dublin

Science Foundation Ireland is planning to initiate a new kind of PhD qualification that will see graduates spend half of their four-year programme in industry with innovative and entrepreneurial companies, SFI’s director general Prof Martin Ferguson said at today’s Digital Ireland Forum in Dublin.

Ferguson is an entrepreneur in his own right and aims to bring his business savvy to bear in making science in Ireland more business-oriented. His university spin-out Renovo is a global leader in the discovery of drugs to reduce scarring and using tissue regeneration to improve wound healing. The company is listed on the London Stock Exchange.

At today’s Digital Ireland Forum, he re-emphasised his ‘excellence with impact’ mantra.

“We will be initiating a new, four-year PhD programme with time spent in industry a core component.”

He said SFI is open to new ideas that will make the pursuit of science more flexible and impactful for businesses.

He said science, like business, is predicated on change and the PhD system needs to move with the times and be supportive of enterprise and entrepreneurship.

“The new PhD programme will see researchers spend half their time in an innovative company which will earn them a third of their credit.”

Go to the Digital Ireland Forum microsite for highlights of the event.

John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years