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About

Postgraduate Certificate
in Innovation & Entrepreneurship
( Jointly awarded with QUB )

Tangent, Trinity's Ideas Workspace offers a Postgraduate Certificate in Innovation and Entrepreneurship (jointly awarded by Trinity College Dublin and Queen’s University Belfast).

This programme links higher education and innovation capacity to the needs of the public and private sectors. It provides a platform for research missions across disciplines and across multiple research fields and innovation activities, including knowledge transfer and commercialisation.

This course is complementary in nature, adding an extra dimension to PhD programmes across both institutions (Trinity & QUB). The primary aim of the programme is to develop a new kind of researcher, expert in their discipline but with a range of transferrable skills which they can use to develop their research in new and innovative ways. Students work in teams which are cross-discipline and inter-institutional. The experience is conducive to creativity, innovation, communication and the development of entrepreneurial ideas. Students graduate with a thorough understanding of how knowledge, creativity and innovation can translate ideas and information into products, services and policies for economic and social benefit.

Programme Overview

This programme seeks to transform some of the brightest scholars into energetic, resourceful and entrepreneurial thinkers. A typical PhD student performs independent research, aiming to achieve academic excellence by making a contribution to knowledge in his or her chosen discipline. This course aims to provide skills in innovation and entrepreneurship currently lacking in many PhD programmes.

In the course of the programme, students are encouraged to uncover and exploit potential within their thesis research. To achieve this, students collaborate with industry partners on a variety of projects gaining invaluable public and private sector experience. The programme incorporates modules on creative thinking, opportunity generation, intellectual property, venture planning and finance.

Modules

Pre-requisite 1 | Creative Thinking and Innovation (10 ECTS)

Aims:
Theme I: Developing confidence in creative thinking targets the student as an individual. The objective is to introduce the student to the inherent risk of failure in creative thinking but also the latent learning for the next cycle. The module is delivered through activity-based exercises at individual and group level.

Theme II: Evolution of innovative ideas in multi-disciplinary teams targets team working in a creative context. Here, openness to new ideas and passion for ideas presented come into creative conflict. Case examples of organisations such as IDEO form a basis for group activities carried out both inside and outside of the seminar room.

Theme III: How to translate ideas into value creation brings the preceding two topics together. What is value will depend upon the setting and the perceptions of the various stakeholders. Different types of value are envisaged: economic, social, environmental, knowledge. Working as individuals and as members of teams, the objective is to introduce students to the opportunity that innovators have to create or to destroy value.

The Multi-disciplinary Team Project provides students with an opportunity to apply the substance of the three themes of the module in practice. Working in groups, the central objective of the project is to assist students to apply their evolving understanding of innovation to realisation of an opportunity in practice. The multi-disciplinary groups are formed over the first week in order to work together on the project during the second week. The projects are hosted by private, public and social enterprises. An appropriate project should have ‘Do and Demonstrate’ potential so that the team can get beyond analysis to action. Some of the organisations who have hosted projects: Ceol, Citi, Covidien, Debra Ireland, Dublin City Council, ESB, Hewlett-Packard, IBM, Kila, Hubspot, Rough Magic, and Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland. Each project has a host/lead contact from the organisation/firm and is facilitated by a member of the course staff. Teams present the output at a plenary seminar, “The Pitch”, at which all hosts/lead contacts and students participate.

Learning Outcomes:
On successful completion of this module, students should be able to:

  • Apply their creative potential, problem-solving abilities and lateral thinking skills to the generation of perspectives, ideas and actionable recommendations for implementation in relation to a market opportunity or a technological challenge which requires creative thinking and innovation in order to create new value.
  • Work effectively in a multi-disciplinary team and understand roles.
  • Communicate with and interact with multiple stakeholders through a range of mechanisms, including a team report, presentation, poster and individual reflective essay.

Assessment:
Assessment will be by means of continuous assessment (50%) and end of module project assignment (50%). Continuous assessment will include attendance and participation in seminar and group activities. The end of module project assignment comprises:

  • A team report and presentation outlining perspectives, ideas and actionable recommendations for implementation by host organisations in relation to a market opportunity or a technological challenge which requires creative thinking and innovation in order to create new value.
  • A poster summarising the project process, insights and experience.
  • An individual reflective essay on the project process and outcome and, also, the link to opportunity generation and recognition in the student’s proposed or actual thesis research.

Pre-requisite 2 | Opportunity Generation and Recognition (5 ECTS)

Aims:
Opportunity generation and recognition is the individual student’s opportunity to bring the insights gained during the preceding module to bear on his/her PhD thesis work. Students are encouraged to draw from the individual reflective essay created during the preceding core module and to address such questions as: what potential for innovation might there be in my PhD thesis? How might this potential be exploited? Will I be able to work with others? What kinds of value can be created?

Addressing these questions can facilitate the students in deciding to progress to the specialised modules, Capitalising on Innovation, the next part of the Postgraduate Certificate. Each student presents the output at a plenary seminar, “The Researcher Video Pitch”, in which all students participate.

Learning Outcomes:
On successful completion of this module, students should be able to:

  • Identify opportunities for innovation across a range of discipline areas and discuss with a multi-disciplinary group how these opportunities can be realised.
  • Explain the process involved in bringing an idea through to application.
  • Assess the social and monetary value associated with innovation.
  • Plan, script, record, edit and present a video-based pitch of the innovation potential in the student’s proposed or actual thesis research.
  • Capture the development of understanding of the innovation potential in the student’s proposed or actual thesis research in an individual reflective learning report.
  • Prepare and present a review of literature in the area of innovation and entrepreneurship.

Assessment:
Assessment will be by the following means:

  • Attendance and participation in seminar and group activities
  • Output from daily group exercises
  • Individual researcher video pitch
  • Individual Reflective Learning Report, exploring how the student’s perspective on the innovation potential in their proposed/actual thesis research has changed, why and what next.

Elective | Planning Your New Venture (5 ECTS)

Aims:
Theme I: Understanding Business Models. This component introduces students to five key elements which define a business model, to their use and to their limitations: the revenue model; the gross margin model; the operating model; the working capital model; and, the investment model.

Theme II: Feasibility analysis enables building and managing a portfolio and pipeline of development projects that fit strategically with venture objectives, balance risks and generate cash flows. Managing at the "fuzzy front end" involves project evaluation and selection methods. This analysis integrates business and technology plans by setting budgets and targets for the venture.

Learning Outcomes:
On successful completion of this module, students should be able to:

  • Describe the components of a Business Plan.
  • Devise a plan to exploit a new research-based opportunity.
  • Make decisions about budgets and targets appropriate to the venture strategy Apply appropriate project evaluation methods and select appropriate hurdle rates Select projects subject to financial and other resource constraints.
  • Evaluate project portfolios for fit, balance and financial adequacy, and propose remedial measures where they are deficient.

Assessment:
Throughout this module, students will record their insights in a learning journal, a summary of which will be submitted on completion. Assessment will be by means of continuous assessment (50%) and end of module project assignment (50%).

Elective | Creative Capital: Financing Your New Venture (5 ECTS)

Aims:
Theme I: Principles of Accounting and Finance introduces the construction and interpretation of five key financial statements – the balance sheet, the income statement, the statement of changes in equity, the statement of comprehensive income and the cash flow statement. Underlying concepts relating to matching, income measurement and asset valuation are explored and the principles of sound financial management are developed as the modules progress. The overall goal is that students become aware of 'money in organisations' and learn how to judge whether organisations are performing well and are financially healthy or whether there are weaknesses in their financial performance/financial structure.

Theme II: Financing New Projects introduces the student to types of seed funding and their purpose, sources of finance, financial planning, exit planning and exit strategies, financial documentation, the Banker’s and Venture Capitalist’s perspectives on company and business valuation. The module focuses not only on traditional methods of sourcing the finance for new ventures, but on creative and innovative methods, necessary in uncertain economic times. The module includes an objective evaluation of global opportunities for new ventures in relation to availability of funding, taxation, risk tolerance and business failure. As, by definition, new ventures are ‘new’ and carry greater connotations of risk and unpredictability, within this module there will be a practical emphasis upon risk management. Students will also be made aware of the possibility of failure and the ramifications and learning processes that can arise out of such occurrences. The emphasis will be on practical and creative real-life approaches to solving the financial challenges of new ventures, with examples from guest speakers being central to this module. Throughout the module, students will be exposed to alternative ways of thinking about the funding their prospective new ventures through the experiences of guest speakers.

Learning Outcomes:
On successful completion of this module, students should be able to:

  • Explain the fundamental concepts underlying the construction of the various key financial statements
  • Evaluate the financial performance, financial position and cash flow of an enterprise
  • Identify target areas to consider whilst seeking finance for a new venture.

Assessment:
Throughout this module, students will record their insights in a learning journal, a summary of which will be submitted on completion. Assessment will be by means of continuous assessment (50%) and end of module project assignment (50%).

Elective | Protecting Your Idea (5 ECTS)

Aims:
Novelty, Copyright and Intellectual Property introduces students to the issues and actions associated with quality, early identification and protection of intellectual property. These include an exploration of copyright, patenting, trademarks, industrial design and know-how as well as ways of deriving value from the ‘unprotectable’. Students will be given the opportunity to interact with experts in these areas of practice and from Technology Transfer Offices of Trinity College Dublin.

Learning Outcomes:
On successful completion of this module, students should be able to:

  • Describe their legal rights concerning novelty and intellectual property both with reference to their specific research and in relation to their wider interests.
  • Explain ownership and commercialisation issues arising out of their intellectual property along with associated costs of protection, sources of funding and obligations to stakeholders.
  • Articulate what rights of use they themselves have for intellectual property legally owned by others.

Assessment:
Throughout this module, students will record their insights in a learning journal, a summary of which will be submitted on completion. Assessment will be by means of continuous assessment (50%) and end of module project assignment (50%).

Elective | Leadership Development (5 ECTS)

Purpose:
This five-day programme is designed to help you to think deeply about the leader you are today and the leader you aspire to become. We have structured the week around three key themes; Know Yourself, Think Strategically, and Engage Others.

We draw on research and best practice to give you insights into the latest thinking on what leaders do, and also bring in a variety of speakers to share their stories about what has made a difference for them in their careers. The style of the programme is to use a rich mix of inputs to challenge your thinking and stimulate ideas for personal development that is relevant and appealing to you. Come prepared to engage in your own learning and use peer coaching to assist others in their development.

Learning Outcomes:
By the end of the programme it is intended that each of you will have:

  • A clear view of what is required to provide strategic leadership for an organisation.
  • A reasonable understanding of what is meant by emotional intelligent and leadership styles.
  • A better understanding of what motivates and engages individuals to follow whilst others lead.
  • Been introduced to and reflected on a set of leadership practices that are required for effective team leadership and collaborative working.
  • A set of models, tools and techniques to draw on to lead and manage change.
  • Drawn up a personal action plan that, when put into practice, will improve your leadership performance in a partnership-working context.

Module Dates

  • Planning Your New Venture: 8 - 12 October 2018
  • Leadership Development @QUB: 26 - 30 November 2018
  • Creative Thinking & Innovation: 4 - 22 February 2019
  • Intellectual Property: 11 - 15 March 2019
  • Opportunity, Generation & Recognition: 13 - 17 May 2019

Programme Benefits

The modules are designed to address the main issues and problems that entrepreneurs and creative thinkers face in recognising, developing and assessing innovative opportunities for commercial and/or social benefit. The modules are structured in such a way as to encourage action, participation, discussion, analysis and reflection.

As a postgraduate course offered to PhD students, the students are expected to be self-directed, proactive and enterprising. Throughout the course, students undertake a series of projects. Students are required to reach a full-complement of 30 ECTS to be eligible for the award of the Postgraduate Certificate.

Academic Staff / Contributors

Dr Daniel Rogers
Ms Louise Andrews
Ms Joan Connolly

What Previous Students Say

Ayokunmi Ajetunmobi
Molecular Medicine, Trinity College Dublin

I actually spun out my own company with another innovation academy alumni and to be able to do that and have that capacity is unbelievable. It’s really a worthwhile endeavor.

Ian Kelly
Engineering, Trinity College Dublin

I got to meet so many people with whom I never would have made contact with otherwise.

Susan Dick
Physical Chemistry, Queen’s University Belfast

It was really interesting getting to see different people’s approaches to how they would solve problems as opposed to how I would approach it. Getting to mix with students from Trinity and UCD has been a real positive aspect of the program.

Eligibility & Costs

Trinity PhD students and students completing a Masters by research at Trinity are eligble to take this course. The course is free for these students.

How To Apply

Click here to register your interest or use the link below to navigate to an expression of interest form. Fill in this form, outlining which modules you would like to apply to, and a member of Tangent will respond to your request shortly.

If you'd like more information or have any queries regarding the postgraduate certificate, please contact Dr. Daniel Rogers, Lead – Tangent Education Programmes on 01 896 4830 or email daniel.rogers@tcd.ie