Researcher-Led Initiative Fund

Do you have an idea for a project or event that could support your development as well as the development of others?  The University recognises the importance of researchers having a choice in how they develop their transferable skills and the Researcher-Led Initiative fund supports this.

So what is it? The Researcher-Led Initiative Fund is available for specific projects/activities/events initiated by University of Edinburgh research students or research staff, for the benefit of groups of researchers at a School, research unit or research group level.  The aim of the fund is to allow researchers themselves to have a greater input into the ways in which they are supported and developed, giving them the opportunity to think more creatively and proactively.  The maximum total amount available to any one submission is £3,000, though many of the funded projects will be for amounts much lower than this.

The fund has many benefits, it can create the opportunity for interdisciplinary work, allow the development of ideas and projects, with the potential for wider public engagement, promote and encourage student and staff interaction, help build and engage research communities and networks and allow potential research collaborations, that wouldn’t necessarily happen otherwise.  Feedback from previous applications highlighted the positive impact of being able to develop something from start to finish and how the skills acquired could be applied in their current and future work.

The initiatives must be in keeping with the researcher development agenda of professional and career development however this can take many forms.  Previous funded initiatives include: writing groups/retreats; the establishment and/or promotion of postgrad and research staff societies; public communication events; conferences; seminar series; and much more.  A short overview of previous successful projects is available from our website.

The fund has 2 rounds each year (June / December) with the next round closing on 2nd December 2013.

For further information visit:

Social Enterprise

This guest blog is brought to you by Janet Wilkinson from Three Times Three Consulting – 

A social enterprise is the type of organisation that you’ll recognise as having existed for as long as community based businesses have been around.  In my experience it is only within the last 5-10 years that the term has become more popularly used, clearly defined and recognised.

Social enterprises are typically defined as businesses with a social purpose.  They are run as profit generating entities where people are employed and are paid regular salaries related to the environment in which they work.  Instead of the profits the business generates being split between shareholders of the enterprise, they are ploughed back into development of the social or community purpose of the business or are used to support the activities of a directly related charity. Many charities have a social enterprise arm as the two sources of income rely upon different markets – sales of goods or services and customers being the differentiating factor for a social enterprise compared with the donations and fundraising associated with a charity.

The half-day workshop I am facilitating on 6th November will cover a broad range of practical aspects of social enterprise.  In the first part we’ll consider what makes a range of established social enterprises successful (including two run by researchers) and in the second part the subject matter covers things you need to consider in starting up your own social enterprise either on your own or with others.

In the meantime, if you would like to know more about it three good starting points would be:

Background reading:

www. and their pdf guide to social enterprise

Relationship to research:

Dr Paul Spencer at UWE is a passionate and involved advocate of social enterprise and he has interesting blog posts on the subject on The Digitally Connected Researcher:

General ‘how to’ guide

The Social Enterprise Handbook: How to Start, Build and Run a business that Improves the World by Rupert Schofield is a straightforward and helpful read on the practicalities of getting a social enterprise going.

Janet will be facilitating a Social Enterprise course as part of the IAD’s Business and Enterprise Training on 6th November.  For more information visit:

Events for New International Postgraduate Students


Are you new international postgraduate research student?!  The COMPASS programme is a series of courses and events for international postgraduates about study in Scotland.

Aimed specifically at new international postgraduate research students, the programme aims to provide:

  • the opportunity to socialise, network and learn about Scotland
  • the opportunity to visit other parts of Scotland.
  • transferable skills training
  • professional and career information and advice

Upcoming events include:

Induction Event

Academic Communication SkillsDSC_0019

Career Development Session

Glencoe Visit

Scottish Parliament Visit

Your Supervisor and You

Do you have any suggestions for future compass events?!

Search for us on facebook: and let us know!