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National Workshop for Scholars in Innovation and Entrepreneurship: Where to publish? What careers?


University of Gothenburg and Chalmers University of Technology jointly hosted this year’s annual gathering of scholars in innovation and entrepreneurship. This year’s workshop was organized by six separate digital workshop meetings, which brought together almost 40 participants, with main affiliations from 14 universities. All the meetings took place on June 8-9, 2020. In order to participate, the PhD students and post-doctoral scholars had to answer a series of questions in advance.

On behalf of the larger organizing team:

- Thanks to everyone for participating! These discussions help build community of scholars in innovation and entrepreneurship, of scholars with close links to Sweden. Our academic community benefits, through career advice; breaking potential isolation in current work situation; and expanding research networks across universities, by Maureen McKelvey, Professor at University of Gothenburg and Karen Williams Middleton, Associate Professor at Chalmers.

The collaborating hosts in Gothenburg matched up the registered participants into groups, based on expertise and diversity of organization. Each group had an appointed established scholar as chairperson to lead the scientific discussions and an early career scholar as team leader to organize the practicalities.

Discussion focused around: research topics in the field; publication strategies; and future careers within innovation and entrepreneurship. Discussion also gave direct advice to the early career scholars – e.g. PhD students and post-doctoral scholars – in each group.

Download the form “Research Trajectory Exercise (RTE)”.

Research Trajectory Exercise

A few insights follow, from the rich and varied discussions:

Patience and passion

One topic discussed was that patience and passion were the two most important characteristics for researchers.

- I had a very productive and rewarding day. We discussed my ongoing research and I received good feedback and comments, by Linus Brunnström, PhD student, University of Gothenburg

One group spent much time discussing different career choices and paths, where the established scholars told their stories and gave relevant advice about developing networks and believing in your research.

Photo: Screenshot from one of the group meetings

Research Design and Writing

Another topic related to research design, publications and writing, and the need to be very strategic in devoting time to writing for publications. Several groups discussed how and why modern scholarship requires a very solid research design – whereby the research questions, literature, data and methodology are aligned and interesting.

Recommendation: If one has a solid research design, then it should be possible to send to high-ranked journals. Read those journals carefully and see where the standards lie! One should only send to a journal if the paper has a reasonable chance of being sent out to reviewers.

One group very much stressed the vital importance of finding dedicated time – not hours but days and weeks and months – to focus upon writing. Too many people find it too easy to find other things to do. Setting aside continuous and dedicated time to writing is crucial!

Strategic Thinking about Future Career

Another topic involved strategic thinking about future career choices. Several groups pointed out that alumni from PhD education will increasingly have much more diverse careers than previously.

- The research trajectory exercise facilitated my career planning and vision by reflecting on key aspects such as my research position, and most importantly, my longterm goals as an academic, says Zanele Penny Lurafu, PhD student, Jönköping University.

In addition to remaining in academia as researchers, alumni have many career options – such as teaching, analytical consultant, public policy, research institutes, and administration with universities.

Recommendations for early career scholar: Consider a portfolio of relevant activities to interact with society – as well as the portfolio of research publications; be aware the career ladder for professor is very competitive; Use the RTE to do annual strategic planning. Think serious about the wide variety of potential career paths.

Recommendations for PhD programs within the universities: Consider how to provide individual customization of advice and activities for alumni not staying within academia; Better explain the value of more general skills and analytical techniques, such as mastering ‘R’ and ‘NVivo’.

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Photo: Screenshot from one of the group meetings

What next?

As a positive outcome of the current Covid-19 situation, the smaller groups run through a digital format allowed many more people to participate, distributed spatially. Many of the participants expressed interested in finding ways of continuing these discussions about research topics, publications and careers.

Chalmers and GU will jointly organize the annual meeting on June 7th and 8th 2021 in Gothenburg, amongst the established scholars in innovation and entrepreneurship.