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Ph.D. students: second Doctoriales session in December 2015

After the success of the first Doctoriales session held in April, a second will take place December 7-11, 2015 at the Centre International d’Etudes Pédagogiques (CIEP) in Sèvres. Its aim: To help Ph.D. students understand every step in the process of innovation and application.

Read the experiences of two past participants as you make your selections.

 

 

 

Read testimonials from Ph.D students who participated in the first session, held April 13-17, 2015 at the CIEP in Sèvres.

1st Testimonial

Participation in the Doctoriales® is a real asset for any Ph.D. student.

The first session of the 2015 Sorbonne University Doctoriales® was held in April. Isabelle Stabarin, a doctoral student in her first year of the Paris-Sorbonne linguistics PhD, in the Concepts and Languages school, shares her experiences.

 

Why did you choose to participate in the Doctoriales®?

Above all, I was attracted by the prospect of working in groups, which offers an opportunity to meet Ph.D. students in other disciplines. The “residential” design of the training also makes it easier to concentrate on the training and grasp the connections to work and corporate life. Finally, the fact that the training was presented not as a collection of concepts, but rather as a series of various activities designed to help acquire a skill was an essential factor for me.

What were you expecting to gain from participating?

I wanted to learn to present a project and improve my ability to work in a group. I was expecting to have productive discussions with the team and the group. And I certainly wasn’t disappointed!

What were your days like during the seminar? Which were your favorite sessions?

The days were long and intense, but we enjoyed a series of very different activities in a very pleasant setting at the CIEP in Sèvres. I particularly liked hearing the experiences of key figures and young representatives of corporate life, the sessions designed to improve certain skills (such as coaching on public speaking), and the opportunity to prepare and present a joint project. The support we received from the coaches and certain project managers was enriching as well.

What is your takeaway from this experience?

I had a chance to meet researchers and professionals from a wide variety of disciplines. I was able to work with them on simulating a project and see firsthand that each of us really did have something to contribute. It’s very satisfying to explore new horizons by doing something different, something creative.

Would you encourage other Ph.d. students to participate? Why?

Absolutely, because I believe it’s important to seize any opportunities for personal development, and this certainly is one! It also helps Ph.D. students envision creating their own company, regardless of their field of research... or at least not to rule out the possibility!

2nd Testimonial

An experience to impress recruiters

The first session of the 2015 Sorbonne University Doctoriales® was held in April. Let’s hear from Fabio Benedetti, a second-year Ph.D. student at UPMC (ED129) on a European grant through Climate-KIC.

 

You work at the Oceanographic Observatory on the Biogeography of Zooplankton in the Mediterranean Sea; why did you decide to participate in the Sorbonne University Doctoriales®?

Well, Climate-KIC is a European Union initiative that encourages Ph.D. students from a scattered selection of disciplines to meet and develop possible solutions and business plans to address the societal issues raised by climate change. My contract calls for me to take various courses toward that goal. That includes the Sorbonne University Doctoriales®. 

What were your concerns before starting?

Since I already had some idea about the content and format, I didn’t have any real concerns, except for a few (natural) apprehensions about the workload (which didn’t disappoint) and having to start working quickly in a group of strangers. This type of course can be intimidating, particularly for Ph.D. students like me who are aiming for an academic career. But you have to be willing to take the leap, because there’s always something to learn! That was my plan going in: take what I could get out of it and meet some new people. 

What were your days like during the seminar? Which were your favorite sessions? 

The days are intense! The speakers’ presentations and round tables are punctuated by breaks, and the group work is supervised by coaches (all of them nice). We always ate dinner before starting our group work, which could easily end after midnight. 

For me (and many other participants), the highlight was learning public speaking from actors! It’s a very useful exercise, in my opinion, regardless of your background or career plans. The seminar on intellectual property was very informative as well. And the defenses before the expert panel were exciting to watch! 

What is your takeaway from this experience? 

First of all, I had a lot of fun working with my group (the groups are formed in advance to ensure a mix of different backgrounds). And we learned many skills that will be useful to Ph.D. students in their job search. I realized that you don’t necessarily need to graduate from business school to launch a start-up. It’s really about having the right people and ideas. If the idea is good and you have the right team to support it... a Ph.D. student could be nudged from “not a chance” to “well, why not?” I think that’s the main goal of this type of course.  

Would you encourage other Ph.D. students to participate? Why?

First, I would advise any student interested in launching his own start-up to participate: the key steps in the process are explained very clearly, the tools are described, and there are valuable contacts to be made.

Next, I would also recommend the Doctoriales® to Ph.D. students who have no particular interest in that path, because the course teaches concepts, working methods, and presentation styles that could be crucial in writing up and defending a scientific project. The concept of a business plan, for example, is just as applicable to scientific projects, which don’t necessarily involve applied research. It’s important to break out of the science bubble and learn to communicate about your science to other parts of society. 

Given the current economic context and the low levels of investment in research, I think it’s important for Ph.D. students (who have a very prestigious profile) to consider other paths. From that perspective, this type of training will be a real asset in future interviews with recruiters. 

 

 

 

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