Innovation & Enterprise


Potential activities for your innovation network

Get inspiration for the ways your innovation network can share knowledge, build a community, identify opportunities and develop partnerships.

Run events to share knowledge and explore opportunities

These could include:

  • seminars: talks by UCL academics and other experts on specific current topics and translational-research priorities
  • inspirational keynotes from influencers: for example, overseas speakers, high-level executives, politicians
  • round tables with a focus on a particular topic: for example, policy, reviews, roadmaps
  • working groups: to create consortia, discuss opportunities for collaborations, projects
  • 1 or 2-day events, for example annual meetings or mini-conferences

Develop educational programmes and resources

These could include:

  • e-learning
  • workshops
  • 1 or 2-day events (like ‘summer schools’)
  • formal continuing professional development (CPD) programmes
  • other media, such as podcasts, websites, webinars and videos
  • case studies, white papers or academic papers

Involve students

You can involve students through:

  • PhD/early career researcher showcases: including posters, 2-minute 'flash talks', drinks and nibbles, and potentially prizes. Invite all network members, including students/researchers as well as industrial members
  • Dragon’s Den-type events: you could offer prizes or project participation/mentoring
  • brokerage-type events (or online tools): to bring together new PhD projects or doctoral training projects with business interest

Develop online tools

For example, online tools could be:

  • an online marketplace where members can list calls for partners to help with a particular idea, project or collaboration
  • a self-service platform with profiles where members and partners can share/advertise things like facilities, skills or specialist expertise
  • a members’ database to allow for ongoing communication and facilitate collaboration

Things to consider

When organising events, consider the benefits that attendees and network members will get from the event. Ensure that event aims, objectives and outputs are planned and that you know how you will measure the overall success of the event.

It takes time to organise and deliver successful events – typically you’ll need 6 to 8 weeks to plan an event. You'll also need plenty of time to advertise the events.

When planning regular events, consider what frequency is manageable given your available resources, and what will help maintain good engagement levels. Many networks find that seminars/showcases work best when run every month or two, while Dragon’s Den type events work better annually.

When planning educational programmes or online tools, consider how to make these relevant and accessible to people outside of UCL. Think about what platform will be used to deliver the programme and what costs and time commitments may be involved to develop the content. Once completed, educational programmes may provide a funding stream to help maintain the network going forward.

When creating online tools, consider what platform will be used and costs associated with running the platform. If services will be sold, think about how funds will be managed. Be sure to make provision for data privacy and GDPR compliance.