Briefings & Evidence

‘Making It Happen’ Policy Forum: Creating an Entrepreneurial Culture in Scottish HEIs

Universities Scotland’s Researcher Training Sub-Committee organised a ‘Making It Happen’ Policy Forum meeting on Monday 18 January to discuss developing an entrepreneurial culture in Scottish higher education institutions (HEIs) for researchers of all career stages. The meeting follows on from the publication of Making It Happen, which explores universities’ three-fold role in entrepreneurship.

This meeting brought together representatives of universities, research pools and Scotland-wide research and enterprise initiatives with a focus on identifying actions at institutional level and key points to put to the Innovation Scotland Forum for consideration.

Key issues from the Forum discussion include:

  • Teaching of enterprise and entrepreneurship at undergraduate level is a route to driving this culture change throughout very large and diverse institutions, particularly by enabling staff to teach, and then utilise, such skills.
  • There is increasing recognition of the value of investing time in developing strong relationships between academics and potential external partners. This recognition enables a focus on encouraging all academics to be outward-facing.
  • Not all academics can be experts across all areas that universities are expert. There is a need to allow individuals to excel in their chosen specialism while ensuring this is connected to the broader picture.
  • Enterprise and entrepreneurship have to be made relevant to different disciplines, and this includes using accessible language.
  • It is important to be mindful that success in terms of culture change, and what that culture brings about, will look different in different contexts.
  • Promoting an entrepreneurial mind-set is critical for all researchers.
  • Culture change takes a long time and while many universities have started on this, and have examples of good practice, there is a need to allow the culture to develop to suit the unique environment of each institution.

Read the full report from the ‘Making It Happen’ Policy Forum, which contains a summary of actions and next steps, a list of questions for the Innovation Scotland Forum and a full set of notes of the talks and discussion sessions.