The Researcher Strategy Consultancy – Health and Life Sciences

The purpose of the Researcher Strategy Consultancy – Health and Life Sciences programme is to provide early career researchers (DPhil students, RAs, and postdocs) with an opportunity to develop the core employability skills required for a transition into analytical or policy roles in the sector.

The programme is open to all disciplines and will offer participants a unique insight into the health and life sciences sector. We encourage those keen to explore the sector as well as those with some experience to apply.

At this time of Covid-19 disruption The Oxford Strategy Challenge (TOSCA) is an alternative to our regular team-based client experience programmes: The Student Consultancy (TSC), Researcher Strategy Consultancy (RSC) and The Agency. TOSCA is open to Oxford undergraduate and postgraduate students and researchers as well as alumni graduating in 2020. Further information about TOSCA can be found at the TOSCA webpage.

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Particular emphasis is given to business awareness, teamwork, communication and leadership to complement other postgraduate training. This programme enables participants to build on skills that typically develop in designing, planning and conducting complex research projects. Whatever their career plans, including further research and academia, participants can benefit significantly from the programme.

Participants volunteer some of their own time to work in teams, over a 3-4 month period, to address a strategic issue or business opportunity for a client organisation in the health and life science sector.

We are particularly interested in attracting applicants from across the University to form cross-disciplinary teams to work on our client challenges. The programme will provide participants with an opportunity to:

  • Experience an Assessment Centre and hone their presentation skills
  • Develop key employability skills such as business and customer awareness, strategic thinking, creativity, team working and communication
  • Demonstrate key employability skills in their CV and in job interviews
  • Tackle strategic business issues and opportunities and make a contribution to the sector
  • Gain an awareness of the commercial, social and behavioural contexts of professional environments.

The programme is open to researchers from any discipline, and selection is based on factors that include:

  • creativity in finding solutions
  • approach to business situations and interest in commercial awareness
  • teamwork and communication skills.

After a shortlisting exercise, successful applicants will be invited to an Assessment Centre. Programme participants will be selected and invited to two training sessions to prepare for the project work. The training content includes an introduction to consulting, key business issues and how to address them, market research, interviewing techniques, client management and report preparation.

Participants will be put into multi-disciplinary teams to work part-time on an allocated client project. Each team will engage with their client on the project work and present their findings over a period of ten to twelve weeks. The Careers Service will be available to support teams with any questions or needs that may arise.

Teams will wrap up the client projects and gather at the Careers Service for an end-of-programme event where there will be an opportunity to celebrate their success, share learnings and exchange experiences.

If you have any queries regarding the programme, please contact courses@careers.ox.ac.uk.

More information coming soon. 

Participation in the programme is voluntary and unpaid. We will reimburse reasonable expenses for travel to client meetings or data collection and travel within Oxford for project meetings. Expenses for travel or data collection can be reimbursed only through completing the University claim form and on presentation of receipts.

It is the responsibility of all applicants to ensure they can take on this experiential learning project within the terms of their study commitments, funding or visa agreements.

Information for DPhil students

DPhil students who apply and participate in the programme must satisfy themselves that the project is suitable for their needs in terms of the learning opportunity and nature of the work involved, and are advised to

  • consult their supervisors on how the programme helps fulfil their training needs and agree time commitments;
  • seek advice on visas from

Information for research staff

For research staff, it is the University’s policy to support individuals in identifying relevant professional development and training. In some cases, this includes a quantified allocation of time, such as up to ten days per year in MPLS and 5 days in MSD.

Research staff should also ensure compliance with the University’s Council regulations on holding outside appointments and those of any funders providing salaries. University academic and academic-related employees (with the exception of Associate Professors who have colleges as their main employer; please see the paragraph below) are permitted to hold outside appointments and to undertake other outside activities, including consultancies, which require a commitment of time that otherwise might reasonably be expected to be devoted to University duties, subject to the approval of their direct line manager (where relevant) and their head of department or the chair of the faculty board.

Applicants whose salaries are funded from externally-funded research grants or contracts, or who are Principal Investigators or Co-Investigators on outside-sponsored projects, must adhere to the terms and conditions stipulated by or agreed with the sponsor and, if necessary, seek written approval from the sponsor. For example, The Wellcome Trust’s grant conditions include stringent conditions relating to the holding of consultancies and these apply equally to individuals who are in receipt of Wellcome Trust research grants, as well as to those whose salaries are paid from Wellcome Trust grants.

Permission may be required from a PI, Head of Department and possibly the funding body providing the award from which their salary is paid.

University employees continue to be bound by the University’s statutes, regulations and policies in particular the policies on Conflict of Interest, and Intellectual Property, as well as respecting the duties of confidentiality as set out in their contracts of employment.

Research staff are therefore advised to consult:

  • their PIs or departmental HR representatives on the terms of their contracts and wish to use some of their allotted time for professional development activities;
  • the staff immigration team on visas.

Potential queries relating to research ethics in client project work will be considered in advance and on a case-by-case basis in accordance with University guidance on ethical procedures.

How to apply

Applications for the Winter/Spring RSC HLS programme will open towards the end of October. Please apply through CareerConnect.

Please note that you must be available for one assessment centre and both training sessions in order to participate.

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