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The Researcher Strategy Consultancy | The Careers Service The Researcher Strategy Consultancy – Oxford University Careers Service
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What is The Researcher Strategy Consultancy?

An innovative skills programme for DPhil students, RAs, and postdocs

The purpose of the Researcher Strategy Consultancy (RSC) is to provide early career researchers (DPhil students, RAs, and Post-Docs) with an opportunity to develop the core employability skills required for a transition into analytical, business or policy roles in the public and private sector.

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.

“I’ve come away with new skills, new friends and a brilliant experience of working with a local organisation.” (postdoc participant, 2018) 

Participants volunteer some of their own time to work in small teams, over a 3 month period, to address a strategic issue or business opportunity for a client organisation.

Our clients list includes start-ups, businesses, local and international charities, community organisations, University departments and Government agencies.

“RSC offers a lens into different working worlds – from the overall strategic aims of the organisation right down to workplace culture” (postdoc participant, 2018) 

The Researcher Strategy Consultancy 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 local community
  • Gain an awareness of the commercial, social and behavioural contexts of professional environments.
How does it work?

Click here to apply for The Researcher Strategy Consultancy – Spring/Summer 2019

The closing date for applications to our next programme is Wednesday 6th March (noon).

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 commercial awareness
  • teamwork and communication skills.

We cannot accept applications from Said Business School students or visiting students.

After a shortlisting exercise, 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 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.

Programme schedule

The Spring/Summer programme will run from March to June 2019:

Dates Activity
Wednesday 6th March Applications close (at noon).
Tuesday 19th March Assessment Centre**
2 x 1 hour sessions (5.30pm & 6.30pm)
Tuesday 26th & Thursday 28th March Training sessions**
(5.15pm – 7:45pm) (Catering provided)
By w/c 17th June Project work and final presentations to client completed
Tuesday 18th June End of programme event
(5:30pm – 7:00pm)

**You must be available for one assessment centre and both training sessions in order to participate

Important information

Participation in the programme is voluntary and unpaid. Reasonable 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.

DPhil Students who apply and participate in RSC 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 RSC helps fulfil their training needs and agree time commitments;
  • seek advice on visas here.

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 here.

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.

Keep up to date

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

This information was last updated on 20 February 2019.
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Recent blogs about The Researcher Strategy Consultancy

FCO Graduate Internship: An Insider’s View

Blogged by Hugh Nicholson-Lailey on 21/02/2019.

Alice graduated from Oxford last summer and has provided us with an insider’s perspective on the FCO’s Graduate Internship which we blogged earlier this week and is now open for applications.

The scheme

The FCO graduate internship is a paid work experience scheme of up to 9 months which allows recent graduates to get taste for FCO work. What you will do on a day-to-day basis depends on which department you are allocated to – you could be working on a country desk, on a particular theme or in an operational role.

See the job advert [#1617790] and note that the deadline is midnight on 11 March.

Why I applied

I applied because of my interest in international affairs and desire to work in public service. This internship is a great way get an insight into the FCO/the civil service more generally without being tied down. For those interested in the Fast Stream, doing well at this internship gets you a ‘fast pass’ to the Fast Stream Assessment Centre, skipping the online tests that often cause people difficulty.

A day in the life

I have had some great opportunities so far. My day job involves conducting research, engaging with stakeholders within the FCO and in other government departments to make practical assessments about a varied and fascinating geographical area. I have taken on a lot of responsibility, writing policy submissions to ministers, working on FOI requests and running presentations to external stakeholders. My team are really friendly and keen for me to make the most of development opportunities – this is a work experience scheme after all! I have gained an insight into what working for the FCO overseas is like by visiting a British Embassy, been to see EU institutions in action and volunteered as a delegation liaison officer at an international conference. I have also had lots of formal training on diplomatic skills and am doing developmental Spanish language training.

My tips

The application/interview process has changed this year, and now focuses on success profiles and behaviours rather than competencies. You can find information on these in the job advert. The most import thing is to really tailor your examples to the question asked. If you make it on to the internship, be proactive – think about what you would like to get out of the internship and take the opportunity to meet as many people and take on as many tasks as possible.

UK Summer Internship Applications Now Open!

Blogged by Internship Office on 21/02/2019.

Apply for a UK summer internship by 11 March

You can now browse and apply for a wide range of exciting UK summer internships offered through the Summer Internship Programme. All opportunities are open exclusively to Oxford students, and can be applied to through CareerConnect.

UK placements feature a research and communications opportunity at the Royal Society for Tropical Medicine in London, a heritage internship in Scotland, and sustainability consultancy in Oxford. The deadline for applications for this batch of placements is Monday 11 March.

The Internship Office is offering application support sessions for prospective applicants to discuss internship ideas, and get advice on CVs and applications. These sessions take place at The Careers Service and can be booked through CareerConnect.

Please see our comprehensive application support guide for other ways to get support when applying to Internship Office Programmes. If you have any further questions, contact us on internships@careers.ox.ac.uk.

ICSA Essay Competition 2019

Posted on behalf of ICSA . Blogged by Juliet Tomlinson on 20/02/2019.

ICSA Tom Morrison Essay Prize competition 2019

Want to be awarded for your original thinking? Fancy a chance of winning £1,000 (or £500 as a runner-up)? If so, make sure you enter this essay-writing competition which runs until 18 March 2019. The question is as follows:

In an increasingly automated world, robotics, artificial intelligence and other technological advancements are expected to have an impact on governance. Consider the opportunities, challenges, benefits and risks that such technologies might bring to the role of the company secretary.

Visit the ICSA website to find out more about the competition.

Insights into the world of governance with ICSA

Posted on behalf of ICSA. Blogged by Juliet Tomlinson on 20/02/2019.

Have you ever considered the roles of company secretary or governance manager?

These fascinating roles can lead you to a career in a huge variety of different organisations and businesses.  There are plenty of opportunities to discover more about these careers throughout 2019 through the activites of the Governance Institute – ICSA.

Insight Days: The governance teams from some big brands will be hosting them in 2019.

Or you might like to consider attending an Open Evening with ICSA to discover more. You can join them in London on Wednesday 8 May to find out what opportunities a career as a company secretary or governance professional can offer.

The event takes place at ICSA: The Governance Institute, Saffron House, 6-10 Kirby Street, London, EC1N 8TS. Doors open at 18:00 for a 18:30 presentation, refreshments are served 19:30 – 20:30pm. Places are limited so register now to discover how to get your governance career started with ICSA. Book your free place here.

FCO: Foreign Office Graduate Internship open for applications from finalists

Posted on behalf of The FCO. Blogged by Hugh Nicholson-Lailey on 20/02/2019.

The FCO (the UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office) has opened its 9-month Graduate Internship for applications. The closing date is 11 March.

Extensive information is provided in the Candidate Information Pack, including intern profiles offering “2-days-in-the-life-of …” are all available online through the FCO Graduate Internship Scheme 2019 advertisement on the Civil Service Jobs website.

The FCO says no two placements are the same, and could be in any of the following departments:

  • Geographical – from Polar Regions, through Africa, Middle East, Western Balkans and Asia Pacific
  • Policy Themed – including Economics, EU Strategy (sic!), Climate Change and Environment, Human Rights and Defence
  • Customer Services – from Parliament to Crisis and Disaster Management, or Consular work
  • Corporate – Communications, Press, Security, Human Resources or Procurement.

Please note, in line with Civil Service policy, this recruitment process will be using the new Success Profiles methodology. Essentially, this uses the existing Civil Service Competence Framework (now labelled Behaviours) and allows for supplementary evaluations of your Strengths, Experience and Technical skills.

This application will assess you on:

  • BEHAVIOURS: Delivering at Pace; Effective Decisions; Working Together; Managing a Quality Service.
  • TECHNICAL SKILLS: Motivation & personal development.

Alice, a recent Oxford grad, has provided us with an insider’s perspective on the FCO’s Graduate Internship, which we blogged here.

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