Postgraduate Enterprise Summer School

PESS 2018 WebsiteThe Postgraduate Enterprise Summer School (PESS) is an intensive week-long programme developed specifically for postgraduate researchers and delivered by the University Graduate School.  Participants work together in small inter-disciplinary teams to create an innovative business solution to solve a real life strategy challenge being faced by the industry partner.

PESS 2018 participant

“PESS 2018 was an amazing experience that helped me to understand hands-on how my academic skills can be applied in business contexts”


Registration for PESS 2019 is now closed.  PESS will be running in 2020.  Registration will be publicised.

What is the Summer School?

PESS gives postgraduate researchers the opportunity to apply their knowledge and expertise to a real life challenge, develop new skills, collaborate with fellow researchers from a variety of disciplines and compete to create the best innovative solution.

Alongside a comprehensive programme of interactive professional skills training sessions, participants meet their client (the industry partner), undertake research and develop proposals to address the organisation’s requirements. On the final day each team presents their findings to a panel which includes the organisation’s representative/s.

The course provides top quality training alongside a fantastic opportunity to work on real strategic issues. No previous experience is required and participants from all subject areas are welcome.

A participant from 2018 said "Of all the courses I have attended during my PhD program, I find this one to cover all four domains in the Vitae Research Development Framework. This is why I think that the course is relevant for all PhD Students"

Is the Summer School for me?

  • Are you a postgraduate researcher looking to enhance your personal and professional development?
  • Do you want to gain enterprise skills which can give you the edge in any career, whether it's private enterprise, academia or third sector?
  • Do you want the opportunity to gain transferable skills to take your research and future career forward?
  • Do you want to give 'consultancy' a try in a safe and controlled environment?

Course dates and how to register 

PESS 2020 dates are yet to be confirmed.

The programme is open to doctoral researchers from the University of Birmingham and there are a limited number of places available to doctoral researchers from other universities.

No previous experience is necessary and participants from all subject areas are welcome. All training materials, lunches and refreshments will be provided. Places are limited and will be allocated on a first come first served basis.

You will need to ensure you are able to attend the full course as you will be working in teams throughout the week and your full support to your other team members will be required.

The training programme


Sessions (example timetable)Day
Introduction; team work; challenge revealed by client; value proposition; business modelling Monday
Creative problem solving; fact-finding mission Tuesday
Finance; Career impact Wednesday
Presentation and pitching skills   Thursday
Presentations, followed by a lunch with: feedback, awards and closing remarks Friday

Time commitment

  • The week’s training is intensive and you will be required to attend approx. 9am - 5pm every day. We strongly advise that you avoid making other commitments during this week (early mornings or evenings) so that you are able to gain the most from the programme.
  • Please bear in mind that your team may choose to work outside of the timetabled hours. This however, is at the discretion of individuals within a team.
  • The majority of the training will take place on the Edgbaston Campus; however there may also be some training and events which take place locally off-site. Transportation to and from these external events will be provided by the University.
  • The training programme outlined above is intended to give an overview of the week and is subject to amendment.

PESS 2018

The 2018 PESS took place in July.  Six inter-disciplinary teams of researchers investigated and proposed various innovative business solutions to assist Tyseley Energy Park in tackling air pollution in Birmingham whilst providing secure sustainable energy sources.

It was too close to call, so instead of the usual winner and runner-up, Teams Demeter Vision and B.Sage Consultants shared the glory and were declared joint winners.  Read all about it here.

Contact us

If you have any questions about the Postgraduate Enterprise Summer School please contact Leliana Jardim.