Postgraduate Enterprise Summer School

PESS 2018 WebsiteThe Postgraduate Enterprise Summer School (PESS) is an annual intensive week-long programme developed specifically for postgraduate researchers and delivered by the University Graduate School.

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.  Read more about it here.

What is the Summer School?

During an intensive week of training and hands-on activities the Postgraduate Enterprise Summer School takes you through a wide range of specialist areas. Participants will work together in small multi-disciplinary teams to create an innovative business solution to solve a real life strategy challenge being faced by the industry partner.

Alongside the comprehensive programme of interactive professional skills training sessions, participants meet the industry partner, undertake research and develop proposals to address the organisation’s requirements. On the final day each team will present 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.

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 

Due to high demand PESS will run twice in 2019, on 10-14 June and 8-12 July.  Bookings for PESS 2019 will open in spring term and you can specify which week you would like to attend.

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)Dates
Introduction; team work; challenge revealed by partner organisation Monday
Value proposition; finance, operational strategy and development Tuesday
Fact-finding mission, team's own market research  Wednesday
Team time, 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.

Joint Winners for PESS 2018

It was too close to call this year, 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.