IMPACT provides a unique combination of training by bringing together internationally-recognised European research and industrial groups working at the forefront of SCIMS research and development, in addition to specialists in developing business and transferable skills. The unique synergies and complementarities within this network provide an extremely fertile and innovative high-quality training programme with widespread applications. The inclusion of many manufacturing companies provides a window for ESRs to appreciate instrumental design and development and highlights the need to have an innovative-oriented mind-set if results and ideas are going to be developed and exploited to produce a commercially viable product. Visits to these companies will be co-ordinated to coincide with instruments entering their build and test phase, and thus offer our ESRs a unique view into the world and needs of commercial instrument makers.
By exploiting the specific and unique blend of expertise and capacities available within the network we will be able to provide ESRs with analytical, scientific, research, transferable, business and complementary skills via holistic, multidisciplinary, collaborative and intersectoral approaches. The collective expertise within IMPACT will therefore make a significant contribution to training far above that possible for individual groups working alone. High up in the skills training that IMPACT will deliver is that needed to disseminate details of research activities, including their benefits and implications to all sections of society, combined with the ability to communicate across disciplinary and sectorial boundaries. Wider applied training in mass spectrometry, analytical techniques, fundamental quantum chemistry, etc., and more generic training in project management, communication, creativity, IPR, entrepreneurial skills, etc. (see below), will help to maximise the employability of our ESRs within many disciplines (from blue sky to applied research) and sectors (from commercial to academia).
To ensure that the network’s potential, capacities, participants’ requirements (especially those of the commercial partners), research projects and WPs will be fully exploited, IMPACT’s training programme will promote the education of ESRs in the science, instrumental development, use of state-of-the-art analytical techniques, data gathering, data analysis and data presentation through individual research projects, secondments, network meetings, interactive workshops and advanced training courses. Importantly, varied training involving key people from different backgrounds will stimulate scientific creativity, and will expose early career scientists to the needs of pure and applied research from the perspectives of academia, civil service scientists and enterprise. Thus IMPACT offers an integrated, comprehensive and coherent training package that provides a portfolio of multidisciplinary, intersectoral and transferable skills. This wider applied training will enhance the employability of our ESRs, because in the current economic climate employers are seeking a different calibre of candidate. Good qualifications in themselves are no longer sufficient because they only demonstrate that a candidate has a higher level of ability for the job. In the highly competitive job market, employers are looking for something more that sets an applicant apart from others, namely people who have the skills and attitude to think and act differently and creatively to a project or problem. Our training programme and the unique partnership of IMPACT’s participants contain the key elements and expertise to assist ESRs to develop such skills. IMPACT provides the training activities for producing creative, enterprising and entrepreneurial scientists by showing ESRs how to (i) lead, shape and create projects, (ii) innovate, (iii) be resourceful, proactive and motivated, (iv) have good organisational skills, (v) be results oriented, and (v) take calculated risks in order to seek solutions to problems.