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Governments worldwide are keen to evolve into knowledge-based economies, with growth driven by an innovative R&D environment and by entrepreneurial high impact businesses.  

In late 2011, the Polish Ministry of Science and Higher Education started its “Top 500 Innovators” programme. The goal was to provide the skills needed to manage co-operative research projects and bring high technology products to the market. The focus would be on innovation, execution and leadership, entrepreneurship, intellectual property and technology transfer. 

As part of this programme, Cambridge Enterprise ran two training programmes of nine weeks each for a total of 75 top academics from Polish universities and research institutions in the summer of 2015. 

Each academic received 240 contact hours of training and internships, plus transport, accommodation, subsistence, social and cultural activities during their stay organised by Cambridge Enterprise. To help manage this large volume of work and offer the delegates a wider experience at the same time, Cambridge Enterprise collaborated with Oxford University Innovation, the technology transfer office at the University of Oxford. As a result, the academics were able to spend a third of their time in Oxford, and experience a different perspective. 

Solid knowledge, world-class tutors, hands-on tutorials complemented with numerous visits to science parks and the fantastic atmosphere of the Cambridge-Oxford-London triangle. After returning to my university I knew how to create real impact and boost our entrepreneurial spirit

Grzegorz Liskiewicz,  participant and Assistant Professor at Lodz University of Technology 

For this major training programme, Cambridge Enterprise mobilised a wide range of partners and associates from Cambridge, Oxford and London. Between them they delivered presentations, workshops and site visits covering every aspect of the commercialisation of research results, from the early assessment of new opportunities, negotiating licensing deals, financing and growing ventures to the development of innovation policies. Using the i-Teams™ concept, a well-established Cambridge programme, teams of delegates explored the commercial potential of real innovations from their own institutions, through to meetings with potential partners, funding providers and customers. 

Accommodation was provided by one of Cambridge’s 31 historic colleges, which offered the additional benefit of a more immersive Cambridge experience. Conveniently located within easy walking distance of both the city centre and Cambridge Enterprise’s offices, where much of the training was delivered, the College quickly became the delegates’ “home from home”. Even their local transport was immersive; cycle hire was arranged and, of course, a training session on how to cycle safely in Cambridge. For the delegates, participation in the programme equipped them with a wealth of new knowledge and experience as well as enhanced self-belief and inspiration.