Instant chemistry at PhD speed dating

Flinders New Venture Institute's PhD Speed Dating event saw 20 business people 'speed date' 20 Flinders University PhD candidates to see how PhD skills sets could benefit their business.
The NVI’s PhD Speed Dating event saw 20 business people ‘speed date’ 20 Flinders University PhD candidates to see how PhD skills sets could benefit their business.

Big business met big brains on Wednesday (July 23) night at Flinders New Venture Institute’s first ever  ‘PhD Speed Dating’ event.

PhD Speed Dating is an innovative concept created by the NVI to help local business people discover what PhD candidates could do to boost their business practices and bottom lines.

The event saw 20 businesspeople meet 20 Flinders University students in a whirlwind of five minute, back-to-back dates at the University’s Bedford Park campus.

Karen Patterson, who is President of Flinders University’s Postgraduate Society, was one of the PhD candidates pitching her skills and experience on the night.

“It was a fabulous, lively atmosphere from the moment we all took our seats, and people were talking before the bell went to signify the official start,” Ms Patterson said.

“Five minutes goes by in a flash, but I know that business people are risk takers, and science and risk are also complimentary, so that’s what I focussed on.

“What we do in science is to gather enough evidence to quantify taking a risk and when the evidence says ‘go for it!’ we do – and that’s how we make new discoveries.

“That’s all a part of being innovative, which I think goes down well with business people and entrepreneurs. All of those skills gained during my PhD allow me to gather evidence, to analyse and develop advanced project management skills that I think would complement any venture.

Flinders University New Venture Institute Director Matt Salier said the event was a great success, and demonstrated how business and higher education can complement each other.

“Like regular speed dating, there was a level of randomness, and part of the value of this format is that innovation usually comes from diversity,” Mr Salier said.

“Sometimes non obvious or unrelated fields of research drive the best new approaches.”

Participants were welcomed to the event by Flinders University’s Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research), Professor David Day.

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