Text and photos: Astrid Bjerke Lund, Oslotech

Pitch your PhD!

Why storytelling? You work on a great project, maybe you have set up a theses and found some interesting results. You feel great, but your family and friends have difficulty grasping what you really do. 

Take a moment here. Your friends dont get it, but they dont have to. They like to hang with you anyway. But what about a situation where you need to talk to future employers? When you need to present your work, where you need to get funding for the next project, or need to get investment for your startup? It will be crucial to make sure they get the point.

The Norwegian edition of the Science for Society kicked off for students with a practical Pitch your PhD-workshop on March 10th. 25 students spent a whole day with presentation coach Torunn Meyer, an experienced coach and actor. They practised presenting their own projects and received group feedback. Torunn focused on tools like storytelling, body language, variation, voice, face, arms and posture in order to become a more compelling speaker. 

- With the increasing numbers of PhDs over the last ten years, it's important that PhDs build an understanding of how their knowledge and competence can be used and utilized outside academia - and that they manage to communicate it, says Petter Niklasson Hagen from Science for Society-partner Oslotech, who is also the organizer of Pitch your PhD.

The next Science for Society-event in Oslo is Value Creation Camp for PhDs on 3.- 4.th of May. I aims to help PhDs raise their awareness for Value Creation and explore how their work can make a difference, and fit into society and relevant industry. Key-topics in this Value Creation Camp is: self-exploration on value creation, effectuation methodology, the commercialization process, need driven innovation and the role of Transfer Technology Office (TTO) with Inven2. The Value Creation Camp is free, find more info at the website or on Facebook 

The Universitety of Oslo (UiO) has a strategy to increase innovation and value creation from the research based knowledge.
Science for Society is a learning- and networking platform for PhDs and Postdocs, focusing on value creation, employability, entrepreneurship and commercialization. The range of good academic projects and -ideas today is good; but there is a lack of culture, knowledge and input on how to bring these ideas into innovations creating value for society and industry. This is what Rector Ole Petter Ottersen says about Science for Society

Science for Society will bring awareness amongst PhDs on value creation, employability and exploitation of knowledge, and path to commercialization of ideas.

Science for Society is an Interreg-funded project, with Scandinavian partners Lund University, Aalborg University, Aarhus University, Oslo University, Oslotech (Norwegian lead) and Region Midtjylland (Project lead). Contact Petter Niklason Hagen for more info petter@oslotech.no

Saranyas group, from the left: Benedikt Lerch, Anna van Yperen and Kjetil Kjernsmo, all PhD-students at UiO (FOTO: Astrid Bjerke Lund, Oslotech)


25 PhD students participated in the first Science for Society-event in Oslo. One of them are Saranya Subramani, a PhD fellow studying the stuctures of protein. -The group gave honest feedback and helped me better my techniques, she said.

Did they understand my pitch? Saranya gets a honest feedback from her group. (Foto: Astrid Bjerke Lund, Oslotech)

Saranya Subramani is a PhD fellow at mathematics and natural science, studying the stuctures of protein. She is one out of three PhD’s at NCMM (Centre for Molecular Medicine Norway) at Oslo Science Park.

Saranya is used to present her latest work to her colleagues, as they do that every month. At the «Pitch your PhD» she trained on presenting her work to people who are unfamiliar to her subject of interest. 

- I needed this practice and I learned a lot, Saranya says. I am used to talk to experts. Today I practiced on making the subject understandable to people from diverse background, and this is almost similar to the situation I will be in when I am giving my trial lecture.
-The group gave honest feedback and helped me better my techniques. Torunn is a charismatic and enthusiastic teacher – I like her techniques, Saranya says.

Kjetil Kjernsmo has alway been keen on communication and he does also give some lectures at UiO.

– I did not know the other PhD-students when I met them at Oslo Science Park. I had a great day practicing, and I think we learned much also by watching each other, Kjetil says. Kjetil’s PHD is on the semantic web, and he has won an international price for programming; Semantic Web Developer of the Year 2014.

- I have worked in Opera Software earlier, and also in other companies. Some of the work I have done is actually being used in IBMs Watson, so yes I would say that my research is useful. But I do not see myself as an entrepreneur at this time. 

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Science for Society


- Våre studenter og PhD-kandidater har et enormt innovasjonspotensial, sier rektor Ole Petter Ottersen ved UiO.

21 mill euro til prosjekt

Science for Society er et nytt prosjekt som skal bygge entreprenørskapskultur hos PhD-studenter og gi flere forskningsbaserte startups.
- Våre studenter og PhD-kandidater har et enormt innovasjonspotensial. Dette internasjonale samarbeidet kommer til å skape nye ideer og nytt næringsliv, sier rektor ved UiO, Ole Petter Ottersen.

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