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New funding to support collaboration between business leaders and academic research

Posted: 25th November 2020

The Universities of Edinburgh and Glasgow, with the Scottish Graduate School of Social Science (SGSSS), are releasing new funding for academic researchers to work with businesses to navigate industry uncertainty and inspire change.

The funding is provided through the Accelerating Business Collaboration (ABC) scheme. Designed to support new and productive partnerships between academics and the private sector, it will enable businesses to apply for up to 50% match-funding to host a social science PhD internship within their organisation.

Social sciences cover a wide range of subjects, including economics, business management, education, health, psychology and law. Researchers specialising in social sciences will typically share skills in data analysis, research and evaluation that can help companies to understand the context they operate in and customer behaviours.

A recent report has shown that social science research skills are particularly valuable for businesses. Social science researchers can help organisations to evaluate their working practices, research and understand new markets, and construct or evaluate business strategies. In light of the disruption that has been created by Covid-19, these skills are increasingly important for the market.

The SGSSS internships scheme has been running since 2013 and is open to businesses across Scotland, regardless of size or location. Each PhD internship lasts for up to 3 months full-time. It provides an opportunity for PhD researchers to immerse themselves within the organisation, and contribute to an area of business need.

Lindsay Law, Head of Audit at RBS, hosted a PhD intern in 2019 as the bank sought to develop a strategy for supporting the victims of financial abuse. She stated:

“[The PhD intern’s] academic insight and cutting-edge research methodology were evident from day one. She was able to seamlessly switch from sharing insights and new perspectives with RBS leaders, to empathetically interviewing survivors. It is an expert skillset that is hard to find in the corporate world and one of the most valuable investments we could make as an organisation.”

Businesses can apply to the ABC team to host an internship with 50% match-funding. Typically, each PhD internship would cost £5500 but the cost with 50% match-funding is £2750. The funding is available until March 2021 and will be allocated on a first-come, first-served basis.

To find out more about the internships scheme, visit To apply for match-funding, contact Anna-Marie Linnell (SGSSS Knowledge Exchange and Partnerships Manager) –

Business Comment

Business Comment is the Edinburgh Chamber of Commerce’s bi-monthly magazine. It provides insight on Edinburgh’s vibrant business community, with features on the city’s key sectors, interviews with leading figures and news on new business developments in the capital.
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