Photograph of a business plan canvas with sticky notes attached


The p2i consortium was formed in 2016 and since its launch in May 2017, p2i has successfully engaged over 665 postdocs through seven enterprise fairs, nineteen residential courses, thirteen entrepreneurship events, the creation of three new entrepreneurial postdoc societies, four business plan competitions and over 150 participants in online course on entrepreneurship

As the p2i consortium collectively represents over 10,000 early career researchers across all partners, there is great potential for engagement in the long term.

The p2i Network and programme are featured as one of the case study examples to improve research culture in the "Realising Our Potential" report and toolkit from the Russel Group of Universities.

Hear below from some early career researchers who have engaged with p2i on their entrepreneurial journey!

p2i in numbers

Graphic showing key statistics from 2021: >665 postdocs engaged, 7 Enterprise Fairs, 19 residential courses, 13 entrepreneurship events, 3 new postdoc societies, 4 Business Plan Competitions, and 159 online course participants
Graphic showing an increase in female participants from 35% in 2017 to 46% in 2020

Entrepreneurial Journeys

“Getting closer to my dream of running a start-up.” 


Julia Tischler


The overarching aim of the p2i programme is that the activities will support postdocs to develop the mindset and skills to become innovators both in or outside academia.


There are many similarities in mindset and skills between successful academic innovators, intrapreneurs and entrepreneurs – they all are able to spot opportunities and develop initial ideas into either:

  1. cutting edge research projects

  2. opportunities of value to organisations as an employee

  3. a venture.


Becoming an independent researcher or starting a research group, joining a company, or starting a venture are measurable outputs of entrepreneurial learning programmes, however, these outputs may only be realised a long time after the exposure and engagement with the activities.


The p2i partners are interested in the qualitative outcomes as a result from participating in the activities.


To this end, we have undertaken an initial pilot evaluation research study to investigate the effectiveness of the entrepreneurial training activities to develop an entrepreneurial mindset and skills in researchers. We’re also interested in identifying what they are finding difficult and what other qualitative outcomes we can attribute to participating in the programmes.


The evaluation study is led by the Cambridge and FUB partners, with input from the p2i partners.  


A paper “Navigating on the edge - exploring the entrepreneurial function of postdocs” was collaboratively written and the FUB p2i partner presented the this at the RENT conference (Research in Entrepreneurship and small business), Berlin November 2019.


This pilot evaluation research will be used to:


  • Help shape future activities delivered by the partnership.

  • Help develop pathways for postdocs (what is their starting point, what are their needs, what part of the programme should they engage with).

  • Provide evidence of effectiveness of the programme.

  • Expand the evaluation programme.

  • Support funding applications to further develop and roll out the programme across the European partners (HEIs and Industry).