NPIF Accelerating Business Collaboration

National Productivity Investment Fund (NPIF) Accelerating Business Collaboration Funding

In February 2020, the Universities of Leeds, Sheffield and York were awarded funding from the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) to deliver a range of activities across the White Rose Social Sciences Doctoral Training Partnership (DTP) to expand opportunities to build the capacity and capability of social science doctoral students and early career researchers to engage with business.

The funding will be delivered through partnerships between ESRC Impact Acceleration Accounts (IAAs) and DTPs.

What Opportunities are Available?

Activities will run until March 2021, and the three lead institutions will deliver:

  • Dedicated staff resource to coordinate opportunities and deliver ongoing brokering and support for business engagement.
  • Placements with priority business partners.
  • Industry focused workshops and networking activities.
  • Two skills and leadership residentials to upskill doctoral researchers and early career researchers to find, manage and maintain successful external partnerships.
  • A training programme addressing business engagement knowledge and skills gaps for social science doctoral researchers and early career researchers.

Who is this funding for?

PhD Researchers/Early Career Researchers

Support is available for any doctoral researcher or early career researcher, across the White Rose DTP, whose work is at least 51% social science. The support is available to doctoral researchers regardless of funding source (i.e. you do not need to be funded by the ESRC/associated with the WRDTP already to be involved in this initiative). The ESRC are not using a formal definition, however researchers taking part will be asked to demonstrate why they should be considered ‘early career’.

National and Regional Businesses/SMEs/Entrepreneurs

Support is available for partners from the business sector who are wishing to collaborate with our PhD Researchers and Early Career Researchers, via:

  • Placements and secondment opportunities
  • Taking your real world business challenges to an audience of researchers to gain new insights
  • Brokering the gap between your business needs and their research expertise, therefore creating a space for networking and collaboration.

Upcoming Events & Opportunities

This highly engaging webinar programme, hosted by Nick Bramley (CEO of IMPACTUS Group) has been repackaged from a successful classroom programme for effective online delivery via Zoom.
The session 'Impacting Large Organisations' will equip social scientists (PhD level - and early career researchers) in preparing to influence and impact large organisations. The session will use examples from large organisations as well as short exercises to improve understanding. The session will cover: Why organisations need social science research Organisational culture Stakeholder mapping Pitching How to make a virtual impact

Resource Hub

Through this funding we will be holding a number of training sessions and workshops aiming to develop specific skills around engaging with the business community. All the resources and videos from these training sessions will be made available on the White Rose Doctoral Training Partnership within their VIRE portal if you would like to access these.

All PGRs will have been provided with the Leeds login details for this portal however if you need the login details for Leeds please contact Hannah Crow on

Once you have logged in please click VIRE and then scroll down to  Industrial Partnership Event Outputs where all the resources are kept.


Find out more

If you would like to find out more about this project, please contact Hannah Crow – Business Partnership Manager. | 0113 343 8468