Master's students and graduates and the Industrial PhD

Master’s students and graduates who have good ideas for PhD projects involving a company, organisation or similar should consider an Industrial PhD.

An Industrial PhD subsidised by the Innovation Fund Denmark is a collaboration between the university, a company and a PhD student. The student is enrolled in the PhD School but employed by the company. The company applies to the Innovation Fund for a subsidy. If the project is approved, the student is enrolled in the PhD School. Read more about the Industrial PhD scheme

Collaboration on a PhD with a company that does not receive a subsidy from the Innovation Fund is also an option. However, in that case, the company concerned has to pay both the student’s salary and the tuition fees (taximeter).

It is important that students establish contact with the company before drawing up an application, e.g. via networking activities during their master’s programmes, academic internships, a thesis written in collaboration with the business or organisation concerned or via student jobs.

Students currently enrolled on master’s programmes should contact the supervisors in their department to learn about opportunities for working together on a PhD.

The PhD School has also collated useful information for master’s graduates who have not yet established contact with a company:

Contact with companies

How should students go about networking with companies and organisations with which they would like to work? What networking tools do they need? What is the best way to contact companies? What is the best way to attract the company’s interest and pitch the project?

The PhD School posed these questions to five career-guidance experts and supervisors.


Contacting companies

What do companies prefer and what do they focus on when hiring students or new master’s graduates? What should students be aware of when contacting a company? The experts’ answers are listed below.

  • Students should select the method that suits them best, be it email, telephone or via their network, e.g. a lecturer, supervisor or another teacher at the University.
  • Do the research: What is interesting about this company?
  • Show interest, commitment and passion for the project: Why this particular company and not another?
  • Be self-aware: Describe personal competencies briefly and concisely.
  • Identify personal goals: What do you want to achieve?
  • Be aware of your value: What can you contribute to the company? What challenges does it face? How could you solve its problems? How can you help the company?
  • Be aware of your limitations: What skills do you not have? Do you lack technical skills?

Pitch the idea

What is the most effective way of introducing yourself? What is the best way to pitch an idea to people and companies? The PhD School asked five career-guidance experts about pitching ideas:


 Their advice in brief:

  • Pitching is all about storytelling – tell a story to which others can relate.
  • Be aware of your strengths.
  • Show that you are motivated and focus on what you want to achieve.
  • Show that you will be a good investment by presenting specific solutions to challenges.
  • Practise the pitch – and keep practising!