Beyond entrepreneurship, raising broad academic professionals: Work-based learning in science from the employer’s perspective

Saskia Grooters*, Emma Zaal, Menno Gerkema

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)
23 Downloads (Pure)


The need for employees in the exact and natural sciences sector with both work experience and academic qualifications, especially combined with an entrepreneurial mindset, is rising. The University of Groningen offers an alternative Master’s program entitled Science, Business and Policy (SBP). SBP combines entrepreneurship education with the integration of a disciplinary science domain and thereby prepares students in science advising. This includes a work placement of 6 months, provided by companies, policy organisations and NGOs. To examine the impact of work placements from the perspective of the employer, this article analyses 20 semi-structured interviews with providers of placements. The results show that employers judge students who have undertaken a work placement as attractive future employees, and the quality of science advice given by students is seen as high. From a work floor perspective, work placements are a strong component in the optimal education of future employees. Integrating academic theory and experience in practice contributes to the employability of science students. The impact of work placements goes further than employability, since employers also indicate a direct effect on work dynamics and see the direct impact of advice reports in their organisation. The work-based learning approach chosen to achieve this specific entrepreneurship education fits the need of industry and other non-academic employers.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)512-523
Number of pages12
JournalIndustry and Higher Education
Issue number4
Early online date18-Nov-2022
Publication statusPublished - Aug-2023

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