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Competition win will help commercialise teacher selection project

Posted on 28 June 2021

An educational psychologist from the University of York has won the top prize of £50,000 following a six-month training programme designed to help turn his research concept into a business venture.

Professor Rob Klassen

Professor Robert Klassen from the Department of Education came top of the class in the Aspect Research Commercialisation (ARC) accelerator competition with his Teacher Selection Project designed to recruit and develop new teachers.

Following extensive research, Professor Klassen has created a suite of teacher selection and development tools based on situational judgement test methods. Candidates are presented with different classroom scenarios and asked to make a judgement about what to do. Their responses provide a picture of their suitability for teaching and allow recruiters to make a more informed decision about a candidate’s likelihood of success in the classroom. 

After pitching his research to a panel of investors, alongside 13 other innovative social sciences ventures from across the UK, Professor Klassen was named overall winner. 

As a successful applicant to the programme in November 2020, he also benefited from six months of training and mentorship from industry experts who helped him develop a business plan and key entrepreneurial skills.

Professor Robert Klassen, said: “As an academic, I’ve written research papers and gained research grants, but I don’t have experience in entrepreneurial thinking and translating research into a product that will meet client needs.

“The Aspect competition offers a fantastic opportunity to work with industry experts and to understand how we can introduce the teacher selection tool to the market - and help educational institutions make more informed decisions about how they recruit.” 

Professor Klassen added: “Support from the University Research and Enterprise team, and especially the commercialisation unit at York was vital for success at ARC. I’m grateful that the University has been such an excellent incubator to help bring our research to the wider public.” 

Based at the University of Oxford, the ARC Accelerator programme is led by Aspect, a network of UK universities looking to support business opportunities for social sciences research. It is the first accelerator programme designed to help social science academics and researchers to develop ideas based on their research into businesses or ventures to help people, society and the economy. 

To learn more about the competition and explore the ARC Accelerator Class of 2021, visit the Aspect website.