The BBSRC has identified IB as a priority area that can help to reduce our dependency on petrochemicals, contribute to the targets for reducing emission of green-house gases and helping the UK to become a low carbon economy.  IBioIC’s role, as a specialist in the IB sector, is to stimulate the growth of the sector in Scotland to £900 million by 2025, employing over 2,000 people in 200 companies.
Products and services that result from research and innovation in the IB sector could be instrumental in tackling some of the most challenging societal and economic issues we face today.  It is important that as Researchers you have an awareness of the impact your research could have, and how the public feel and react to the changes.  Thematic groups are a student-led activity that is mandatory in years 1 and 2. 

The groups aim to:

• Develop your team working and leadership skills.
• Raise your awareness about the impact your research could have on the world.
• Gain confidence in working with your cohort to prepare engagement activities to raise the public’s awareness to the impact of your research and resulting outputs; engage in a discussion and incorporate their feedback; inspire others to consider a career in IB.

Thematic groups will be formed during the Induction Day and it is expected that the group will come together a minimum of three times per year, including the PhD Symposium. These meetings can take place in person or virtually. The remit of the groups will be to:

• Self-identify with a global societal or economic challenge that you feel passionate about and that your research could contribute to in the future.
• Identify where your public engagement skills and interests lie and where you have gaps in knowledge.
• Plan an engagement activity by the group and identify the range of skills required to prepare for the engagement, undertake it and evaluate its success.
• Learn from the experience and plan your next engagement or set up a new group.