Generating more creative and impactful research ideas

29 April 2022 - 20 May 2022
(4 x 3h)

This event has already taken place.


Good and creative research ideas are central to the success of every academic. But finding such ideas is a struggle for many researchers, especially for those early in their academic career. Moreover, many stop ideating after their first idea. The purpose of this training trajectory, supported by Prof. Dr Elio Keko (Academic Creativity Labs), is to train academics in ideation tools that have proven their value in companies and governments for +20 years, adapted to the specific context of academia.
Isn’t it funny that many academics are not aware of, or use, tools used in practice? In a 4-step training, participants are taught how to use ideation tools in the ‘fuzzy front end’ of their research, which should enable them to come up with more and better ideas to kick off their research projects.

We know that not every young researcher is the same and has a particular working context. Academic Creativity Labs aims to give young researchers a head start to reach their objectives and overcome some of their problems, like:

  • writing more impactful papers (top journals, implications for policy and society, managerial relevance),
  • having greater control over ideation,
  • finding a good idea for a research proposal,
  • ... and thereby ensuring their well-being.

Learning outcomes

By the end of the workshop, you will have learned:

  • a clear process and tools for each step of the process to get inspired, generate, discuss and select ideas,
  • different ways to find inspiration for your research, depending on your research goals and interests,
  • how to develop a higher amount and more creative research ideas using hands-on tools and methods,
  • a stage-gate methodology to select the best, most impactful ideas that you can use iteratively throughout your research career,
  • how to involve others in generating and selecting research ideas,
  • how to pitch ideas to your supervisor/advisor/colleague in a clear and coherent way.


This is a hands-on ideation training for young researchers to help them develop more and better research ideas. The development of this training is based on academic research and collaborations with the educational and business world. It involves a well-defined and actionable methodology. Participants work together to learn the tools and process, and apply it in 4 weeks. Having learned the tools and process, you can then apply in the future to your needs and follow your own timeline.

The training consists of a 4-step approach aiming to end the training program with new and better research ideas: an inspiration phase, an idea generation phase, a selection phase and a pre-initiation phase. Each phase provides some tools and methodologies to support the participant to achieve the objectives of each phase.
The program is built up around the 4 phases, and therefore consists of 4 contact moments of 3 hours. After each contact moment, participants are asked to work with the material provided and to apply it to their own research. From the 2nd session onwards, prior to a workshop in which new tools are explained, a feedback session is organized in which participants may share their experiences using the tools and receive feedback from the trainer. This training-application-feedback routine will enable participants to better master the methodology.

Overview of sessions:

1) SESSION 1 // Introduction + training session on inspiration
We start with a three hour workshop that introduces you to the training program and teaches the use of different methodologies to find inspiration for creative research ideas that fit your personal goals and interests.
Application to own research: After the session, trainees will start gathering new insights and inspiration using tools and frameworks discussed during the workshop.

2) SESSION 2 // Feedback + training session on immersion generation
Participants discuss their experiences with fellow participants and receive feedback from our trainers. Depending on the group size, we split the group in smaller subgroups for feedback sessions to ensure optimal learning from feedback.
Next, in a two hour interactive session we explain immersion and brainstorming tools for idea generation. In small exercises with fellow participants, trainees can test the tools and ask further questions.
Application to own research: After the session, trainees can do the idea brainstorm exercise with some trusted colleagues to further develop creative research ideas.

3) SESSION 3 // Feedback + training session continued on idea generation, idea selection and pitching
Participants discuss their experiences with fellow participants and receive feedback from our trainers. Next, in a two hour workshop we explain some prioritization tools which can be used to select the best ideas. Furthermore, we train participants on how to pitch their research by using our tools to their advisors or people they want to receive feedback from.
Application to own research: After the session, trainees can use the prioritization tools to select their best ideas in collaboration with their trusted advisors or co-workers.

4) SESSION 4 // Feedback + training session on the research canvas and hypothesis action cards
Participants discuss their experiences on pitching their ideas to their supervisors with fellow participants and receive feedback from our trainers. Next, a two hour workshop explains the use of tools to further develop their research ideas through a research canvas and hypothesis action cards (using lean start-up methodologies in research) before start initiating the research project.


An important part of preparing for any further professional step is becoming (more) aware of the competences you have developed and/or want to develop. In the current workshop, the following competences from the UHasselt competency overview are actively dealt with:

  • intellectual competences:
    • creativity
    • innovativeness
    • critical judgment
  • personal effectiveness:
    • initiative
  • interpersonal competences:
    • customer-orientedness
    • persuasion


For whom?

  • PhD students
  • There are 15 places available.

When and where?

  • April 29 & May 6, 2022 - 9:00-12:00
  • May 13 & 20, 2022 - 13:00-16:00
  • organized digitally


  • Registrations closed since March 30, 2022.
  • Please register only if you can attend all four sessions.
  • As places are limited, registering does not automatically imply that you will be able to participate. You will be notified by email after the registration deadline has passed.
  • Please cancel your registration at least one week in advance in case you cannot make it (cf. cancellation & no-show policy).

Acknowledged as?

  • DS BSH: category 'research management & communication skills' - workshop on general research skills
  • DS HLS: category 'transferable skills' - compulsory elective course
  • DS ST: category 'research management' - workshop on PhD management or equivalent

Back to the Academic research competences - course offer (2022) overview