Date 29 January - 8 March 2024
Time 13:30
Location Hauser Forum, 3 Charles Babbage Road, Cambridge, CB3 0GT

CRoSS Programme: Ideas Incubator

Do you have an idea for a social innovation with its roots in your research? You might be developing new methods or interventions, partnerships or networks, tools, platforms or services which could create real-world impact whether on a local or global scale. 

Want to learn more about how to make your idea a reality? Interested in meeting like-minded researchers and getting some tailored and practical support to propel your project beyond the research phase? 

We invite Expressions of Interest in the CRoSS Ideas Incubator programme, a support programme for researchers and their collaborators who are committed to creating social impact and are interested in exploring socially responsible innovation models and/or social entrepreneurship.  

This incubator is focussed on establishing new products and services which can deliver measurable and scalable social or environmental impact, whether enabled by research evidence, practice, lived experience, technologies, or expertise.  

All disciplines are welcome: we will prioritise applications with a strong emphasis on understanding and tackling societal and environmental challenges. 

We especially welcome applications from researchers in arts, humanities and social sciences and from inter/multi-disciplinary projects; and from researchers who have previously been involved in public engagement or policy engagement and are curious about entrepreneurial and innovation pathways.


What does this incubator offer? 

The programme will guide researchers through the early critical steps of research impact and commercialisation, and help them understand how social innovations are brought to market by offering hands-on insight, mentorship and practical tools. 

Benefits include: 

  • A practical exposure to the basics of social innovation, commercialisation and entrepreneurship. 
  • Tailored support from a dedicated case team who will help you to develop your innovation pathway and identify stakeholders. 
  • Introduction to tools and case studies to help formulate and test your ideas. 
  • Meet like-minded people, collaborate and learn from others’ expertise. 
  • Develop fruitful links to Cambridge’s wider research and innovation community to find support as you take your project or venture forward.

At the end of the programme, you will have: 

  • Developed an advanced draft of your business model canvas (including an informed stakeholder and beneficiary analysis and a clear value proposition). 
  • Created an action plan for your idea to move forward, informed by the insights gathered and the increased familiarity with the tools introduced in each session. 
  • Learnt how to articulate the value of your idea to different publics through different techniques and tools 
  • Developed a lasting, supportive network and community in the Cambridge research and innovation ecosystem.

The programme:

The programme takes a focussed approach: a small cohort of researchers will attend five half-day sessions (across late January and February – please see the detailed scheduled below), culminating in a day-long workshop event and finale. 

Each session will be hosted by members of the commercialisation teams at Cambridge Enterprise and introduces expertise from Cambridge’s broader networks. Between sessions, participants can work with their personal case team to develop their ideas. 

Every session includes expert content delivery focussed on practical tools and methods in social innovation, an opportunity for structured and informal discussions with speakers, and time for you to work as a team on progressing and refining your ideas. 

Exercises might include: 

  • Developing your value proposition 
  • Stakeholder mapping 
  • Business Canvas modelling 
  • Customer proposals, marketing materials and exploration of commercial channels 
  • Exploring funding and support

Schedule, format and content

Monday 29 January 13:30 - 16:30Validate your impact pathway
Monday 5 February 13:30 - 16:30Understand your market
(Reading Week)(Individual coaching and support)
Monday 19 February 13:30-16:30Your team, skills and networks
Monday 26 February 13:30-16:30Storytelling development
(Reading Week)(Videography and pitch practice)
Friday 8 March 10:00 - 18:00 Action planning and finale event

Who is this incubator for? 

We invite individuals or teams of up to three people to submit Expressions of Interest.  

We welcome: 

  • University of Cambridge researchers (including PhD students) in any discipline including multidisciplinary /interdisciplinary teams  
  • University of Cambridge staff members  
  • Collaborators from inside or outside of the university, joining us as part of a team which includes at least one Cambridge researcher or staff member 

Our event promotion will aim to reach potential participants who represent diverse experiences and expertise, and we encourage participation by women and minority groups. 

If you have any questions about eligibility or the programme, please reach out to 

How do I get involved? 

Submit an Expression of Interest form, and we’ll contact you for a chat about your idea. 

Places on the incubator are limited, and there is an expectation that you will actively participate and work with your programme peers. Sessions will be held in person, at least one team member should be present for each session and the final workshop.  

In addition, bursaries and other support may be available to enable participation, for example, to cover travel student researchers or early-career researchers who would otherwise face barriers to joining the programme. 

We’re glad to hear from researchers at any stage who are developing a social innovation project and would like to access Cambridge Enterprise support, even if the incubator isn’t the right fit for you at the moment. We have a wide support offering for Cambridge researchers and entrepreneurs. 

Deadline for applications is 12 January 2024. Please feel free to contact us by email.