The ICURe Innovation-to-Commercialisation programme (Phase 2 extension)

The ICURe Innovation-to-Commercialisation programme (Phase 2 extension), piloted by the SETsquared Partnership and Innovate UK, and funded by the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS), offers university researchers with commercially-promising ideas up to £50k  (£35k + £15k) to ‘get out of the lab’ and validate their ideas in the marketplace.

Innovation to Commercialisation of University Research (ICURe) is a collaboration of the SETsquared Partnership, Innovate UK and BEIS, designed to move ideas and innovation out of universities and into the marketplace, where they will have the greatest impact.

In 2018-19 the ICURe pilot (Phase 2 extension) will continue to focus on commercially-promising research projects undertaken at all UK universities. ICURe will fund teams to validate whether there is a market for products or services that utilise their research, science or technology.

Where there is evidence of market demand, support for further commercial development, licensing or spinning-out the research there will be up to £15k additional funding, to create a business plan to bid for follow-on for ringfenced funding from Innovate UK.

Experience shows that the most important aspect of a potential team’s success is when they can particate in the programme. It has to be the right time for the ECR, who leads, and the project. With this in mind ICURe are working with two other delivery nodes, Midlands ICURe and NXNW ICURe to provide a full spread of dates this year. There will be cohorts starting in June and August as well two in September and two more in January 2019.

Guidance for Applicants

ICURe will fund selected proposals to prove market demand for research with funding of up to £35k for the 3-month Market Validation stage. And if approved an additional up to £15k for business plan development.

Applications for the funding should be made by a team of 3 consisting of:

  1. Post Doc Junior Researcher (Early Career Researcher)
  2. Senior Researcher (Principal Investigator)
  3. Business Adviser.

Technology Transfer staff (TTO) are encouraged to be a proactive part of the team as a “shadow” member. Their skills and expertise regarding understanding university process and policy are essential to getting the best out of the programme. We will strongly encourage and will fund their expenses to attend the residential boot camp and options roundabout with their teams. We run a specific ‘lessons-learnt’ session at the bootcamp for new and existing TTO staff which has been well received. Please see the TTO guidance for lessons learnt and helpful hints created by previous TTO staff.

Eligible Expenditures

Up to £35,000 of initial allocation is available for each participating team. Each team accepted on to the programme will be required to submit a budget and action plan for approval at the bootcamp and money will be drawn down against expenditure through your university’s research commercialisation office. If this is not agreed then the team will not progress on the programme.

This funding is not a grant, and there is no money paid up front.

Expenses covered by the programme are:

  • Up to £15k towards Early Career Researcher (Entrepreneurial Lead (EL)) salary costs (including on costs, ie university pension and NI contributions). Salary provided will match the Early Career Researcher’s current salary. There is no additional amount paid.
  • EL Travel, subsistence and accommodation required to conduct face-to-face interviews and attend trade shows.
  • Travel costs and accommodation for team members to attend ICURe events (bootcamp, training days/support and Options Roundabout Presentation – accommodation for bootcamp is covered by the central ICURe programme).

NB – The role of business adviser is unpaid; however, their travel and accommodation expenses will be covered by the programme.

More information on ICURe: Innovation to Commercialisation of University Research…