Area of investment and support

Area of investment and support: BBSRC Innovation to Commercialisation of University Research (ICURe)

BBSRC’s Innovation to Commercialisation of University Research (ICURe) programme trains, funds, and supports research teams to determine whether there is a market for products or services that utilise their bioscience-based research and technologies.

Up to £25,000 of funding is available
3 months
Partners involved:
Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC) North by North West (NxNW) Innovate UK

The scope and what we're doing

BBSRC’s Innovation to Commercialisation of University Research (ICURe) programme takes the scientific method (hypothesise, test, evaluate) and applies it to commercialisation.

Successful teams learn how to use this approach to test what the market thinks about their technologies and innovations. In addition, teams receive training, regular coaching and interview practice, carrying out over 100 interviews and acquiring transferrable business and social skills over a 3-month period.

After the 3-month market engagement activities, the programme is concluded with an options roundabout. The options roundabout is an opportunity for ICURe teams to present their findings to a panel of experts for advice on next steps to commercialisation.

Teams advised to spin-out a company are invited to apply for a £250,000 grant through the Innovate UK ICURe follow-on funding scheme.

Research teams

ICURe is open to research teams in all UK universities, BBSRC-funded institutes and approved public sector research enterprises (PSREs).

ICURe teams are composed of 4 individuals:

Entrepreneurial lead

Any research staff or technical research staff member that receives their salary or stipend from an eligible university, PSRE or institute (including, but not limited to, PhD, technician, postdoctoral research associates, fellowship and group leader positions). This individual must be able to commit a minimum of one day per week for the duration of the programme starting the week of the bootcamp.

Associated science advisor

A researcher who can provide intellectual support to the entrepreneurial lead throughout the course of the programme. For example, an interdisciplinary project may require input from outside the research group.

Technology transfer representative

An individual from the team, either from, or contracted to, the research organisation leading on the commercialisation of the intellectual asset with appropriate technology transfer expertise.

This individual officer must be able to attend essential online bootcamp sessions as well as the options roundabout. In addition, the officer will provide support for the entrepreneurial lead and team during the programme, and continued support for further commercialisation activity following the programme’s conclusion.

Business adviser

A motivated individual from a relevant industrial sector to offer expert guidance and support. Teams are strongly encouraged to name an adviser in their application. Please contact the ICURe administration team if identifying a suitable advisor is a barrier.

The research underpinning the products or services being carried forward by the research team must be building on a previous BBSRC or other UK Research and Innovation grant that is taking forward a bioscience innovation to address a market opportunity. The technology must be either biological in nature, interact with a biological entity, involve a biological process, or address a biological challenge.

We are committed to improving diversity across our programmes and are actively seeking applications from under-represented groups and non-Russell Group universities. The spread across different target market sectors will also be considered when selecting applications to ensure broad portfolio coverage.

Why we're doing it

BBSRC’s Innovation to Commercialisation of University Research (ICURe) programme aims to:

  • provide opportunities for innovators including technicians, PhD students and researchers at any career stage to explore commercial concepts and test whether their technologies fulfil a customer need
  • provide opportunities for researchers and technicians at any career stage to develop enterprise skills opening opportunities outside of traditional academic career pathways
  • incentivise, connect and support innovation across scientific disciplines
  • increase the visibility of commercially promising bioscience research

Who to contact

Ask about this programme

Harry George, Senior Portfolio Manager


Last updated: 27 July 2023

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