UK universities house some of the brightest minds and most brilliant ideas on the planet. It was from UK universities that penicillin, fibre optics and the World Wide Web emerged. UK researchers introduced us to Dolly – the world’s first adult cloned mammal, and Baby - the world’s first stored program computer. But not all university discoveries make it to market. The path from laboratory to industry is time consuming, risky and expensive, and there remains a shortfall of funding focused on translating research into commercial application. You can therefore imagine my excitement when I was recently appointed as programme manager for the Innovation and Commercialisation of University Research (ICURe) pilot programme at Innovate UK.
What is ICURe?
ICURe is a programme of commercialisation support for teams of academic researchers wishing to explore the commercial potential of their research. It aims to improve commercial awareness amongst academic personnel, to develop and enhance the entrepreneurial skills of early career researchers, and to strengthen links between academic and industrial communities. ICURe ensures that the academic community is primed for the demands of research translation and as such, contributes to bridging the gaps between research, innovation and commercialisation.
To date, ICURe has been delivered by the SETsquared Partnership and has funded 160 early career researchers creating 44 new companies and 120 jobs in the UK. The SETsquared Partnership is the enterprise collaboration between the universities of Bath, Bristol, Exeter, Southampton and Surrey, and in February 2018 was ranked by UBI Global as the World’s Top Business Incubator managed by a university.
This financial year, Innovate UK will expand the ICURe programme to incorporate two additional delivery partners. Queens University Belfast and the University of Warwick will join SETsquared to run and grow the ICURe programme across the UK over the next 12 months. This will enable more teams to be involved, and up to 48 new projects to be supported.
In line with the Government’s industrial strategy white paper, the ICURe focus remains on training early career researchers to find the right route to commercialisation, and will help them to develop the necessary business skills, connections and expertise to pursue their ideas.
Who can apply?
The programme accepts applications from teams based at all UK universities and from all disciplines. If you have a promising idea and wish to apply for ICURe funding to get out of the lab and assess its market potential, drop me a line for further information.
Contact Emma - firstname.lastname@example.org
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