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A unique and flexible opportunity for early career researchers
to explore impact, knowledge exchange and commercialisation activities


Bespoke business & commercial training

Learn the IP commercialisation process

Benefit from Entrepreneur in Residence mentorship

About the Programme

Could your research change the world? Ever wondered how your research and practice could be used in business or commercial contexts? Do you want to be a true innovator, expand your knowledge exchange and enterprise skills, and learn the benefits of generating impact with your research?

We are offering an exciting opportunity for Early Career Researchers* (see Eligibility) from SETsquared partner universities (Bath, Bristol, Cardiff, Exeter, Southampton and Surrey) to immerse themselves in developing commercial skills and business acumen, through a focused fixed-term fellowship programme. You will be part of a programme that will help to support and speed up deal-making, working within a cohort of Fellows across the partner universities. The programme will include bespoke training, plus potential for placements, secondments and mentorship from Entrepreneurs in Residence.

More about the opportunity

This is a unique and flexible opportunity for ECRs* to explore outside the lecture theatre and/or lab and take part in a programme of impact, knowledge exchange and commercialisation activities. We are looking for a cohort of 6-8 Commercialisation Fellows who would each be based within their current University, but also working with the cohort across the SETsquared Universities.

In collaboration with SETsquared, you will work on real projects within the Innovation teams, with the aim to increase your confidence, build-on your skillset and to develop solutions to improve how the University supports our research community. This will take place through a bespoke training programme, mentorship from Entrepreneurs in Residence, learning the process of commercialising intellectual property, and increasing entrepreneurial activities. During the fellowship, there will also be opportunities to network with investors, founders, and within your cohort of Fellows, allowing time to explore and develop your own skills, networks, and pathway to impact.

The benefits for you

Knowledge exchange, impact, and innovation are increasingly important from a UK Research and Innovation and government perspective (e.g.HESA (Higher Education Statistics Agency), KEF, Impact ranking), and can be an important part of development for academics in terms of achieving research funding and career mobility. Despite this, historically awareness of innovation (and therefore the opportunity to gain key skills) has been limited to a few.

The fellowships will provide you the opportunity to acquire commercialisation/technology transfer/knowledge transfer skills to develop business acumen and networks and gain valuable experience for career development through on-the-job learning and dedicated training. In addition to on-the-job and in-house training, you will attend external training and events (including through SETsquared, Praxis Auril, and business networks).

You will also have the opportunity to share your newfound expertise with your cohort across the SETsquared universities and the funder community through coordinating and facilitating talks and workshops specifically around collaborating with businesses and commercialisation. You will be working on projects and developing solutions to improve how the university supports its research community to collaborate with businesses, commercialise its intellectual property, and increase its enterprise activities.

Testimonials from previous Fellows

“The fellowship is about understanding the world of business – understanding the business cycle, the language and the jargon, and to be able to see opportunities. On top of that, the fellowship is an opportunity to think differently about the impact my research could make. I have been granted access to online courses and material, have had the time to attend training courses (all paid for) and importantly had my time brought out to do this.” Jaime Ellis, University of Southampton

“It [the fellowship] will provide you with a great insight into how the commercialisation of research works, who to talk to, why commercialisation is important, and why you should care. It will also give you some much-needed dedicated time to explore and get involved in a range of projects that could link with your own research interests and goals, allowing you to produce future commercialisation ideas” Emily Corrigan-Kavanagh, University of Surrey

“I have massively expanded my business lingo – pivot, segments, return on investment! I have spoken to about 15 different stakeholders which has been really insightful and honed my communication skills. I was anxious starting as I find business and innovation all quite overwhelming, but that has settled somewhat. I thought engaging with stakeholders would be a lot more stressful – most are really nice and just want to help” Zoe M Harris, University of Surrey

Read more testimonials


Eligibility criteria

  • We welcome and encourage applicants from all faculties irrespective of their research grant funder with the Right to Work in the UK for the duration of the Fellowship
  • This Fellowship is not intended to support either a visa application or visa extension
  • We aim to create an inclusive environment and are proactive throughout the partnership universities in fostering a culture of inclusion, respect, and equality of opportunity and are committed to further improving gender equality and diversity
  • You must be able to commence the Fellowship programme by September 2024
  • The current end date will be approximately 31st March 2025.

* The definition of Early Career Researcher will be interpreted broadly and generally means you’re in your first or second post (e.g. PostDoc or Lecturer), the spirit is that you’re early in your research career. There’s no set duration on this post-PhD period as we understand some of you may have spent time in industry or government and then come back to academia.

Successful applicants will have and be able to demonstrate two critical aspects:

  1. Motivation – interest in impact generation through public, private, and charity sectors collaboration and/or commercialisation of research
  2. Capacity – time to commit to this fellowship

Applications are welcomed from under-represented groups.  Please note that approval from your Line Manager / Head of School or Head of Department will be required for the application to be considered.

Find out more about the key elements & practicalities

Applications open soon

Application deadline: 25 June 2024

To apply for the Commercialisation & Innovation Fellows Programme, please complete the application form below, along with a current CV.

  • All relevant salary information for example current level/ spine point must be included
  • The application MUST be approved by your Line Manager / Head of School or Head of Department
  • The Panel reserves the right to reject without review an incomplete or late application.

If you would like more information or to discuss if you might be eligible, please contact Vicki Lewin, Stakeholder Engagement & Cohort Manager: [email protected]

Innovation & Commercialisation Fellows

Your details

Your research interests & current role

What area is your main focus:(Required)

In which of the following universities are you currently placed?(Required)
Are you employed on a Fixed Term or Permanent Contract(Required)

Line Manager approval

Do you have approval from your Line Manager/Head of School/Head of Department to submit this application?(Required)
Your application will not be considered if you have not obtained approval

Working hours

On which basis would you like to do the Fellowship?(Required)
Proposed start date(Required)

Aims & objectives for the Fellowship

Please limit your response to 1250 characters
Please limit your response to 1250 characters
If you have any particular training or innovation skills you wish to be developed, please mention them here (eg knowledge exchange, industry engagement, creating research impact, IP, spin-outs)? A development plan will be discussed and agreed with successful applicants
Please limit your response to 1250 characters
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