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For research teams from UK universities with commercially-promising ideas

Derive more IMPACT from your research activities


Validate the market for products or services that utilise your research


Apply for funding of up to £35k for market exploration


Engage with at least 100 prospective customers,
competitors, regulators and stakeholders

Receive expert feedback and guidance at the end of your ICURe journey

About the programme

Innovation to Commercialisation of University Research (ICURe) is 3+ month customer exploration programme designed using lean start-up methodology and Strategyzer tools and is funded by Innovate UK.

ICURe trains, funds, and supports teams led by university early-career researchers (ECRs) to determine whether there is a market for products or services that utilise their research, science, or technology. Up to £35,000 of funding is available to ‘get out of the lab’ and validate these commercially promising ideas in the marketplace.

ICURe partner organisations

How does it work?

The ICURe Programme offers research teams with commercially-promising ideas to ‘get out of the lab’ and validate their ideas in the marketplace funded by Innovate UK.

ICURe supports the research team’s Entrepreneurial Lead (ECR) to undertake 3+ months of full-time, intensive market assessment to validate the commercial potential of the team’s innovation. The programme utilises lean start-up methodology and Strategyzer’s business model canvas tools to develop a customer discovery journey and test what potential customers think of the research. In addition, the ECR’s will receive training and interview practice, carrying out over 100 interviews and acquiring transferrable business and social skills.

Past participants say that having 3+ months of support, dedicated time, and funding to spend on customer discovery has dramatically changed their perspective on their innovations.

Key dates and expectations

Options Roundabout

At the end of the market validation activity, your team will present your ICURe journey and your identified opportunities to an options roundabout panel that will offer the team feedback and guidance on development pathways.

The options for commercialisation pathways can include carrying out further public or private sponsored research, exploring licensing opportunities, seeking public or private funding for spin-out, for those projects that have demonstrated strong market potential by the end of the market validation.

Depending on the outcome of the Options Roundabout, there may be the opportunity for further training and commercial support, as well as access to investors.

Who should apply?

The programme is open to research teams from all UK universities and now some PSRE’s (Public Sector Research Establishments) with commercially-promising ideas. There are no restrictions upon which discipline can apply, but your team should consist of the following individuals:

Early Career Researcher/Entrepreneurial Lead with hands-on knowledge of the technology and research results

Senior Researcher (Principal Investigator) who is leading the research activity

Technology Transfer Officer with responsibility for commercialising the research activity

Business Adviser who is familiar with the research activity and has experience in the commercial marketplace

For the full team descriptions and requirements, as well as eligible expenditures and expectations, please read the Guidance for Applicants.

Before applying, we suggest that you take a look at the application template to understand what information is required.

ICURe Case Studies

The ICURe Programme was definitely key to establishing Biosystems Technology. It fast-tracked the commercial translation of our academic research into a viable business proposition. I learnt a huge amount of commercial knowledge and expertise in a short period of time.

Dr Olivia Champion, Biosystems Technology

Applications have now closed.

For more information, contact [email protected] or call Thea Glasspool on 07557 179144.

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