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Biofilms ICURe Sprint – Cohort 40: Guidance for Applicants

Biofilms ICURe Sprint trains, funds, and supports research teams to determine whether there is an international biofilms market for products or services that utilise their ideas, research, science, and technologies. Up to £20,000 of funding is available to ‘get out of the lab’ and validate commercially promising ideas in the marketplace

It is held over an approximately 2 month period and the training and support activities will be mostly online, providing accessibility to a wide range of applicants (with the exception of the first two-day bootcamp).

How does it work?

Biofilms ICURe Sprint takes the scientific method (hypothesise, test, evaluate) and applies it to commercialisation. You will learn how to use this approach to test what your potential customers think about your idea, product, or service. In addition, you will receive training and interview practice, carrying out over 100 interviews and acquiring transferrable business and social skills.

Biofilms ICURe Sprint accelerates the market discovery stage by enhancing the involvement of significant players in the sector to provide mentoring and contacts, industry representatives to outline the challenges they face, and key applied research centres from NBIC’s partner universities.

What does it include?

  • Funding support up to £20,000. This comprises up to £12,000 ECR++ salary and up to £8,000 market research.
  • Support to cover approximately 2 months of ECR** salary to have fully committed time for customer discovery activities whilst participating in the programme.
  • Selected teams will have the opportunity to access further support and apply for follow-on funding from InnovateUK.
  • Access to experts in bringing research to market.
  • Access to our team of experts and proactive connections to our network of entrepreneurs, investors, and funders.
  • Face-to-face and online bootcamps – 2 days ECR++ only face-to-face and then 3 days online when the rest of the team join. This will be an intensive bootcamp where you will learn how to talk about your technology to customers, develop a hypothetical business model and identify your customers’ pain points. You will also create a detailed plan of your customer discovery journey.
  • Approximately 2 months of market validation against the customer discovery plan for your research using online software platforms, video conferencing and marketing tools and face-to-face (where safe and possible). This will involve targeting direct engagements with over 100 business leaders. You will receive weekly coaching clinics from experts in taking research ideas to market.
  • 1-day online pitch training to teach you how to pitch your research to potential customers and investors.
  • The opportunity to present to an experienced panel of funders, stakeholders, mentors, and investors to help accelerate the impact from your research. The panel will give guidance and feedback on commercialisation pathways which can include carrying out further public or private sponsored research and exploring licensing opportunities or seeking public or private funding for spin-out for those projects that have demonstrated strong market potential by the end of the market validation.

NB: This funding is not a grant, and there is no money paid upfront. Expenditure will go through the appropriate finance office at your university and would then reclaim after the programme finishes.

Who is eligible?

Biofilm ICURe Sprint is open to research teams in the 63 NBIC Partner Universities/Organisations and some public sector research enterprises (PSREs) with commercially-promising ideas for the international biofilms market.

ICURe teams are composed of four individuals:

  • ++Early Career Researcher (ECR) / Entrepreneurial Lead / post-doctoral researcher or PhD researcher who has completed research – MUST be employed by the university and able to commit Full-Time for the duration of the programme starting the week of the bootcamp until the last date of the Options Roundabout.
  • Senior Researcher (PI) / research group leader – MUST be able to attend essential online bootcamp sessions as well as the options roundabout and be willing to support the programme throughout its duration.
  • Technology Transfer Officer (TTO) – MUST be able to attend essential online bootcamp sessions as well as the options roundabout. In addition, provide support for the EL and team during the ICURe programme and continued support for further commercialisation activity following the ICURe programme.
  • Business Adviser – motivated to offer expert guidance and support. Teams are strongly encouraged to name an adviser in their application, from a relevant industrial sector. If you do not already have an appropriate person, the ICURe/NBIC team will help you identify one. Teams are responsible for any agreements or financial arrangements that may be needed with their Business Advisers.

We are committed to improving diversity across our programmes.

We cannot accept applications from a team in respect of a project that has previously participated in and benefitted from the ICURe programme.

How do I apply?

The application form may be accessed from the links on this website. All applications will go through a competitive selection process and the ECR will be required to participate in a scheduled video interview as part of that process. Your application must have engaged with your university Technology Transfer Office (TTO) and your research group (PI and ECR) prior to applying.

If you have any further questions please direct them to [email protected] or Thea Glasspool on 07557 179144.

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