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ICURe: Guidance for applicants

ICURe trains, funds, and supports research teams to determine whether there is a market for products or services that utilise their ideas, research, science, and technologies. Up to £35,000 of funding is available to ‘get out of the lab’ and validate commercially promising ideas in the marketplace

Over a 3 to 4 month period, the training and support activities are currently carried out online, providing accessibility to a wide range of applicants.  It is hoped that, in line with government guidelines and individual University policies, the mid-term review day can be held face to face.

How does it work?

ICURe 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. Past participants say that having ICURe support, training, and funding to spend on customer discovery has dramatically changed their perspective on their innovation.

What does it include?

  • Funding support up to £35,000
  • Support to cover up to 16 weeks 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 up to 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.
  • Game changing online delivery
  • 4 day online 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
  • 3 – 4 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 1-hour 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 pitch to an experienced panel of funders, stakeholders, mentors, and investors to help accelerate the impact from your research. The panel will give 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?

ICURe is open to research teams in all UK universities and some public sector research enterprises (PSREs).  ICURe teams are composed of four individuals:

  • Junior 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.
  • 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 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 and are actively seeking applications from under-represented groups and non-Russell Group Universities.

We cannot accept applications from a team in respect of a project that has previously participated 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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