I thought I knew my target market for my technology. But this programme has helped our team gain real feedback from potential customers and is dramatically changing the way we view our approach to research commercialisation.
SETsquared ICURe Pilot Programme Participant

The ICURe Innovation-to-Commercialisation programme (Phase 2 extension), piloted by the SETsquared Partnership and Innovate UK, and funded by the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS), offers university researchers with commercially-promising ideas up to £50k  (£35k + £15k) to ‘get out of the lab’ and validate their ideas in the marketplace.

Innovation to Commercialisation of University Research (ICURe) is a collaboration of the SETsquared Partnership, Innovate UK and BEIS, designed to move ideas and innovation out of universities and into the marketplace, where they will have the greatest impact.

In 2018-19 the ICURe pilot (Phase 2 extension) will continue to focus on commercially-promising research projects undertaken at all UK universities. ICURe will fund teams to validate whether there is a market for products or services that utilise their research, science or technology.

Where there is evidence of market demand, support for further commercial development, licensing or spinning-out the research there will be up to £15k additional funding, to create a business plan to bid for follow-on for ringfenced funding from Innovate UK.

Experience shows that the most important aspect of a potential team’s success is when they can particate in the programme. It has to be the right time for the ECR, who leads, and the project. With this in mind ICURe are working with two other delivery nodes, Midlands ICURe and NXNW ICURe to provide a full spread of dates this year. There will be cohorts starting in June and August as well two in September and two more in January 2019.

Guidance for Applicants

ICURe will fund selected proposals to prove market demand for research with funding of up to £35k for the 3-month Market Validation stage. And if approved an additional up to £15k for business plan development.

Applications for the funding should be made by a team of 3 consisting of:

  1. Post Doc Junior Researcher (Early Career Researcher)
  2. Senior Researcher (Principal Investigator)
  3. Business Adviser.

Technology Transfer staff (TTO) are encouraged to be a proactive part of the team as a “shadow” member. Their skills and expertise regarding understanding university process and policy are essential to getting the best out of the programme. We will strongly encourage and will fund their expenses to attend the residential boot camp and options roundabout with their teams. We run a specific 'lessons-learnt' session at the bootcamp for new and existing TTO staff which has been well received. Please see the TTO guidance for lessons learnt and helpful hints created by previous TTO staff.

ICURe will support three months of full-time, intense market assessment with the Early Career Researchers taking on the role of the Entrepreneurial Lead to have meaningful conversations with at least 100 prospective customers, regulators, suppliers, partners and competitors to validate the commercial potential of their research. 

At the end of the 3 months, participating teams will present their opportunity to an options roundabout panel that will offer the team expert guidance on recommended development pathways.

The options proposed can include carrying out 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.  If there is a strong case, commercialisation staff from the universities and university incubators, will work with each team so that they can be fast-tracked into creating a start-up company. Approved projects might be available of up to £15k for salary during the business plan development phase.


Team Applications

The programme will accept applications from teams based at all UK universities for Cohort 13. There are no restrictions upon which discipline, HE institution or part of the UK that can apply as long as they have the correct team members.

Cohort 14 starts w/c 17th September 2018 and the Options Roundabout w/c 3rd December 2018.

Requirements of the team are as follows:

  • Post Doc Junior Researcher - must be an early career researcher and be able to commit full-time for 3 months on the programme starting by 17th September 2018 and MUST be employed by the university for the length of the programme.
  • Senior Researcher, MUST be able to attend the bootcamp, options roundabout and support the programme throughout the 3-month period.
  • 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 as a third team member.


Eligible Expenditures

Up to £35,000 of initial allocation is available for each participating team. Each team accepted on to the programme will be required to submit a budget and action plan for approval at the bootcamp and money will be drawn down against expenditure through your university’s research commercialisation office. If this is not agreed then the team will not progress on the programme.

This funding is not a grant, and there is no money paid up front. 

Expenses covered by the programme are:

  • Up to £15k towards Early Career Researcher (Entrepreneurial Lead (EL)) salary costs (including on costs, ie university pension and NI contributions). Salary provided will match the Early Career Researcher’s current salary. There is no additional amount paid. 
  • EL Travel, subsistence and accommodation required to conduct face-to-face interviews and attend trade shows.
  • Travel costs and accommodation for team members to attend ICURe events (bootcamp, training days/support and Options Roundabout Presentation – accommodation for bootcamp is covered by the central ICURe programme). 

NB - The role of business adviser is unpaid; however, their travel and accommodation expenses will be covered by the programme.



If you are successful with your application and are offered a place on the programme, your team will be required to meet the following expectations:

  1. Pre Bootcamp teleconference to discuss programme and expectations for the EL w/c 10th September 2018
  2. Cohort 13 Launch - 3 day residential bootcamp - w/c 17th September 2018.
    The EL will be required to attend across all days, the Senior Researcher and Adviser must join at later points over the 3 days.  Please note, due to the venue and delivery arrangements for the bootcamp, we are not able to accept additional team members to attend. Also, please note that the EL and SR roles can only be undertaken by one person per role (i.e. time cannot be split between two staff). The JR must be employed full-time on the programme for 3 months until the last date of the Options Roundabout.
  3. The EL will access bi-weekly teleconferences with the Programme Manager and other programme teams and monthly reporting is required.
  4. The Team will attend an Options Roundabout Training day w/c 26th November 2018 at a venue to be confirmed which supports the preparation of the final presentation to the panel.
  5. The Team will deliver their ‘ICURe Journey’ final presentation to the Options Roundabout Panel w/c 3rd December 2018 (each team will be allocated a slot on one of 2 days.) The Options Roundabout panel will make a recommendation to the team on commercialisation options they feel are most appropriate for the project/team at that stage.


Application Process

Please complete the application form clearly and concisely, remembering that the review panel may not be experts in the field of your technology. Please ensure you follow the word count guide. Sections with * must be completed.

Please note – there is no ability to save and return to your application.

Once the application is submitted, the ICURe application review panel will consider all applications and identify the projects that best meet the ICURe programme requirements. You will be notified of the outcome of your application w/c 13th August 2018.


ICURe 14 Draft Programme Timeline**

Cohort 14 Application deadline

16th July 2018

Cohort 14 Bootcamp

w/c  17th September 2018

Cohort 14 Options Roundabout Training days

w/c 26th November 2018

Cohort 14 Options Roundabout 

w/c 3rd December 2018

** subject to change

For more information, contact [email protected] or call Alan Scrase on 07825 761652.

Midlands ICURe contact [email protected] or https://warwick.ac.uk/services/ventures/midlandsicure/ 

NXNW ICURe contact [email protected] or