Guidance for Applicants

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

Applications for participation in the ICURe programme should be made by a team consisting of the following four individuals:

  1. Post Doc, Junior Researcher (Early Career Researcher) with hands-on knowledge of the research results and underlying technologies and know-how,
  2. Senior Researcher (Principal Investigator) who is leading the research activity,
  3. Technology Transfer Officer (TTO) with university responsibility for commercialising the research activity,
  4. Business Adviser who is familiar with the research activity and has experience in the commercial marketplace.

Technology Transfer staff (TTO) are a proactive member of the team. Their skills and expertise regarding understanding university processes and policy are essential to getting the best out of the programme. We run a specific lessons learnt session at the bootcamp for new and existing TTO staff which has been well received.

ICURe will support approximately 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-month (approximately) market validation activity, participating teams will present their opportunity to an options roundabout panel that will offer the team guidance on recommended further development pathways.

The options proposed generally include: carrying out further publicly or privately 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 spin-out company. Appropriate and approved projects might be offered up to £15k during the follow-on business plan development phase and the opportunity to apply for an Innovate UK grant to develop the business to a stage where it should be able to raise private investment.

Team Applications

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

Requirements of the team are as follows:

  1. Post Doc/ Junior Researcher must be an ECR who is:
    1. able to commit full-time for approximately 3 months on the programme.
    2. must be employed full-time by the university for the length of the programme.
    3. must have valid visas for major countries as extensive international travel is required to hold meetings and discussions with key commercial organisations.
  2. Senior Researcher must be able to attend the bootcamp, options roundabout and support the programme throughout the 3-month period.
  3. Business Adviser will offer expert commercial 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 provide assistance to help you identify one.
  4. Technology Transfer Officer must attend the bootcamp and options roundabout, as well as support the ECR and team during the ICURe programme and continue to support the further commercialisation following the ICURe programme.

Eligible Expenditures

Up to £35,000 is available for each participating team. Each team accepted onto 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.  A Letter of Award will be issued after the bootcamp has been completed.

Expenses covered by the programme are:

  • Up to £15k towards Early Career Researcher (Entrepreneurial Lead (EL)) salary costs (including on costs, i.e. 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 in accordance with the agreed action plan and budget.
  • Travel costs and accommodation for all team members to attend ICURe events (bootcamp, training day and Options Roundabout presentation).

NB – The role of business adviser is unpaid; however, their travel and accommodation expenses for the bootcamp and options roundabout 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.
  2. Residential bootcamp approximately 3-days. The EL will be required to attend across all days, the Senior Researcher, TTO and Adviser must join at later points over the 4 days. 

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 EL must be employed full-time on the programme for approximately 3 months until the last date of the Options Roundabout. 

Please note we are not able to accept attendance of additional team members at the bootcamp or any of the ICURe events during the programme unless there are exceptional circumstances.

  1. The EL will access bi-weekly teleconferences with the ICURe Team and other programme teams.
  2. The EL will provide monthly reports and record contacts and meetings as requested.
  3. The EL will attend an Options Roundabout Training day approximately one week prior to the Options Roundabout at a venue to be confirmed which supports the preparation of the final presentation to the panel.
  4. The Team will deliver their ‘ICURe Journey’ final presentation to the Options Roundabout Panel (each team will be allocated a slot on one of 2-3 days.) The Options Roundabout panel will provide feedback 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.

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 approximately 4 weeks prior to the bootcamp.

The ICURe Programme is committed to equality and diversity and will ensure all applicants are treated equally and selected based on merit.

Schedule of Cohorts