Biofilms ICURe Explore – Applications Close on 5 July 2024

Biofilms ICURe Explore is an upcoming ICURe programme themed around biofilms (across all applications including health, food and agriculture, hygiene, marine, personal care and waste and water) exclusively available to NBIC research partners.

Biofilms ICURe Explore is a 3-month market discovery programme designed to train, fund and support research teams to determine whether there is a market for products or services that utilise their ideas, research, science, and technologies. Starting in September 2024, applicants will receive expert training on a 5 day bootcamp, followed by 12 weeks of market discovery and support to test key market assumptions. Teams will also have the opportunity to present their market findings to a panel of sector specialists, funders and investors at our Options Roundabout.

Up to £35,000 of funding is available to ‘get out of the lab’ and validate commercially promising ideas in the marketplace.

Innovate UK’s ICURe (Innovation to Commercialisation of University Research) Programme is a nationwide programme which supports students and researchers to explore the commercial applications and potential impacts of their research.

The application deadline is 23:59 on Friday 5 July 2024.

What does it include?

  • Funding support up to £35,000. This comprises the EL salary for the duration of the programme and a market research budget.
  • Support to cover approximately 3 months of EL salary to have fully committed time for customer discovery activities whilst participating in the programme.
  • Access to SETsquared experts in bringing research to market, as well as proactive connections to our network of entrepreneurs, investors, and funders.
  • Dependent upon the outcome of the Options Roundabout some teams may have the opportunity to access further training and some specialist sector support, apply for InnovateUK follow-on funding and access investors as part of the ICURe Exploit Programme.
  • Face-to-Face and online bootcamps – 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 action plan of your market discovery journey.
  • Approximately 3 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 engagement. This will involve targeting direct engagements with over 100 business leaders. You will join weekly conference calls with our team of experts who will provide guidance in taking research ideas to market.
  • Face-to-face pitch training to teach you how to pitch your research to potential customers and investors.
  • Options Roundabout Panel – the opportunity to pitch to an experienced panel of funders, stake holders and mentors to help accelerate the impact from your research and give feedback on commercialisation pathways.

Please note:

  • 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 be reclaimed after the programme finishes, based on actual and evidenced expenditure.
  • Innovate UK will not cover any travel Visa costs.

Why attend?

Past participants say that having dedicated time to spend understanding what commercialisation of research means has dramatically changed their perspective on their research, ideas, and innovations. The programme introduces ICURe and provides the space and opportunity to think differently about impact, commercialisation, and entrepreneurship.

Who is eligible?

ICURe Explore is open to researchers and technicians in all UK universities and approved public sector research establishments (PSREs) who are working specifically within the fields of electronics, semiconductors, quantum technology, and associated firmware. We accept innovations from any discipline or background within these areas.

ICURe teams are composed of four individuals:

  1. Entrepreneurial Lead/researchers and technicians who have 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.
  2. Principal Scientific Adviser – MUST be able to attend required bootcamp sessions as well as the options roundabout and be willing to support the programme throughout its duration.
  3. Technology Transfer Officer (TTO) – MUST be able to attend required 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.
  4. 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.

Please note: There is provision for £1200 charge including VAT within the budget, however this may only be recovered via the participating University who may then claim from ICURe as part of the overall spend at the end of the programme.

We particularly welcome applications from individuals in:

  • Universities who have not previously participated in the ICURe programme.
  • Universities who do not receive HEIF funding.
  • Under-represented groups including women, people of color, those living with disabilities, and those from the LGBTQI+ communities.
  • Approved public sector research establishments (PSREs) conducting research within the specified domains.

How to apply

  • The online application form will ask a series of questions about you and your research project.
  • There is a limited number of spaces on each Cohort, but we try to provide support to as many applications as possible.
  • The application form may be accessed from the links on this website.
  • All applications will go through a competitive selection process and both the EL and Research Lead will be required to participate in a scheduled video interview as part of that process.
  • To take part in Explore, you must have support from your Technology Transfer Office (TTO), or your university equivalent, AND your research group. Please contact us if your university does not have a TTO or IP Manager and we will endeavour to help.

If you have any further questions, please direct them to