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Opportunities for inventors

EnterpriseTECH inventor.

Do you want to know if your lab research results, early-stage novel technology, or unique business ideas have commercial potential? Are you aiming to start a new venture, or have you already set up a new company and need additional market research?

A project accepted onto EnterpriseTECH is free for inventors. The projects form a crucial learning vehicle for the programme’s students, many of whom are University of Cambridge medics, PhD students and postdocs from STEM research backgrounds.

The next deadline for submitting a project proposal is 16 January 2022. 

We welcome proposals from inventors, including academic and industrial research labs, young ventures, and other organisations. However, most applications come from senior academic leads, CEOs and founders of early-stage ventures. 

We usually look to select around 10-15 projects per cohort, and we run two per year starting in Michaelmas, then again in Lent term. Shortlisted applicants attend an informal online interview to discuss some of the project’s background. You do not need to be in Cambridge, but being able to participate in person on the Launch and Pitch nights would be immensely beneficial to you and the students.

Opportunities

There are a lot of great benefits in having your project selected for EnterpriseTECH in addition the the quality of the engagement:

  • You will receive a 3000-word commercial feasibility report on your technology, including IP position, applications, commercial advantages, target markets, size and growth rates, competitors, SWOT analysis, potential partners and possible business models.
  • You will benefit from the insight and work of a high-calibre team of students with diverse thoughts, ideas and approaches by engaging with the group assigned to your project. You will meet with them several times during the research spell (around 12 weeks).
  • You can accelerate the commercialisation of your early-stage research or novel tech and, through the report, learn more about the customer and market feedback and a view of how it might be packaged for adoption and investment.
  • You will expand the scope and range of your business venturing network in the entrepreneurship ecosystem in Cambridge, including exposure to investment opportunities.
  • You have access pro-bono intellectual property reviews with a Cambridge Patent Lawyer’s office.

Expectations

We expect inventors to:

  • Attend the Launch Night, give the programme cohort a five-minute project overview and meet the student team and their appointed business supervisor.
  • Host at least two meetings with your team during the research spell, which is around 12 weeks.
  • Attend Pitch Night to support your team. You will receive the pitch deck they devise.
  • Provide written feedback for your team on the commercial feasibility report, pitch deck and video infomercial.

What projects would be suitable?

Our students tend to be predominantly STEM PhD students and postdocs, so we strive to offer intellectually stimulating projects of broad interest to their areas of specialisation. For instance, these projects are currently being explored by Cohort 11 (Nov 22-March 23) and the inventors behind them include young start-ups, research institutions, university lab heads, and postdocs:

  • Cell-free protein synthesis.
  • Lung-directed biologic delivery to prevent respiratory failure.
  • Bioelectronic organ on chip.
  • Targeting cell senescence to treat chronic wounds.
  • Exploiting bacterial communication to prevent infections.
  • Sensors for transplanted organs.
  • Apparatus and method for determining an indication of blood flow.
  • The smart plug that promotes net zero by enabling optimal charging.
  • Miniaturised condensation particle counter for air quality monitoring.
  • Edge AI Accelerator microprocessor.
  • AI-powered, automated crypto trading solution.

Many of our students have UK research council funding; therefore, we generally align the selection process with the strategic themes of UK Research and Innovation. See some more of our past projects here.

Contact us if you have any questions or are unsure if your project idea fits the bill.

Intellectual property and confidentiality

All project work is subject to a Confidential Disclosure Agreement (CDA) policy set out by the University of Cambridge. All students, contributors and business supervisors sign our standard CDA. All IP remains vested entirely in the inventor(s).

I was fortunate enough to work with a fantastic group of students from different academic backgrounds. My product, a novel food packaging to delay food spoilage, was at a stage where we had proven the theory and demonstrated efficacy in basic prototypes. What we really needed was a deeper understanding of the market, the intellectual property landscape in the field, and a general outside opinion as we were aware it can be easy to become blinkered with your own project. The team, led by an experienced business mentor, certainly delivered this for us. We have received an invaluable report on our project with forecasted milestones, potential hurdles and considerations for us moving forward. It is clear from the final report the team have gained a much deeper understanding of product development, making them experts in a field outside their own area of expertise. I have no doubt this will be of huge benefit in their own careers and entrepreneurial activities. For me personally being on this journey, I feel my own learning has greatly improved in entrepreneurial activities and am looking forward to continuing my relationship with EnterpriseTECH.
Dr Kyle J. Stewart MBChB BMedSc PGCE Med Ed, NHS England Clinical Entrepreneur Fellow, EnterpriseTECH Inventor (2019-20)

Submit a project proposal

We welcome and review project proposals from inventors all year round. Please review the hard deadlines associated with each of the programme cohorts.

Cohort 12 project proposal deadline: Closed

Submit a proposal

Inventor insights

Watch video interviews with inventors and contributors at EnterpriseTECH sharing their experience and views of the programme.

Watch the interviews