Opportunities for inventors

Inventors overview

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. 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.

EnterpriseTECH inventor.

Deadlines for submitting project proposals

  • Cohort 14 – CLOSED

We welcome proposals from inventors, including academic and industrial research labs, young ventures, and other organisations. Most applications come from senior academic leads, CEOs and founders of early-stage ventures. We won’t usually consider a project from a current PhD student without their supervisor being the lead inventor.

We select around 10 projects per cohort, and run 2 cohorts per year in Michaelmas and Lent term. Shortlisted applicants attend an informal online interview to discuss the project’s background. You don’t need to be in Cambridge, but being able to participate in person on the Launch and Pitch nights is immensely beneficial to you and the students.


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

  • You will receive a 3,000-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 student team assigned to your project. You will meet with them several times during the research spell (around 8 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 enterprise network in the entrepreneurship ecosystem in Cambridge, including exposure to investment opportunities.
  • You have access to pro-bono intellectual property advice with a Cambridge patent lawyer’s office.


We expect inventors to:

  • Attend Launch Night and present a 5-minute project overview and meet the student team and their appointed business supervisor.
  • Host at least 3 meetings with your team during the research spell, around 8 weeks.
  • Attend Pitch Night to support your team. You will receive the pitch deck they devise.
  • Provide useful written feedback for your team on the commercial feasibility report, pitch deck, video infomercial and insights of your experience working with them.

About our EnterpriseTECH projects

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. We accept 10-12 projects per cohort, that’s about 20-24 a year.

Recent projects from early-stage startups, research labs, hospital teams and others include:

Human theme

  • Cell-free protein synthesis.
  • Bioelectronic organ on chip.
  • Exploiting bacterial communication to prevent infections.
  • Therapeutic approaches to selectively eliminate autoantibody-producing B-cells.
  • In vivo detection of senescent cells using nano-structured organic probe.

Earth theme

  • Ultra-low temperature method for high-value porous silicon for battery anodes.
  • Reconfigurable space robotics.
  • Miniaturised condensation particle counter for air quality.
  • Carbon capture battery.

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.

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

Our project selection usually aligns with the strategic research and innovation themes of UK Research and Innovation. Their strategic themes for 2023-2027 are highlighted below. EnterpriseTECH teams have worked on 157 proposals since launching in 2018, and these are just some of them:

Securing better health, ageing and wellbeing 

  • Aptamer based organic electrochemical transistors detecting small molecule analytes. 
  • Micro-incisional strabismus surgery device.
  • Second-generation undulating robotic colonoscope.
  • Organic-inorganic hybrid direct conversion X-ray detector.
  • Sensors for transplanted organs.
  • Bio-electronic organs on chip. 
  • Virtual reality in therapeutic medicine.
  • Holographic-based platform for continuous clinical monitoring.
  • Additive manufactured spinal fusion cages that conform to vertebral endplates.
  • Smart shunts for improving remote neurological care
  • Customisable spinal fusion cage.
  • Incremental micro dosage brain syringe.
  • Papworth organ re-perfusor.
  • Minimally invasive spinal cord stimulator.
  • Veterinary surgical robot and surgical planning software.
  • A nanotechnology-based intelligent toilet to resolve biomarkers.
  • Automated 3D printing surgical planning software for neonatal vessel reconstruction.
  • Lung-directed biologic delivery to prevent respiratory failure.
  • Drug design using AI and quantum simulation for molecular design.
  • Neo-psychedelic medicines.
  • A novel orthobiologic therapeutic.
  • Circular miRNA sponges.
  • A novel, smarter technology to develop orally administered peptide therapeutics.
  • Non-viral gene therapy for disease treatment.
  • A multifunctional molecular species for nano-bio hybrid design.
  • Cell-free protein synthesis.
  • Therapeutic platform using targeted protein degradation.
  • Multiplexed single-molecule detection of native RNA/ DNA at low concentration.
  • Opti-OX – an optimised inducible overexpression system.
  • Novel Saccharomyces protein expression system.
  • Flow synthesis of biologics.
  • High-resolution dynamic modelling of cellular processes.
  • Macrophage HT assay for preclinical screening of novel immuno-modulators.
  • Hydrogels platform for cell culture and cell therapy.
  • The single cell ageing reporter clock.
  • Distributed ledger for managing patient data in clinical studies.
  • Algorithms  for measuring biomolecular interactions.
  • AI-powered cancer drug-discovery. 
  • Nanoemulsion carriers for imaging and targeted cancer therapy.
  • Cancer diagnostics using whole-genome sequencing.
  • Next generation of drug delivery systems for hard-to-treat cancers. 
  • RNA trans-splicing technology for cancer.
  • Targeted microbubbles for glioblastoma drug delivery.
  • COSMIC cancer mutation census.
  • Predictive analytics for personalised cancer care.
  • Novel device for pelvic organ prolapse treatment.
  • Wearable biosensors for at-home rapid testing of vaginal microbiome.
  • New therapeutic to enhance pregnancy success after IVF.
  • Genomics-powered personalised pregnancy platform.

Tackling infections

Preparing for future disease epidemics and halt the slow motion pandemic of antimicrobial resistance (AMR).

  • Early detection of bacterial activity through microscopic cell analysis.
  • Topical deposition technology for in situ formation of antimicrobial dressings.
  • Central line protective disc against CRBI.
  • Bacterial infection sample pot.
  • COVID targeting PROTACs.
  • Targeting cell senescence to treat chronic wounds. 
  • DIOSynVax – digitally designed, immune, optimised, synthetic vaccines.
  • Aerosol delivery of vaccines to the lungs.
  • Exploiting bacterial communication to prevent infections and promote health and wellbeing.
  • Antibiotic discovery with organic electronic technology.

Building a green future

Accelerating the green economy by supporting research and innovation that unlock solutions essential to achieving net zero in the UK by 2050.

  • Sustainable bio-based alternatives to ceramic tiles.
  • Nano-carbon enabled coatings.
  • Planet-friendly replacement for plastics.
  • Life-cycle assessment of critical materials in the construction sector.
  • Watercress protein derived food packaging.
  • Micron-scale metal foam wicks for improved electronics cooling.
  • Cellulose photonic 2D pigments.
  • Exploiting novel marine yeast to produce sustainable food by precision fermentation.
  • Machine learning for automated identification of agricultural features from aerial imagery.
  • Distributed, small scale of green ammonia production using renewable energy.
  • Methane capture from hydropower.
  • Miniaturised condensation particle counter.
  • A novel sheet forming approach to reduce scrap metal waste.
  • Roadmap for zero-carbon existing buildings.

Building a secure and resilient world

Strengthening security and resilience, from individual to national level, across a range of social and economic areas at the heart of daily life.

  • Pioneering quantum technologies in electron microscopic imaging.
  • Rocket propulsion for NewSpace.
  • Ultra-low-power edge AI accelerator chip design technology.
  • AI-powered, automated crypto trading solution.
  • Autonomous, miniaturised, space lab for future space biofabrication, disease modelling, and manufacturing.
  • Autonomous solar powered aircraft.
  • Quantum key delivery from space.
  • Machine learning for automated identification of agricultural features from aerial imagery.
  • Photo-bioreactor system for growing microalgae to extract valuable chemicals.
  • A bio-electrochemical system using photosynthetic organism.
  • Growth of novel crops in controlled environment agriculture.
  • Distributed ML for collaborative genomic marker accelerated breeding plant programmes.
  • Enabling wearable and textile electronics with printed electronic inks.
  • Lead acid battery recycling for informal markets in emerging economies.
  • Blockchain-coded stable isotope-labelled compounds for anti-counterfeiting.
  • Life-long learning in the engineering and creative sectors.
  • Indentation plastometry for portable mechanical testing.
  • An AI training algorithm to reduce data curation requirements by 100x.
  • Automatic market maker for trading options on the blockchain.
  • Botprobe: making threat big data manageable.

Creating opportunities, improving outcomes 

Improving outcomes for people and places across the UK by identifying solutions that promote economic and social prosperity.

  • Drawing method for capturing human experience to integrate into psychological and physiological monitoring.
  • Microbiome-aided removal of toxic pollutants.
  • The human experience scanner.
  • Novel productivity device for focus management.
  • Pesticide assessment platform for mitochondrial health.
  • A game to improve episodic memory.
  • A revolutionising hearing-assistance device for hearing impaired individual.
  • Full-room daylight simulation lighting to combat SAD.
  • Thermoelectric energy harvesting for wearable devices.
  • Polar ocean observing system.
  • A low carbon-monoxide stove.
  • Seasonal predictions of air pollution.
  • FocalSun, a rooftop solar concentrator.
  • A cellular vacuum insulation material.
  • System for sustainable rice straw management.
  • 3D printed synthetic biology hardware for sustainable food production.
  • Connected-autonomous vehicles.
  • Connected wheelchairs.
  • Parking data for cities: Leveraging vehicle data to create parking space in cities.
  • A server-less messenger that compensates effort and removes middlemen.
  • Hypertextual connections from within printed books and documents.
  • Automated imaging of nursery strawberry plants for health and quality.
  • Quantitation of food-borne receptor-stimulants for safer, healthier processed foods.
  • New tools for high-level gene expression, with bioluminescence as a demonstration platform.
  • 3D reconstruction of filmed footage from a smartphone.

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)