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NC3Rs | 20 Years: Pioneering Better Science

BBSRC-NC3Rs ICURe Explore awards

Key information about applying for BBSRC-NC3Rs ICURe Explore awards

What is an ICURe award?

ICURe Explore awards train, fund and support research teams to determine whether there is a market for products or services that utilise their ideas, research and technologies. For this call, we are partnering with the BBSRC to support researchers exploit their 3Rs tools and technologies. Up to £35k is available to enable researchers to ‘get out of the lab’ and engage in a 12-week full-time programme to validate commercially promising ideas in the marketplace. Successful applicants will learn how to test what potential customers think about their 3Rs idea, product, or service. They will also receive training and interview practice, and have access to a network of entrepreneurs, investors and funders. At the end of the process, the most promising teams will have the opportunity to access further support and apply for up to £300k of ICURe Exploit funding from Innovate UK.

Key dates

Key date Details
TBC Webinar: Introduction to scheme
12:00, 20 September 2024 Applications open
17:00, 20 November 2024 Application deadline
16 December 2024 Welcome call for successful applicants
15 – 16 January 2025 In-person bootcamp (Liverpool)
18 – 19 January 2025 Virtual bootcamp

Who can apply?

BBSRC-NC3Rs ICURe Explore awards are open to bioscience teams in all UK universities, BBSRC-funded institutes and approved public sector research enterprises (PSREs). The research underpinning the 3Rs innovation, products or services being carried forward for market exploration by the team MUST build on a previous BBSRC, UKRI and/or NC3Rs grant(s). 

ICURe Explore teams must be composed of four individuals: 

  1. Entrepreneurial lead: Any research or technical research staff member who receives their salary or stipend from an eligible university, PSRE or institute (including, but not limited to, PhD student, technician, PDRA, fellowship and group leader positions). This individual must be able to commit full-time for the duration of the programme starting the week of the bootcamp, and have approval of their institute, organisation, or funder. 
  2. Associated science advisor: A researcher who can provide intellectual support to the entrepreneurial lead throughout the course of the programme. For example, an interdisciplinary project may require input from outside the research group. 
  3. Technology transfer representative/professional: An individual from the team, either from or contracted to the research organisation, leading on the commercialisation of the intellectual asset with appropriate technology transfer expertise. This individual must be able to attend essential bootcamp sessions as well as the options roundabout. In addition, they must provide support for the entrepreneurial lead and team during the programme and continued support for further commercialisation activity following the programmes conclusion. 
  4. Business adviser: An individual from a relevant industrial sector who can offer expert guidance and support. Teams are strongly encouraged to name a business adviser in their application. Please contact the ICURe administration team if identifying a suitable advisor is a barrier. Teams are responsible for any agreements or financial arrangements that may be needed with their business advisers.

The technology, product or service must fall within BBSRC’s remit

We welcome applications from across the biosciences, including agriculture, food and nutrition, ageing, engineering biology, industrial biotechnology and tools and technologies underpinning biological research. 

This BBSRC-NC3Rs ICURe Explore call will specifically support market exploration for innovators of emerging technologies, products and services that offer the realistic possibility of replacing or reducing the use of specific in vivo models or refining animal studies in line with the NC3Rs mission.

How to apply

The application form should be accessed through the ICURe website

Please note, confidential information should not be submitted in the application.

Assessment procedure

All applications will go through a competitive selection process. The entrepreneurial lead and associated science advisor will be required to participate in individual online interviews as part of this process. 

Your application must have been agreed with your organisation prior to applying, including that you can commit to the programme full time. 

Contact with any enquiries about this funding opportunity.

BBSRC/NC3Rs ICURe open September 2024.