Enterprise Fellowships - eligibility

We provide Enterprise Fellowships to three different types of applicants, each with their own eligibility criteria, as well as some common criteria. Details are given below (subject to change in summer 2022)

Researchers only:

  • Applicants must be working at a UK Higher Education Institute, in an engineering department (or engineering focussed research area) and must have a PhD or equivalent experience. PhD students are eligible to apply, but must receive their PhD before they start the Fellowship or the offer will be withdrawn
  • The applicant must currently be a researcher, or was a researcher up until the time when they chose to pursue this commercialisation project
  • All levels of academic and researcher are eligible, from third-year PhD students all the way through to Professor or Director. The scheme is not aimed exclusively at 'post-doctoral' researchers
  • The host institution must be committed to transferring and exploiting the technology via a spinout, in which the Enterprise Fellow will be playing a leading role (CEO/COO). If the Host Institution has not yet decided whether to exploit the technology by licensing to an industrial partner or to exploit via the spinout route, then the decision will need to be made to pursue the spinout route before an applicant can be invited for interview
  • All Higher Education Institutions are eligible
  • The Host Institution must directly employ the applicant for the entire duration of the Fellowship - they cannot access a grant to a university if they are no longer employed by the university
  • We do not support 'spinins,' whereby an applicant proposes to join a university so they can spinout 
  • The lead applicant must not be working at less than 50% Full-Time Equivalent (FTE). They cannot hold any other paid role than the Enterprise Fellowship, so it must be their sole employment-related commitment. Other co-founders being supported by the Fellowship may contribute any level of FTE, and may have other paid roles and duties, but we expect their time to be carefully monitored
  • The applicant must have been involved in the research which is being commercialised, either as the lead researcher, or as part of the core team. They cannot be brought into the team purely to lead the spinout
  • The host institution should not expect to have an equity stake in the company that is greater than 50% unless they can demonstrate some form of additional private investment into the spinout, beyond what is normally expected of a host (i.e. grant funding and performing the standard TTO support function do not count as additional investment)

Recent graduates only:

  • Applicants must be based in the UK and be currently studying for, or have been awarded their very first degree, no earlier than 1 January 2017. Additionally, the degree must be in engineering, design, IT, or a related discipline. Undergraduate students are eligible to apply, but must receive their degree before they start the Fellowship or the offer will be withdrawn
  • The Fellowship is intended for applicants who lack the support structure provided by well-established employers. Awardees cannot be employed by a university or well-established company during the period of the award. You may apply while employed by such an established organisation, but must leave the organisation prior to commencing the award. You may be employed by the startup business to which the application relates, although it must still be in the startup phase. You may have been through an accelerator programme, but should not be on one during the award

International PhD students only:

  • May apply through either the university spinout route or the graduate startup route, depending on your employment situation. If applying under the graduate route, your date of graduation of your first degree does not affect your eligibility. Please call if you would like to discuss
  • Must be a non-UK citizen
  • Must be eligible to work in the UK for the entire period of the Fellowship
  • Must be studying for a PhD at a UK Higher Education Institute, in an engineering department, or related research area
  • Must complete their PhD viva between 1 January 2020 and 1 May 2022.


All applicants

  • Overseas applicants must be committed to relocating to the UK before 1 July 2022 and be committed to establishing and running the proposed business in the UK. The Academy cannot support any visa or relocation costs   
  • The awardee will be expected to play the leading role in the development of the business, as the CEO or COO for at least the duration of the Fellowship. Training is more beneficial and effective when there is a clear opportunity to put it into practice in the immediate future, which can only be achieved if you are in a leading role
  • If the spinout/startup already exists, it must have raised less than £500,000 in equity funding. If you have raised more than this you should consider our scaleup programme instead
  • Applicants must show commitment to the objectives of the scheme and may only use the award to establish a business that develops an innovative product or service emerging from past research or projects
  • The proposed innovation must be an innovation or invention in engineering and/or technology. Engineering is defined in its broadest sense, encompassing a wide range of diverse fields
  • The applicant must directly have contributed to the development of the innovation, either as the inventor or part of the research and development team  
  • To make the most of the training and support provided by the Hub, as a minimum the proposed innovation must be at Technology Readiness Level four or above, and as a maximum it should not be currently available to the market other than as a prototype/minimum viable product with limited sales. The applicant must expect to be able to produce a minimum viable product within the next two years, or else they are too early for the programme
  • The applicant must have appropriate intellectual property rights to utilise the innovation as envisaged, be it through a patent, licence, trade secret etc
  • Awardees are expected to spend the vast majority of their working time pursuing the objectives of the award
  • Awardees can work part time on the Fellowship, but cannot hold other forms of employment
  • Applicants should have a viable proposition with a large market opportunity and ambition to grow significantly to ensure that the engineering innovation becomes available to the public where it can be of societal benefit
  • The innovation should not need further fundamental research work to be undertaken, irrespective of how closely it aligns with the aims of the Fellowship. You may engage in limited product development; however your primary role will be to develop the business itself, while your team can continue any necessary research
  • Prior experience of commercialisation activities is not essential, the desire and capability to succeed is more important and we will equip you with the necessary skills through a programme of training and mentoring
  • We will accept applications for Social Enterprises, note however that this is not a requirement, or even a preference – both commercial and social enterprises are treated equally. Remember that a financially viable and self-sustaining social enterprise will have much greater impact than one which fails for lack of funding
  • Applications must be for a project or company which has not previously been in receipt of a Hub Fellowship, i.e. other staff associated with the project must not be current or former recipients of a Hub Enterprise Fellowship
  • Applicants must be able to attend the interview in person to be considered for award. The interviews will be held  online or in central London six to eight weeks after the Stage 2 submission deadline 
  • The project under the Award must formally start on 1 July 2022 and end on 30 June 2023. Naturally, you may have already started and will likely continue with the project long after this
  • Only one application is allowed per applicant
  • Only one application is allowed per startup/innovation, please select an appropriate lead applicant
  • The startup/innovation must not have been the subject of an application in the previous round of Enterprise Fellowships, nor should an application for this proposal have been submitted on two or more previos occassions
  • Any applications that are incomplete or do not adhere to the guidelines may be rejected
  • The assessment of an application will be at the Academy’s absolute discretion

If you are unsure of your eligibility, please contact the Enterprise Team to discuss. 


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