Eligibility by applicant type
- Applicants must be working at a UK university, 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 PhD students are eligible to apply, but must receive their PhD before they start the Fellowship or the offer will be withdrawn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. If you are unsure of your eligibility, please contact the Enterprise Team to discuss via firstname.lastname@example.org.
- All levels of academic and researcher are eligible, from third-year PhD students all the way through to professors or directors. The programme is not aimed exclusively at postdoctoral researchers.
- The university 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 university 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.
- The university 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).
- The university 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 'spin-ins,’ 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. Please contact us to discuss further if you have any doubts.
- 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.
Recent graduates only
- Applicants must be based in the UK and have been awarded their very first university degree, in any subject, no earlier than 1 January 2017. Undergraduate students are eligible to apply but must receive their degree before 30 November 2022 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, and should explain how you will benefit from joining our programme.
International PhD students only
- Applicants may apply through either the university spinout route or the graduate startup route, depending on your employment situation. If the applicant is applying under the graduate route, the date of graduation of their first degree does not affect their eligibility. Please contact us if you would like to discuss your situation further.
- They must be a non-UK citizen, and they must be eligible to work in the UK for the entire period of the Fellowship.
- They must complete their PhD viva between 1 January 2020 and 30 November 2022 or the offer will be withdrawn.
- The PhD must have been undertaken at a UK university, in an engineering department, or related research area.
General eligibility criteria
- The applicant is 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.
- 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 if their personal circumstances require so, but cannot hold other forms of employment or pursue other activities.
- 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.
- Overseas applicants must be committed to relocating to the UK before 1 November 2022 and be committed to establishing and running the proposed business in the UK. The Academy cannot support any visa or relocation costs.
The technology / innovation
- Engineering is defined in its broadest sense, encompassing a wide range of diverse fields – contact us if you are unsure that your innovation qualifies.
- The proposed innovation must be an innovation or invention in engineering and/or technology which is protectable and does not solely use existing IP developed by others. Combining existing technologies and applying them in a new area does not count as sufficient innovation to apply – there must be an inventive step which is protectable.
- The applicant must directly have contributed to the development of the innovation, either as the inventor or part of the research and development team.
- 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.
- 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 4 or above. 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.
- If the spinout or startup already exists, it must have raised less than £500,000 in private equity investment. You may still be eligible if you have raised £500,000 in grants.
- 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.
- 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 online interviews on 21, 22, 23 November to be considered for award.
- The Award must formally start on 1 January 2023 and end on 31 December 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 previous occasions.
- 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.