Skip to main content Skip to navigation

Applications open for Midlands ICURe pilot programme to fund university researchers’ commercial ideas

University of WarwickUniversity researchers are being offered up to £35,000 to take their commercially-promising ideas out of the lab and into the marketplace, thanks to a new competition being delivered by the University of Warwick.

The Midlands ICURe programme is a one-year expansion of the Innovation to Commercialisation of University Research (ICURe) pilot programme, following a £7.65 million funding boost from the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS).

In the coming year, the University of Warwick and Queens University Belfast, supported by Innovate UK, will work alongside the programme’s original delivery partner SETsquared Partnership to run and grow the programme across the UK. The Midlands ICURe programme is open to universities covering the broad middle of the UK, from Wales to East Anglia.

The Midlands ICURe programme will support up to 24 teams. In line with the Government’s industrial strategy white paper, the programme funds early career researchers’ time and expenses to find the best route to commercialise their research outputs and help them develop the necessary business skills, connections and expertise to pursue their ideas. Projects which show the potential to form new start-up companies through the ICURe process will be eligible to receive an addition £15,000 to buy out the early career researcher’s time to develop a business plan.

To give additional support, new start-up companies emerging from ICURe will have exclusive access to a £3 million new BEIS fund to be competitively awarded by Innovate UK to kick-start the early stages of establishing a business and laying the foundations for growth.

ICURe’s Programme Manager at Innovate UK, Dr Emma Burke said: “ICURe is helping to bridge the gaps between research, innovation and commercialisation. We estimate that it has generated £3.94 of economic benefits for every £1 of investment to date. The scheme has so far engaged 160 university researchers and from this, created 120 jobs in 44 new companies in the UK, which have together generated more than 11,000 business links around the world.”

Midlands ICURe Programme Director and CEO of Warwick Ventures, Quentin Compton-Bishop, said: “We are delighted to be leading the Midlands ICURe pilot in collaboration with universities from the Midlands Innovation and Midlands Enterprise Universities partnerships. Warwick early career researchers have been successful in the earlier ICURe pilot run by SETsquared, with six new spin-out companies formed which have closed £5m in grants and investment between them. All participating academics have gained significantly in understanding the potential markets for their ideas and innovations and built up impressive networks of industry contacts that will benefit their long-term research projects and their potential commercial impacts. We’re looking forward to seeing similar successes through the Midlands ICURe programme.”

University researchers wishing to apply to Midlands ICURe need to do so by 18 May 2018 and should register their interest as soon as possible by emailing Further details: 

More information about ICURe is available here:

Notes for Editors

Warwick Ventures is the knowledge exchange and commercialisation arm of the University of Warwick. Its role is to enable the innovations arising from the world-leading research at Warwick get into public use, thereby benefiting the UK economy and society. It provides business expertise, IP protection, support services and funding to the University’s academic innovators from any discipline. It designs and delivers enterprise training programmes for researchers at all stages of their career development. Warwick Ventures also manages the University’s spin-out equity portfolio of over 20 active businesses and social enterprises.

The University of Warwick is one of the UK’s leading research universities. Warwick ranked 7th overall in the UK Government’s most recent Research Excellence Framework (REF) in 2014, in which 87% of Warwick’s research was described as ‘world-leading’ or ‘internationally excellent’. The University of Warwick Science Park has 130 tenant companies employing more than 2,900 staff, and provides facilities for start-ups and established companies. It also manages the Minerva Business Angel Network, and the European Structural and Investment Funds (ESIF)/Warwickshire County Council-supported Business Ready programme.

Innovate UK is part of UK Research and Innovation, a non-departmental public body funded by a grant-in-aid from the UK government. For more information visit

Innovate UK drives productivity and economic growth by supporting businesses to develop and realise the potential of new ideas, including those from the UK’s world-class research base. We connect businesses to the partners, customers and investors that can help them turn ideas into commercially successful products and services and business growth. We fund business and research collaborations to accelerate innovation and drive business investment into R&D. Our support is available to businesses across all economic sectors, value chains and UK regions.

ICURe: evaluation of pilot programme: Innovate UK commissioned Ipsos MORI to carry out an evaluation of the Innovation to Commercialisation of University Research (ICURe) pilot programme.

Case studies: SETsquared has produced a number of case studies for participating ICURe projects:


Tom Frew, Senior Press and Media Relations Manager – University of Warwick:

E: a dot t dot frew at warwick dot ac dot uk
M: +44(0)7785433155