£8m boost to expand ICURe

The funding will be shared in a joint project between the University of Warwick and Queen’s University Belfast

The University of Warwick and Queen’s University Belfast are to help researchers get commercially promising ideas to the marketplace more quickly thanks to an £8 million funding boost, Business Secretary Greg Clark has announced.

The universities will join the expanded Innovation to Commercialisation of University Research (ICURe) pilot programme, supported by Innovate UK. The programme offers university researchers with innovative ideas up to £35,000 to get out of the lab and validate them in the marketplace.

Having operated since 2014, it is estimated that every £1 of investment spent through ICURe to date has generated almost £4 of economic benefit, creating new jobs and businesses.  The scheme has so far engaged 160 university research teams which have generated more than 11,000 business links around the world and, from these, created 120 jobs in 44 new companies in the UK.

In the coming year, Queen’s University Belfast and the University of Warwick will work alongside the programme’s original delivery partner, SETsquared Partnership (the commercialisation partnership of the Universities of Southampton, Surrey, Bristol, Bath and Exeter), to run and grow the programme across the UK.    

The funding will enable an additional 48 research teams to be supported nationwide.    

“We are a world-leading research nation and we must ensure that our innovation ecosystem supports the effective translation of this research into products with real-world impact.”

Greg Clark said: “Britain is famous for its innovations. From the humble toothbrush to hip replacements, the ATM to the world wide web – these inventions have had a huge impact on our daily lives. Up and down the UK, some of the brightest and best talent are undertaking research which can deliver extraordinary innovations that will transform our society for the better.

“Through the Industrial Strategy, Grand Challenges and the funding announced today, we are helping turn innovative new ideas into products and services which could help change our lives and keep the UK as a world leader in developing the products of tomorrow.” 

UK Research and Innovation Chief Executive, Sir Mark Walport, said: “Supporting the very best talent and bridging the gap between research and commercialisation are two of UK Research and Innovation’s core objectives. We are a world-leading research nation and we must ensure that our innovation ecosystem supports the effective translation of this research into products with real-world impact.

“The ICURe Innovation-to-Commercialisation programme enables this translation by providing researchers with the funding to move ideas out of universities and into the marketplace, where they will have the greatest impact. From converting Medtech discoveries into new treatments to developing portable devices to counter infectious diseases, this additional funding will support ground-breaking projects that will enable us to meet future challenges and remain at the cutting-edge of research and innovation.”