Twenty early career researchers recently completed the Researcher to Innovator (R2I) programme, an exciting entrepreneurship training programme for researchers with ambitions to develop commercial ventures and create impact from their academic studies.

The Options Roundabout event on the 19th February was the culmination of the R2I programme which saw our researchers pitch to a panel of entrepreneurs, funders and commercialisation experts. The event which was an opportunity for the cohort to network and celebrate their achievements was hosted in our MEC Enterprise Zone, a dedicated entrepreneurship space in the Alliance Manchester Business School.

The R2I programme aims to inspire and accelerate the translation of the knowledge created through academic research into products, services or processes to deliver tangible benefit through a series of bespoke workshops and mentoring opportunities. The workshops helped researchers articulate their ideas by taking them through a lean start-up pathway to explore the commercial potential of their research.

The Innovation Enabling Awards were granted to acknowledge the impact and growth potential with early career researchers receiving between £2,000 to £10,000 to further develop the commercial potential of their ideas and businesses.

Aline Miller, Professor of Biomolecular Engineering and Associate Dean for Business Engagement and Innovation, presented the Innovation Enabling Awards to the five winning projects:

The prize winners will also receive expert support and signposting to regional and national accelerator programmes and all the participants on the programme will have access to further support, mentoring and guidance from internal professional support teams, including the opportunity to build relationships with business engagement, Innovation Factory and the Masood Entrepreneurship Centre.“

Dr Laura Etchells, Enterprise Business Development Manager, Masood Entrepreneurship Centre said: “Congratulations to everyone for their dedication, commitment and hard work throughout the programme. The programme not only encourages and supports researchers to consider the commercial potential of their research but also develops entrepreneurial mind-sets, confidence, commercial awareness and resilience. I’m really excited to continue supporting the entrepreneurs and following the progress of the ideas over the coming months.”

Prof. Aline Miller, Professor of Biomolecular Engineering and Associate Dean for Business Engagement and Innovation, said: “It was a real privilege to see the progress every participant has made throughout their R2I journey over the past 12 weeks. Pitch day is always inspiring, and it was a thrill to see fundamental research ideas being shaped into viable business propositions to deliver tangible commercial impact. Well done to everyone completing the programme, and congratulations to the prize winners. I can’t wait to see what the future holds for you all!”

The organisers wish to thank the Engineers in Business Fellowship for their sponsorship of the Innovation Enabling Awards.


Get Involved

If you are an early career researcher looking for an exciting opportunity to develop your innovative thinking and enhance your understanding of creating and developing impact join the next round of the R2I programme. Find out more about the programme and how to apply in the upcoming Information Sessions for cohort 2 taking place on 20th and 21st March.

The Researcher to Innovator (R2I) programme has been coordinated by the University’s Innovation Academy, which brings together knowledge, expertise and routes to facilitate the commercialisation of research. It is a joint venture between the Business Engagement Team, the University of Manchester Innovation Factory and the Masood Entrepreneurship Centre.