The EPSRC CDT in Chemical Biology: Innovation for the Life Sciences (ICB CDT) gives it's students the skills and opportunities to develop their own entrepreneurial journeys alongside their research. The ICB CDT Den is a large-scale demonstration of this, a competition for ICB CDT students to win £10,000 in seed-funding.

The ICB CDT Den Competition

The ICB CDT Den competition is run every 2 years, giving all our students the opportunity to participate, and was created to develop the entrepreneurial skills of our students as part of our unique CDT training portfolio. We provide a bespoke suite of programmes for all our students, which has enabled our teams to gain valuable business training and insight. As part of the ICB CDT Den, students go through a series of training stages over several months which are designed to develop their business ideas. We provide bespoke mentorship and training geared towards the specialisms of the teams. Those that progress through all the stages will get a chance to pitch their idea in the ICB CDT Den final to a panel of judges including investors and have a chance to win the £10,000 top prize.

In 2023 the training was delivered by a team including Adam Davies, a visiting professor at the London Business School; Hannah Cameron and the Advanced Hackspace, who supported with ideation, design and prototyping; Venner Shipley, who provided patent and trademark advice; and Ben Mumby-Croft at Imperial College’s Enterprise Lab who gave tailored sessions on delivering a business pitch. 

In previous years, this competition has spun out student led companies such as the below winners, who are now successful businesses:

Dr Kerry O'Donnelly Weaver, COO & Co-Founder FA Bio

“The ICB CDT Den offered me a unique and once-in-a-lifetime experience – it was such an excellent opportunity into the world of business and entrepreneurship. The mentoring, business training and the entrepreneurial mindset that we gained throughout the competition was what catapulted my passion and drive towards starting my own company. Moreover, the network that we formed throughout the competition opened up the door to these life-changing opportunities, and because of this, we were able to take our idea and vision and turn it into a reality.”

Dr Alex Bond, CEO & Co-Founder FreshCheck

“The CDT Den was the springboard that launched FreshCheck as a company and my career in the startup sector. The CDT helped to hone our initial product research (eventually netting £80k in revenue) and the patent we secured during the programme has allowed us to safely develop new products and grow the business. Not only that, but it was great to work with our friends and colleagues as they developed their own ideas!”