The EPSRC CDT in Chemical Biology: Empowering UK BioTech Innovation (ICB CDT) gives its students the skills and opportunities to develop their own entrepreneurial journeys alongside their research.

InnovaLAB, an evolution of the ICB CDT Den programme, is a large-scale demonstration of this, a competition for ICB CDT students to win in seed-funding.

InnovaLAB is a start-up accelerator where students have the opportunity to realise the commercial potential of ideas they independently develop. InnovaLAB is a process of immersive education accelerating the life cycle of start-ups into just a few months.

In each InnovaLAB cycle at least one team will receive investment with all teams offered follow-on support and IP filing.

Participants will benefit from a pipeline offering support akin to that of commercial accelerators, namely:

  • entrepreneurship education
  • minimal viable product development and standardisation
  • development of commercialisation strategies and milestone driven funding models to attract VC funding
  • system-level support to connect with policymakers
  • a world-leading VC investor network committed to supporting our pipeline
  • access to lab/office space via partnerships with international incubator providers 

In previous years, the ICB CDT Den 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!”