Enterprise Fellowships

Funding area: Commercialisation Support

Coronavirus update

To minimise the impact of the global health situation on our award holders, the RSE will provide as pragmatic support as possible, recognising the impact of the coronavirus is significant and evolving.

The RSE is working with award holders and their organisations to ensure that fair and appropriate support is in place. If an extension is required to your project because of the impact of the coronavirus please e-mail your request to enterprisefellowships@therse.org.uk stating the reason and what length of extension you might require. We realise this may be very difficult to predict at present.

RSE Enterprise Fellowships

Do you have an innovative science-or-tech-based business idea, but need help accelerating your project?

Enterprise Fellowships offer a leading business development and training programme for the higher education sector; enabling researchers to develop into world-class entrepreneurs.

Secure an equity-free support package of funding and training support worth up to £90,000!

The Fellowships provide:

  • A one-year academic salary
  • Tailored, cutting-edge business training
  • Mentoring from RSE’s network of partners in the business community
  • Up to £10,000 business support funding
  • Membership of the RSE Entrepreneurs’ Club, with access to networking events

RSE Enterprise Fellows are equipped with the skills necessary to succeed in today’s fast-paced global business environment.

An Enterprise Fellowship is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity with the potential to truly be life-changing! For more information, see our Enterprise Fellowship brochure.

Fund value

Each RSE Enterprise Fellowship is valued at up to £90,000 in funding and business training support.

Fund duration

Enterprise Fellowships run for 12 months. During this time, Enterprise Fellows are hosted by a UK University or Research Institute.

How to apply and additional information

The application deadline has now passed.

The next call will be announced in the Summer, with the new deadline on 28 October 2020.

Enterprise Fellowships cover a wide spectrum of sectors and are generously supported by the following funders:

RSE: Supports UK-based projects in any sector, though projects must have technology and science at the core.
BBSRC: Supports UK-based projects in life sciences, health, food, biotechnology and biological sciences. BBSRC applicants must have received prior BBSRC funding.
STFC: Supports UK-based projects in particle physics, astronomy, particle astrophysics, solar and planetary science and nuclear physics. STFC applicants must have received prior STFC funding.
IBioIC: Supports Scotland-based projects in industrial biotechnology; health, industrial or ‘white’, agriculture and marine biotechnologies.
An RSE held BP Fund: Supports UK-based projects in energy innovation, low carbon energy transition and carbon management.

The following eligibility criteria are the same across each funder:

  • Open to graduates, postgraduates, PhD students, academic researchers or members of HEI staff
  • Applicants must demonstrate proof of concept – commercial and technical
  • Applicants must demonstrate that they can remain and work legally in the UK for the duration of the Enterprise Fellowship
  • Spin-out/shell companies not yet trading can apply, but companies generating revenue, or that have secured significant investment cannot apply.
  • Previous RSE Enterprise Fellows cannot apply
  • Full-time requirement (BBSRC Enterprise Fellowships can be undertaken in a part-time capacity)

For more information, please refer to our terms and conditions for more detailed information.


Have a look at our FAQ document and if you have further questions, please email us.

Application Support

The video below is a recording of an application guidance workshop, which covers advice on the key aspects that you should address in each section of the application form. The video also includes tips on how to communicate your technology clearly to non-specialists and how to effectively structure the interview presentation. Helpful slides are also available here.

Live Stream: RSE Enterprise Fellowship Programme Application Workshop

Join us at 10am on the 11th September for a live-streaming of our Enterprise Fellowship application workshop! Find out more about the application process, and what get advice on all the main parts of the application process! The aim of the workshop is to provide hands-on support to potential applicants.The trainer is Kevin Parker of KKI Associates who has over 20 years' experience. The workshop is free to attend and being held at the RSE. We will be answering any questions asked during the live stream on FB as well.

Posted by Royal Society of Edinburgh on Tuesday, September 11, 2018

If you have any questions about the award or application process, please email us.

If awarded an RSE Enterprise Fellowship you’d be in good company! Previous Enterprise Fellows include:

  • Abesh Thakur of Two Big Ears, an immersive audio company purchased by Facebook
  • Oliver Hardick of Puridify Ltd (acquired by GE in 2017)
  • Corien Staels of Staels Design with WheelAir, a cooling wheelchair backrest
  • Callum Murray of Amiqus, secure anti-money laundering, identity and compliance checks online
  • Michael Harkins of Turtle Pack, swimming aid for kids
  • Orfeas Boteas of Krotos, revolutionary audio tools
  • Chris Leburn – Chromacity, a manufacturer of ultrashort lasers and and Tunable Infrared and Mid-Infrared OPOs
  • Alexandre Pechev – Ikinema, animation software for motion capture

And many many more. See here for a full list of our alumni.

You can hear more from some of our past Enterprise Fellows in the video below:

Dr Caroline Barelle | CEO | Elasmogen
“An idea is the first step in any business. Through the incredible support, expertise and boundless enthusiasm from the RSE Enterprise Fellowship, I was given the opportunity and critically the time to convert this into a reality and create a new Biotech company.”

Michael Harkins | Founder and CEO | Turtle Pack
“The RSE Enterprise Fellowship is world-class! This is the best programme any entrepreneur could be part of as you receive excellent training, mentoring, salary and business funding. I was very fortunate to graduate in the summer of 2016 and secure a place in Autumn of 2016. The RSE Enterprise Fellowship learnings have helped to skyrocket Turtle Pack’s and my own incredible journey.”

Michael Tougher | Founder and Director | Soundbops
“I applied to the RSE to grow myself and Soundbops from an idea into a growing business. Having no experience, the training, mentorship and network was an inspiring learning experience.”

Dr Shelby Temple | Founder | Azul Optics
“I applied for the Enterprise Fellowship because I had no formal training in business and wanted to learn from experienced mentors, grow my network, and have a year to dip my feet in the waters of entrepreneurialism before diving in and leaving academe.”

Alumni Enterprise Fellows - Case Studies

Murray Collins, CEO Space Intelligence

NERC Funded RSE Enterprise Fellow 2017-18

"The RSE Enterprise Fellowship was the most significant turning point in my career following my PhD. Living the experience of company formation, winning business and establishing corporate processes was invaluable."

Caroline Barelle, CEO Elasmogen

SE & BBSRC Funded RSE Enterprise Fellow 2015-16

"The RSE Enterprise Fellowship was a life saver for me. It gave me a runway to get the company off the ground and the tools and expertise to carve out the structure and purpose of the company."

David Hunter, CEO Shot Scope

SE Funded RSE Enterprise Fellow 2014-15

"During my RSE Enterprise Fellowship I learnt how to approach customers and potential investors - I was in touch with the market from the very start."

Colin Urquhart, CEO Dimensional Imaging

SE Funded RSE Enterprise Fellow 2002-3

"The Enterprise Fellowship is a fantastic programme; crucial to developing my entrepreneurial skills. It gave me time and space, enabling me to establish my company so quickly.”