Enterprise Fellowships

Funding area: Commercialisation Support

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 £100,000!

The Enterprise 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

A once-in-a-lifetime opportunity with the potential to truly be life changing. RSE Enterprise Fellows are equipped with the skills necessary to succeed in today’s fast-paced global business environment.


Who can apply

The RSE Enterprise Fellowship is open to graduates, postgraduates, PhD students, academic researchers, or members of HEI staff. Additionally:

  • 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.
  • Applicants must demonstrate a commitment to full-time or part-time requirements
  • Spin-out/shell companies not yet trading can apply, but companies who have generated significant investment, or are generating significant revenue cannot apply.

Funder eligibility

The RSE Enterprise Fellowships are supported by a variety of funders. Eligibility differs between funders:

 Funder    Location    Sector   Conditions
Royal Society of Edinburgh logo  UK-based projects Any sector, though projects must have technology and science  at the core.
 Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council logo  UK-based projects In life sciences, health, food, biotechnology and biological   sciences. Requires previous funding from BBSRC
Science and Technology Facilities Council logo  UK-based projects Particle physics, astronomy, particle astrophysics, solar and   planetary science and nuclear physics. Requires previous funding from STFC
Industrial Biotechnology Innovation Centre logo  Scotland-based projects Industrial biotechnology; health, industrial or ‘white’,   agriculture and marine biotechnologies.


Application process

There are two application deadlines a year, the current round has the following timeline:

    1. Application opens, Wednesday 3 March
    2. Create a profile on the RSE CiviCRM, or log in using your existing details
    3. Once into your personal profile, access the online application
    4. Complete the details on the online application form.
    5. Upload, as part of the online form, a Host Institution statement, inventor/PI statement, and two references
    6. Application closes, Wednesday 28 April, 5pm
    7. Shortlisting, Friday 4 June
    8. Interviews, 21 & 22 June
    9. Start date, Friday 1 October


Resources for applicants

Contact us

For more information regarding the award, please contact the Enterprise Fellowship team on [email protected].

Fund deadline passed

This fund is currently closed for applications.

Fund value

Each RSE Enterprise Fellowship is valued at up to £100,000 in funding and business training support.

Fund duration

Enterprise Fellowships run for 12 months (PT 24 months). During this time, Enterprise Fellows are hosted by a UK University or Research Institute.

Additional information

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.”