Enterprise Fellowships

Funding area: Commercialisation Support

Over 20 years of growing successful entrepreneurs

The RSE Enterprise Fellowship is a leading business development and training programme for the Higher Education sector. It enables science and technology researchers to develop into successful and world-class entrepreneurs.

Each Fellowship is worth up to £90,000 in funding and training support!

Other benefits include:

  • Up to £10,000 business support funding
  • Expert training in entrepreneurship delivered to the highest standard of international excellence
  • Access to RSE affiliated mentors and entrepreneurs in the business community
  • RSE Entrepreneurs’ Club membership and access to professional networking events

RSE Enterprise Fellows are fully-supported and 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! Want to find out more? View our Enterprise Fellowship brochure.

Fund deadline passed

This fund is currently closed for applications.

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


Applications are not currently being accepted for this post. The next deadline will be in Autumn 2019.


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

Scottish Enterprise: Supports projects in any sector, though projects must have technology and science at the core
BBSRC: Supports projects in life sciences, health, food, biotechnology and biological sciences
IBioIC: Supports projects in industrial biotechnology; health, industrial or ‘white’, agriculture and marine biotechnologies
STFC: Supports projects in particle physics, astronomy, particle astrophysics, solar and planetary science, nuclear physics
An RSE held BP Fund: Supports 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
  • Companies cannot apply. Spin-out/shell companies not trading can apply
  • Previous RSE Enterprise Fellows cannot apply
  • Full-time requirement (BBSRC Enterprise Fellowships can be undertaken in a part-time capacity)

For more information on where the eligibility criteria differs for each funder, please see either our quick guide to funder eligibility, or refer to our terms and conditions  for more detailed information.


In the run-up to application deadlines, the RSE organises application guidance workshops which advise on the key aspects that you should address in each section of the application form. These sessions will also coach you on how to communicate your technology clearly to non-specialists and give tips on how to effectively structure the interview presentation. These workshops will be advertised here.

If you can’t make the session, or there aren’t any arranged in the near future, you could watch the application workshop video below and view the slides from a previous workshop 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 contact Hannah Chater, Enterprise Officer.


Since the RSE Enterprise Fellowship programme was established in 1997:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Enterprise Fellowship has been hailed as “truly life-changing”, here’s a few more thoughts from our alumni Enterprise Fellows:

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 sky rocket 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.”

Dr Lissa Herron | Head | Eggcellent Proteins

“After working for years on exciting technology, I wanted the opportunity to commercialise it myself. The Enterprise Fellowship allowed me to take the time to understand what the project really needed to transition from academia into a commercial venture and taught me the necessary skills to do so successfully.”


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:


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.”