Crick Innovation Challenge

Monday 24 July - Friday 28 July 2023

Applications are now closed

Applications closed on 16 June 2023.

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The Francis Crick Institute is hosting a week-long hackathon-style event, where scientists from across the UK who are curious about entrepreneurship will form teams and come up with innovative solutions to four key challenges.

The event will culminate in an opportunity for participants to present their business proposals to a panel of industry experts and investors. Our objective is to encourage an entrepreneurial spirit and creative ideation in early career scientists, who want to explore new ways of translating research into real world solutions.

Join us to gain new skills and ways of thinking, and connect with like-minded scientists you wouldn't ordinarily meet.

The Innovation Challenge is hosted by the Crick Science Entrepreneur Network (CSEN), who work alongside the Francis Crick Institute's Translation team to promote and develop entrepreneurship within the scientific community.

Follow CSEN on LinkedInTwitter to find out more about our exciting series of talks and workshops on entrepreneurship.

Who is eligible and what is the commitment?

The Crick Innovation Challenge is aimed at early career scientists (MSc, PhD, postdoctoral researchers or other scientific staff) based in the UK.

To join, you must be available to fully participate between Monday 24 July and Friday 28 July, with mandatory in-person participation at the Francis Crick Institute. Attending the Innovation Challenge is free of charge and a limited number of bursaries are available for those travelling outside of London (please indicate your needs in the application form).

What are the challenge areas?

  • Planetary Health

    How can we create revolutionary technologies with a positive impact on our planet?

    The focus is to sustainably generate technologies, in agriculture, climate, food energy and scientific research industries.

  • Healthy living

    How can we improve our lifestyle, prevent diseases and extend our lifespan?

    The focus is to innovate in the topic of health and medicine to prevent diseases and improve the life of healthy individuals. This challenge area can include both dry and wet lab innovations.


  • Discovery to recovery

    How can we generate new technologies to improve the health of patients and fast-track their journey to recovery ? 

    The focus is to generate technologies to promote the health and recovery of patients, develop new treatments and ease patient burden


  • What can I expect from the Innovation Challenge?

    1. An opportunity to develop novel ideas with like-minded researchers from various disciplines
    2. A renewed perspective on what’s possible when you use your scientific skills, experience and insights to create real world solutions
    3. An understanding of entrepreneurial frameworks that will help you build a foundation of knowledge around entrepreneurship
    4. An opportunity to win small prizes for the most innovative ideas 


    You’ll gain this through:

    • Teaming up with others to create solutions around one of the four challenge areas
    • Coaching sessions to learn how to develop your idea into a business plan
    • Modules where you’ll gain an understanding of entrepreneurial frameworks such as finding your edge and ideation 
    • Panel discussions with founders who have transitioned from research to entrepreneurship and investors who will give tips on how to give a successful investor pitch
    • Pitching your progress to a panel made up of investors, entrepreneurs and scientists.

    Why join us?

    • Get inspired to use your problem solving skills to ideate solutions within or outside your field of work
    • Connect with scientists with a common interest in entrepreneurship across areas of expertise and scientific background
    • Opportunity for blue skies thinking with real-time feedback from challenge area experts, founders and investors
    • Platform to learn about entrepreneurship through our workshops on team formation, idea generation, science translation, how to pitch, etc.

    You don’t need to be set on entrepreneurship, and you don’t need to have an idea, team or product to apply – just your curiosity and openness to new ways of thinking.

    If you have entrepreneurial ambitions, this will provide you with a foundation and workable frameworks to move forward.


    Interested in becoming an Innovation Challenge mentor or judge?

    We’re looking for individuals with experience in entrepreneurship, business, venture capital, and scientific/ industry experience within the challenge areas who are interested in providing mentoring to participating teams.

    If you think you would be a good fit, please contact us and we’ll be in touch.

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