Crick Innovation Challenge

Friday 22 July - Friday 29 July 2022

Applications are now open!

Submit your application before 17 June 2022.

Apply now
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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 Friday 22 July and Friday 29 July, with mandatory in-person participation at the Francis Crick Institute on Friday 22 July and Friday 29 July. Attending the Innovation Challenge is free of charge and bursaries are available for those travelling outside of London (please indicate your needs in the application form).


What are the challenge areas?

  • Biotech outside medicine

    What industry outside of medicine can be revolutionized by biotechnology?

    Focus will be on high priority problems such as planetary health- including issues such as climate change, sustainability, meat, agriculture, construction, cosmetics

  • Healthy ageing

    How can we increase quality of life in an ageing population?

    Focus will be on solutions for diagnostics, therapeutics, or social care tools to manage ageing related conditions and diseases

  • Laboratory innovation

    How can we improve the research environment for scientists through automation and digitalisation?

    Focus will be on solutions that improve laboratory workflows end to end, from experimental design, literature search, data analysis to effective research communication

  • Data-driven health

    How can we use data-driven approaches to transform patient care and drug discovery? 

    Focus will be on data-driven innovations along the patient pathway- including prevention, screening, diagnosis, treatment, and monitoring

  • 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.

    How to apply

    How do I apply?

    Apply by submitting this form. The form has been designed for us to get to know you better and understand your fit for the Innovation Challenge. The team will be in touch over email to inform you of a decision.

    Applications close on Friday 17 June. They will be reviewed on a rolling basis, so we recommend applying as soon as you can in order to be considered.

    Applicants will be informed of the decision no later than Friday 1 July. If you require earlier notice, please let us know in the application form.


    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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