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Funders join forces to develop biomedical entrepreneurs

16 May 2012

Researchers in the biomedical sciences are being offered the chance to sharpen their business skills in a new national competition. The Biomedical Young Entrepreneurs Scheme (Biomedical YES) will help PhD students and early-career researchers to develop entrepreneurial skills for biomedical industries.

The competition is organised by the University of Nottingham Institute for Enterprise and Innovation (UNIEI) and the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC), with support from GSK, the Medical Research Council, the Wellcome Trust and Stevenage Bioscience Catalyst. It aims to develop key skills that will contribute to the UK's bioeconomy and raise awareness of the advantages of collaborating with industry. The competition follows on from the success of other 'YES' competitions, such as Biotechnology YES which has upskilled over 3500 scientists over 17 years.

Dr Celia Caulcott, Director of Innovation and Skills at BBSRC, said: "This exciting competition harnesses the power and abilities of a new generation of biomedical scientists. It offers real benefits not only for the individuals involved, but for wider society and the economy. By developing the skills of our early-career researchers we pave the way for new bioscience businesses that will bring jobs and economic growth. This is one of our many initiatives aimed at realising the full potential of the UK knowledge-based bioeconomy."

During the competition, researchers take part in a workshop to develop business plans for biomedical industries. Each team develops a plan for an imaginary product or service (that may be based on actual research) that they pitch 'Dragons' Den' style, as though seeking investment. The competition gives the participants the opportunity to develop their business skills in areas such as marketing, finance and intellectual property. It also allows for valuable networking with industry experts.

The Biomedical YES workshop will bring together researchers from all of the supporting partners and will take place on 17 - 19 October 2012. It will be hosted by GSK at the Stevenage Bioscience Catalyst, a life sciences facility for early stage biotechnology companies. The support of such partners highlights the value of the skills that are developed through YES that are directly applicable to careers in industry.

Malcolm Skingle GSK Director, Academic Liaison, said: "This exciting partnership between academic researchers and industry is a valuable asset for the UK. It provides skills that can develop careers and drive ideas into products, and offers early-career researchers a real advantage in a business environment."

Around 70 researchers are expected to participate in the first year. The winning team from the workshop will be pitched against finalists from the other YES workshops, culminating in a head-to-head between the final two teams. The final will take place on 10 December 2012.

Application forms for Biomedical YES can be found on the Biotechnology YES website: www.biotechnologyyes.co.uk

ENDS

About BBSRC

BBSRC invests in world-class bioscience research and training on behalf of the UK public. Our aim is to further scientific knowledge, to promote economic growth, wealth and job creation and to improve quality of life in the UK and beyond.

Funded by Government, and with an annual budget of around £445M, we support research and training in universities and strategically funded institutes. BBSRC research and the people we fund are helping society to meet major challenges, including food security, green energy and healthier, longer lives. Our investments underpin important UK economic sectors, such as farming, food, industrial biotechnology and pharmaceuticals.

For more information about BBSRC, our science and our impact see: www.bbsrc.ac.uk .
For more information about BBSRC strategically funded institutes see: www.bbsrc.ac.uk/institutes .