QuantIC RSE Enterprise Fellowships
QuantIC has partnered with The Royal Society of Edinburgh (RSE) to offer Enterprise Fellowships to researchers and innovators who have promising technology based business ideas that are complementary to the Hub’s research interest or the development of advanced photonics componentry that will contribute to the UK quantum technologies landscape in the areas of quantum enhanced imaging, quantum sensing and metrology, quantum communications and quantum computing.
Awardees of the QuantIC RSE Enterprise Fellowship will receive support in the form of a year’s salary, expert training in entrepreneurship and access from business Fellows of the RSE and other successful entrepreneurs in the business community. The Enterprise Fellowships are open to academic and research staff, postdoctoral researchers, postgraduates and graduates with relevant experience.
Applications are evaluated against the following criteria:
• Effectiveness of the technology
• Market potential
• Commercialisation potential
• The potential of the individual to succeed in business
The next deadline for applications for the QuantIC Enterprise Fellowship is 1 November 2017.
For more information and to apply, please visit the RSE Enterprise Fellowships website here.
Dr Christopher Leburn is Chief Executive Officer and Co-Founder of Chromacity, which designs and manufactures ultra-short pulse laser systems and is a QuantIC industry partner. Chris is a former recipient of a RSE Enterprise Fellowship and we asked him to share his experience with us.
Q1:What attracted you to apply for an RSE enterprise Fellowship?
We took a slightly unusual route to the Enterprise Fellowship. Our journey started when the 3 co-founders (including myself) decided to take part in a university led business competition designed to identify researchers who had research technologies that might be worth spinning-out out into the commercial sector. We came 3rd in this competition, which was fantastic and gave us the realisation and enthusiasm to take our business idea further. We felt that the RSE Enterprise was the perfect route to achieve this further development. I was the academic who wanted to lead the company, so it made sense that I be the one to apply for the Enterprise Fellowship.
Q2:Can you tell us more about your experience of applying for the Fellowship?
From what I can remember, the application process wasn’t too arduous. We had already taken time to put a basic business plan together, so I was able to feed a lot of this into the application process. The University Research and Enterprise Services department were extremely helpful in guiding me through the process. Their expertise and advise really strengthened my proposal. The strong relationship I developed with RES also helped me to start to develop a network of business contacts, some of whom gave me a surprising amount of their time to help me develop my business idea both before and during the Fellowship. This was a great boost.
Q3:How has the support you received from the Fellowship benefitted you?
My Enterprise Fellowship was a fantastic springboard for Chromacity. I learnt a phenomenal amount during the 12 months. I was able to understand that, in the business world, anything is possible, and their are a huge number of people and services that can accelerate the growth of your business idea. I was taught to stop thinking like an academic and to start thinking a bit more like an entrepreneur, who is keen for his idea to succeed. I learnt a whole host of different aspects of starting my own company. This included – negotiating the licence agreement with my host university; understanding what accounting practices to put in place; how to grow a team and put a Board in place; how to present my idea to investors; how to manage the investment process; how to engage with potential customers; how to develop the technology and secure R&D funds to develop the growth of new technology. I found it a very steep but very rewarding learning curve.
Q4:Have you any advice for anyone considering applying for the QuantIC RSE Fellowship?
Start developing your idea as soon as possible. If you don’t know what step to take next, find someone who can give you some advice and support. I have found that there are a lot of people willing to help you – just ask. I found it an extremely rewarding scheme – a scheme that has really developed me into a significantly more entrepreneurial character, who is less afraid of risk and enjoys the responsibility of leading a cutting edge laser company. Well worth the leap!