Early career researchers receive funding and support to develop their research into a successful venture

A group of researchers from the University recently completed the fourth cohort of the Innovation Academy Researcher to Innovator (R2I) programme, an exciting entrepreneurship training programme for early career researchers with ambitions to develop commercial ventures and create impact from their academic studies.

The programme, developed by the Masood Entrepreneurship Centre, was originally launched in the current format in October 2021 by Professor Martin Schroeder, Vice-President and Dean, Faculty of Science and Engineering.

The R2I programme aims to inspire and accelerate the translation of the knowledge created through academic research into products, services or processes to deliver tangible benefit through a series of bespoke workshops and mentoring opportunities. The workshops helped researchers articulate their science and ideas by taking them through a lean start-up technology pathway to explore the potential of their ideas.

To complete the programme, participating researchers then made their final pitches to a panel of entrepreneurs, funders and experts with experience across the science and commercial development landscape.

Lynn Sheppard, Director of the Masood Entrepreneurship Centre, presented Innovation Enabling Awards to  two of the projects.

Award Winners

Innovation Enabling Award: £10,000

Liam Johnson

MouseAble - wireless, skin-mounted electrophysiology sensor for mice.            
Liam Johnson (School of Engineering).

Participating in the Researcher to Innovator scheme has been invaluable in helping build a network of early adopters and get critical feedback on the feasibility of the device I'm designing. I'm also very grateful to have won The Innovation Enabling award, which will be make a huge difference at this stage by providing me with the resources I need to develop a working prototype.

Liam Johnson (School of Engineering)

Innovation Enabling Award: £5,000

  • Smart Materials for Rapid Authentication Technology 
    Alexander Romanov and Alexander Brannan (School of Natural Sciences).


The award winners will also receive expert support and onward access to places on regional and national accelerator programmes and all the participants on the programme may receive mentorship and guidance from Faculty Innovation Champions and internal professional support teams, including the opportunity to build relationships with the Innovation Factory and the Masood Entrepreneurship Centre.

The Researcher to Innovator programme empowers early career researchers to consider and reflect on the impact of their research and to bridge the gap between innovation and commercialisation. We fuel their entrepreneurial spirit, enabling them to navigate the intricate path from idea to impactful reality and their commitment to turning ideas into reality inspires us all.

Lynn Sheppard, Director, Masood Entrepreneurship Centre

The Researcher to Innovator (R2I) programme programme has been co-ordinated through the Innovation Academy, which is an umbrella initiative and joint venture between the FSE Business Engagement and Innovation Team, the University of Manchester Innovation Factory and the Masood Entrepreneurship Centre and has the aim of bringing together knowledge, expertise and routes to facilitate the commercialisation of research.all4