Cancer Research Horizons - Lean Launch

Cancer-focused accelerator helping teams validate their business ideas

Apply before - 12 noon on 31st Aug 2022

In collaboration with Cancer Research Horizons (Cancer Research UK’s new innovation engine) Entrepreneurial Programmes, Lean Launch is a game-changing 10-week online customer discovery programme that allows you to rapidly test whether there is a market for your oncology-focused idea, product or service from the comfort of your workplace/home. 

How does it work?

Our 10-week online market discovery programme is designed using lean start-up methodology. Lean start-up takes the scientific method (hypothesise, test, evaluate) and applies it to business ideas. You will learn how to use this approach to test what your potential customers think about your  oncology-related idea, product or service. 

Past participants say that having 10-weeks of support and dedicated time to spend on customer discovery has dramatically changed their perspective on their innovation. 

"The guidance the programme and its mentors have given has been invaluable the insight we (the project team) have gained, including, from the clinical interviews has been incredible, and something we wouldn’t have normally done outside our contacts."

Professor Cheryl Miller, Faculty Lead for Early Career Researchers, Research Lead for Bioengineering and Health Technologies Group (BHT), University of Sheffield 


What does it include?

£2,500 market discovery

£1,200 Business Advisor

Offers a pathway towards a further £25,000 of ICURe funding plus follow-on funding support

Game changing online delivery

Our online delivery means that you can contribute to the programme flexibly at times that suit you.

Access to experts in bringing oncology research to market

You will have weekly access to our team of experts and we will proactively connect you to our network of entrepreneurs, investors and funders within the broad biosciences sector.

Market Explorer

We will create a personalised report which includes data about your potential customers, competitors and suppliers plus a comprehensive overview of the intellectual property landscape for your sector.

Bootcamp Training

2-day online bootcamp where you will learn how to talk about your technology to customers, develop a hypothetical business model and identify your customers' pain points. 

10-week Market Validation

You will plan and execute 10 weeks of tailored customer discovery for your idea, product or service using online software, videoconferencing and marketing tools. You will receive weekly 1-hour coaching clinics from experts in taking research ideas to market.

Pitch training

1-day online pitch training to teach you how to pitch your ideas to potential customers and investors.  

Options Roundabout Pitches

You will have the opportunity to pitch to an experienced panel of funders, stakeholders and investors to help accelerate the impact from your research. 

Who is eligible?

Cancer Research Horizons Lean Launch is open to research teams in all UK universities, UKRI eligible research institutes, public sector research establishments (PSRE’s) and independent research organisations 

We are committed to improving diversity across our programmes and are actively seeking applications from under-represented groups and non-Russell Group Universities.

A pathway towards future ICURe funding

Our past Lean Launch Programme participants have included those that have gone on to secure a minimum of £30,000 of InnovateUK ICURe funding grants and launch their businesses. 

Read about their journeys here!

"Lean Launch provided us with the insight we needed to get a better understanding of our value proposition."

Dr Hala Dhowre, University of Liverpool
Pharmacologist and Post-doctoral researcher 
Winner of Best Pitch and Most Engaged Research at Lean Launch Pitch Day (2020)

The Team

 CRH Lean Launch teams are composed of four individuals

  • Entrepreneurial Lead
  • Associated Science advisor 
  • University Technology Transfer representative/professional 
  • Business Adviser 


Entrepreneurial Lead

Any research staff or technical research staff member that receives their salary or stipend from an eligible university, PSRE or institute (including, but not limited to, PhD, technician, PDRA, fellowship and group leader positions). This individual MUST be able to commit a minimum of one day per week for the duration of the programme starting the week of the bootcamp. 

Associated Science advisor

A researcher who can provide intellectual support to the entrepreneurial lead throughout the course of the programme, for example and interdisciplinary project may require input from outside the research group. 

Technology Transfer representative/professional

An individual from the team, either from, or contracted to, the RO leading on the commercialisation of the intellectual asset with appropriate technology transfer expertise. This individual Officer (TTO) MUST be able to attend essential online bootcamp sessions as well as the options roundabout. In addition, provide support for the Entrepreneurial Lead and team during the LLP programme and continued support for further commercialisation activity following the programmes conclusion.

Business Adviser

A motivated individual from a relevant industrial sector to offer expert guidance and support. Teams are strongly encouraged to name an adviser in their application. Please contact the ICURe administration team if identifying a suitable advisor is a barrier. 

How do I apply?

The application form may be accessed from the links on this website. All applications will go through a competitive selection process and the Entrepreneurial lead will be required to participate in a scheduled video interview as part of that process. Your application must have been agreed with your organisation prior to applying, including that you can commit to the programme.

"The programme allowed us to create a clear vision and value proposition to talk to companies confidently about our nanoparticles."

Dr Inam Ul Ahad, Dublin City University
Research Development Manager and Biomedical Engineer (2019)

Have you got questions about the programme?

We'd love to hear from you with any questions you have about the programme or how it works.  
Click the button below to email our Dr Cecilia Hegarty, Innovation Programmes Manager 

Upcoming dates

Cancer Research Horizons Lean Launch  

CRH Lean Launch Cohort 


Closing date - 31st August @ 12 noon 

Outcomes to applicants - 2nd September 2022
Welcome call (2 hours) - 8th September 2022 
Bootcamp  - 12th & 13th September 2022* 
Options Roundabout Training - 15th November 2022

Options Roundabout Practice - 22nd November 2022 

Options Roundabout - 28th & 29th November 2022 


* Event will be delivered online between 9.30am-4.30pm, with 1.5 hour lunch break + coffee breaks.

For more information contact Innovation Programmes Manager Cecilia Hegarty