Accelerate Your Research

Do you have a game-changing idea or an innovative technology that can transform the lives of cancer patients?

Applications now open!

A programme in partnership with

The programme network

What we are looking for 

We want to work with researchers, at any stage, with a novel idea or technology to improve the lives of cancer patients including imaging, diagnostics, medical devices or using a new data-driven approach. You do not need to be a recipient of any previous funding to apply.

Unlocking the potential in your research

Cancer Research UK and Capital Enterprise, together with Cancer Research Horizons, the Medical Research Council and supported by Roche UK have launched the Cancer Tech Accelerator programme to support innovative technologies that can advance the early detection, diagnosis, monitoring or treatment of cancer.

We have combined forces to help you develop, build and grow the next big health-tech start-up. We will give you a platform to test your idea with world leading experts ranging from deep AI all the way to clinical oncology. You will compete for funding, develop your concept, form a startup, and gain all of the tools to successfully bring your health-tech to market.


The 9- month programme features:

5-Day Virtual Bootcamp

Delve into the ‘Deep Tech Playbook’ with industry insiders, oncology experts and tech entrepreneurs about challenges specific to the field of oncology

Phase 1

Over three months you will gain the skills required to develop a truly innovative medical technology. We’ll help you create a robust business and development plan to move your concept towards investor readiness and expose you to our expert network to pressure test this plan.

Phase 2

Six months to develop your technology and £70k non-dilutive grant funding to develop and experimentally validate your approach.  You will then form a start-up primed for onward development, high growth, and future investment

How it Works

5-day Bootcamp: hear from sector experts as you learn what makes a great health-tech start-up. Sessions include how to define the problem, and how to critically evaluate, pitch and develop your idea. You are then asked to apply your learnings to a piece of work, and the top 25 are selected for Phase I. 

Phase I: you’ll join a cohort of like-minded ambitious entrepreneurs ready to be inspired by oncology experts, successful tech founders, our investment network and an extensive mentor pool. You’ll be part of: 

  • 3 months of workshops, interactive sessions and concentrated learning (~8 hours per week, with offline tasks specific to your company to complete based on skills acquired in those sessions). Topics will cover: understanding the market, customer needs, development challenges specific to health-tech, how to run, fund and build an agile and lean early-stage start-up.

Towards the end of Phase I, we’ll help you build a detailed technical development and business plan to map out your next steps towards bringing a product to market. You’ll pitch to an expert panel with a chance to win up to £70k non-dilutive grant funding to perform crucial proof of concept experiments to test, validate and develop your concept towards start-up readiness. 

Phase II: six funded teams will use the funding to enact their development plans with intensive mentoring and support from CRUK and Capital Enterprise together with the MRC and Cancer Research Horizons, as well as contributions from Roche UK. Teams might build a collaboration with academic experts to experimentally validate a key aspect of the technology, or may generate new datasets or analyses to strengthen their proof of concept. We’ll help you to build collaborations with CRUK’s and Roche UK’s scientific networks to enable rapid development of technologies. As part of a winning team, you would receive a £2k per month salary stipend to commit full time for six months to concentrate on de-risking your approach. Roche UK may also provide additional support-in-kind access to infrastructure and technical capabilities to teams.

As development proceeds, we will move each team from concept to company and will work with you to in-license any relevant background intellectual property from your university . We will not take any equity or charge any incubation fee for running the Accelerator (see FAQs for more information).

If successful, at the end of the 9-month Accelerator, you will leave as a founder of your own start-up, ready to secure future investment and solve one of the world’s biggest problems!



Do I have to have an idea?

You do not need an idea to join Phase I (training sessions). All that is required is an enthusiasm for how technology could be used to help cancer patients and a strong interest in entrepreneurism. You must have an idea or to have formed a team around an idea during Phase I if you would like to continue to Phase II and apply for funding.

What developmental stage should my idea/technology be at?

As above, an idea is only required to receive funding in Phase II. The idea can be still conceptual or more developed –  As the Accelerator will cover a broad range of technologies and their various development pathways, we will be tailoring it to you and so we would encourage all to apply.

Are there any specific areas that I have to work on?

No. We are interested in any approach that uses diagnostics, medical devices, omics or profiling technologies, imaging, data, analytics or machine learning to advance the diagnosis, monitoring, management, or treatment of cancer patients. We are particularly interested in approaches to improve the early detection of cancer patients, although this is not a specific requirement and applications in all other oncology areas are welcomed.

Can I apply as a team?

Yes, but we will only be able to offer stipend support for up to two founders per team to ensure that sufficient funding remains to support development work.  

Do I need to be in a team or have existing collaborations?

No, this is not a requirement to be accepted. There will be opportunities to form teams with other entrepreneurs during Phase I, although again, team formation itself is not a requirement. We can help you to form collaborations with academic groups from across the CRUK, CRH, MRC, and Roche networks if you require technical expertise to develop your technology during Phase II.

I am not currently studying or working at a university or research institute. Can I apply?

Yes. You are welcome to join Phase I to benefit from the entrepreneur training. You will have to form a team with other Accelerator participants based at an academic institute to receive the funding as part of Phase II, as we are unable to fund individuals directly.

Do I need to have business knowledge to apply?

Absolutely not. Phase I is specifically aiming to provide you with these skills, taught by industry professionals, existing founders and experts taken from across our networks. The best way to learn is by doing!

I have already started a company around my idea. Am I still able to apply?

The Accelerator is primarily aimed at academic participants, but we will consider including a small proportion of places to seed stage companies who may benefit from access to our deep oncology and technical knowledge. Companies should not have raised more than £200k to date to be eligible. We will not directly fund companies but can support collaborations between companies and relevant academic groups.

Do I have to have been in receipt of Cancer Research UK funding to apply?

No. The Accelerator is open to all participants regardless of previous funding. All we ask is that your previous work is not subject to any commercial third-party rights (e.g. if your PhD studentship or postdoc was industry funded or performed in collaboration with a company).

Do I need the permission of my supervisor or university to apply?

You should ask your supervisor before applying to the Accelerator as there is a time commitment. Provided that your concept/technology is not encumbered (e.g. if you are already working with a company), you do not need to inform your host institution to enter Phase I, but you must let them know before you apply for Phase II and the funding.

The programe is part funded by the European Regional development fund as part of the CAP-AI programme.