Notices to Applicants

Tech Transfer Office Support Notice

If you are considering submitting a project to the Cancer Tech Accelerator, it is imperative that you first consult with your respective institute or university’s Technology Transfer Office. To ensure a seamless process we ask every project to enquire whether their institution is supportive of your venture and verify if a formalised process exists that permits the spinning out of a startup or project. Failure to confirm institutional backing and procedural guidelines could result in unforeseen complications in the spinning out process. 

If you are applying as a company that has already spun out, it is imperative that you receive support from the founding academic and TTO for the intellectual property upon which your company is built. For companies – if there is an academic collaborator with relevant background IP, they must either i) be a co-applicant or ii) have provided formal support for the application.

Grant Funding Restriction Notice

The Cancer Tech Accelerator serves as a dedicated platform for academics in the field of oncology. Our aim is to provide targeted workshops and mentorship support, assisting you in evaluating the potential for transforming your groundbreaking research into a viable cancer tech startup. There may be grant funding available for some projects at the end of Phase I, however each venture’s eligibility for specific grant funding is contingent upon the research focus and alignment with the objectives of our supporting organisations as well as the how promising the team backing the project or innovative their solution is to the field of oncology.

If you are applying as a company that has already spun out, it is imperative that you receive support from the founding academic and TTO for the intellectual property upon which your company is built. For companies, if there is an academic collaborator with relevant background IP, they must either i) be a co-applicant or ii) have provided formal support for the application.

Frequently Asked Questions

Am I committing to forming a company or continuing into Phase II?

The Cancer Tech Accelerator is designed primarily to impart entrepreneurial acumen and business skills to researchers. You may freely apply to the programme, and should you discover after Phase I that the startup landscape is not congruent with your ambitions, you are under no obligation to proceed further or seek funding. Even upon successfully navigating Phase II and being granted funding, your commitment to founding a startup is not mandated. The Accelerator’s structure affords a degree of flexibility, allowing the awarded sum to be treated as academic funding in conventional terms.

How does the funding work?

Funding is not guaranteed; however, should you be selected for Phase II and receive financial support, a grant award letter specifying the amount will be issued by Cancer Research UK directly to your affiliated research institution. While this grant award letter will be issued by CRUK, under CRUK terms and conditions, the funding may have originated from another partner of the CTA (LifeArc, Blood Cancer UK, The Brain Tumour Charity, or HGF) – this will be acknowledged in the grant award letter but will not affect the terms of the award.

I’m not currently working or studying at a research institution. Will I be able to receive funding?

Funding is not guaranteed; however, if you are not affiliated with a research institution, the sole avenue for you to become eligible for Phase II funding is to join another team that has existing academic ties to such an institution.

I already have a company. How will I receive funding?

While no funding is guaranteed, if you already operate a company, various options are available based on your specific circumstances. Regarding grant funding: if you maintain an academic position, the grant can be channelled through your host institution. Should you lack an academic affiliation, you will need to forge a collaboration with an academic group—assistance for which we can provide, or you may already have existing connections—to receive the funding on your behalf. Subsequently, a collaboration agreement will be enacted, allocating the funding to the academic group with the aim of collaboratively advancing your technology. In select instances, and only when considered suitable, the prospect of direct investment into the company may also be examined.

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

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. All projects will be chosen based on their merit and potential for impact. 

The CTA Program is open to projects developing technologies for all oncology indications. However, for phase II, there will be specific pots of funding, some of which are dedicated for specific cancer types. The CTA Programme for 2024 has received funding from Blood Cancer UK,The Brain Tumour Charity, LifeArc (paediatric oncology) and HGF who want to put their donations directly towards projects that are seeking to create solutions for these particular cancers. Beyond this CRUK will be able to fund up to two projects agnostically, meaning the funding is not tied to any specific area of oncology research. Beyond this You can find more information under: CRUK Grant Funding Criteria for Cancer Tech Accelerator Projects.

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 CTA partners networks if you require technical expertise to develop your technology during Phase II.

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

You should ask your supervisor before applying to the Cancer Tech Accelerator as there is a time commitment. While it is not an absolute requirement to inform your host institution to enter Phase I, we advise that you do, and must let them know before you apply for Phase II. If your concept/technology is not encumbered (e.g. if you are already working with a company) you are required to inform your host institution.

What is the time commitment required for each stage of the CTA Programme?

The time commitment varies for each stage:

  • Bootcamp: One week in duration, comprising four full days of sessions from morning to afternoon, plus one evening networking event.
  • Phase I: Around three months long, featuring 2 to 4 one-hour sessions per week. Most sessions will be recorded for later viewing, except the peer-to-peer groups.
  • Phase II: If selected for this stage, you’ll need to commit about 2 hours per week on 1-1 mentorship. It is up to you how much time you will be able to commit to building the foundations of your spinout. If you make it into this phase, you may be eligible for a £2k per month salary stipend to give you the flexibility to return to your academic position if you so decide.
Will the sessions be recorded for later viewing?

Most of the sessions in Bootcamp and Phase I will be recorded, so you can rewatch them. However, peer-to-peer group sessions and 1-1 mentoring sessions in Phase II will not be recorded.

If I am successful in Phase II, do you offer office or lab space?

We may be able to host you in our facilities in London or Cambridge, or through collaborations that we may be able to help set up for you. Get in touch with us and we can look into what might be possible depending on your requirements and our capacity.

Where do your mentors come from?

The Accelerator is a partnership between Cancer Research UK, Cancer Research Horizons, Capital Enterprise, LifeArc, Blood Cancer UK, The Brain Tumour Charity with support from Roche –  providing access to our collective networks of oncology, clinical and technical knowledge. We are also leaning on the expertise of other partners to provide deeper tailored mentorship and support.

How does startup formation work?

During Phase II we will work with successful teams to form companies with team members as directors listed at Companies House. Neither CRUK, Cancer Research UK, Capital Enterprise nor our funding partners LifeArc, The Brain Tumour Charity, Blood Cancer UK or HGF will take equity in these companies. CRUK’s Commercial Partnerships team has extensive experience of forming startups and can provide legal support to enable this.

What happens if my concept isn’t developed enough by the end of Phase II to enter a startup company?

As one of the teams in Phase II, our mentors and sector experts will work with you to support the development of your technology. It may be that at the end of the six months of Phase II, the approach looks promising, but an additional few months’ work is required before it is start-up ready. We will continue to support your development as best we can and will work with you to help identify alternative routes forward.

What kinds of entrepreneurial skills will the programme cover?

The CTA Programme covers a wide range of entrepreneurial skills including but not limited to:

  • Market Validation: Techniques to assess demand for your technology.
  • Business Model Creation: How to develop a viable revenue model.
  • Understanding Regulatory Frameworks: Learning the rules and regulations that are involved in creating a cancer tech startup.
  • Go-to-Market Strategy: Developing a plan that details how a company intends to sell products or services to customers.
  • Fundraising Skills: Covering the practicalities of raising capital, grant writing, and exploring alternative funding options like crowdfunding.
  • Pitching Skills: Crafting a compelling story to attract investors.
Who will own IP developed during the Accelerator?

You will retain ownership of all IP generated during Phase I of the Accelerator. The funding provided under Phase II will be through an academic research grant and therefore provided under CRUK grant T&Cs – see here: https://www.cancerresearchuk.org/funding-for-researchers/applying-for-funding/conditions-of-your-grant.

The intention is that, at the point of startup formation, CRUK will work with your technology transfer office to collate all relevant IP so that it can be licensed into the new start-up in one package under one licence.

Is the CTA programme limited to specific types of cancer like brain, paediatric, or blood cancer?

No, the CTA Programme is not confined to any particular cancer categories. Whether your project focuses on brain, paediatric, blood cancer, or any other type, you are encouraged to apply. The aim is to foster innovation in the broader field of oncology. However, Phase II of the program has specific awards reserved in some oncology indications (see other funding FAQs for details).

What benefits can my team and I expect if our project is not in the brain, paediatric, or blood cancer spaces?

All projects that go through the CTA Programme receive valuable benefits, regardless of their specific cancer focus. You’ll gain access to:

  • Valuable Connections: Networking opportunities with professionals in academia, industry, and venture capital.
  • Mentorship: Personalised guidance on turning research into a commercial product.

Entrepreneurial Skills: Training modules aimed at equipping you with the tools needed for successful venture creation.

CRUK Grant Funding Criteria for Cancer Tech Accelerator Projects


Cancer Research UK (CRUK) is committed to funding groundbreaking projects through the Cancer Tech Accelerator. Projects will be rigorously evaluated based on a comprehensive set of criteria aimed at ensuring their potential for significant impact in the field of oncology. Below are the criteria to guide project selection for grant funding.

Evaluation Criteria

Commercial Viability

  • Revenue Model: Clearly defined revenue streams and a viable business model.
  • Market Validation: Evidence of market demand, including customer interviews or pilot studies.
  • Scalability: Potential for scaling, including international expansion.

Unique Selling Proposition (USP)

  • Differentiation: Clear differentiation from existing solutions in the market.
  • Intellectual Property: Verification of IP ownership, plans to secure relevant IP and strategy for IP management.
  • Competitive Advantage: Sustained advantage over potential competitors.


  • Novelty: The project introduces a new concept, application, or solution.
  • Technological Advancements: Incorporates cutting-edge technology or innovative applications of existing technology.
  • Disruptive Potential: Capacity to disrupt existing practices or markets.

Proposed Solution

  • Effectiveness: Demonstrated ability or strong potential to solve the identified problem.
  • Safety and Quality: Compliance with medical and safety standards.
  • User Experience: Focus on patient-centric design and usability.

Scientific and Technical Approach

  • Methodology: Rigorous scientific methods and protocols.
  • Feasibility: Realistic and achievable milestones and deliverables.
  • Data Integrity: Robust data collection and analysis plans.

Unmet Patient or Process Need

  • Gap Identification: Clear identification of an unmet need in cancer care or research processes.
  • Beneficiary Impact: Potential for significant positive impact on end-users or beneficiaries.

Market Potential

  • Market Size: Sizeable target market or customer base.
  • Market Growth: Growing market or sector.
  • Exit Strategy: Clear exit strategy for investors, if applicable.

Team Skills, Capabilities, and Experience

  • Domain Expertise: Team members have relevant scientific, medical, or technical expertise.
  • Business Acumen: Demonstrated business management skills.
  • Advisory Board: Inclusion of experienced advisors or mentors.

Entrepreneurial Spirit

  • Resourcefulness: Evaluation from the CTA delivery of the project teams’ resourcefulness and entrepreneurial spirit 
  • Passion and Commitment: Engagement with the CTA programme

Planned Use of Grant Funding

  • Budget Justification: Clear and justified budget allocation.
  • Milestones: Defined milestones that grant funding will help achieve.
  • Sustainability: Plans for sustainability beyond the grant funding period.

Investment-Ready Pitch Deck

  • Clarity: Clearly articulated value proposition and business model.
  • Completeness: Includes all key areas such as market analysis, financial projections, and team.
  • Investor Appeal: Crafted in a manner suitable for approaching venture capital investors.

If you are applying as a company that has already spun out, it is imperative that you receive support from the founding academic and TTO for the intellectual property upon which your company is built. For companies, if there is an academic collaborator with relevant background IP, they must either i) be a co-applicant or ii) have provided formal support for the application.