The 2015 Biotechnology Young Entrepreneurs Scheme (YES) for early career researchers is now open for entries.
This year marks the 20th anniversary of the scheme which, along with its sister competition Environment YES, has attracted nearly 5,000 alumni, who as a result have gone on to start businesses, work in industry and have developed more collaborative academic careers.
The Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC) and The University of Nottingham’s Haydn Green Institute for Innovation and Entrepreneurship work with the Medical Research Council, the Natural Environment Research Council and Royal Society of Chemistry to deliver the competition aiming to raise awareness of the commercialisation of scientific ideas by teams developing hypothetical business plans.
Teams attend an intensive three-day residential workshop, which take place across the UK, to receive help and support from leading figures in industry, before pitching their ideas to an expert panel.
Along the way participants enhance their commercial awareness and develop skills including presenting, time-management, negotiation and team-building as well as having the opportunity to network with industry professionals.
Top teams from each workshop are selected to progress to the final in London, to compete for prizes including £2,500 and a trip to the Rice Business Plan Competition in the USA.
This year, alongside existing industrial hosts Syngenta, GSK and the Stevenage Bioscience Catalyst, for the first time the multi-national consumer goods company Unilever will host a workshop at Colworth Science Park on September 30 to October 2.
Dr Simon Cutler, BBSRC Senior Innovation and Skills Programme Manager, said: “The BBSRC is delighted to have played a key role in the success of Biotechnology YES over two decades. The fact that the competition has stood the test of time - evolving and growing - shows what can be achieved through genuine partnership and is a testament to all those involved, from participants through to sponsors, mentors and judges alike. I would whole-heartedly recommend taking part in our anniversary year!”
Professor Simon Mosey, Director of the Haydn Green Institute for Innovation and Entrepreneurship, said: “This year marks 20 exciting years of YES and is testimony to the strength of the unique partnership between Nottingham and our invaluable and visionary long term sponsors. Unilever coming on board to host a workshop this year gives a new impetus to the competition and will enhance the participants’ insights into the reality of commercialising science and technology innovations.”
Professor Jim Crilly, Unilever SVP Strategic Science Group, said: "We are looking forward to joining the Biotechnology YES family by hosting this year’s Young Entrepreneurs Scheme at the Colworth Science Park. We are committed to technology and entrepreneurship for business innovation and YES provides an excellent, brief but very insightful immersion in the world of the technology entrepreneur to students who will become our future technology leaders."
Entries to this year’s competition close on May 29. For more information about the scheme and dates for this year’s workshops visit: www.biotechnologyYES.co.uk
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Notes to editors: The University of Nottingham has 43,000 students and is ‘the nearest Britain has to a truly global university, with campuses in China and Malaysia modelled on a headquarters that is among the most attractive in Britain’ (Times Good University Guide 2014). It is also one of the most popular universities in the UK among graduate employers, in the top 10 for student experience according to the Times Higher Education and winner of ‘Research Project of the Year’ at the THE Awards 2014. It is ranked in the world’s top one per cent of universities by the QS World University Rankings, and 8th in the UK by research power according to REF 2014.
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