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Biotechnology YES

Interested in applying? Go to the Biotechnology YES competition page (in Funding section).

Biotechnology YES, now in its 22nd year, is an innovative competition developed to raise awareness of the commercialisation of ideas among early career researchers.

The competition aims to encourage an entrepreneurial culture in the UK postgraduate and postdoctoral base for the benefit of the UK bioeconomy, and is free for postdoctoral researchers working on BBSRC-funded grants.

The competition is organised jointly by:

  • The University of Nottingham - The Haydn Green Institute
  • Innovation and Skills Group, BBSRC.

The challenge

To prepare an oral business plan presentation, in a team of four or five, for a hypothetical bioscience start-up company seeking equity investment. The plan is based on a plausible idea based on real markets and developed over the course of a three day residential workshop.

Working with industry

In addition to the general Biotechnology YES Bioscience workshops there are several themed workshops which are run in conjunction with industry:

  • The Plants, Microbial and Environmental Workshop, hosted by Syngenta
  • The Biomedical Workshop, hosted by GSK and the Stevenage Biosciences Catalyst.

The full table of workshops and venues can be found below.

Benefits of taking part

The competition provides a great opportunity to get an understanding of how research outputs can be turned towards commercial application and the chance to gain valuable insights from industry professionals. But that is not all, other benefits include:

  • Prize fund of £5,000, including first prize of £2,500
  • Enhance your CV
  • Develop and improve transferable skills such as communication, time-management, negotiation and team-building
  • Network with industry professionals
  • Increase your commercial awareness and technology transfer knowledge.

To apply to the competition follow the external link to the Biotechnology YES website. You can also stay up-to-date with when the competition opens and the calendar of events for each year through our funding page.

YES 2017 calendar of events

Activity Action/venue Date
Application deadline Second call 25 August 2017
Briefing session Webinar 1 August 2017
Plant, microbial and environment workshop Hosted by Syngenta, Jealott's Hill 4-6 October 2017
Bioscience and environment workshop The University of Manchester Innovation Centre and Old Trafford 11-13 October 2017
Industrial strategy challenges workshop Innovation Park, Nottingham 18-20 October 2017
Biomedical workshop Hosted by GSK and Stevenage Bioscience Catalyst 1-3 November 2017
Final The Royal Society, Carlton House Terrace, London 5 December 2017

Case studies

Winning team 2016 - BeEco Biosciences Ltd, Babraham Institute

Copyright: Adam Jacobs
Biotechnology YES winners BeEco Biosciences Ltd. Copyright: Adam Jacobs

The winners of Biotechnology YES were BeEco Biosciences Ltd from the Babraham Institute, affiliated as PhD students to the University of Cambridge. They presented Varroanin; the only product that safely and effectively removes the Varroa mite which plagues honey bees. The remedy utilises a novel chemoattractant compound to lure the parasites away from the host. Varroanin guarantees a reduction of colony collapse disorder and an increase in profits for bee keepers.

Marketing Director Lina Dobnikar said: “We were very pleased and honoured to win as the competition was really tough. Being part of Biotechnology YES has been an amazing experience as we have learned a whole range of new skills and met many inspiring people throughout the competition.”

Winning team 2015 - ECTODECTO, The University of Nottingham

Copyright: Joel Knight
Biotechnology YES winners ECTODECTO. Copyright: Joel Knight

The winners of Biotechnology YES, receiving a £2,500 prize, sponsored places at the BioIndustry Association dinner, a delegate pass to PraxisUnico's 2016 Conference and the opportunity to attend the Rice Business Plan competition in the United States, were ECTODECTO from The University of Nottingham. Their idea was a new way of detecting and treating head lice infections.

Claire Lewis, Managing Director of ECTODECTO said: "It’s amazing to win, the hard work paid off. We knew we did ourselves proud so this is just the icing on the cake, the standard was very high.

“I’d love to pursue avenues in these sorts of careers and I’d definitely recommend taking part. We’ve learned how to take our science to the market, intellectual property, marketing strategies, licensing, just a whole world we didn’t know about before.”