Builder Incubator

The Bayes Centre DDE Innovation

What is it?

Part of the Bayes Centre DDE Innovation, and one of the first steps on the journey from founding to funding.

The Venture Builder Incubator is a curated programme of interactive, online workshops and some in-person events designed to provide PhD students and academics with the skills and knowledge to validate the commercial potential of their research.

We are looking to work with motivated individuals and teams eager to test their ideas, solve real world challenges by creating data-driven companies that use technology be it software, hardware or have the potential for a digital component.

Building on the success of our previous cohort, we will continue with our partnership with Cancer Research Horizons allowing us to also support founders from across the UK working on Cancer-related projects.

The programme offers the opportunity to be at the heart of a vibrant community and to develop life-long professional and entrepreneurial skills.

Participants will have access to:

• A £2,000 grant

• One-to-one support

• Links to investors

• The University of Edinburgh’s data expertise and wider entrepreneurial ecosystem, mentors and industry champions including Nile HQ and Barclays Eagle Labs.

• The chance to win £5,000 on Demo Day

And more!

The Venture Builder Incubator is delivered by the Bayes Centre, the University of Edinburgh’s Innovation Hub for Data Science and Artificial Intelligence, and supported by Edinburgh Innovations, the commercialisation service of the University. It is delivered on behalf of the University’s Data-Driven Innovation Hubs, in contribution to the Data-Driven Entrepreneurship programme.

Who should apply?

We encourage applications from PhD students and academic staff from the University of Edinburgh.

However Masters’ students, and recent alumni with innovative ideas, which are derived from original research, are also welcome to apply. Please get in touch if you have any queries.

PhDs and early career researchers from across the UK working on cancer-related Projects.

However, VBI is NOT limited to cancer-related projects. Projects coming from the University of Edinburgh can be related to a wide number of industries but we are particularly interested in:

  • AgriTech including animal health and aquaculture
  • HealthTech including cancer-related ideas
  • Tech for Good
  • Companies using Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning, Blockchain or Quantum Computing
  • TravelTech
  • EdTech
  • ClimateTech
  • FinTech
Register to find out about Information Sessions and application deadlines.


Do I need to have knowledge or experience of startups? No prior experience or knowledge is necessary. In fact, this is the programme for you! VBI focuses on supporting participants with little or no knowledge of business or the entrepreneurial ecosystem to gain the knowledge and the skills to develop their idea.

How much time commitment is required for the Venture Builder Incubator? Approximately 12 hours a month over 4 months. The programme is designed to fit in with other academic commitments. Typically the sessions run via Zoom on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 16.00 to 17.30 at the latest.

When does the Venture Builder Incubator take place? The incubator will start in November and finish at the beginning of March with a break in December.

Will the partnership with Cancer Research Horizons continue? Yes, we are delighted that our partnership with Cancer Research Horizons has been renewed and we will be able to support up to 10 cancer-related startups. Cancer-related applications are welcomed from across the UK.

What happens after I submit my application? Applications are reviewed by a panel, and then you may be called for interview. Unsuccessful applicants are provided with feedback and encouraged to apply next time.

I have an idea but it does not relate to my research. Can I still apply? Yes, we welcome applications as long as the business idea has data at the centre of it.

I am a student at Heriot Watt. How do I apply? Please contact the Heriot Watt Enterprise Team for information on how to apply

Meet your programme lead - Laura Bernal

Find out more

Keen to learn more about the Venture Builder Incubator, please get in touch.


Our Partners / Supported by

Cancer Research Horizons

Cancer Research Horizons is the innovation engine of Cancer Research UK, the world’s largest independent cancer research organisation. It was launched to take cutting edge innovations from the lab bench to the bedside and translate them into effective treatments and diagnostics for cancer patients.

Fintech Scotland

We exist to ensure that Scotland seizes the fintech opportunity through financial innovation, collaboration and inclusion.

Nile HQ

A multi-talented strategic design consultancy, HQ'd in Scotland, distributed worldwide. We solve problems worth solving.