The path from bench to bedside can be hard to navigate

Being part of the translation process is challenging, but it can also be one of the most rewarding things you’ll ever do. 

Cancer Research UK and Converge have joined forces to encourage and support researchers to develop an entrepreneurial mindset and to get involved in the translation of cancer research into products and services that can innovate the field and save people’s lives.

The CRUK Activate Challenge is now open for applications

Converge has an extensive track record of helping researchers turn their ideas into commercial reality. We have designed a programme tailored for CRUK funded researchers in Scotland that includes coaching, entrepreneurial training and financial support for the most exciting ideas: the CRUK Activate Challenge

Apply now to explore, in a safe space, the commercial potential of your research and understand the many ways in which you can be involved in the commercialisation process.

With us, you will gain a more entrepreneurial mindset and the basic tools to begin the journey of commercial translation. Even if you decide that commercialisation isn’t for you, you will get a better understanding of the commercial drivers of healthcare innovation, enabling you to have more effective interactions with industry in the future. An entrepreneurial mindset helps you spot opportunities, identify problems, and come up with innovative solutions that make you a better researcher.


First prize

£3k cash plus £3.5k package of commercialisation support

Runner up prize

£3.5k package of commercialisation support

3 days

of business training

Who can apply?

The Activate Challenge will be open to all CRUK funded researchers based in Scotland.

Read our full terms and conditions

You should be based at a CRUK research institute or your project should have funding from CRUK.

You must be based at a Scottish university or CRUK institute based in Scotland to participate in this programme.

Intellectual property related to the project must be owned by CRUK.  University projects funded by CRUK where the IP is owned by the University should apply for mainstream Converge programmes eg KickStart Challenge.

Read our full terms and conditions

What's involved?

To start your journey, you will need to submit an application form (see button below to download) to by 12 noon on Tuesday 30 March 2021.  If you have been successful, you will be invited to attend online business training on 24 - 28 May and business masterclasses on 11 June (tbc).  You will then prepare a 5-page business case and 1-minute video pitch which will be assessed by our judging panels to select the winners.

Application form
  • 26 January 2021
    Applications open
  • 30 March 2021
    Applications close
  • 24 - 28 May & 11 June
    Take part in our virtual business training programme and masterclasses
  • 5 July 2021
    Submit your 5-page business case
  • 2 September 2021
    Attend the Activate Challenge Final

Want to know more?

Our video series about research translation and how to apply for the Activate Challenge is now available to view on-demand:

From Researcher to Entrepreneur: Ishani Malhotra of Carcinotech Ltd Shares her Experiences

The Why and the How of Translating Cancer Research

The Impact of Research Translation

How to apply for the Activate Challenge

If you'd like to get in touch to discuss your project one-to-one or get feedback on your application, contact


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