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Dragons’ Den

Based on the BBC’s Reality TV programme Dragons’ Den, where budding entrepreneurs get to pitch their business ideas to five multimillionaires in hope of securing funding for their initiative, C-DICE’s Dragons’ Den events offer post-docs the opportunity to vie for up to £2000 to get their business ideas of the ground.

Our first Dragons’ Den event, Thinking of Yourself as a Product, was designed to equip post-doctoral researchers with the tools they need to set up their own consultancy business. We will be announcing the winners shortly.

The second event that will be happening in the Autumn will be focusing on business ideas that are associated with Gamifying the Net Zero Challenge.

Dragons’ Den: From concept to commercialisation; gamifying Net Zero

Aim of this Dragons’ Den series is to help researchers learn valuable commercialisation strategy tools using the concept of gamifying Net-Zero to anchor it in a real-world application. The outputs will be a variety of Net-Zero games to help educate the general public or students, and up-skilling researchers in commercialisation awareness and methods. The best pitch will receive £2000 to help launch their game.

Eligibility Criteria

  • Applicants must have been awarded their PhD/EngD before pitching to the Dragons.
    • PhD/EngD students who have passed the viva with minor corrections may attend the introductory and developmental sessions but will not be able to pitch their idea to the Dragons until after their PhD/EngD has been awarded.
  • Applicants must not hold a permanent academic position before the start of the Dragons’ Den Event.
  • Applicants must have been associated with a C-DICE partner within the last calendar year or currently employed at a C-DICE partner or be a recent ERA Skills Alumni – partnership list is available here.
  • Priority will be given to applicants who are currently employed as post-doctoral researchers at a partner university.

Funding Level

Applications can be submitted for up to £2,000 in value. A detail breakdown of these costs should be included in the Rationale for funding section of the application form.

How will applications be assessed?

The following assessment criteria will be used to assess the applications. During the short-listing stage the C-DICE team will score applications out of 60, the top scorers will then be invited to pitch their idea to the C-DICE Dragon’s. The Dragon’s will give each application a score out of 120 based on the pitch (60 points) and submitted business case (60 points):

Criteria AreaCriteriaStageAssessment
Experience / work historyApplicant has worked at a C-DICE partner within the last calendar year or is currently employed at a C-DICE partner.Application formPass/fail
Applicant does not hold a permanent academic position.Application formPass/fail
QualificationsPhD / EngD awarded. Pass/fail
Topic SpecificBusiness fits within the scope of helping to transition to Net Zero Carbon Future.Application Form PitchScore 1-10  
Business SpecificThe business plan is viable.Application Form PitchScore 1-10  
 Funds have been allocated efficiently.Application Form PitchScore 1-10  
 Idea is innovative.Application Form PitchScore 1-10  
 Summary of target audience and plan to engage them.Application Form PitchScore 1-10
 Marketing and Comms Strategy.Application Form PitchScore 1-10