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Cyber security academic startup accelerator year 4: Phase 1


Individuals based in a UK academic institution can apply for a share of £800,000 to join the cyber security academic startup accelerator programme (CyberASAP).

The Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) will work with Innovate UK, as part of UK Research and Innovation, to invest up to £800,000 in innovative cyber security ideas coming from an academic research base.

The aim of this competition is to identify the best commercial opportunities. Your proposal must include the area of your research, the problem that you are solving and your proposed solution.

You must be based in a UK academic institution, have a cyber security idea and be interested in commercialising it.

CyberASAP is a 1-year programme. Phase 1 will last up to four months, split into two stages:

  1. An initial two months for value proposition development activities, followed by a presentation to an independent judging panel who will select teams to go to stage 2.
  2. A further two months for market validation activities.

Phase 1 will determine the value of the idea and, if appropriate, identify the best commercial route to progress. The programme will be supported by industry experts, including some from cyber security.

Open Date:


Close Date:


The aim of this competition is to identify the best commercial opportunities in academia in respect to cyber security.

Innovate UK define ‘cyber security’ to mean protecting information systems (hardware, software and associated infrastructure), the data on them and the services they provide from unauthorised access, harm or misuse. This includes harm caused intentionally by the operator of the system, or accidentally, as a result of failing to follow security procedures.

Your proposal must include:

  • The area of your research
  • The problem you are solving
  • Your proposed solution
  • Your initial market validation plan

Your total eligible costs for the value proposition stage of your project must be no more than £16,000. Your total eligible costs for the market validation stage must be no more than £16,000.

Your project must start on 1 April 2020 and end by 31 July 2020.

To be eligible for funding you must:

  • Be based in a UK academic institution
  • Have a cyber security idea
  • Be interested in the commercialisation of your idea
  • Have the support of your academic institution’s technology transfer office, or equivalent

All individuals based in a UK academic institutions are eligible, including but not limited to early career researchers and senior academic researchers.

The grant will be paid to the academic institutions after each stage of phase 1.

Building value proposition and market validation activities

If Innovate UK award you funding, you must be dedicated to the project for the two-month value proposition building activity from 1 April 2020. If Innovate UK decide you can continue to the market validation activity, you must be dedicated for the additional two months until the end of July 2020.

‘Dedicated to the project’ means you must:

  • Attend three events in London as part of the initial two-month value proposition activity
  • Be able and be permitted to work on your project for at least two days a week in order to make it a success

The events will be organised by the Knowledge Transfer Network (KTN). You will be contacted by KTN with full details, including confirmed dates.

The planned dates are:

  • 1 and 2 April 2020: two-day boot camp
  • 28 and 29 April 2020: two-day mid-programme review
  • 21 or 22 May 2020: one-day pitch to selection panel

To participate in and complete the additional two months for market validation, applicants recommended by the selection panel must attend four events in London.

The planned dates are:

  • 2 to 4 June: Infosecurity Europe exhibition, where you must attend a minimum of one day
  • 8 and 9 June: two-day boot camp
  • 30 June and 1 July: two-day mid-programme review
  • 23 or 24 July: one-day pitch to selection panel

Participants in phase 1 with ideas that demonstrate the most potential for commercialisation will be invited to apply to participate in phase 2, where funding is available to develop a proof of concept for the product or service.

Innovate UK have allocated up to £800,000 to fund cyber security ideas through this competition.

Innovate UK want to fund up to 25 applications.

Applicants can apply for funding for up to 100%. This can only cover salary, travel within the UK, accommodation if necessary to attend London workshops and subsistence.

No more than £16,000 can be allocated to the initial two months of the programme.

Innovate UK are not funding projects that:

  • Are not related to cyber security
  • Are from academic institutions outside the UK
  • Have no intention to commercialise
  • Have an academic lead that has already participated in the previous CyberASAP programme

Cresco Innovation works with companies to develop and implement innovation strategies. We help client companies identify opportunities to develop new products and services, and then create a package of support to ensure that the idea is turned into a commercial reality.

Our services include securing grants (as a team we have raised around £40million over three years), business planning, IP advice, access to finance and funders, project management and IP commercialisation support.

We regularly act as the interface with the funding bodies and help clients ensure that their projects are properly managed to ensure the best outcome for all.

Call to find out more

If you’d like to know more about this competition, please give us a call on 01509 261182 and one of our team will be delighted to help you access this funding opportunity for your business.