Unlock the Potential of your Ideas

Startup School for genomics and biodata

Learn to think like an entrepreneur in a  highly supportive environment for early-stage genomes and biodata innovation arising from both Campus science and our peer institutes like Wellcome Sanger Institute and the European Bioinformatics Institute.

Why? Because we all share the same mission to help improve healthcare and lives.

Our lean virtual  Startup School is designed for genomics and biodata scientists but we also welcome participants from related disciplines and those whose skills and expertise can help enrich, diversify, and launch the early ideas generated by each cohort.

Is this for you?

If you are a researcher, PhD student, postdoc, a software developer, or a technical expert working within genomics or biodata, or if you’re eager to explore how your skills and expertise can make an impact with our science, we’d like to hear from you. No previous experience of entrepreneurship is required.


Why you should join us

We have designed the School’s learning programme so that participants can:

  • Explore entrepreneurship and application potential for genomes and biodata in a supportive environment that is configured to support early-stage ideas.
  • Take the most promising science and transform it into societal benefit.
  • Gain confidence in their ideas and find out how to develop them into future products/services.
  • Learn alongside their peers in cross-disciplinary pairs.
  • Benefit from personalised advice from experienced founders, mentors, and investors.
  • Develop their career options and enrich their CVs.

Innovation is mutation

To start something you’ve not done before is both scary and exciting. It requires openness to learning, a shift of mindset, and enthusiasm to experiment with new ideas. We want all of our participants to be able to:

  1. Apply entrepreneurial thinking to genomes and biodata and to explore applications and possibilities of developing science to make an impact.
  2. Take the first steps towards evaluating and progressing business ideas, gain confidence and knowledge that they have the capability to build the support needed to make ideas a reality.
  3. Develop and practice entrepreneurial skills.
  4. Strengthen their career prospects within an academic context, industrial role, or a start-up venture.
  5. Build a valuable network and develop relationships with like-minded peers and entrepreneurial role models.
Startup school at the wellcome genome campus

Be the First

To join our first cohort, please complete a short application form. We'll be asking questions such as whether you'd like to partner up with someone with specific expertise, what you're working on right now, your area of expertise, and what your t-shirt size is so that we can send you a bespoke Startup School hoodie. Can't wait to get started?

Apply now


Julia Wilson_square_image_Startup_School

Dr Julia Wilson, Associate Director, Wellcome Sanger Institute

“The Sanger Institute is delighted to support this programme.

Many of us dream about turning an idea into an empire, and this course is a great opportunity to gain the skills and insight that could make it a reality. The course will provide and understanding of the key strategic, technical, financial, and commercial issues linked to the creation and development of an idea into a start-up. It contains a mixture of teamwork, speakers sharing their experience, coaching sessions, and is a great opportunity to test a business idea and get a taste of what life could be like as an entrepreneur.

It’s a mini-bootcamp which aims to give you the tools needed to build your own venture with meaningful insights to help consolidate your plans.”

Shai Vyakarnam in black and white

Dr Shai Vyakarnam, Visiting Professor at Bettany Centre for Entrepreneurship University of Cranfield

“I was delighted to see the outline of the programme. It is spot on in terms of unlocking the curiosity of  the scientist in learning how to make an impact with their science and taking the early first steps.

They will learn about the various options open to them and gain inspiration from those that have made the journey to impact.

Role models are crucial for the young scientist to test their own ambitions and career choices as are practical tools, frameworks and a peer group that can support each other.

30 years

The UK biotech sector is relatively young, and after 30 years it already includes mature, revenue-generating companies, as well as innovative start-ups building new technologies, and new business models.

The right place

In 2019 the Cambridge Cluster housed approx. 456 small and large biomedical companies and over 3,000 in the IT and tech fields, with a combined turnover of £11bn.

10 yrs of growth

The sector enjoys strong government support and with record levels of private and public investment poured into biotech over the last decade, the sector’s position as a key strategic sector is set to continue after the COVID-19 pandemic.


There is a lot more to the healthcare industry than just the big pharma. Areas with potential high growth are cell and gene therapy, orphan drugs, CRISPR gene editing, robotics, telemedicine, and AI.

Course Structure

With eight content-rich sessions, plus an introductory and a wrap-up session, our curriculum is delivered in ten online sessions, each lasting an hour plus networking time. Each of our modules will help you step out of your comfort zone, help you begin to validate and test your ideas, inspire through peer to peer interaction as well as provide you with an opportunity to put your thoughts into practice. The very targeted nature of our curriculum means this syllabus is unique- unlike more generalized pre-accelerators that are designed to appeal to many, this one will only focus on genomics and biodata. This means that everyone involved in our School has strong connections to the healthcare sector, so you can save hours of networking time, by accessing the right individuals who are best placed to support you in the early stages of your entrepreneurial journey.

Course Modules

Startup School module 1
1. Why you, why now?

  • Where do the opportunities lie in genomics and biodata – right now?
  • Why recession start-ups have in-built resilience?
  • Why do great researchers have an edge for entrepreneurship?
  • Effectual entrepreneurship – it starts with you, what you know and who you know.
  • Explore personal motivations, values, and your own skills.

Start date TBC | November 2020

Startup school module 2
2. The power of your science is in your mind

  • Making your science have an impact by solving the right problem and having a big vision.
  • Secrets to discovering the problem and pivoting your thinking.
  • Fixed v growth mindsets.
  • How can design methods help?
  • Understand the problem and your vision.

Start date TBC | December 2020

Startup school module 3
3. Science, meet Lean

  • An introduction to Lean as a scientific approach to entrepreneurship.
  • How to get to know your customers and develop a value proposition.
  • Case examples around genomics and biodata and follow-on reading.
  • Get a copy of the Lean Canvas to populate with your ideas as you start to create your first business.

Start date TBC| January 2021

Startup school module 4
4. Whose idea is it anyway?

  • Introduction to types of IP.
  • Patent or publish-what to do when you have an idea?
  • Who owns your IP – what rights do you have?
  • How to create value from IP.
  • Pick up tools and frameworks to help you understand your IP position right from the start.

Start date TBC | January 2021

startup school module 5
5. Getting your science to patients and customers

  • How do you assess if your science/technology is fit for purpose?
  • Do you need to connect with other technologies to form a system?
  • What are the issues of getting science to patients or into a healthcare system?
  • Regulations and how to navigate them.
  • Develop a roadmap from science to patients or customers.
  • Plan and map out your approach to technology readiness.

Start date TBC | February 2021

startup school module 6
6. Data, data, data

  • Ethics: How can you create value from data?
  • Data belongs to individuals – why does that matter?
  • What are the legal issues of creating, curating, storing, and accessing data?
  • Finding the data you need – build your own vs partnering.
  • Determine and articulate your approach to the data within your idea.

Start date TBC | February 2021

Startup school module 7
7. Don’t go solo – how to gather support

  • Bringing a team together, leading, and managing.
  • How do you form and manage the network of collaborations and partnerships you need?
  • Learn about accessing funding from grants or investors – what do they look for?
  • Map out the people and resources you need to take the next steps.

Start date TBC | March 2021

startup school module 8
8. Storytelling for scientists

  • A practical workshop to develop techniques to communicate your science and innovation.
  • Learn how to tell the story of your science to bring advisors, investors, partners, users, and customers on board.
  • Prepare to tell the story of your science at the Grand Finale.

Start date TBC | March 2021

Diversity + Collaboration = Innovation

The Wellcome Genome Campus Startup School promotes equality and celebrates inclusion, we believe that diversity and collaboration are key to innovation. We welcome applications from everyone who shares our mission to improve lives and who will commit 20 hours of their time to learn and grow with us.

Apply by 26 October, 2020

Applications close at midnight on Monday 26th October and places are limited. Once you've submitted your application, we'll be in touch to arrange a short Zoom call to review your application, get to know you, and to help us to match you with a 'buddy' for your Startup School learning journey.

Apply here