Commercialisation fellowship

A unique and flexible opportunity for early career researchers (PostDocs and Lecturers) to step out of the lab and take part in a programme of impact, knowledge exchange and commercialisation activities within Innovation Strategy.

The fellowship will provide the opportunity to acquire commercial skills, develop business acumen and networks, and gain valuable experience for career development through on-the-job learning and dedicated training.


Unfortunately, applications for the 2021 Cohort are now closed however, we are very keen to receive expressions of interest and potential applications for the 2022 programme. Email your interest to

Impact, knowledge exchange, and innovation are increasingly important from a UKRI and government perspective (e.g. HESA, KEF, Impact ranking), and an important part of development for academics in terms of achieving research funding and career mobility. Despite this, historically awareness of innovation has been limited to a few.

As a Commercialisation Fellow, you will work on real projects within the Innovation Strategy team and develop solutions to improve how the University supports our researcher community through collaborating with businesses, commercialising intellectual property and increasing entrepreneurial activities. During the fellowship, there will also be opportunities to connect with corporate partners, investors and entrepreneurs, and you will have the dedicated time to explore and develop your own skills, networks and pathway to impact.

Note: you do not need to prepare or present a proposal. If you do have research or ideas of your own you’d like to cultivate, then that is a bonus and we’ll happily try and support you during the programme.

In addition to on-the-job learning and in-house training, you will have opportunity to attend external training and events through the SETsquared Partnership and business networks. You will join a cohort of Surrey’s early career researchers plus the Comms Fellows from our SETsquared partners including the University of Bath and the University of Southampton, for joint training and networking events.

This is a highly flexible internal secondment expecting to commence anytime from Spring/Summer 2022. (See Funding below for more details.)


  • Develop a practical understanding and application of Impact and Knowledge Exchange and how it is critical for both research and innovation
  • Hands-on experience with real projects across technology transfer, industry partnerships, and enterprise and incubation
  • Comprehensive training covering spin-outs, licensing, intellectual property, contracts, industry collaborations, negotiation and more
  • Culminates with a project chosen by the Fellow to apply their new knowledge and affect change within their department and/or faculty
  • Engagement with broader Faculty/Departments in addition to your own research group
  • Receive mentoring from an entrepreneur-in-residence or other external e.g. Knowledge Transfer Network (KTN)

What did the 2020 Cohort say?

“The fellowship changed my perspective about how my research can be applied in the real world and whether there is a route to market!”

“He [Tech Transfer Manager] was a great manager/mentor for me. In every opportunity he had, he got me involved in various projects to get the maximum out of the fellowship I really appreciate his guidance and learned many things from him!”


This fellowship is funded by the EPSRC Impact Acceleration Account (IAA), which aims to support knowledge exchange and the generation of impact from research.

The programme will buy out your time on your current salary and will be managed as a secondment.

Fellowships may be part time or full time, and their duration may be anywhere between 2-8 months.

If your research project’s deadline truncates this Fellowship, we are very willing to support your request to the relevant Research Council for a research deadline extension for you to accommodate the Fellowship.

You may wish to consider several options (AB and C) depending on your circumstances and commitments, here are a few illustrative examples:

  • A-month programme (B FTE) from C 2022
  • 6-month programme (0.5 FTE) from Apr 2022
  • 7.5-month programme (0.4 FTE) from Apr 2022
  • 4-month programme (0.75 FTE) from June 2022
  • 2-month programme (0.9 FTE) from July 2022

To ensure you and the Tech Transfer Office gain the most possible from the Fellowship, we do expect a minimum commitment of 0.4 FTE (i.e. 2 out of 5 working days). If you think you need less commitment, we are always open to discuss this further with you.

Travel budget will enable travel to meetings and develop relationships and networks e.g. with businesses, catapults, investors, KTN etc (government restrictions permitting). All or part of the programme may be delivered online.


You need to be a researcher employed by the University of Surrey, with the right to work in the UK for the duration of the Fellowship. This fellowship is not intended to support either a visa application, or visa extension.

Update [21/06/2021]: this opportunity is now open to all ECRs irrespective of their research grant funder. Previously you had to be a researcher employed on an EPSRC grant or in a research group whose work falls within the EPSRC remit – this is no longer the case.

This Fellowship is primarily aimed at Early Career Researchers who are within 7 years of completion of their PhD (not including any breaks from employment). However, if the Fellowship is of interest, we'd encourage you to contact us to discuss your circumstances rather than you assume you are not eligible.

Successful applicants will have an interest in impact generation through industry collaboration and/or commercialisation of research and have some understanding of the research environment in the UK.

How to apply

Unfortunately, applications for the 2021 Cohort are now closed however, we are very keen to receive expressions of interest and potential applications for the 2022 programme. Email your interest to

To apply for the Fellowship please complete the Application Form and send it to

Please note that approval from your Line Manager or Head of Department will be required for the application to be considered.

Contact us

If you would like more information or to discuss if you might be eligible, please get in touch at