When we applied for a bigger grant we took the model along and it contributed to us winning the grant … it was a far more valuable project than I thought it would be.

Dr John Day, Lead Researcher, University of Bristol (Project: The Intelligent Needle)


Since 2010, Design Council has been backed by government to teach university research teams how design methods and tools can help accelerate commercialisation and coach ventures in developing their propositions and routes to market.

Our aim is to complement and strengthen the UK’s scientific research pipeline and accelerate its development with support tailored to meet the needs of those working in the commercialisation of innovative ideas.

Through coaching and training programmes delivered by expert advisors, we guide individuals and teams to exploit ideas, accelerate routes to market and develop the business skills and acumen proven to lead to success.

With our support, researchers and entrepreneurs are commercialising their scientific and technological ideas and turning them into innovative and profitable innovations and services with the potential to reach a global marketplace.

Since 2010, we have helped commercialisation teams from more than 30 universities - including Oxford, Cambridge, Ulster, Newcastle, Nottingham, Imperial College London and Bristol – to capitalise on their research base and take projects to market.

Or, to put it another way: we have worked with around 30% of the UK’s technology transfer offices (TTOs) and 5-10% of its technology transfer practitioners, helping to turn numerous ventures into fully-fledged businesses.


Research Commercialisation Coaching

Deadline for applications – 25 February 2016

Apply now

Development of conceptual images and materials that set out the technological concepts as visualise-able products helped open the door to discussion and portray what the technology could do in a readily understandable form.

Dr Neil Hayes, Commercial Manager, University of Exeter (Project: Arkiris)

What we offer

All Design Council support is tailored to meet the specific needs of the organisations we work with. Each programme is delivered by highly experienced, independent design management specialists, our Design Associates.

The Design Associate’s role is to provide hands-on, independent programmes using our proven system of support. Their aim is to work with you to rapidly diagnose and explore key challenges and highlight opportunities where design can add measurable commercial value.

1. Introductory training in design methods for commercialisation

An interactive one-day course providing delegates with a practical and thorough understanding of how design methods can be utilised to accelerate the commercialisation of projects.

Delegates are taught practical, critical design methods that can quickly be applied to unlock further value. Delegates take away a toolkit including worksheets, case studies and guides for their own continued use.

Developed and delivered by Design Council in partnership with the University of Nottingham, the course brings together insights from both the university and commercial sectors which can be applied to a wide range of challenges.

  • £5,000+VAT per workshop for up to 20 delegates

2. Intensive coaching programme for project teams

This three-day programme creates a catalyst for multiple projects to accelerate development of new ideas and upskill teams, adding value to your processes and encouraging entrepreneurial ways of working.

Drawing on the visual, collaborative ways of working typically found within the design process, delegates will be supported to think outside the box and learn more about design’s critical ability to rapidly test ideas and manage risk as well as shape compelling propositions with market focus.

By bringing together academics, researchers and managers across a group of projects in a dynamic two-day bootcamp facilitated by our expert coaches, teams will:

  1. Learn key design methodologies and apply diagnostic frameworks to their projects
  2. Diagnose, map and articulate project challenges for rapid peer review and market-focused insight from our experts
  3. Define opportunities for acceleration and rapid exploitation of ideas, identifying those with lower potential
  4. Prioritise development goals, create roadmaps and project briefs for project development activities and agree milestones for delivery
  5. Project teams can draw down a follow-on day of support from their coaches to support implementation of their milestones
  • £7,500+VAT per team

Download the prospectus

Find out more about our programme of design support for science and technology innovation.


The importance of evidence-based design Dr Dan Jenkins and Lisa Baker talk about how crucial being evidence-led is to the design process. Dr Dan Jenkins and Lisa Baker talk about how crucial being evidence-led is to the design process.

Feature — 12/08/2015


We have a national network of expert, independent design professionals, our Design Associates, who bring their considerable experience to our design support work.

Case studies