1 2 3 4 5 6

The support given by Design Council was invaluable to our project. It took us in a particular direction and having something to show people led to a much greater impact for our pitches.

Dr Mike Mulheran, University of Leicester


Design Council provides coaching developed to give you a practical, thorough understanding of how to apply design during the development of your science, technology or engineering projects in order to maximise their impact, IP, and accelerate the exploitation of great ideas.

Our programme focuses on bringing a user-centred approach to ideas at the critical early stages of growth, drawing on proven key design methods to strengthen propositions and reduce risk.

The programme combines introductory design training and a diagnostic workshop to identify key areas of development, followed by one-to-one coaching for individual projects to support and reframe propositions and development milestones.  Our expert design facilitators help you to rapidly identify new opportunities to test and exploit markets and develop roadmaps for projects that will increase in value.

Our aim is to complement and strengthen the UK’s research pipeline and accelerate its development.

This programme is grant funded by the Department for Business, Innovation & Skills.

Deadline for applications is 25 February 2016

Who is the programme for?

The programme is for those managing research pipelines, technology transfer or equivalent, in UK-based universities and research institutions. We have designed our intensive three-day accelerator programme to bring together and enhance collaboration between project owners and those responsible for exploiting and managing the research pipeline.

We are particularly keen to support research based around disruptive technologies and scientific research which would lend itself to new approaches in order to achieve greater impact.

How you will benefit

This is a unique opportunity to work with Design Council’s expert team of Design Associates, our coaches who can help you find ways to shorten the time it takes to achieve an impact with your research. Our coaching programme promotes six major benefits:

  • Greater ability to secure further development funding
  • Clearer communication of new technology to potential investors and end users
  • Improved prototyping, fundraising pitches and market entry strategies
  • Increased ability to identify commercial viability of new technologies
  • Better portfolio management and risk reduction
  • Improved strategic relationships between TTOs and the design industry.

In the process, your team will learn valuable new skills to help you carry on developing successful outcomes in the future. These include:

  • Using design methods to connect research to market need
  • Understanding how a user-centred approach to research development can generate practical insights
  • Identifying new markets and applications to maximise short-term and long-term revenue streams
  • Adopting techniques for the agile, low-cost testing of concepts at early stage
  • Achieving improved outcomes and impact in shorter timescales by developing market opportunities, testing and gaining insights at an earlier stage.

Selection criteria

Successful applicants will be awarded one of four places available in the 2015/16 cohort, based on their ability to meet the following criteria:

  • Five separate projects to submit
  • Strong ambition for commercialisation and growth
  • An exciting portfolio of research projects that will enable the Design Associate to introduce different design-led methods, techniques and procedures to the team
  • A Project Manager who is engaged and open to working collaboratively with the Design Associate
  • Engaged project teams and academics who are open to doing things differently.


We welcome applications for our coaching programme from technology transfer (or equivalent) professionals in UK universities and research institutions.

Projects should ideally be beyond proof of concept stage, with funding resource in place and the engagement of the research leads to enable maximum benefit from the programme within a six-month timeframe.

Projects should only be submitted via this application form and must have the backing of the relevant project staff and lead researchers involved.


The fee for a place on our programme is £7,500.00 (+VAT).