Cyber security academic startup accelerator programme (CyberASAP) 2024-25: phase 1

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

Opportunity Details

When

Registration Opens

05/02/2024

Registration Closes

06/03/2024

Award

Your project’s total costs must be up to £32,000, with £16,000 allocated to stage 1 and £16,000 to stage 2. You can claim 100% funding for your eligible project costs. This can only cover salary, programme related travel within the UK, accommodation if necessary and subsistence.

Organisation

DSIT
Innovate UK

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Find out more and apply

The Department for Science, Innovation and Technology (DSIT) will work with Innovate UK, part of UK Research and Innovation, to invest up to £800,000 in innovative on cyber security projects coming from an academic research base.

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

The Cyber Security Academic Startup Accelerator Programme (CyberASAP) is a one year programme.

This is phase 1 of a 2-phase competition. 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.

This competition has two funding strands for entry:

Strand 1: Industry Challenge-led strand with the three challenges: AI model security, software supply chain security, and Industrial Internet of Things (IIOT) security or OT (Operation Technology) security.

Strand 2: Open strand

Please note that although you can select the strand for your project, we will make the final decision which strand is the most appropriate for your application.

  • 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
    • not act in any way to gain selective commercial or economic advantage from the outputs of this project

    To collaborate with the lead, you must:

    • be based in a UK academic institution
    • be interested in the commercialisation of the idea
    • have the support of your academic institution’s technology transfer office, or equivalent

    You can submit more than one application if you have multiple ideas, but we will not select more than one for funding.

  • Your project must:

    • have total costs for the two stages up to £32,000
    • have total costs for the first stage up to £16,000
    • have total costs for the second stage up to £16,000
    • start on 1 April 2024
    • end on 31 July 2024

    You must only include eligible project costs in your application.

  • Building value proposition and market validation activities

    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.

    If we award you funding, you must be dedicated to the project for the two month value proposition building activity from 1 April 2024. If we decide you can continue to the market validation activity you must be dedicated for the additional two months until 31 July 2024.

    ‘Dedicated to the project’ means you must:

    • attend two days of in-person events and three days of online events as part of the initial two month value proposition activity
    • the Challenge-led cohort is expected to attend an additional half day, plus one day spread across this phase for masterclasses and mentoring
    • be able and permitted to work on your project for at least two days a week in order to make it a success
  • Innovate UK KTN will organise all events except the Challenge-led events, which will be organised by Plexal. You will be contacted by Innovate UK KTN and Plexal with full details of events relevant too you, including confirmed dates.

    The planned dates for the value proposition stage are:

    • 9 and 10 April 2024: in person value proposition bootcamp
    • 19 April 2024: webinar for Technology Transfer Officers or equivalent
    • 1 and 2 May 2024: online value proposition mid-stage review
    • 29 and 30 May 2023: online value proposition pitch to selection panel, teams must pitch at a slot on one of these two days

    Industry Challenge-led strand participants are expected to attend the additional following events:

    • welcome in person event on 11 April 2024
    • three virtual masterclasses to be delivered in weeks commencing 22 April, 6 May, and 20 May, intended to last up to 90 minutes each
    • a monthly virtual growth group meet-up to be delivered in weeks commencing 29 April, 27 May
    • at least one 1:1 mentoring session in week commencing 13 May

    Innovate UK KTN will hold informal weekly one hour drop-in sessions during the value proposition stage. These are likely to be Friday mornings.

    Before the formal start of the programme an informal online introduction session is planned for the week commencing 1 April. Innovate UK KTN will advise all participants of the date and time in due course.

    If selected to undertake the additional two months for market validation, you must commit to attend two days of in person events and three days of online events. In addition the Challenge-led cohort is expected to attend an additional half day, plus one day spread across this phase for masterclasses and mentoring.

    The planned dates are:

    • 5 and 6 June 2024: in person market validation bootcamp
    • 26 and 27 June 2024: online market validation mid-stage review
    • 23 and 24 July 2024: online market validation pitch to selection panel, teams must pitch at a slot on one of these two days

    Industry Challenge-led strand participants are expected to attend the additional following events:

    • mid-point in person event on 7 June 2024
    • three virtual masterclasses in weeks commencing 10 June, 17 June, 8 July
    • a monthly virtual growth group meet-up in weeks commencing 24 June, 15 July
    • at least one 1:1 mentoring session in weeks commencing 3 June, 1 July
  • The aim of this competition is to identify the most promising commercial opportunities in academia in respect to cyber security.

    We define ‘cyber security’ to mean protecting any or all the following from unauthorised access, harm or misuse:

    • information systems including hardware, software and associated infrastructure
    • data on information systems
    • services provided by information systems

    This includes harm caused intentionally by the operator of the system, or accidentally, as a result of failing to follow security procedures.

    Your project must include:

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

    We are not funding projects:

    • that are not related to cyber security
    • that are defence-focused
    • from academic institutions outside the UK
    • that have no intention to commercialise
    • that have an academic lead that has already led and completed a previous CyberASAP project
  • Innovate UK will hold an online briefing at 1pm on Tuesday 6 February 2024: click here for the joining link.

    For advice, previous successful applicants and further information, please visit the CyberASAP programme page or email cyberasap@iuk.ktn-uk.org.

Related programme

CyberASAP

CyberASAP

The only pre-seed accelerator programme in the cybersecurity ecosystem, CyberASAP (Cyber Security Academic Startup Accelerator Programme) plays a unique and vital role in supporting cyber security innovation and commercialisation.

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