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This course is for scientists, medics and engineers who are thinking about translating their research into commercial innovation now or in future, be it in a startup or an industry collaboration. It introduces the practicalities and mindset needed to be successful in developing their innovation efforts and is open to postgraduates, postdocs and academics/PIs. The course is led by Dr. Alan Roth, a successful academic scientist and entrepreneur with experience of executive leadership, industrial R&D and finance who is Royal Society Entrepreneur in Residence at Oxford.

A group of young entrepreneurs discussing around a table © Shutterstock


Success in a start-up or an industry collaboration is significantly enhanced with an understanding of key entrepreneurial characteristics and competencies. This weekly, term-long course provides potential science/medicine/engineering (including social scientists and humanities) entrepreneurs with the knowledge to help succeed in an entrepreneurial opportunity.

Topics covered include:

  • How creativity, opportunity and feasibility are best evaluated
  • Strategies for innovation
  • Operational success in an emerging venture
  • Team building
  • Financial aspects

At the end of the course students will have skills and confidence to evaluate starting a science-based business, in addition to becoming more enterprising in how they approach their roles should they decide to work in start-up organisations.

The course will consist of lectures accompanied by practical casework and readings.

This course starts in Week 1 in October, then takes place every Thursday 2 -4.30pm until Week 9.

Those who successfully complete this course would be eligible to join advanced courses in Hilary and Trinity Terms.


It has been a very exciting process. I have learned a lot during the course. – Biology Postdoc  

The classes are always engaging, and I have really enjoyed this term’s mix of materials (lectures, case studies and simulations). - Biochemistry DPhil 

I cannot recommend the course highly enough. Over time I increasing found confidence in developing business relevant skills and enjoyed meeting peers across divisions and from different disciplines. - Medical Sciences Postdoc 

The materials are high quality and logically structured. Being backed up by Harvard Business School gives it a sense of legitimacy that other training courses do not have. The case studies are great at demonstrating the concepts in a real-world context – Medical Sciences DPhil

I think the course is structured very well, it is not too time consuming, however there is enough content each week such that you actually learn something – Physics DPhil

It was a real pleasure attending this unique and valuable course - Medical Sciences Faculty

Tailored to the interface of R&D and commerce providing the basic necessary tools for a science-based startup - Engineering Science Phil 



By the end of these sessions students will have:

  • Explored how the business mindset can differ from that of scientists
  • Understood the routes to commercialisation and market entry
  • Examined successful business strategy development
  • Considered what is required for good organisation and operational processes
  • Understand the basics of entrepreneurial finance
  • Have an appreciation of the pros and cons of different funding mechanisms


PGRs, academics/PIs and Research Staff 




Dr Alan Roth


Information about the next scheduled course, and how to apply for a place, are in our course programme.


A2, A3, B1, B2, B3, C1, D1, D3

The Researcher Development Framework (RDF) provides a framework for planning and supporting the personal, professional and career development of graduate students and research staff.