research cancer bootcamp entrepreneurial

Instilled Systematic Entrepreneurship Within Researchers

research cancer bootcamp entrepreneurial

Studio Zao have inspired healthcare innovation researchers at the Institute of Cancer Research to develop the entrepreneurial capabilities of its top researchers through a yearly Entrepreneurship Bootcamp to support them in developing viable commercial applications of their research.


The Institute of Cancer Research (ICR) is the world’s leading cancer and oncology research institute, driving cutting-edge research into cancer treatment and therapy. Aside from being a pioneer in scientific discoveries, it also creates the conditions to connect ICR scientists with industry.


The ICR asked us to equip its new intake of researchers with the tools and mindset required to optimise the impact of their work through entrepreneurship. This means investigating commercial applications of their research and IP, exploring entrepreneurship as a route, and collaborating with the ICR to validate and launch new ventures.*


For the third year now, we’ve run two-day bootcamps with researchers from a diverse range of research units, from Immunotherapy to Prostate Cancer. We took researchers on a journey grounded in the Key Principles of Lean Entrepreneurship:

  1. Mapping the relevant stakeholders around them
  2. Exploring problem areas in customer segments around their research
  3. Ideating business ideas to serve unmet customer pain points
  4. Validating assumptions using Customer Discovery interviews
  5. Building a roadmap and experiment plan to take their solutions to market
  6. Pitching their business case to influence stakeholders

The bootcamps over the years have featured talks from MedTech entrepreneurs such as biotech entrepreneur, investor and board member Jason Foster and alumnus from our 2019 programme, Matthew Blackledge, who is now the Co-Founder of CeleScan alongside his research career.

After the two-day Bootcamps finished, researchers were supported along their entrepreneurial journey across 6 months of coaching sessions with the Studio Zao team.


At the end of each yearly bootcamp, teams present their propositions, experiencing the entrepreneurship journey for the first time, with a number being taken forward for further development.

Researchers have said they learned in “just [a few] sessions what a university degree needs a year for”, that the Bootcamp “gave [them] the courage to build [their] own company in the future”, and 40% of participants said they felt very confident to pitch their idea.

*In 2021, amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, we ran an immersive two-month virtual entrepreneurship Bootcamp. The virtual bootcamp focused on a series of weekly Zoom video call sessions, with teams collaborating on exercises using virtual whiteboarding tool Miro. In between sessions, participants joined one-to-one coaching sessions where they reviewed their ideas, evidence of market need and any practical work conducted.

What our clients say

“Studio Zao has organised an energising entrepreneurship bootcamp to help cancer researchers create new commercial opportunities based on their work. Overall feedback has been very positive, and it’s been great to hear attendees say that the bootcamp gave them courage to build their own company in the future.”

”I had fun on the course whilst learning very important key points about entrepreneurship. The course gave me the courage to start my own company.”

”The course was interactive, interesting and educational and most important of all fun. I really appreciated the real stories and examples used by the facilitators.”

How to instil an entrepreneurial mindset in your team?

Our brand new Intrapreneurship Guide covers 6 lessons on internal entrepreneurship – or intrapreneurship, including practical tips and tools, valuable both to Leaders and Intrapreneurs looking to deploy innovation effectively.

research cancer bootcamp entrepreneurial