The Big Idea

Big Idea header with logo

The final of the Big Idea Biomedical Ideas Competition will be held on the afternoon of Wednesday 31st October at the Centre for Professional Development (in CMDS).

The event, which will start with a networking lunch at 12:30, will include a series of talks to help you identify commercial opportunities in your research and consider how to take these ideas forward. An event agenda can be downloaded here.

Speakers include

  • Chris Hand, Abingdon Health – Creating commercial value from medical diagnostics: experiences with Cozart Bioscience Ltd.
  • Rupert Osbourne, IP Pragmatics – University-Industry collaborations: a changing landscape
  • Terry O'Neill, HealthTech and Medicines KTN – Funding for Innovation    
  • Matt Hicks, Linear Diagnostics – Idea to Innovation success story   
  • Oona Lee, University of Birmingham – 2010 Big Idea winner update   

Plus you will hear each of the finalists present their idea to the Dragon’s Den! 

The winner as selected by the Dragons will receive £1500 and each runner up £500, made possible thanks to the generosity of University of Birmingham alumni to the Circles of Influence campaign.  In addition, we will be asking the audience to vote for their favourite idea.

To register to attend the event, please email Claire Fenlon,

The competition

The Big Idea Biomedical Ideas Competition will be held on the afternoon of the 31 October 2012. We welcome all new biomedical ideas.

Your biomedical innovation must have arisen from research but can be at a very early stage and doesn’t yet have to be a fully fledged business idea.

The second part of the event will be The Big Idea Biomedical Ideas Competition, where short-listed finalists will pitch their idea to a panel of “Friendly Dragons”. The audience will be invited to judge the ideas and vote for their favourite via a wireless hand-held voting system. The audience will be briefed by Alan Boyd, as to what elements of the ideas they should consider before casting their vote.


Guidelines covering the competition and as an aid to writing your application are available to view and download.


The competition is open to all research staff including PhD students, post-docs and academic staff.  Applications from PhD students or post-docs must have the support of their supervisors.

Entries may come from individuals or teams.


Please read the application guidelines carefully before writing your application. 

Competition entries must be submitted electronically to Claire Fenlon ( by 5.00pm on Friday 28 September 2012

On 8 October 2012 the finalists will be informed that they have been short-listed to present their ideas at the Big Idea event to take place on 31 October 2012.  Each finalist will be given 10 minutes to pitch their idea to the judges with 5 minutes to answer any questions. 

Finalists will be expected to attend the 'Pitching Your Idea' workshop led by Alan Boyd, which will be held on Thursday 11 October between 9.00am and 12.00pm.  This aims to help those who have been shortlisted to prepare their presentations, but all who submitted ideas and any others who are interested are also welcome to attend.


Your idea will be treated in the strictest confidence.  All organisers, sponsors/judges and mentors are highly respected professionals who regularly deal with confidential information in the course of their work.  In addition, all external panel members will be subject to a confidentiality agreement.  However, the protection of intellectual property is the ultimate responsibility of each entrant.  Be careful about disclosing and patentable concepts in your entry in detail. 

If you are concerned about the protection of intellectual property, please contact Alta Innovations Ltd for advice. 

Prize money

A first prize of £1,500 will be awarded to the competition winner and the two runners-up will each receive £500.

All competition entrants will receive a £25 Amazon token.

The prizes will be paid into a University account to be spent on the commercial development of the project (project plan to be agreed with Alta Innovations Ltd).