UK Northern Competition Presentations

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The R42M UK Northern PhD and Postdoc Business Competition is an opportunity to design, pitch, and execute your tech startup idea in a supportive environment. Whether you are a PhD or postdoctoral student thinking about commercializing research, or an alumni currently pursuing a more advanced startup venture, we want to hear from you and help you take your project to the next level.

The aim of this competition is to encourage PhD and postdoc entrepreneurship in the North of the UK and to encourage the greater flow of investment into areas which have great potential for growth. A number of presentations guiding applicants in the creation of an impactful business proposal will be given by highly experienced entrepreneurs and investors as part of the competition.


  • The project presented must be led by a current PhD student or graduated PhD individually based in the North of the UK, defined as north of Birmingham, in the UK.

  • The focus of the project should be on a technological solution to a problem, e.g. healthtech, biotech, infotech or fintech. We particularly encourage projects which aim to make a positive difference to the world, e.g. through improvements to health, the environment, sustainability, productivity and so on.

  • PhD’s and postdocs can make submissions that relate to the work of their group leader but must have the project leader’s support and clearance to develop the intellectual property (IP). The competition organisers reserve the right to disqualify entries that have not got this permission in cases when they should have.

  • Previous prize winners may not apply with the same project or a variation of the previous project.


  1. All entries must be the original work of the entrants.

  2. It is the responsibility of the entrant to ensure that no third party has any rights on the contents of the research which may prevent its exploitation. Proprietary information about the idea should not be disclosed in the executive summary and presentations.

  3. Entries must include summaries of each team member’s past experience and future plans. These will be used to judge the team’s commitment to turn the business idea into an actual business.

  4. Teams that have secured any source of capital must clearly disclose the amounts and sources in their entries.


The participants must submit the following:


  • Application form.

  • Presentation: a 15-slide presentation for a 20 min presentation. This presentation will be read by the judges. An example slide deck presentation has been provided here.


The presentation should cover the following:


  1. Executive summary.

  2. Market and customers.

  3. Value proposition and product/service.

  4. How the proposition makes a positive difference.

  5. Defensibility and competition.

  6. Strategy.

  7. Team and project history to date.

  8. Financing required, milestones and financial plan.


  • The judges will be chosen and coordinated by R42 and Mandashi.

  • The judging panel reserves the right to disqualify any entry that, in its opinion, violates the spirit of the competition.

  • Judging feedback will be provided for the semi-final and final.

  • The prizes are awarded at the discretion of the judging panel and all judging decisions are final and not subject to appeal.

  • All entries will be judged and all finalists will need to be able to attend the first-stage presentation and the final presentations.


The following criteria will be used to judge the submissions:


  1. Market: market and market size clearly defined

  2. Competitive position: good and sustainable

  3. Product or service: good description, stage of development and possibility to diversify

  4. Business/revenue model and commercialisation plan. Path from research to commercialisation to be included and, where applicable, route to market.

  5. Team: complete skill set or plan to fill the gaps in skills

  6. Reality of the plan

  7. Business creation potential: passion for company creation

  8. Financial plan: coherent and reasonable assumptions

  9. Presentation: organisation of the presentation, clarity, concision


Main Prize: £20,000 awarded in the form of an investment (uncapped convertible loan or participation in an existing round led by a fund or angel group).


  • For the main prizes, the money may not be awarded in one lump sum; instead, payments could be made in instalments based on meeting agreed milestones.

  • Judges reserve the right not to award a prize if they deem none of the entries to be prize-worthy.

  • The prize may only be claimed within 12 months of the date of the prize announcement. Sufficient documents must be provided in order to claim the prize.

  • The prize money must be spent to forward the business. This can include a salary for the founders, but only if they do not already have a salary.


  • Presentations will not be made public except during the presentation and to judges evaluating the finalists.

  • The organisers reserve the right to disclose the name and department of applicants, together with the title and public summary of entries, for publicity purposes; please bear this in mind when naming your entry.

Intellectual Property:

  • The organisers have taken reasonable measures to ensure the confidentiality of the entries.

  • The protection of intellectual property or other rights of the entrants is the ultimate responsibility of each entrant.

  • Entrants should take care disclosing any patentable concepts in the entries.

  • Entrants are urged to mark as confidential any portion of their entries that they consider to be confidential. 

  • The organisers cannot, and will not, take further responsibility to protect the intellectual property or other rights of the entrants.

  • Entrants looking to incorporate are strongly advised to seek professional advice on the issues surrounding Intellectual Property Rights.

Competition Deadlines - 2021



Competition launched



Presentation: How to make a pitch and raise financing



Presentation: The Academic Entrepreneur - Dr. Andy Evans



Presentation: How to to create product market fit



Deadline for submission of slide-deck and business plan



presentations up to 6 August: Winner announced