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Build a Biotech

'Bridging innovation in the Northwest'


*Please read terms and conditions before proceeding with your application*


These T&C’s apply to the “NW- IBIC Build a Biotech” Business Idea Competition 2024 run by the North West Biotech Initiative, a student-led society which is part of The University of Manchester’s Students Union and funded by the Industrial and Biotechnology Innovation Catalyst and the Masood Entrepreneurship Centre.


General Rules/Guidelines

  1. Eligibility and application:

    1. The competition is open to all undergraduate students, postgraduate students, post-doctoral research associates and staff enrolled at any of the universities in the Northwest of the United Kingdom, at least until June 2024.

    2. Applications for the competition are accepted for teams of up to 4 people. We will accept applications coming from solo founders, and we will be happy to connect to our network to find co-founders if successfully passing to the final stage. 

    3. Each team must contain at least one student (undergraduate, masters or PhD) or alumni/recent graduate from a North West University

    4. Only one application per individual or team is permitted.

    5. To enter the competition the teams must register in the google form by Tuesday 20th of March.

    6. The ideas must be the teams’ own ideas. 

    7. The ideas must be novel and not presented in any other previous Build a Biotech competitions. In case it was presented in a different competition, you will have to disclose the details in the application form, this does not impede you from participating but this may affect eligibility for other opportunities to be determined by IBIC.

    8. While you can propose any idea/startup to have a solid business case in any topic regarding biotechnology, we encourage the teams to aim to a solve a problem related to:

      • Global health and well-being​

      • Climate change and sustainability 

    9. The NW Biotech Initiative reserves the right to contact entrants to validate the entry information.

    10. Part of the application process involves attending 2 business workshops provided by Kevin Parker, and it is compulsory that at least one member of the team attend these sessions (see details below).

    11. The applications which do not meet the above criteria will not be taken into evaluation or will be disqualified if any of the criteria are found to be breached during the course of the competition.                                                                                                       

  2. Intellectual property rights:

    1. Build a Biotech 2024 is evolving from being a fictional start-up competition to a real and feasible start-up competition. We welcome ideas that match the research/study field of the participants, but it is not compulsory, it can be a multidisciplinary theme in biotech as long as it is a solid proposal which the founder team can realistically lead and develop (for categories A and B of the prize, see details of category C below). 

    2. It is the responsibility of the applicant teams to take appropriate steps to protect the intellectual property rights in which the idea might be based. You are encouraged to talk about the problem, the solution and the unique value proposition, without describing the  key know-how or proprietary information. This topic will also be covered in the workshops and you will have mentors to support you in this particular aspect. 

    3. The participants should be aware that all the ideas presented in the pitches will be disclosed to all the participants, mentors, judges and organizers of the competition, as well as potentially the general public.

    4. The Northwest Biotech Initiative is not responsible for any sort of intellectual property or copyright conflict that might arise from the utilisation of the ideas’ concepts presented in the competition.                                                                                                       

  3. Registration Deadline 20th March (11:59pm)

    1. All the participants interested in submitting an application (either alone or as a part of a team) must register by the 20th of March (inclusive - ending at 11:59pm) by filling the google form (advertised in the QR code) 

    2. Participants that register by this deadline will be invited to take part in 2 online (Zoom) workshops that will take place on the 21st and 25th March (See detailed schedule below). At least one member of the team must attend each of the workshops, to have the right to submit an application. 

    3. The workshops will include “switched learning” sessions where the participants will discuss materials (papers and videos) sent out to them in advance. 

    4. Participants must find the time to read/watch/absorb these materials and be prepared to discuss them at the Workshops.

  4. Submission Deadline 31st March (11:59pm)

    1. Teams that registered by March 20th must submit their entry by filling the application form, by the 31st of March (inclusive- ending at 11:59pm)

    2. The NBI committee will evaluate the application forms and the 10 best applications will be shortlisted. 

    3. The successful applicants (qualified teams) will be notified by the 7th of April and will receive the competition schedule and instructions for the mentoring sessions and the competition day. Depending on the number of applications the NBI committee reserves the right to notify the finalists a few days after April 7th. 

    4. There can be no appeal against the decision of the committee and these decisions must be accepted as final.

    5. The shortlisted applicants will prepare the presentations and deliver a pitch to a panel of expert judges.                                                                                                       

  5. Successful Teams

    1. Mentoring sessions:

      1. Teams will be linked up to industry experts who are there to provide mentorship for the competition.

      2. Each mentor has agreed to provide a 1-hour online session to their team, to be arranged between the team and mentor.

      3. The mentoring sessions will take place between the 8th-30th of April, and all the teams will be supported by a member of the NWB committee to facilitate the meeting schedule and follow up, but it is the responsibility of the teams to coordinate it.  

      4. The teams are free to ask any questions to the mentors and the mentors can provide feedback on pre-prepared presentations.

      5. Contact details of the expert will be provided to the team upon their shortlisting. 

      6. At least half of the team must ensure they can attend the mentoring session.                                                                                                        

    2. Competition day: (May 7th)

      1. Competition day will take place IN PERSON at the Manchester Institute of Biotechnology (MIB) on the LG.010 floor, on the 7th of May.

      2. Successful teams located outside of the University of Manchester may claim travel expenses to attend the competition (up to 100£ round trip). In this case please keep all receipts and tickets to be provided to the NBI team on the competition day.

      3. On the day of the presentations, the panel of judges will evaluate the pitches, select the winners and award the prizes to the three best teams (one per category ideally, but judges have the right to join prizes or offer alternative amounts depending on their analysis). 

      4. Judges are external industry experts outside of the NBI committee.

      5. Details on how to prepare the pitches will be provided in the workshop sessions.

      6. The presentation slides must be presented in Microsoft PowerPoint format.

      7. The presentation slides must be emailed to the organising committee at least 24 hrs before the start of the competition (by May 6th at noon). 

      8. No further amendments will be allowed to the slides once the presentation has been sent.

      9. All the teams will receive judging forms and anonymised written feedback after the event. 

      10. There can be no appeal against the decision of the judges and these decisions must be accepted as final.

      11. The judges may decide to award joint prizes. If there are no entries of a sufficient quality, at the absolute discretion of the judges, the right not to award any prize is reserved.

      12. The evaluation criteria may be provided upon request.

      13. All the team must ensure they attend the competition. (See detailed schedule below.)

      14. While the judges are deliberating, the teams will have the chance to pitch a 1 minute elevator pitch in front of the audience registered to the seminar. This is optional and will be subjected to the audience vote, which will give them the possibility to win up to 200£. No need to prepare any extra slides for this.                                                                                                        

  6. Rules on presentation/pitch and evaluation

    1. The presentation/pitch must last no longer than 10 min.

    2. The presentation/pitch will be followed by a 5 min Q&A session performed by the judges.

    3. Both the presentation and the Q&A session will count for the judges’ evaluation.

    4. The application form will not be evaluated by the judges. 

    5. No copyrighted material allowed; teams can use open-source code and Creative Commons licensed images/videos.

    6. Only team members listed on the application form can present. 

    7. Teams should get informed consent if images of people appear in the presentation.

    8. Further information of how to prepare the presentations/pitches will be provided in the workshops.                                                                                                       

  7. Rules/Guidelines for judges:

    1. The applicants will be selected on the basis of their pitches, and demonstration of the idea/startup on both, the scientific-technological side of things and the business potential. 

    2. Judging attitudes:

      1. Mentorship – give constructive criticism as well as highlight strong points

      2. Critique – evaluate projects comprehensively and evaluate impact

      3. Fairness – judge teams on their own merits

    3. Judging Protocol:

      1. Watch pitches/presentations

      2. Quiz on pitches during the judging sessions

      3. Fill in the judging form and award points to the teams

      4. Votes of an individual judge represent their individual opinion, not a consensus of the judging panel. The organising committee will determine the winner based on the points from all judges in the judging forms

      5. Judges are asked to write at least one positive comment and one constructive criticism in the judging forms provided. The comments will be anonymised before presenting them to the Teams

      6. Judges award the prices                                                                                                                                                                                                              

  8. Prizes: 

    1. All teams will be issued a Certificate of Participation

    2. Three prizes will be awarded collectively to the team: ​

A) £15K + Access to incubation office and lab space  + Support from accelerator program

For the best idea that is in a stage ready to enter an accelerator program, coordinated by the Renolds Incubation Hub (Innovation District Initiative) and IBIC. It might be already validated or have some prototype ready to explore commercial options. It can also be an idea in development that has at least the concept tested in their studies or previously. Having said that, we understand that deep-tech technologies take longer to develop, so we also welcome outstanding ideas that may require more lab work but it is very clear on the path to solve a specific problem in biotech, with a clear market, and a real unique value proposition.


B) £5K + Access to lab space + Support from accelerator program

For the second place, the idea may need a bit more support to make the business model and validate the commercial path, but has great potential to develop a minimal viable product.  


C) £1K 

In the case that your idea is in a very early stage, you can still win up to 1000£. This category will reward one outstanding biotech start-up proposal that shows all the components to have a solid business model, but which may not be ready for the accelerator program nor needs laboratory space in the short term. This prize is the closest to the previous “Build a biotech” competitions winners. 

  9. Competition timeline and schedule: 

  • 20th March: Registration deadline

  • 21st and 25th March: Business workshops


Day 1 - Thursday 21st March

16:00 - 18:15 


Day 2 - Monday 25th March 

16:00 - 18:15


  • 31st of March: Application deadline

  • 7th of April: Notification to the Finalists

  • 8th of April - 30th of April : Mentorship sessions (1 hour per team, scheduled between mentors and teams)

  • 7th of May: Competition Day - Teams Perspective


13:00 - 13:55 Welcome lunch (Food & Drink provided)

13:55 - 14:00 Competition Kick Off

14:00 - 15:00 Closed Presentations - First Block (4 Teams)

15:00 - 15:20 Coffee Break 

15:20 - 16:20 Closed Presentations - Second Block (4 Teams)

16:20 - 16:35 Second Coffee Break

16:35 - 17:05 Closed Presentation - Third Block (2 Teams)

17:05 - 17:25 Judges deliberation and Elevator Pitches to Public

17:25 - 17:35 Winners Announcements and Closing Statements

17:35 - 18:35 Drinks and Networking


  • 7th of May: Seminar From PhD to startup - Audience perspective


16:00 - 16:05 - NWBI Introduction

16:05 - 16:35 - Speaker 1 plus Q&A

16:35 - 17:05 - Speaker 2 plus Q&A

17:05 - 17:25 - Elevator pitch and audience vote

17:25 - 17:35 - Winners Announcements and Closing Statements

17:35 - 18:35 - Drinks and Networking


 10. Complaints and Responsible Conduct Issues: 

If you find that anyone involved in the competition is breaching the competition rules or behaving in a manner not in line with the standard of the Competition, please contact the NWBI committee at




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