Previous programmes

Overview for some of our previously run programmes

Lean LaunchPad

Evidence-based entrepreneurship

The ideal springboard to translate synthetic biology ideas and engineering biology technologies into successful and industrially viable products and services.

SynbiCITE is delighted to be able to offer all its partners the unique opportunity to participate in The Lean LaunchPad for Synthetic Biology. You can be part of a programme that has helped numerous would-be entrepreneurs translate research ideas into successful products and services.

The Lean Launchpad for Synthetic Biology is based on the Lean Launchpad Life Sciences programme, developed by Steve Blank at UCSF. This programme has been taught at Stanford, Berkley, Columbia and Caltech, and is being adopted by US NSF as part of its Innovation Corps curriculum. The Lean LaunchPad for Synthetic Biology teaching faculty includes Prof Jerry Engel, the Faculty Director of the National Science Foundation Innovation Corps (and the Founding Faculty Director of the Lester Center for Entrepreneurship at UC Berkeley).

The Lean Launchpad for Synthetic Biology course is a 10-week long programme for those looking to commercialise their research. The programme is an ideal pre-accelerator environment for helping students, academic and industrial researchers, and pre-seed companies identify their customers, interview them to get insights about the opportunity, and help them build the right product for these customers.

You will need to commit to one-day per week in addition to class time for this programme to be successful. The course content includes customer discovery and development methods, the Business Model Canvas and topics specific to the commercialisation of synthetic biology.

The goal of the programme is to create the entrepreneurial experience of an early-stage start-up. The programme provides access to mentors, entrepreneurs or executives with deep business experience, to offer insights and guidance.

Lean LaunchPad Educators Programme

A new standard of excellence in experiential entrepreneurship in synthetic biology

The past five years have seen a revolution in entrepreneurship practice.

We have seen a movement from static planning to dynamic experimentation that takes advantage of today’s faster pace of innovation and adaption. Business model innovation, customer centric business design, customer discovery, and minimum viable product experimentation have taken their place alongside technological innovation in the entrepreneur’s toolkit. The Lean LaunchPad entrepreneurship education curriculum provides an effective integrated approach that adapts these critical processes into an exciting learning journey for students and faculty alike, while helping extend the classroom into the business community and entrepreneurship ecosystem. Adopted by the National Science Foundation in the United States, and hundreds of universities world-wide, the curriculum has emerged as the new standard of excellence in experiential entrepreneurship education.

Programme overview

The Lean LaunchPad Educators programme is a two-day course designed for experienced entrepreneurship, engineering, and science faculty. It is also suitable for leaders of incubators and accelerators committed to adding value through substantive programming. It is a hands-on programme where you will experience the process, and be given the tools to create a curriculum and course plan you can put to immediate use.

Led by Jerry Engel of U.C.Berkeley, a co-creator of the curriculum with Steve Blank, and the National Faculty Director of the National Science Foundation’s I-Corps programme in the USA, which deploys the Lean LaunchPad method -- this programme will challenge you to rethink your approach to teaching technology commercialisation, innovation and entrepreneurship. The Lean LaunchPad emphasises planning before the plan and searching for a business model before execution. It leverages and compliments the emerging financing models for new ventures.

The Lean LaunchPad, taught at Stanford, Berkeley, Columbia, Caltech and adopted by the National Science Foundation, emphasises experiential learning, a flipped classroom and immediate feedback as a way to engage students with real-world entrepreneurship.

Students learn by proposing and immediately testing hypotheses. They get out of the classroom and talk to customers, partners and competitors and encounter the chaos and uncertainty of commercialising innovations and creating new ventures.

Your students will do, rather than plan to do. Unlike many approaches to entrepreneurship education, Lean LaunchPad does not rely on static case studies or fixed models; it challenges students to create their own business models based on information derived from personal engagement rather than secondhand market research, and to evolve them continuously to build stronger, scalable businesses.

Leadership Excellence Accelerator Programme (LEAP)

An intensive year-long non-residential Fellowship Programme

Each year about twenty Fellows – emerging leaders working in diverse areas of biotechnology – are selected to participate.

LEAP envisions catalysing a next generation of leaders in synthetic biology by providing the environment to learn skills for engaging a broad range of stakeholders in the development of the field with a strong ethical foundation for the future.

LEAP does this by:

  • Investing in the individuals who will ultimately shape and govern this diverse, growing and globally distributed technology.
  • Providing them with new tools and networks essential to achieving their visions for promoting innovation responsibly in practice.
  • Acting as a sustaining nexus of resources and support as leaders assume their roles.