Novo-supported fund wants to find new life sciences successes at Aarhus University
June 28, 2022
BY Nina Lyhne
Aarhus University’s entrepreneurial hub for students and researchers, The Kitchen, is entering a collaboration agreement with the BioInnovation Institute (BII) that will strengthen the university’s focus on entrepreneurship within the life sciences.
Aarhus University’s entrepreneurs in the life science area can start their semester with good news. They can look forward to the possibility of financial support from the BioInnovation Institute, which was created by the Novo Nordisk Foundation to support research-related business ideas that benefit society.
Over the next two years, AU entrepreneurs will have the chance to get their hands on 16 micro-grants of DKK 50,000 from the fund. These grants will be awarded to entrepreneurs within the life science areas of therapeutics, health tech and bio-industrials at Aarhus University.
The grants will be given to researchers and students who are in the early stages of their innovation journey. To receive a grant, applicants will have to display a particular commitment to converting their idea into a business, and they must have a strong team.
The Kitchen is the coordinator of the micro-grant programme, which is called “BII Futures Grant Program”. It will conduct all the administration, and it will also be responsible for selecting the qualified grant recipients.
BII has previously supported entrepreneurs from the university, such as Stipe Therapeutics, which was admitted to BII’s Creation House in 2018. With the foundation’s support, the business secured a Series A investment of EUR 20 mil. in 2019.
However, this is the first time that BII is financially supporting a life science ecosystem as opposed to a single startup.
“There is a healthy environment within life science entrepreneurship at Aarhus University and The Kitchen. At BII, we see it as our task to support the continuing development of life science ecosystems and in particular those strong initiatives that turn ideas and research into businesses,” says Senior Business Developer Tony Cheng-fu Chang from BII.
Head of Innovation at The Kitchen, Jeppe Dørup Olesen, emphasises that the collaboration with the fund will not only give the entrepreneurs the chance to develop their businesses. It will also result in value for society:
“We are incredibly happy about BII’s financial support as well as the trust they’re placing in us and the talented researchers and students at Aarhus University within the life sciences. With the help of this financial support, I look forward to realising even more of our entrepreneurs’ budding ideas that have great potential,” says the head of innovation.
The grant programme runs from 1 August 2022 until 31 July 2024 and will award 16 grants of DKK 50,000 to promising life science entrepreneurs.