Tech Transfer eNews Blog

Cambridge postdocs launch organization to support entrepreneurs and start-ups in academia

By David Schwartz
Published: July 6th, 2016

A group of postdoctoral students at Cambridge University (UK) have founded a new brain trust to help new generations of entrepreneurial postdocs who want to start ventures outside of school.

The newly launched Cambridge Minds, an offshoot of the Entrepreneurial Postdocs of Cambridge Society (EPOC), provides entrepreneurs and start-ups in academia with not only the expertise of existing postdocs, but also the organization’s 4,000-plus research crowdsourcing community around the world.

“In its simplest form, Cambridge Minds is indeed a consultancy initiative, although our model is a little unusual,” says Neil Rzechorzek, president of EPOC. “The overarching purpose is to provide fast turnaround solutions to organizations with specific technical challenges.”

When an entrepreneur or start-up approaches Cambridge Minds with a problem, the group crowdsources solutions from its network of postdocs and researchers.

“In the current climate, postdocs are keen to explore alternative career options and use their expertise outside an academic environment,” says Rzechorzek. “It hasn’t taken long to develop our own more than 500-strong mailing list of entrepreneurially minded individuals, and these are our first port of call for projects.”

Cambridge Minds doesn’t charge a fee to match entrepreneurs with postdocs or other experts. According to Rzechorzek, “We do it because we want to make a positive impact, both for postdocs and for external organizations. In the future, this may well spin out into something as a fee-for-service simply to cover time commitment costs — we’re all doing this in our spare time — but for now, we’re keen to build up a large portfolio of completed projects to demonstrate utility.”

Source: Business Weekly

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