ARC Accelerator

ARC helps researchers build innovative and sustainable ventures that deliver impact at scale. Our four-stage ARC Pathway is focused on the challenges and opportunities at each stage of their journey.

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ESRC/AHRC SHAPE Catalyst

The £3.9 million SHAPE Catalyst programme runs until 2026 and is delivered by the ARC Accelerator. It is designed to equip researchers from the social sciences, arts and humanities with the skills they need to bring their ideas to market.

What is SHAPE and what is a SHAPE venture?

SHAPE stands for Social sciences, Humanities and Arts for People and the Economy and is a collective name for the social sciences, humanities and the arts. The British Academy’s SHAPE hub explains the term’s history. 

A SHAPE venture is one where the product or service is primarily built on SHAPE research. You can find examples in this article and in our Case Studies section.

Eligibility and suitability

Applicants must have a PhD or similar research or innovation experience and be based at an eligible UK research organisation (for more information, visit the ESRC research funding guide and check if you are eligible for research and innovation funding). The programme is open to individuals and teams.

ARC Pathway

ARC helps researchers transform their innovative research ideas into impactful ventures. Our four-stage programme, the ARC Pathway, is focused on the challenges and opportunities at each stage of the researchers’ journey.

ARC Discover

Explore different impact options and audiences for your research in two brief online workshops.

  • Sign up on the ARC Discover page
  • New cohort dates are released every month

ARC Launch

Gain key entrepreneurial skills and start testing your ideas with potential customers and stakeholders in five virtual training sessions.

  • Apply on the ARC Launch page
  • New cohort dates are released every three months

ARC Accelerate

Validate your venture idea and develop a sustainable business model during our 6-month accelerator with time buyout and up to £62,500 in funding.

ARC Scale

  • Still in design, more details to follow
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Application details

Application process

To view upcoming cohorts and apply, visit the relevant ARC Pathway page: ARC Discover, ARC Launch, ARC Accelerate, ARC Scale

The four stages build on each other, so we recommend that interested researchers start their journey with ARC Discover and move along the ARC Pathway.

Application webinars

Join one of our application webinars on Eventbrite to find out more about the updated application process for the funded ARC Accelerate stage. Webinar recordings will be made available on our website for those unable to attend.

Watch recordings of our past webinars in the Workshops and Webinars section below or visit our Resources page for more application support. To receive all updates on upcoming cohorts, sign up to the ARC Newsletter.

For TTOs/Professional & Support Staff 

Key resources to support TTOs and Professional & Support Staff can be found on our Resources page. If you have any questions, email us at hello@arcaccelerator.io or join our monthly drop-in sessions.

Workshops and Webinars

News and Events