Helping SHAPE ideas into reality

ARC is a first-of-its-kind programme designed to support researchers from the social sciences, arts and humanities to develop ideas based on their research into impactful ventures to help people, society and the economy.

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What we do

The ARC Accelerator helps you transform your innovative SHAPE (Social sciences, Humanities and Arts for People and the Economy) research and ideas into impactful ventures. You get the chance to join a cohort of like-minded individuals looking to grow and sustain the impact from their research by bringing an idea to market.

Over the course of our 4-stage programme, the ARC Pathway, we will support you with expert-led training, mentors and market validation to build the venture you need to deliver impact at scale. 

Our programme offers:

  • Up to £62,500 (with circa 80% fEC provided by ESRC, in line with its standard funding rules)
  • A tailored programme of support, led by industry experts, to develop key entrepreneurial skills
  • Specialised, sector-specific training
  • Access to experienced entrepreneurs, investors and networks
  • 1:1 pitch practice and coaching
  • Dedicated mentor to help you validate your idea, develop the business model and support your pitch for further funding or investment
  • Lifelong alumni support and events to network and support the growth of your venture
  • The chance to do all of this in a peer group full of like-minded researchers

What makes us special

The ARC Accelerator was founded in 2019 to help solve a problem: there were no programmes outside of individual universities to help support SHAPE (Social sciences, Humanities and Arts for People and the Economy) researchers but there was a burgeoning list of programmes for STEM researchers.  

ARC is premised on the idea that SHAPE entrepreneurship, whilst similar, will follow its own path. SHAPE ventures will have different business models, different goals, such as more social ventures, work with different sectors, such as government, and face different challenges. ARC was founded to both support and identify these challenges to help solve them.

No one else in the world is looking at SHAPE ventures like this, so you will be among the pioneers in this field and, on behalf of the ARC team, we are delighted to be with you on this journey. 




ARC is an Aspect project

Aspect (A SHAPE Platform for Entrepreneurship, Commercialisation and Transformation) is a network for organisations looking to make the most of commercial and business opportunities from Social Sciences, Humanities and Arts research.

While the commercialisation pipeline for STEM research is well established, the benefits and profile of research commercialisation within SHAPE are less well known. Aspect seeks to redress this balance by connecting universities, businesses, academics and industry leaders to turn ideas into commercial solutions and solve pressing social challenges.

Learn more about Aspect

Want to get involved?

Do you want to grow and sustain the impact of your research by bringing an idea to market? Do you have an innovative idea that can be transformed into a venture that makes a real difference?

Join ARC Discover, ARC Launch or ARC Accelerate!


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Our values

  • Visionary

    Belief in the transformative power of SHAPE researchers’ projects to improve lives, reduce inequality, enhance arts and culture, and make industry and government more competitive and sustainable.

  • Understanding

    We understand SHAPE researchers’ environment, their pain points in pursuing commercialisation and the real world of business operations, startup entrepreneurship and VC investment.

  • Supportive

    ARC provides a supportive environment for researchers to learn how to be entrepreneurs. We want to create a sense of security to encourage SHAPE researchers to flourish and realise their work’s full potential.

The ARC Team