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.

We offer financial support, expert-led training and dedicated mentors to help you bring your ideas to market. 

Find out more


  • Learning Outcomes

    Validate your venture idea, gain the skills to turn ideas into real-world ventures, develop a sustainable business model for your venture, be ready to pitch for funding or investment

  • Duration

    6-month programme with time buyout, training sessions are virtual but there are in-person events

  • Eligibility

    Applicants must have a PhD or similar research or innovation experience and be based at an eligible UK research organisation

Programme details

ARC Accelerate, the third stage of the ARC Pathway, is a 6-month accelerator designed to help researchers transform their innovative and ambitious social science, arts and humanities-based ideas into scalable ventures.

Successful applicants will receive up to £62,500, with circa 80% fEC provided by ESRC, in line with its standard funding rules, to fund commercialisation activities and bring new products, processes, services and experiences to market.

ARC Accelerate offers time buyout and requires applicants to commit to a minimum of 3 days per week for the duration of the 6-month training programme. The time commitment can be shared as a team (see FAQ below). How much of the available budget you spend on time buyout is up to you.

During the 6-month programme, we will spend a lot of time on validating the venture idea with customers, stakeholders and partners, together with around 40h of training sessions and homework as well as additional check-ins and 1:1 support.

What is included?

  • 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 mentors 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

Application process

Timeline for cohort 1

The training for cohort 1 has started in March 2024.

Upcoming cohorts 

Between 2023-2026, we have a total of 75 awards available and will run at least one ARC Accelerate cohort per year.

Applications for cohort 2 (training start in February 2025) will open in early June 2024. Application workshops will run in May and June.

We will shortly update this page with more details on the application process for cohort 2. To receive all updates, please sign up to our mailing list!

Frequently Asked Questions

  • What is the value of the Award? Successful applicants will receive up to £62,500, with circa 80% fEC provided by ESRC, in line with its standard funding rules, to fund commercialisation activities.
  • What is the Award duration? Up to 12 months, which must include participation in the ARC Accelerate training. The 12-month Award duration does not change the required time commitment of 3 days per week during the 6-month ARC Accelerate training programme.
  • Can the time commitment be shared as a team? Yes, the required time commitment can be shared as a team. Please provide a justification and/or outline your reasoning for the split as part of your application.
  • For more information, please consult our general FAQ

Eligibility and suitability

Who is eligible to apply?

Applicants must have a PhD or similar research or innovation experience and be based at an eligible UK research organisation. For further information, please visit the ESRC’s research funding guide and check if you are eligible for research and innovation funding.

What are we looking for?

  • Ambitious research ideas from arts, humanities and social science disciplines that can be transformed into ventures to deliver impact at scale
  • Individuals or teams that want to develop their research insights into scalable products, processes, services or experience innovations
  • Please note: this is not a research call, funding must be used for commercialisation activities, not further research

Workshops and Webinars

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