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KQ Labs

KQ Labs: Join the new eco-system of data-driven start-ups revolutionizing healthcare

Innovate UK is investing £400,000 to launch KQ Labs, an accelerator programme at the Francis Crick Institute to support start-ups working at the interface between biomedical and data science.


Artificial Intelligence is predicted to transform health and life sciences over the next decade. The UK is well-placed to play a leading role in this revolution with world-class universities, access to training datasets, and leading companies creating a catalyst for change.

KQ Labs is a major initiative, delivered by the The Francis Crick Institute supported by funding from Innovate UK, and with collaboration from the Knowledge Quarter, Health Data Research UK and Genomics England, which aims to bring together a powerful eco-system in support of data-driven health start-ups.

Keeping the selection criteria broad, The Francis Crick Institute wants to support as diverse a group of start-ups as possible – essentially any start-up, from anywhere in the UK, working at the interface of data science and biomedical science is encouraged to apply.

KQ Labs will offer a customised development framework with a 16-week accelerator programme. The programme will also include workshops to inspire and nurture the next generation of start-ups and training in transferable skills to create future digital health leaders.

Tailored support after the accelerator programme will help start-ups to access further funding and investment, while events will bring together data scientists, biomedical scientists and entrepreneurs. This will build on existing event programmes at the Crick, including the monthly DeepTech Mondays and HealthQuake series.

Innovate UK will provide up to ten start-ups with £40,000 each to validate their proposals before seeking significant investment.

The Crick sits at the centre of a data science ecosystem including the Alan Turing Institute, Google Deepmind, Benevolent AI, the British Library and others. The Crick itself is a hub for biomedical science, while leading edge design is represented by Central Saint Martins.

Dr Veronique Birault, Head of Translation at the Crick, said: “The KQ Labs accelerator represents a unique opportunity to catalyse the creation of a world-class sustainable digital health ecosystem based in London’s Knowledge Quarter. The KQ Labs’ vision and programme align with the Crick strategic priorities to collaborate creatively and accelerate translation for health and wealth. We are delighted to work in partnership with Innovate UK to support small businesses to grow.”

Chris Sawyer, Innovation Lead, Digital Health at Innovate UK said: “The KQ Labs is a fantastic initiative, aligned perfectly with Innovate UK’s objective to support UK business growth in the health and life sciences sector. We are delighted to be working in partnership with the Francis Crick Institute on the KQ Labs accelerator and look forward to helping businesses accelerate to reach their full potential.”

Details on how to apply can be found here.