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Oxford University Gazette, 9 February 2006:
Prizes, Grants, and Funding

Oxford University Business Plan Competition 2006

The 2006 Oxford University Business Plan Competition, the biggest of its kind in the UK, has now been launched. Now in its ninth year, the competition has become a launch-pad for participating entrants to successfully raise investment for their commercial ventures.

Entries are welcome from anyone—individuals, teams, new companies, existing companies creating spin-offs, scientists, students and entrepreneurs—with a good, innovative idea for a science, technology, medical or design-based business.

Ideas should be original, or a significant improvement on an existing business, and must have received no more than £250,000 of funding so far.

This year the competition has a top prize of £20,000 for the winning business plan, plus various other prizes including awards for runners-up and for the best 'elevator pitch'.

Those who are new to business and creating a business idea can learn much by participating in the Business Plan Competition. There is high-level feedback on all business ideas submitted, and the chance to learn more about the processes of business. The competition is a highly-prestigious platform for successful new venture creation, providing access to networks, training and valuable contacts, and it furthers participants' understanding of the investment process and what constitutes a realistic marketable idea.

Entries in the past have seen ideas ranging from wireless communications to environmental solutions. Previous winners and participants in the competition have included companies like Omlidon Technologies; TEOX; Dmist and CMP Therapeutics, which have all gone on to greater success.

Entries are welcome any time up to the deadline of 5 p.m. on 19 May. The finalists will be announced in June, with the final itself tasking place at Venturefest, the annual get-together of entrepreneurs, business people and investors in Oxford, which will be held at the Saïd Business School for the first time on 3–4 July.

Further details about the competition can be found at www.sbs.ox.ac.uk/entrepreneurship (click on 'Business Plan Competition').

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John Fell Oup Research Fund and Research Development Fund

Applications are invited for grants from the new John Fell Fund. Oxford University Press is transferring £5m per annum for an initial period of five years to create the fund, which is named after John Fell, Dean of Christ Church, Vice-Chancellor (1666–9), Bishop of Oxford, and 'father' of the modern Press.

The purpose of the fund is to foster creativity and a proactive approach to research opportunities in all subject areas, and particularly in interdisciplinary fields. It will support pilot projects, make start-up grants to members of academic staff at an early stage in their careers, and provide posts and funds to stimulate applications to external agencies. The fund will thus subsume the purposes of the former Research Development Fund (which has now been fully committed, and for which there will be no further calls for proposals). Bids for under £5,000 may be submitted at any time. Applications for over £5,000 will normally be considered once a term.

The deadline for the first round is Tuesday of ninth week of Hilary Term (14 March): bids must be made via divisions, and applicants should alert the relevant divisional office as early as possible of their intention to make a bid, and ascertain the procedure for divisional approval. Urgent applications may be considered between deadlines. Details of the application procedure may be found at http://www.admin.ox.ac.uk/pra/ or may be obtained from the secretary, Ms Jenny Nix

(jenny.nix@admin.ox.ac.uk).

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The Wakeham Trust

Research Grant in Urban Studies

The Wakeham Trust proposes to provide grants of up to £1,000 in support of graduate research in Urban Studies. The research may be historical or contemporary, and grants will be provided to support field-work in urban research. The trust has described its prime concern as 'to help policy makers who are trying to improve the lives of those in Britain's inner cities, and to rebuild social capital in the cities. We think that it is extremely important for them to understand what has (and has not) worked in the past, and in other places, so that they can avoid replicating mistakes; and to help them understand the processes which have led to some of the problems which the cities now pose.'

There is no deadline or application form. Applications are welcome from University of Oxford taught-course and research students, and will be considered as they are received. Applications and enquiries should be directed to Professor Avner Offer, All Souls College, Oxford OX1 4AL. Enquiries are welcome by e-mail

(avner.offer@all-souls.ox.ac.uk); applications (three copies) should be printed.

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