Business Incubation

At the Higgs Centre for Innovation, we support startups working in space-related (upstream and downstream, spin-out and spin-in) and big data analytics areas.

Our two-year business incubation package is comprehensive and generous.

The Higgs Centre for Innovation contains a new Business Incubation Centre (BIC) for startups, and our package includes:

  • Funding for R&D and product development
  • Access to our technical experts and facilities
  • Comprehensive Business Support Services
  • Business training and mentoring
  • Competitively priced offices on the prestigious Royal Observatory Edinburgh site for 2 years
  • On graduating from the BIC membership of our BIC Alumni

Using our wide ranging contacts throughout academia and industry, as well as access to state-of-the-art facilities, our team can help you build links across the globe to encourage and enhance innovative development with real-world applications.

To be eligible to apply to the BIC your company must be:

  • a UK-registered start-up or early-stage SME
  • less than 5 years old
  • independent (i.e. the founding entrepreneurs own >50% of the company)


  • have a demonstrable connection to space, particle-physics, or another STFC area (including big data / data analytics, astronomy, etc)

which will determine the sponsor organisation(s) (ESA, CERN, UKSA, STFC) you are eligible to be associated with.

Our Aims

The aims of the Higgs Centre of Innovation are to:

  • Incubate up to twelve SMEs and startups at any one time.
  • Stimulate growth in the space and data sectors in Scotland.
  • Make our technical facilities and expertise available to the commercial sectors.
  • Encourage collaborative projects between companies and the UK Astronomy Technology Centre and the University of Edinburgh.

Incubation spaces are competitive, and limited in number each year. ​They offer a unique opportunity for businesses to grow and develop, in a supportive and research rich environment.

Incubation lasts for two years, with additional support available after this time to ensure your company can go on to growth further.

How To Apply

The first application round to join our incubator at the Higgs Centre for Innovation is open.

The closing date for first round consideration is the end of Tuesday 20th February 2018.

Applicants will be invited to present their business case at the Royal Observatory Edinburgh on Monday 26th of February 2018. We have brought this date forward from Tue 27 Feb to Mon 26 Feb due to unforeseen logistical reasons.

It is expected that successful applicants would be able to join and move into the Business Incubation Centre (BIC) in March 2018.

Further competition deadlines will happen, roughly quarterly, throughout the year. Please contact us for the application forms and to ensure we are suitable for your needs.​​