What is the BIA Innovation Map?

This tool is designed to allow entrepreneurs like you to connect with organisations that can support them as they establish and grow their innovative life science companies.

It presents a directory of incubators, accelerators, training programmes, funders and other organisations, and summarises key information about the services they provide. This information is not exhaustive, and we strongly recommend that you dig deeper before applying to receive the support of any listed organisations. However, we hope that this will save you time by focusing your attention on those providers that meet your criteria. 

Read our latest blog where Sam Cruickshank, Programme Manager at BIA, discusses the pivotal role of the recently updated 2024 BIA Innovation Map in empowering life science entrepreneurs to navigate the complexities of the start-up landscape and unlock their ventures' full potential.

How do we define the types of organisations?

The terms used in the life science startup ecosystem can sometimes be unclear, and there can be overlap in how terms like "incubator" and "accelerator" are used. In order to allow meaningful comparisons between programmes,  we have chosen to define these terms more specifically below. Please note, however, that these terms may be used in different ways in other places online, and not every programme in the UK fits neatly into one of these categories. We recommend that you check the specific offering of each at their own website rather than relying on these definitions.



An incubator provides space for a startup to establish itself, or grow into something larger, providing access to labs and office space. They may share a site with a number of services useful to startups, such as legal professionals, equipment suppliers, and so on, but the primary offering of an incubator is space for you to get started, and they typically don't provide the same degree of training or advice as an accelerator.


An accelerator provides more of a 'journey' for your company, with a focus on training and equipping companies to start. They are typically time-limited with a structured curriculum, aimed to take companies from a specific starting point through to a defined stage. There are often alumni networks that continue to provide some support after the programme concludes. Accelerators can be part- or full-time, and typically run for several weeks or months. They may also provide funding for the duration of the accelerator programme, or on completion of the programme.

Training programme

Training programmes have some overlap with accelerators, but are typically shorter duration - days or weeks rather than weeks or months. The short duration means they tend not to provide physical space for companies, but focus on providing knowledge. Training programmes don't typically provide funding.


Competitions are distinguished by having particular rewards or prizes for a fixed number of winners, judged by the providers. They can be quite variable in what they offer, with some providing training, expertise and networking in the run-up to the final competitive event, and others limiting these to the winners of the contest.

Individual education

These are very similar to training programmes, but are focused on more personal skills - typically leadership - rather than on the company as a whole.  


Funders provide money to enable further growth of your business, but don't offer other services such as advice, space, or support networks.