From Lab to Launch: Françoise Dekker's Transition with Ready to Start

“I wasn’t expecting the course to be so motivating, given that it’s just for beginners,” Françoise Dekker remarks. She shares her experience with the 4-week evening course Ready to Start, which she attended in January of this year. Through this course, she gained insights into the fundamentals of establishing a company based on her research. Françoise is already progressing further by enrolling in UtrechtInc’s 7-month validation program to delve deeper into this subject. However, she emphasizes that each participant in the Ready to Start course has unique goals, stating, “You can make it as challenging as you want.”

“For us, it all began with the realization that we have something that seems to work; now, we must also make it applicable to society,” Françoise reflects on her journey. As a PhD researcher at the Department of Cellular Protein Chemistry with Professor Stefan Rüdiger, she focuses on understanding the progression of neurodegenerative diseases and how our bodies’ quality control systems can intervene. After years of dedicated research and, as Françoise modestly adds, “a lot of luck,” they made a breakthrough discovery that could identify virtually all neurodegenerative diseases.

In January this year, Françoise enrolled in UtrechtInc’s Ready to Start course, a 4-week online program held on Monday and Wednesday evenings, specifically designed for researchers. This introductory course provides participants with insights into the process of establishing a science-based company. While some join with a specific business concept in mind, others approach it with an open mind, seeking to better understand the translation of research projects into impactful companies. Today, more than 70 researchers have successfully finalised the course.

Throughout the course, participants receive self-study materials for flexible learning, attend presentations, hear stories from fellow researchers establishing science-based companies, and engage in dynamic discussion groups to explore various topics in depth. “Discussing our idea with fellow participants was very motivating, they asked new questions from a different angle, which was really great,”  Françoise reflects on the collaborative learning experience.

Discussing our idea with fellow participants was very motivating.

The upcoming Ready to Start course is scheduled from May 27th to June 24th, with registration open until May 22nd. It welcomes individuals from any of the knowledge institutes at Utrecht Science Park, regardless of prior experience, as long as they possess a curiosity for exploring new avenues to make an impact with their research. For further inquiries, contact Lina from the UtrechtInc team at


Posted March 2024