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Scots Innovators Battle for £220,000 in Prizes at Converge Awards Final

Duncan MacRae

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Converge Awards Final

Converge aims to help the most creative thinkers from academia to turn their discoveries and ideas into commercially viable businesses.

The finalists for Converge 2019, a Scottish entrepreneurial development programme for Higher Education, have been revealed.

18 academic entrepreneurs, leading both start-ups and spin-outs and representing institutions from across the length and breadth of Scotland, will now go head-to-head at the Converge Awards Final later this month.

A total prize fund of cash and in-kind support worth £220,000 is up for grabs across three challenge categories: Converge Challenge, Creative Challenge and Impact Challenge. And, for the first time in the Programme’s history, female founders outnumber men (55%).

Climate change and health care also lead the charge this year with the shortlisted projects spanning everything from a human skin culture system that mimics living skin and a flat-pack, solar collector providing an affordable source of clean heat for people in developing countries through to a computer game aimed at gamifying the physiotherapy routine for children suffering from Cystic Fibrosis.

Converge director Dr Claudia Cavalluzzo said: “Innovation has never been more important than it is today, not just in terms of generating economic growth, but also as a solution to some of society’s most urgent challenges including climate change, social inclusion and public health.

“The calibre of this year’s Converge finalists is proof positive that our Universities are playing a pivotal role in the enterprise agenda and are at the forefront of innovation for the public good.

“By working closely with all Scotland’s Universities, we help the most creative thinkers from academia to turn their discoveries and ideas into commercially viable businesses. We are delighted to be working with such a strong cohort of innovators and look forward to springboarding their success.”

The event is due to be held Dundee’s V&A design museum on the 25th of September.

The full list of finalists includes:

Impact Challenge

  • Astellis – Maggie Ellis – University of St Andrews
  • Konglomerate Games – Jamie Bankhead – Abertay University
  • Seawater Solutions – Yanik Nyberg – University of Strathclyde
  • SolarisKit – Faisal Ghani – Heriot-Watt University
  • S’wheat – Amee Ritchie – Queen Margaret University

Creative Challenge

  • Atypical Cosmetics Ltd – Marwa Ebrahim – University of Glasgow/The Glasgow School of Art
  • Sculpture Placement Group – Kate Robertson – Queen Margaret University
  • SENSEcity Ltd – Pooja Katara – University of Glasgow/The Glasgow School of Art
  • Sing Hero – Elizabeth Jenkinson – The Royal Conservatoire of Scotland
  • Untitled Comics – Cliff Hughes – Robert Gordon University

Converge Challenge

  • Beltfree by Miss James – Emma James – Robert Gordon University
  • Crover Ltd – Lorenzo Conti – University of Edinburgh
  • In4Derm – Andrew Woodland – University of Dundee
  • mycoBiologics – Fiona Rudkin – University of Aberdeen
  • Natantis – Maiwenn Kersaudy-Kerhoas – Heriot-Watt University
  • Nebu-Flow – Elijah Nazarzadeh – University of Glasgow
  • Speak:Unique – Alice Smith – University of Edinburgh
  • Ten Bio – Michael Conneely – University of Dundee

Converge is a Scottish entrepreneurial development programme for staff, students and recent graduates of all Scottish Universities and Research Institutes.

The organisation, which is funded by all 18 of Scotland’s universities, aims to help the most innovative thinkers from academia to realise their entrepreneurial ambitions by offering generous cash prizes, mentoring and a programme of business support that turns fledgeling businesses into investor-ready companies.

Duncan MacRae

Editor

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