Bright SCIdea final 2022

17 March 2022 | Muriel Cozier and Eoin Redahan

The BrightSCIdea 2022 final, held on the 15 March, made a welcome return to SCI’s Headquarters in central London.

As well as being able to hold the event with more than 80 contestants and delegates in attendance, along with those online, the event also marked the first time finalists from outside the UK were able to pitch their ideas. Teams from South America, Asia and Europe were in attendance.

Team CardiaTec (UK)
The first team in front of the judges was CardiaTec, University of Cambridge alumni, with their methodology using AI for cardiovascular drug discovery. Explaining that drug discovery for treating cardiovascular disease received limited funding; the team said that that there was a gap in the technology. ‘Every person who has an acute heart attack is treated in the same way,’ the team noted, ‘but our understanding of the diseases has changed significantly.’

To move the process of drug development on, CardiaTec’s Cardioisome knowledge graph contains 50 000+ entities with more that 2 million relationships to date. The graph-based machine learning identifies key biological entities that are involved in the regulation of the disease pathology. Following target identification, the aim is to create the next generation of therapeutics to treat cardiovascular diseases. The team’s plans are progressing and over the next year a list of five targets should be ready.

Commended by the judges, the team was asked if lifestyle changes could be impactful as a way to avoid cardiovascular disease. The team acknowledge that it had a part to play, but added that 50% of all heart attacks occur in people with normal cholesterol and the team’s approach could help with the discovery of biological pathways that lead to the disease.

For more information, see the CardiaTec website.

Bright SCIdea 2022 - Team CardiTec

Team CardiaTec (UK)

Team BioTech Inov. (Portugal)
BioTech Inov, from the University of Coimbra, Portugal, shared their development of a subcutaneous nanotechnological biomedical device for helping to keep track of blood sugar levels and tackle the growing the problem of diabetes.

The team of five, who all have a background in biology, explained that as well as tracking an individual’s blood sugar levels through connectivity to a smart phone, an individual could also easily make contact with a health professional. In addition the device itself is designed to have a long lifespan (measured in years) making it more sustainable. The team explained that with diabetes expected to become the fifth deadliest disease in the world by 2035, their device was set to make a valuable contribution to the efforts to tackle problem. ‘Our product can be part of a preventative package, along with lifestyle changes,’ the team said. ‘Or it can be used to help a diabetic keep track of their blood sugar levels and make adjustments as needed.’

Asked by the judges if consumers would be happy to wear such a device under the skin; the team explained that the benefits of a device that easily keeps track of blood sugar levels and the benefits for health professionals in managing the diabetes could make the device a useful tool and help it gain acceptance.

Bright SCIdea 2022 - Team BioTech Inov.

Team BioTech Inov. (Portugal)

Team Hatton Cross (UK)
Also in the area of wellbeing and health, team Hatton Cross pitched their device for providing an early warning of fatigue injury in the wrist. Constant use of keyboards and various hand held devices has been linked to injury and dysfunction in the wrist. In addition certain sporting activities can also lead to wrist dysfunction.

The device from Team Hatton Cross, which comprises students from the University of Warwick, Imperial College London and Queen Mary University of London, uses an algorithm in a wearable wrist device to analyse how the hand is moving. Diagnosis is carried out remotely as the camera on a phone can be used to capture the hand’s movements, with the data analysed then relayed to an app, which detects whether the wear’s wrist is under strain. The device could then ally discomfort by releasing heat or providing a 0.05 Tesla magnetic field to relax muscles. The device also has potential to tackle pain in other joints.

The team explained to the judges that their idea has the potential to be incorporated into many of the leading smart watches currently available. ‘We think it could be combined with an Apple watch or Samsung’s devices. You just need to add some lateral resistance inside – it’s quite easy,’ the team said.

Bright SCIdea 2022 - Team Hatton Cross

Team Hatton Cross (UK)

Team Happy BioPatch (UK)
Happy BioPatch is a team comprised of students from the University of Oxford and University of Manchester, which set out to tackle the problem of stress, particularly among the younger population.

The team has developed a small wearable device, worn on the ribcage, which measures the levels of cortisol in sweat. The technology within the patch works via the breakdown of cortisol through an IP protected enzyme. A mobile app can be used to notify the user when stress levels become elevated and then offer stress reducing solutions such as meditation and exercise. The team has targeted other interesting areas where their innovation could have application. This includes weight gain, where elevated cortisol levels have been linked with the issue. The team also believe that their technology could have application in the diagnosis of depression. Cortisol is elevated before depression is diagnosed and therefore could be used as a biomarker to facilitate early intervention.

Commending the pitch, the judging panel commented that the fact that the patch was a preventive measure made it a great idea.

Bright SCIdea 2022 - Team Happy Biopatch

Team Happy BioPatch (UK)

Team Eolic Wall (Peru and Brazil)
Team Eolic Wall, from the National University of Engineering, Peru & UNESP, Brazil, presented a concept for taking wind energy, no matter what the wind speed, and channelling it so it could provide sustainable energy. The so called Eolic Cells are aerodynamic structures incorporating small wind turbines, designed to double wind speed to obtain more power from the same wind resource. The Eolic Cells are modular and so can be built up to form larger cell structures as required.

The team said that the cells can be used on a domestic or industrial scale, but the initial focus would be industrial scale application as this was the area in which the need to cut emissions was the most pressing.

The team said that the business model would focus on selling the energy generated on-site by the Eolic Cells. The team was now looking to establish their energy producing technology in a number of locations across the world.

Responding to the judges, who were impressed by the technology, the team said that nature of the cells meant that a collection of cells, covering around 2m2 could be used to provide power to a home.

Bright SCIdea 2022 - Team Eolic Wall

Team Eolic Wall (Peru and Brazil)

Team Unmasked (UK)
From Durham University, Team Unmasked has developed a unique solution for recycling used PPE, particularly face masks, by using it to produce insulation. Turning waste plastic into energy saving products has a positive impact on both the environment and helping to reduce the impact of rising energy bills.

Taking non woven polypropylene fabric and similar textiles, the waste material would be sterilised and then shredded to make a layer of material that could be sandwiched between foam boards, which are then used for insulation. The team said that there is a great opportunity to partner with private and public construction sector and that they were planning to collaborate with companies to secure bids for private real estate and local council contracts.

The team’s initial efforts will be focused on the area which their university is situated; as they develop collection schemes and mobilise local groups to facilitate this.

Congratulating the team on their use for waste material, the judges asked the team how they were going to ensure that their insulation material was fire retardant. The team explained that this was an ongoing project in which assessments were being made on what would be the best choice of fire retardant based on the recycled material used.

Bright SCIdea 2022 - Team Unmasked

Team Unmasked (UK)
The judges decide…
With the level of the pitches so high the judges had a lot to think about. The judges considered the novelty of the idea, the strength of the business plan, and the stage of development, as part of their deliberations. Team CardiaTec was announced the winner of the £5000 prize.

The 1st Runner up was awarded to: Happy BioPatch, and 2nd Runner up went to: Unmasked


BrightSCIdea 2022 has been the biggest yet, and SCI would like to thank the many people who have made the event possible. This includes:

Robin Harrison: Vice President Technology Platforms Synthomer
Lucinda Bryce-Gardyne: Founder Genius Foods and Chair of Scotland Food and Drink
Sarah Skerratt: SVP Head of Drug Discovery CHARM Therapeutics
Victor Christou: Partner, Head of Growth YFM Equity Partner

Synthomer (Platinum sponsor)
Johnson Matthey (Gold sponsor)
Syngenta, Unilver and EIP (Silver sponsors)

We would also like to thank everyone who took time to attend and support the next generation of entrepreneurs.

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