Freeman celebrates science and technology as he meets Innovation Award winners

13 April 2023 | Muriel Cozier

‘Our record 50% funding increase for Innovate UK to drive our Innovation Nation mission is about investing in our R&D economy in all parts of the UK.’

Winners of Innovate UK’s Young Innovators have been recognised by the UK government Department for Science, Innovation and Technology at a round table event hosted by department Minister, George Freeman.

Freeman hosted some of the 94 winners of the 2022/23 Young Innovators awards, and heard how it has helped turn their science and technology ideas into innovative businesses – a goal shared by SCI’s Bright SCIdea Challenge.

Ambessa Play, a business set up by Sara Berkai, is focused on toy kits and hosting workshops aimed at encouraging children around the world to learn about STEM subjects through play. ‘With help from Innovate UK’s Young Innovators Award, we have now successfully launched our product and will test the kits in various classrooms across the UK,’ Berkai said. Berkai was also the winner of this year’s Women in Innovation Award.

Meanwhile, a passion for the outdoors and cycling led Sam Graham to set up Revolv, following the development of a sustainable energy harvesting device that harnesses the motion of wheels to charge devices on the go. Graham said: ‘It’s not only the grant funding and living allowance that enables me to test and play with different ideas, but also access to great marketing, technical and commercial networks and vital business support and mentoring.’

As well as business coaching, mentorship and development of a range of business skills, the winners, who are between 18 and 30 years of age, receive a £5,000 grant and allowances for living costs.

Science Minister George Freeman commented: ‘Our record 50% funding increase for Innovate UK to drive our Innovation Nation mission is about investing in our R&D economy in all parts of the UK to help create exciting new career opportunities for a new generation to invent, invest and develop the innovations the world urgently needs.’

Informing and inspiring budding business leaders, policy makers and industrialists, SCI’s Day of Science and Careers 2023, taking place on 21 April at the national STEM Learning Centre, University of York, will highlight the wide range of opportunities available in science-based industries. The all-day event will hear from entrepreneurs including Lucinda Bruce-Gardyne, Founder of Genius Foods; past SCI Scholar Dr Ivalina Tuxworth, R&D Software Implementation Associate at Johnson Matthey; Chris Mason, a patent attorney at Appleyard Lees who went from being a scientist to a lawyer; and Pfizer’s Dr Kevin Back, who will talk about working in big pharma. The day will close with an opportunity for networking.

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