Introducing the 2024 Bright SCIdea Challenge finalists

SCI is delighted to announce the five teams that have made it to the final of this year’s Bright SCIdea Challenge, taking place on Tuesday 19 March at SCI HQ.

This year – the sixth instalment of SCI’s annual entrepreneurship competition – teams will pitch business plans aiming to tackle challenges as diverse as soil health, antimicrobial resistance, air quality, sustainable space travel, and packaging waste!

The teams will present their business pitches to a panel of expert judges – Lucinda Bruce-Gardyne (Founder, Genius Foods, Chair of Scotland Food & Drink), Robin Harrison (Synthomer), Victor Christou (Hotdog Capital) and Jonathan Hague (Unilever).

The team with the best business plan will walk away with a cheque for £5,000 and join an exclusive club of champions, some of which have gone on to raise seven-figure funding! The first and second runners up will each receive £500 – but win or lose, all of the finalists will expand their network and gain invaluable business skills that will help them throughout their careers. 

So, without further ado, let's met this year's Bright SCIdea Challenge finalists!


Team AgRegen
L-R: Susanna Harvey, Louisa Brenninkmeijer, Alastair Littlewood, Philippa Edge.

Where are they from?
AgRegen are all University of Birmingham PhD students.

Their Bright SCIdea:
A fully degradable fertiliser to improve soil health.

What they say:

We entered the Bright SCidea Challenge to encourage ourselves to think outside our usual academic lens, combining science with business. We wanted to expand our skills within the commercial and financial market, allowing us to broaden our potential career opportunities after the PhD.

The sustainability aspect of the Bright SCidea Challenge was particularly enticing, as we feel it is important for chemists to play a role in an environmentally conscious world. We are thrilled to be invited to the final to present our idea and further progress our learning from the panel of business experts.

Breathprint Analytics

Team Breathprint
L-R: Dan Yanes, Sham Nawshirawan, Stefana Duca.

Where are they from?
Breathprint Analytics are PhD students based in the School of Pharmacy at the University of Nottingham

Their Bright SCIdea:
One breath away from curing antimicrobial resistance.

What they say:

As PhD researchers in interdisciplinary fields, we value collaboration to make meaningful societal contributions.

Discovering the Bright SCIdea challenge provided a refreshing break from our lab routines, allowing us to generate innovative solutions. This challenge refocused our efforts on product development, market feasibility, and profitability, translating academic findings into practical application.

We anticipate acquiring valuable skills in collaboration, entrepreneurship, and communication, which will benefit our PhD journeys and future careers. Presenting to industry experts offers invaluable pitching experience, enhancing our professional growth.


Team Munnch
L-R: James King, Ben Coyne, Megan Holdstock.

Where are they from?
Munnch are all PhD students at the University of Leeds.

Their Bright SCIdea:
A home-compostable, high-performance, low-cost alternative to expanded polystyrene.

What they say:

The Bright SCIdea Challenge has offered us a unique platform to showcase and develop both our innovation concept and business skills. The numerous industry professionals provide vital insights and feedback in core themes of business including IP, financial projections, and outlining target markets. It ultimately acts as a catalyst to build and foster a network of valuable contacts within this area, without which you could add years of setback onto any innovation development.

Ultimately, participating in the Bright SCIdea challenge has boosted our team by emphasising skills of responsible entrepreneurship and creativity.

Stars Edge

Team Stars Edge
L-R: Hector Arriba Gutierrez, Lydia Frumosu, Sara Alão.

Where are they from?
Stars Edge are three Cranfield University engineering PhD students.

Their Bright SCIdea:
A novel electrical propulsion system with clean propellant for satellites.

What they say:

We entered the Bright SCIdea Challenge to develop a product, of industry interest, to tackle space sustainability by addressing the emerging issue of in-orbit emissions. We were recommended to participate by a Bright SCIdea ambassador for the purpose of sustainability and furthering net-zero.


Team Veocene
L-R: Jack Bellis, Joseph Parkin, Laurie Marlow.

Where are they from?
Veocene are based at the University of Liverpool.

Their Bright SCIdea:
A sustainable and mechanical air purifying technology that puts the “eeze” in breeze!

What they say:

Team Veocene saw this challenge as a unique opportunity to address a significant modern challenge using creativity and innovative thinking. Additionally, this challenge has added to our CVs, improved our transferable skills and boosted our network.

This experience has been influential in accessing wider learning resources such as marketing, financing, IP and business development.

Finally, we would recommend this opportunity to any university student as it allows them to apply their scientific knowledge and have a real world impact.

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