The second annual Bright SCIdea Challenge saw Durham University students, Plastech Innovation, win £5,000 for their plastics-derived concrete business.
All Images: Andrew Lunn/SCI
On 19 March 2019, SCI hosted the second annual final of the Bright SCIdea Challenge, bringing together some of the brightest business minds of the future to pitch their science-based innovation to a panel of expert judges and a captivated audience.
As an opportunity to support UK/ROI students interested in commercialising their ideas and developing their business skills, the final included talks and training from our judges and networking with industry professionals.
Judge Lucinda Bruce-Gardyne gave an inspiring talk about how she took her company, Genius Foods, out of her kitchen to the shelves of international supermarkets.
Ned Wakeman, Director of the Incubation Services at Alderley Park, spoke about the Dos and Don’ts of running a successful start-up.
Sharon Todd, CEO of SCI, introduced delegates from industry and academia to SCI’s activities, the Bright SCIdea Challenge and our five pitching finalists.
Team Seta from UCL were the first pitch of the day, with their idea for a high-throughput synthetic biology approach to the design and testing of biomaterials for tissue applications – an idea they have built from their recent success in iGEM 2018.
Next up were Team Plastech Innovation from Durham University who are looking to start a business with their sustainably sourced plastic-based concrete.
Asked by the judges how they would differentiate themselves from the popular market, the team told the audience that they will be the first to their knowledge to create concrete fine aggregate from ocean plastic waste, as opposed to companies who are focused on coarse aggregates.
Team DayDreamers from the Universities of Bristol, Southampton and Edinburgh closed the first session with their pitch for a AI-driven mental wellness app targeted at students, who would be accompanied by a dedicated chatbot through their journey to better mental health.
During the breaks, delegates and finalists were tasked with judging the poster competition between Teams Glubiotech, Online Analytics, HappiAppi and NovaCAT.
The second UCL team pitching at the final were BRISL Antimicrobials, who presented their idea for a toothbrush with light-activated antimicrobial bristles.
The judges seemed impressed with the science and the team’s business plan, and urged them to look at different markets they could enter, such as toilet brushes and hairbrushes, to expand their company.
The final team of the day were Team OxiGen from the University of St Andrew’s with their service based on a designer cell line, optimised for protein expression using characteristics derived from both prokaryotic and human cells.
Our judges (L-R: Dave Freeman (Croda), Lucinda Bruce-Gardyne (Genius Foods), Robin Harrison (Synthomer), Ian Howell (Unilever) and Inna Baigozina-Goreli (Accenture)) then had the difficult task of choosing the winners of this year’s competition.
And the winners are…
Our Poster Prize went to Team HappiAppi from Durham University
2nd runner-up: Team Seta from UCL 1st runner-up: Team BRISL Antimicrobials from UCL
The 2019 Bright SCIdea winners were Plastech Innovation from Durham University!
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