Four early career researchers received prize money and support to develop their research into a successful venture

Early career researchers recently completed the third cohort of the Innovation Academy Researcher to Innovator (R2I) programme, an exciting entrepreneurship training programme for early career researchers with ambitions to develop commercial ventures and create impact from their academic studies.

The programme developed by the Masood Entrepreneurship Centre was originally launched in October 2021 by Professor Martin Schroeder, Vice-President and Dean, Faculty of Science and Engineering, and has been supported with funding from the Faculty’s EPSRC Impact Acceleration Account (IAA). The IAA funding again supported participants from all three Faculties of the University.

The R2I programme aims to inspire and accelerate the translation of the knowledge created through academic research into products, services or processes to deliver tangible benefit through a series of bespoke workshops and mentoring opportunities. The workshops helped researchers articulate their science and ideas by taking them through a lean start-up technology pathway to explore the potential of their ideas.

To complete the programme, participating researchers then made their final pitches to a panel of entrepreneurs, funders and experts with experience across the science and commercial development landscape.

Damian Mohammed, Strategic Partnerships Manager (North West) at CPI presented the Innovation Enabling Awards to the four winning projects.

Award Winners

Innovation Enabling Award: £10,000

  • A novel and cost-effective approach to scale up biobutanol from yeast
    Reem Swidah (School of Natural Sciences).

I would like to express my heartfelt gratitude to the R2I organizers for putting together such a wonderful event. The effort put in by the people involved in the R2I journey and the participation of all the contestants made it a truly unforgettable experience.

I am truly honoured to have been selected as a winner for 2023.

Innovation Enabling Awards: £5,000

  • Plantaigo
    Henry Birt (School of Natural Sciences).
  • BoneFinder Kids-Hips-CP
    Claudia Lindner (School of Health Sciences).

Innovation Enabling Award: £1,000

  • Lymphoedema Active Compression Wearable
    Aayushee Ghorpade (School of Natural Sciences).

The prize winners will also receive expert support and onward access to places on regional and national accelerator programmes and all the participants on the programme may receive mentorship and guidance from Faculty Innovation Champions and internal professional support teams, including the opportunity to build relationships with the Innovation Factory and the Masood Entrepreneurship Centre.

R2I aims to encourage and support as many researchers as possible in commercialising Manchester-based discoveries to deliver societal and economic benefit. It was an informative and enjoyable event filled with numerous excellent pitches; the whole group did a fantastic job in staying focused and committed throughout the programme. Well done to all.

The Faculty focussed Researcher to Innovator (R2I) programme programme has been coordinated through the FSE Innovation Academy, which is an umbrella initiative and joint venture between the FSE Business Engagement and Innovation Team, the University of Manchester Innovation Factory and the Masood Entrepreneurship Centre and has the aim of bringing together knowledge, expertise and routes to facilitate the commercialisation of research from FSE.