Top 60 Converge Challenge 2018 shortlist announced!

Following record-breaking entries to this year’s Converge Challenge, the leading Top 60 projects from Scottish Universities and Research Institutes include a range of innovative ideas covering women’s health, virtual reality, renewables and sustainability, demonstrating that Scotland’s pipeline for new and innovative businesses is robust and healthier than ever before.

The three Converge Challenge award categories are:

  1. Converge Challenge - for those with an established idea
  2. KickStart - for early stage ideas
  3. Social Enterprise - for ideas focussing on social and environmental issues

Cybercrime, virtual reality, robotics and social inclusion are topics and issues that surround us every day, and the innovative minds of Scotland’s Academia have risen to the challenge with products and services that meet these societal needs.

The impact of the Design and Creativity award, introduced in 2016, is demonstrated in the success of such innovative products as wheelAIR - a battery powered cushion for wheelchair users enabling them to exercise safely. The 2018 shortlist includes a proposition that that brings together health and design with aesthetically pleasing footwear for people with foot drop due to Multiple Sclerosis or a stroke.

A trend displayed in the shortlist, and making up over 30% of entries, is the shift towards sustainable solutions to a range of challenges – reducing consumption, re-using more products and recycling waste. The Top 60 includes innovative software which is designed to improve the overall energy conversion efficiency of wind, hydro and tidal energy turbines.

Both technology and health sectors stand out this year as a major focus for entries. This includes a ground-breaking ultrasound detection system to evaluate the response to medical treatment responses in days rather than months, resulting in earlier discovery and quicker treatment. Also shortlisted is a low cost, non-invasive, digital home test to help women monitor their own gynecological health and a novel electronic skin, which enables robots to sense and feel like a human does with their own skin.

Professor Andrea Nolan O.B.E., Convener of Universities Scotland, said:

“I am truly delighted to see the shortlisted Converge Challenge participants continue to raise the bar each year and produce pioneering and innovative products and services from technology to robotics and health.

“The ambition of these 60 budding entrepreneurs is to change the lives of people here in Scotland and the rest of the world for the better through social good and inclusive solutions.

“I look forward to tracking the progress of these wonderful projects which exemplify the excellence of our Scottish universities and showcase the diversity of sectors they support.”

As participants progress to the Top 60 they will benefit from a range of opportunities and an extensive programme of support that is critical to enable them to further develop their business propositions. Benefits of the programme include: 1-2-1 bespoke advice; enhanced business and pitch training; hands-on mentoring; and a total prize fund of over £160,000 of cash and in-kind business support for the winners.

A stand out aspect of Converge Challenge is that previous applicants are encouraged to reapply, which is central to the nurturing ethos that is fundamental and unique to the programme.

Converge Challenge 2017 winner Dave Hughes of novosound, University of the West of Scotland said:

“Winning Converge Challenge 2017 helped move novosound to the next level because of the intensive and inspiring support we received throughout the Challenge.

“The 2018 participants are about to embark on a fantastic and vital programme which will really test them but will give them the toolkit and entrepreneurial skills to help them bring their ideas and products to a much wider network.”

Converge Challenge 2018

The full list of shortlisted projects are below:

Name Project University / Research Institute
Elijah Nazarzadeh AcuWave University of Glasgow
Liam Mc Morrow Adelie Health University of Aberdeen
Martina Zupan Alterwaste Ltd Edinburgh Napier University
Iain Gardner Animation Garden Queen Margaret University
Matthew Owens BioCaptiva University of Edinburgh
Jan Mumme Carbogenics Ltd University of Edinburgh
Kate Cameron Cytochroma University of Edinburgh
Nikolai Zhelev Human stem-cell-derived “mini-hearts” for drug testing Abertay University
Christos Michalakos ICHOS Abertay University
Ifeyinwa Kanu IntelliDigest Ltd Heriot-Watt University
Muhammad Arslan Khalid iVisco University of Glasgow
Samuel Chapman Kenoteq Heriot-Watt University
Joan Kangro Kingdom University of Glasgow
Richard McAdam McAdam Technology Edinburgh Napier University
Fiona Rudkin mycoBiologics University of Aberdeen
Peter Orrell MycoNourish James Hutton Institute
Atif Syed Netrologix Ltd University of Edinburgh
Angus Lamond Platinum Informatics University of Dundee
Juan Pablo Echenique Power Enable Solutions University of Edinburgh
Marc Reid SafeSite VR University of Strathclyde
Jennifer Laughlin Solasonach University of Dundee
Murray Collins Space Intelligence University of Edinburgh
Stephen Roe Stageport LTD Royal Conservatoire of Scotland
Andrew Davidson Switch Hydration™ University of Stirling
Lysimachos Zografos Taka Apps University of Edinburgh
Carmen Cummiskey Teqnox Limited University of Strathclyde
Adrià Escobet Montalbán TRAFIX University of St Andrews
Tayyaba Nafees TripleS for Developers – Safety and Security in Software Abertay University
Hamish Blythe Twigd University of Aberdeen
Jake Elliott-Hook YAIA Queen Margaret University

KickStart 2018

The full list of shortlisted projects are below:

Name Project University / Research Institute
Richard Taylor Advanced Photonic Crystal Surface Emitting Lasers University of Glasgow
Atanas Chilingirov AJP Tech University of Dundee
Mary Doherty AquaOmics University of the Highlands and Islands
Mohsin Laginaf B4SPORT University of Stirling
David White BGR Training Ltd University of Strathclyde
Michael McPhillimy Clyde Built Putters University of Strathclyde
Matthew Carter Colour Academy University of Strathclyde
Lorenzo Conti Crover University of Edinburgh
Maria Hussain Development of custom made bras Queen Margaret University
Vassilis Sboros HiRes Solutions Heriot-Watt University
Carolina Mateo-Segura InfiNect Heriot-Watt University
David Scott Pivotal Reality Ltd University of Glasgow
Yanik Nyberg Scottish Samphire University of Strathclyde
Xiaoxiao Zhang Sea Turtle University of Dundee
Alexander Birks SecondPerspective Heriot-Watt University
Pooja Katara SENSEcity Glasgow School of Art
Ruth McLaren Silver Lion Innovations University of Strathclyde
Mohammed Al Qaraghuli SiMologics University of Strathclyde
Mark Munro Sports Performance Insight (SPI) University of Strathclyde
Anya Roy Syrona Women University of Edinburgh
Simone Mattsson ThermoDrone Heriot-Watt University

Social Enterprise 2018

The full list of shortlisted projects are below:

Name Project University / Research Institute
Nigel G Honey Ability Film and TV Training Royal Conservatoire of Scotland
Ben Durack Advanced low volume production using recycled polymers Robert Gordon University
Hannah Buckland Automation for Africa University of Strathclyde
Pranav Shakti Chauhan CogniHealth University of Edinburgh
Pam Ramsay criticalcarerecovery.com Edinburgh Napier University
Kayleigh MacKinnon Freedom Street Project University of Dundee
Kavi Jagadamma Health Design Collective Queen Margaret University
Anna Strong Innova Cafe University of Aberdeen
Alison Wood Lilypads University of Edinburgh
Lynette Nabbosa Moving Margins Glasgow Caledonian University
Anton Puzorjov One Cherry Ltd University of Edinburgh
Saskia Goeres Sofa for Life Glasgow School of Art
Thomas Bayne Youcan Recycling Abertay University
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