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Scotland Top of the Class for University-Led Innovation as Converge Announces 2019 Finalists

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Scotland Top of the Class for University-Led Innovation as Converge Announces 2019 Finalists

September 17, 2019

The finalists for Converge 2019, Scotland’s leading entrepreneurial development programme for Higher Education, have been revealed, illustrating how Scotland’s Universities are competing on the global stage with ground breaking innovations.

18 academic entrepreneurs leading both start-ups and spin-outs and representing institutions from across the length and breadth of Scotland, will now go head-to-head at the Converge Awards Final which takes place at the iconic V&A, Dundee in September.

For the first time in the Programme’s history, women founders outnumber men (55%). Climate change and health care also lead the charge this year with the shortlisted projects spanning everything from a human skin culture system that mimics living skin and a flat-pack, solar collector providing an affordable source of clean heat for people in developing countries through to a computer game aimed at gamifying the physiotherapy routine for children suffering from Cystic Fibrosis. Finalists are now chasing a prize package of equity-free cash and in-kind business support totalling £220,000 which will be shared across three challenge categories: Converge Challenge, Creative Challenge and Impact Challenge.

Converge Director, Dr Claudia Cavalluzzo comments:


“Innovation has never been more important that it is today, not just in terms of generating economic growth, but also as a solution to some of society’s most urgent challenges including climate change, social inclusion and public health. The calibre of this year’s Converge finalists is proof positive that our Universities are playing a pivotal role in the enterprise agenda and are at the forefront of innovation for the public good”

“By working closely with all Scotland’s Universities, we help the most creative thinkers from academia to turn their discoveries and ideas into commercially viable businesses. We are delighted to be working with such a strong cohort of innovators and look forward to springboarding their success”

Meet our 2019 Impact Challenge finalists below:


Name Company University
Maggie Ellis Astellis University of St Andrews
Jamie Bankhead Konglomerate Games Abertay University
Yanik Nyberg Seawater Solutions University of Strathclyde
Faisal Ghani SolarisKit Heriot-Watt University
Amee Ritchie S’wheat Queen Margaret University

Meet our 2019 Creative Challenge finalists below:


Name Company University
Marwa Ebrahim Atypical Cosmetics Ltd University of Glasgow / The Glasgow School of Art
Kate Robertson Sculpture Placement Group Queen Margaret University
Pooja Katara SENSEcity Ltd University of Glasgow / The Glasgow School of Art
Elizabeth Jenkinson Sing Hero The Royal Conservatoire of Scotland
Cliff Hughes Untitled Comics Robert Gordon University

Meet our 2019 Converge Challenge finalists below:


Name Company University
Emma James Beltfree by Miss James Robert Gordon University
Lorenzo Conti Crover Ltd University of Edinburgh
Andrew Woodland In4Derm University of Dundee
Fiona Rudkin mycoBiologics University of Aberdeen
Maiwenn Kersaudy-Kerhoas Natantis Heriot-Watt University
Elijah Nazarzadeh Nebu-Flow University of Glasgow
Alice Smith Speak:Unique University of Edinburgh
Michael Conneely Ten Bio University of Dundee

Converge is funded by the Scottish Funding Council, all 18 Scottish Universities, the National Lottery through Creative Scotland and a network of nine partners including Royal Bank of Scotland, Social Investment Scotland (SIS), MBM Commercial, Murgitroyd, Scott-Moncrieff, TalentSpark, Fearsome, BeyondHR and Morton Ward.