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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:

NameProjectUniversity / Research Institute
Elijah NazarzadehAcu-WaveUniversity of Glasgow
Liam Mc MorrowAdelie HealthUniversity of Aberdeen
Martina ZupanAlterwaste LtdEdinburgh Napier University
Iain GardnerAnimation GardenQueen Margaret University
Jan MummeCarbogenics LtdUniversity of Edinburgh
Kate CameronCytochromaUniversity of Edinburgh
Nikolai ZhelevHeartWise TechnologiesAbertay University
Christos MichalakosICHOSAbertay University
Ifeyinwa KanuIntelliDigest LtdHeriot-Watt University
Muhammad Arslan KhalidiViscoUniversity of Glasgow
Samuel ChapmanKenoteqHeriot-Watt University
Joan KangroKingdomUniversity of Glasgow
Richard McAdamMcAdam TechnologyEdinburgh Napier University
Fiona RudkinmycoBiologicsUniversity of Aberdeen
Peter OrrellMycoNourishJames Hutton Institute
Atif SyedWootzano LtdUniversity of Edinburgh
Angus LamondPlatinum InformaticsUniversity of Dundee
Juan Pablo EcheniquePower Enable SolutionsUniversity of Edinburgh
Marc ReidSafeSite VRUniversity of Strathclyde
Jennifer LaughlinSolasonachUniversity of Dundee
Murray CollinsSpace IntelligenceUniversity of Edinburgh
Stephen RoeStageport LTDRoyal Conservatoire of Scotland
Andrew DavidsonBulbPDUniversity of Stirling
Lysimachos ZografosTaka AppsUniversity of Edinburgh
Carmen CummiskeyTeqnox LimitedUniversity of Strathclyde
Tayyaba NafeesCybershell SolutionsAbertay University
William HuberSummer JamAbertay University
Jake Elliott-HookYAIAQueen Margaret University

KickStart 2018

The full list of shortlisted projects are below:

NameProjectUniversity / Research Institute
Richard TaylorAdvanced Photonic Crystal Surface Emitting LasersUniversity of Glasgow
Atanas ChilingirovAJP TechUniversity of Dundee
Mary DohertyAquaOmicsUniversity of the Highlands and Islands
Mohsin LaginafB4SPORTUniversity of Stirling
David WhiteBGR Training LtdUniversity of Strathclyde
Michael McPhillimyClyde Built PuttersUniversity of Strathclyde
Matthew CarterColour AcademyUniversity of Strathclyde
Lorenzo ContiCroverUniversity of Edinburgh
Maria HussainDevelopment of custom made brasQueen Margaret University
Vassilis SborosHiRes SolutionsHeriot-Watt University
Carolina Mateo-SeguraInfiNectHeriot-Watt University
David ScottPivotal Reality LtdUniversity of Strathclyde
Yanik NybergScottish SamphireUniversity of Strathclyde
Xiaoxiao ZhangSea TurtleUniversity of Dundee
Alexander BirksSecondPerspectiveHeriot-Watt University
Pooja KataraSENSEcityGlasgow School of Art
Ruth McLarenSilver Lion InnovationsUniversity of Strathclyde
Mohammed Al QaraghuliSiMologicsUniversity of Strathclyde
Anya RoySyrona WomenUniversity of Edinburgh
Simone MattssonThermoDroneHeriot-Watt University

Social Enterprise 2018

The full list of shortlisted projects are below:

NameProjectUniversity / Research Institute
Nigel G HoneyAbility Film and TV TrainingRoyal Conservatoire of Scotland
Ben DurackAdvanced low volume production using recycled polymersRobert Gordon University
Hannah BucklandAutomation for AfricaUniversity of Strathclyde
Pranav Shakti ChauhanCogniHealthUniversity of Edinburgh
Pam Ramsaycriticalcarerecovery.comEdinburgh Napier University
Kayleigh MacKinnonFreedom Street ProjectUniversity of Dundee
Kavi JagadammaHealth Design CollectiveQueen Margaret University
Anna StrongInnova CafeUniversity of Aberdeen
Alison WoodLilypadsUniversity of Edinburgh
Lynette NabbosaMoving MarginsGlasgow Caledonian University
Anton PuzorjovOne Cherry LtdUniversity of Edinburgh
Saskia GoeresSofa for LifeGlasgow School of Art
Thomas BayneYoucan RecyclingAbertay University