Early Career Researchers contributing to the Entrepreneurial Ecosystem

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

The Options Roundabout event on the 19th February was the culmination of the R2I programme which saw our researchers pitch to a panel of entrepreneurs, funders and commercialisation experts. The event which was an opportunity for the cohort to network and celebrate their achievements was hosted in our MEC Enterprise Zone, a dedicated entrepreneurship space in the Alliance Manchester Business School. 

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 ideas by taking them through a lean start-up pathway to explore the commercial potential of their research.

The Innovation Enabling Awards were granted to acknowledge the impact and growth potential with early career researchers receiving between £2,000 to £10,000 to further develop the commercial potential of their ideas and businesses.

Aline Miller, Professor of Biomolecular Engineering and Associate Dean for Business Engagement and Innovation, presented the Innovation Enabling Awards to the five winning projects


Award Winners

Innovation Enabling Award: £10,000

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NeuWave - AI solutions for rapid offshore renewables transition

Jana Stella (School of Engineering)


Innovation Enabling Award: £5,000

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Purple Point- A precise and cheaper option for defeating chlamydia

Jorge A. Servert (School of Biological Sciences)


Innovation Enabling Award: £3,000

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Transforming ​the Future of ​Bone Implants

Dr Nazanin Mirhosseini​ (School of Engineering)

A huge thank you to R2I for the excellent program which was planned and executed brilliantly. The course transformed my view in impactful research focusing on commercialisation, a truly remarkable experience. I am honoured to be an award winner.

Dr Nazanin Mirhosseini (School of Engineering)

Innovation Enabling Award: £2,000

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Dr Anthony Siming Chen (School of Engineering)

I am thrilled to have won the innovation award from the R2I programme, as it marks a significant milestone in our mission to advance robotics and AI technologies within the biomedical and life science sector. This recognition reaffirms our unwavering commitment to pushing the boundaries of what is possible and driving meaningful change through technology innovation. I am profoundly grateful for the invaluable support we received throughout the 12-week programme, and I am excited to continue driving forward, bringing our visionary solutions to market, and reshaping the future of healthcare.

Dr Anthony Siming Chen (School of Engineering)

Innovation Enabling Award: £2,000

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DISSCO (The Diabetes Severity Score)

Dr Salwa Zghebi (School of Health Sciences)


The prize winners will also receive expert support and signposting to regional and national accelerator programmes and all the participants on the programme will have access to further support, mentoring and guidance from internal professional support teams, including the opportunity to build relationships with business engagement, Innovation Factory and the Masood Entrepreneurship Centre.


Congratulations to everyone for their dedication, commitment and hard work throughout the programme. The programme not only encourages and supports researchers to consider the commercial potential of their research but also develops entrepreneurial mind-sets, confidence, commercial awareness and resilience. I’m really excited to continue supporting the entrepreneurs and following the progress of the ideas over the coming months.

Dr Laura Etchells, Enterprise Business Development Manager, Masood Entrepreneurship Centre

It was a real privilege to see the progress every participant has made throughout their R2I journey over the past 12 weeks. Pitch day is always inspiring, and it was a thrill to see fundamental research ideas being shaped into viable business propositions to deliver tangible commercial impact. Well done to everyone completing the programme, and congratulations to the prize winners. I can’t wait to see what the future holds for you all!

Prof. Aline Miller, Professor of Biomolecular Engineering and Associate Dean for Business Engagement and Innovation


The organisers wish to thank the Engineers in Business Fellowship for their sponsorship of the Innovation Enabling Awards.

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Get Involved

If you are an early career researcher looking for an exciting opportunity to develop your innovative thinking and enhance your understanding of creating and developing impact join the next round of the R2I programme. Find out more about the programme and how to apply in the upcoming Information Sessions for cohort 2 taking place on 20th and 21st March.


The Researcher to Innovator (R2I) programme has been coordinated by the University’s Innovation Academy, which brings together knowledge, expertise and routes to facilitate the commercialisation of research. It is a joint venture between the Business Engagement Team, the University of Manchester Innovation Factory and the Masood Entrepreneurship Centre


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