Winners announced: FSE Innovation Academy - Researcher to Innovator (R2I) Programme

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

Eleven early career researchers and their teams were the first cohort completing the Innovation Academy Researcher to Innovator (R2I) programme, an exciting new entrepreneurship training programme for FSE early career researchers with ambitions to develop commercial ventures from their academic studies.

The programme 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 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 in a Dragons' Den style event to a panel of entrepreneurs with experience across the science and engineering landscape.

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

GOR2I winners10khy             

Rachel Pooley (Ph.D. student,  Department  of Chemistry) and team Dr. Adam Hill (Postdoctoral Fellow, Department of Chemical Engineering and Analytical Science) and Mollie Trueman (Ph.D. student, Department  of Chemistry).

Innovation Enabling Awards: £5,000

Stronger with age               
Dr. Ashley Gluchowski (Research Associate, School of Health Sciences).

ACUAf (carbon neutrality Tool for SMEs)               
Santiago Zapata Boada (Ph.D. student, Department of Chemical Engineering and Analytical Science).

High strength bonding technology               
Mohan kumar Pitchan (PDRA, Department of Materials).

Electricity Flexibility               
Timothy Capper (Ph.D. student, Department of Mechanical, Aerospace and Civil Engineering).

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 FSE Innovation Champions and internal professional support teams, including the opportunity to build relationships with the Innovation Factory and the Masood Entrepreneurship Centre.

We were extremely excited to work with everyone in both designing and delivering this R2I series to our ECRs. It’s vital for a university like Manchester with an excellent reputation for research and innovation 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 day filled with an abundance of excellent pitches; the whole group did a fantastic job in staying focussed and committed throughout the programme.

Tony Walker, Deputy Director of the Masood Entrepreneurship Centre

I would like to congratulate the winners and also all the participants for their dedication and for delivering excellent pitches on the day. It is amazing to see how much everyone has grown since starting the programme in October, not only in shaping their business ideas but also in developing confidence and building general commercial awareness and knowledge. I am excited to watch the next steps in their entrepreneurial journey.

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

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.all4