Winners announced: Researcher to Innovator (R2I) Programme 2022

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

Ten early career researchers and their teams were the second cohort completing the Innovation Academy Researcher to Innovator (R2I) programme, an exciting new entrepreneurship training programme for  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). For the semester two cohort, the IAA funding supported participants from all three Faculties of the University. 

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 commercial development landscape.

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

Award Winners

Innovation Enabling Award: £10,000


Organoid Solutions      
Chrisoula Chappell (Doctoral Prize Fellowship, Materials).

Innovation Enabling Awards: £5,000

Ting-Chen (Chloe) Hsu (Ph.D. Student, Biological Sciences).

Rinta Mathew (Ph.D. Student, Medical Sciences).

CMV (cytomegalovirus) detecting Test Strip   
Robert Bagley (Ph.D. Student, Natural Sciences).

Talking Tool   
Anamaria Churchman (Lecturer, Health Sciences).

Bright Ocansey (Ph.D. Student, Biological Sciences).

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

MEC are proud to have supported our latest ECR's to create another successful set of outcomes from the Innovation Academy Researcher to Innovator (R2I) programme. Working with colleagues across all three Faculties, the Innovation Factory, Business Engagement and Innovation and P2T Ltd. It’s great to see so many of our researchers bringing forward their academic ideas and projects and exploring the potential for commercialising these, creating both societal and economic benefit. The whole group did a fantastic job in staying focused and committed throughout the programme and in pitching to our panel of fantastic external judges. We look forward to working with them all going forwards. 

Tony Walker, Deputy Director of the Masood Entrepreneurship Centre

It was a privilege to watch the participants shape their research ideas and develop them into potential commercial opportunities throughout the 8 week programme. The standard of pitches at the end was extremely high and I congratulate the winners and participants and look forward to seeing their business ideas flourish

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