University awards £24,000 to enterprising academics

Commercial innovations to support the increasing efficiency of biopharmaceutical production and the next generation antenna for cellular handsets awarded at business showcase.

Two researchers from the University of Birmingham have each been awarded £10,000 at this year’s Enterprising Birmingham Innovation Competition showcase to enable development of their research expertise into viable business opportunities.

Six finalists were chosen to present in front of a panel of expert ‘Dragons’, to battle it out for their share of the prize money. Hosted in the Business School, the showcase event celebrated a wealth of business ideas emerging from research staff across the University.

The event was launched by Professor Adam Tickell, Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Research and Knowledge Transfer, who said:
“All six finalists presented excellent business plans and I am delighted to see such ideas celebrated at events like this. There was real a buzz on the day and it’s important that businesses come to these events and discover the commercial opportunities being developed at the University”.

The winning projects were awarded £10,000 to help further develop their research into a commercial product or service. Four runner-ups were each awarded £1,000.

Winners of the best service based business idea were Yanina Sevastsyanovich and Dr Amanda Rossiter working on a project called bugs4drugs. Their innovation provides a service to biopharmaceutical companies to increase the efficiency of recombinant protein production.
Lead researcher, Yanina Sevastsyanovich, from the Institute of Microbiology and Infection commented that“winning this competition has given us the recognition, motivation and the knowledge to pursue our exciting plans for the commercialisation of our technologies and we thank the University for providing such a fantastic opportunity.”

Dr Sampson Hu,from the School of Electronic, Electrical and Computer Engineering Research won the product based category for his work on a unique compact antenna design which has a very low production cost. Dr Sampson Hu said “Smart Antenna Technologies is an award winning emerging spinout company that has designed, developed and patented a pioneering smart antenna technology that reduces the number of internal antennas required in current and next generation cellular handsets. We are delighted to have had the opportunity to showcase this in front of a distinguished panel of judges, and even more pleased that the judges could see the great potential of our innovation.”


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