- Converge has published its 2022 shortlist which has seen an increase in innovative projects focusing on sustainability, AI, and healthcare.
- There has also been growth in the diversity of this year’s shortlist with more BAME, disabled and non-British participants than ever before.
- Converge has also announced a new partnership with Industrial Biotechnology Innovation Centre (IBioIC) with one Biotech project in the running for a prize package at the awards ceremony in November.
Converge, Scotland’s largest company creation and enterprise programme for the university sector, has published its most innovative shortlist for the 2022 programme.
Over 200 applications have been whittled down to 101 shortlisted projects across four ‘challenge’ categories – Converge, Create Change, Net Zero and KickStart, with all 18 Scottish universities represented in the final cut.
Sustainability, AI, and engineering are key themes that shine through from this year’s shortlist, as well as several health-related projects that could directly benefit social care, mobility, and chronic disease management. Projects with the potential for global impact include Converge Challenge semi-finalist, Podspectrix Ltd, a joint project from Heriot-Watt University and the University of Edinburgh. Using AI to detect and prevent diabetic foot ulcers – one of the main causes of limb amputations in the UK, this project has the potential to reduce life-altering complications for patients, as well as reducing pressure on the NHS.
Meanwhile, a Net Zero semi-finalist, SolSafe from Robert Gordon University, has developed a smart thermal battery, a green gamechanger for the energy industry as it can replace both fossil-fuel boilers and supplement heat-pump systems.
Projects in the Creative Industries are strongly represented this year including Storybuild, a semi-finalist in the Create Change category, developing a webapp to enable users to co-create literary works, making the writing process more interactive and less solitary.
There have also been many ingenious and original ideas in the KickStart Challenge, an early-stage category designed to help academic entrepreneurs at the very first stages of the commercialisation journey. One such project is Empatech, from Queen Margaret University, which is developing reusable wearable devices that simulate different physical impairments associated with neuro-disabilities.
The 2022 cohort is the most diverse in Converge’s 11-year history, with 24% of projects from the BAME community. In addition, 10% of participants identify as disabled, as well as 42% non-British participants.
Claudia Cavalluzzo, executive director at Converge, said: “I am continually amazed by the high quality of innovation emerging from Scottish universities, and this year is no different. I believe that this will be one of the most competitive years to date. The diversity and inclusivity of this year’s shortlist is particularly encouraging, with more participants from the BAME community and those with disabilities making it into the cohort. While parity across all areas remains some way off from being achieved, our efforts to extend the appeal of Converge to a broader and more diverse audience is working.
“I am also particularly inspired to see more of the current university population coming forward with interesting and new concepts and projects to make a difference in the world that we live in. Collaboration and ideation within higher education have been undeniably challenged over recent years, however, as we welcome a high proportion of submissions from students this year, this trend has been bucked and is stronger than ever.”
Converge has also announced a new partnership with the Industrial Biotechnology Innovation Centre (IBioIC), one of Scotland’s seven innovation centres, which will award a package of support to one successful Biotech project. This includes a free membership to IBioIC, a dedicated IBioIC account manager and £20,000 in project funding for the university where the project originated.
Semi-finalists will now move on to attend in-depth training sessions over the coming months, culminating in an award ceremony on 3 November 2022, where the cream of this year’s projects vie for a slice of the £300,000+ prize pot to advance their businesses.
Converge has supported 500+ entrepreneurs and the creation of more than 300+ companies since it launched in 2011. For more information about Converge, please visit: https://www.convergechallenge.com/
Full list of semi-finalists
|CanCan Diagnostics||Maciej Parys||Edinburgh|
|Danu Robotics||Xiaoyan Ma||Edinburgh|
|Eye to the Future||Emanuele Trucco||Dundee|
|Lightwater Sensors||Ross Gillanders||St Andrews|
|Mercel||Mark Dorris||Edinburgh Napier|
|Morphic Technology||Jeremy Viner||Edinburgh|
|PlusPEP||Robert Goodfellow||Edinburgh Napier|
|Podspectrix Ltd||Marija Vella||Heriot-Watt|
|Prozymi BioLabs Ltd||Ioannis Stasinopoulos||Edinburgh|
|Rigpa Ltd||Mike Xiaoyu Huang||Edinburgh|
|SolOLED||Tomas Matulaitis||St Andrews|
|Theo Health||Jodie Sinclair||Dundee|
|TrueDeploy||Pavlos Papadopoulos||Edinburgh Napier|
|X-Genix Ltd||Rebecca Goss||St Andrews|
|Create Change Challenge|
|Argyle IT & Education Nigeria||Opeyemi Ibukun||Heriot-Watt|
|DELIRIA||Nathalie Nijk||Glasgow School of Art|
|Everybodycounts Ltd||Andrew Ridgway||Robert Gordon|
|Eyesight Electronics Ltd||Amin Rigi||Edinburgh|
|FussEat||Morven Summers||Queen Margaret|
|Help the Dog Fly||Marta Negro||Edinburgh Napier|
|I am Dynamic||Clare Daly||Strathclyde|
|InGear Publishing||Helen Gorilla||Dundee|
|Knit One Ltd||Jeni Allison||Glasgow School of Art|
|LU Innovations Ltd||Erin Reid||Edinburgh Napier|
|Plantala Ltd||Natalia Kerr||Robert Gordon|
|Set Ready Safety||Lisa Kelly||Glasgow|
|Shivoh||Shivoh Chirayil Nandakumar||Heriot-Watt|
|Smartbooks||Simone Jensen||St Andrews|
|STAT SALUS CIC||Cameron Campbell||Strathclyde|
|Storybuild Ltd||Vinyet Miró Pujadas||Robert Gordon|
|The Grey Hill||Barry Robertson||Robert Gordon|
|Two Raccoons||Lasse Rasmussen||Aberdeen|
|Net Zero Challenge|
|Agrecalc||Kaia Waxenberg||Scotland’s Rural College|
|Field to Fabric||Rosemary Bristow||Heriot-Watt|
|Robocean Ltd||Niall McGrath||Edinburgh|
|Scrapp||Evan Gwynne Davies||Heriot-Watt|
|SolSafe||Andrew Mcleod||Robert Gordon|
|SymBIOsis||Jemma Reynolds||Robert Gordon|
|TWEFDA Ltd||Javier Dominguez||Robert Gordon|
|Water Electronics||Amin Rigi||Edinburgh|
|Zephyrus Aerolabs Ltd||Christopher Solomon||Aberdeen|
|3D Scotland Ltd||Michael O’Donnell||Glasgow School of Art|
|AIMEL Ltd||Youcef Ahmanache||Robert Gordon|
|Alena Rogozhkina||Alena Rogozhkina||Stirling|
|Alison Wells||Alison Wells||Royal Conservatoire|
|Altra ERC Ltd||Jack Walker||Edinburgh|
|Amytis Ltd||Eva Steele||Edinburgh|
|Atomic Architects||Aidan Campbell||Heriot-Watt|
|Aura||Benjamin Noar||Glasgow School of Art|
|Blue House||Len De Nys||Stirling|
|Cameron Foy||Cameron Foy||Stirling|
|Concinnity Genetics||Jessica Birt||Edinburgh|
|Creative Foresight Solutions||Frank Yntema||Heriot-Watt|
|Criterion Robotics||Marvin Wright||Strathclyde|
|Crowdly.ai||Chamath Palihawadana||Robert Gordon|
|Empatech||Duncan Pentland||Queen Margaret|
|Hannah Blackburn-Turner||Hannah Blackburn-Turner||West of Scotland|
|Hua Wang||Hua Wang||Glasgow|
|Iain Quinn||Iain Quinn||Strathclyde|
|Inclusive Studio||Nick Fitzpatrick||Dundee|
|Intelligent Learning Solutions||Diane Duguid||Robert Gordon|
|Jane O’Neill||Jane O’Neill||Heriot-Watt|
|Mude Underwear||Kat Pohorecka||Edinburgh Napier|
|Next Generation Ball Mills||Emmanouil Broumidis||Heriot-Watt|
|Nikolas Coles||Nikolas Coles||Strathclyde|
|Ocean Punks||Maria Isabel Ayala Gragera||Robert Gordon|
|Olivia Dovernor||Olivia Dovernor||St Andrews|
|Onboard ID||Kai Jun Eer||Edinburgh|
|Online TR@D||Marie-Anne N’Guessan Assanvo||Stirling|
|Person Centred Solutions||Roma Gibb||Highlands & Islands|
|Ph.I.T||Sara Marshall||Queen Margaret|
|Quas Drinks||Anton Puzorjov||Edinburgh|
|Royal Helix||Gizela Banana||Aberdeen|
|School Link||Moustapha Diaby||Abertay|
|SAMASTAR Ltd||Asma Abdullah||Edinburgh|
|Sensory Soul||Joyce Watt||Robert Gordon|
|Steer Analytics||Angela Lum-neh||Stirling|
|TheFitGrip Ltd||Stephen Armit||Glasgow Caledonian|
|Unitic Ltd||Prathamesh Deshmukh||Glasgow Caledonian|
|Vertical Forest CIC||Kimia Witte||Glasgow School of Art|
|Werk Out||Gregor Weir||Glasgow|
|Wojciech Mista||Wojciech Mista||Glasgow|
Converge is Scotland’s largest company creation programme for staff, students and recent graduates of all Scottish Universities and Research Institutes.
Converge’s mission is to help the next generation of innovators, creators and ground breakers turn their ideas into commercially viable businesses to improve lives, safeguard our planet and help Scotland’s economy thrive.
Funded by the Scottish Funding Council, Creative Scotland, all 18 of Scotland’s universities, and a network of ten professional partners, the programme is designed to springboard new businesses through intensive training, networking, 1-2-1 support, generous equity-free cash prizes and expert advice from a roster of industry partners.
Since launching in 2011, Converge has trained 500+ academic entrepreneurs and supported the creation of 300+ companies that enjoy an unusually high survival rate of over 80%.
For further information, visit www.convergechallenge.com or follow @ConvergeC.