Bumper crop of innovative start-ups awarded RSE Enterprise Fellows

Join us in welcoming the next cohort of academic entrepreneurs who have received our prestigious commercialisation award, the RSE Enterprise Fellowship.

Five innovators, each with an exciting business proposition, will now benefit from an equity-free support package worth up to £100,000, to aid them in the commercialisation of their work. Each Enterprise Fellow will benefit from the support package which includes: a year’s salary, tailored business training, coaching and mentoring, business support funding and access to the RSE’s network of business contacts.

Meet our newest Enterprise Fellows and find out more about their innovation:

A man looking at the cameraDr Raja Akram, University of Aberdeen
Funder: RSE
Company/project: Seclea Ltd

Artificial Intelligence improves the productivity and profitability of businesses, along with improving the lives of citizens. However, lack of transparency and potential biases of the AI algorithms leads to both societal and regulatory concerns. Seclea has developed an easy-to-integrate platform to help organisations de-risk their AI adoption. Seclea’s platform ensures that Machine Learning and Deep Learning algorithms are transparent, explainable, accountable, and regulatorily compliant with existing and upcoming regulations.

The core mission of Seclea is to empower organisations to build stakeholder trust in its AI applications and their decisions.

 

A man wearing a suit and tie smiling at the camera

Mr Marco Gomez-Jenkins, University of Cambridge
Funder: STFC
Company/project: Super-Sharp Space Systems

Super-Sharp Space Systems is an Earth-imaging company developing unfolding space telescopes to capture high-resolution thermal infrared (TIR) images of the earth. Our fundamental innovation is our patent-pending self-alignment technology which positions our optics to better than one-hundredth of the width of a human hair. The technology makes powerful TIR space telescopes, fitting a large telescope in a small box, making low cost, high-resolution, and high-revisit Earth-imaging possible. Wildfire detection, crop monitoring, and maintaining global security can use the images captured by our space telescopes. We are determined to offer high quality, affordable Earth-imaging solutions to empower our world in responding to global change.

 

A man wearing glassesDr Stuart Hannah, University of Strathclyde
Funder: IBioIC
Company/project: Microplate Dx

Antimicrobial resistance (AMR) is a major global health problem – estimated to kill 10 million people p/a by 2050. Gold standard antibiotic susceptibility testing takes around two days. These long timescales can lead to incorrect antibiotics being prescribed (driving resistance), or a delay in prescription.

Microplate Dx will tackle AMR and improve antibiotic stewardship, with a patented diagnostic test ‘Microplate’ to rapidly (< 1h) pinpoint the correct antibiotic for infection treatment. The highly versatile, agnostic to sample type will result in enhanced antibiotic stewardship by ensuring the right drug is quickly prescribed to the patient for a particular condition, ultimately reducing resistance rates and saving lives.

 

A man looking at the camera

Dr Douglas Roberts, University of Warwick
Funder: BBSRC
Company/project: Erebagen

The rise in antibiotic-resistant superbugs, drug-resistant cancers, and treatment-resistant crop pests is threatening to significantly impact our health, and quality of life. Typically, companies need to screen 100,000 compounds to find one structure that hits the desired target. This low “hit rate” makes compounds discoveries slow and expensive.

Our innovation enables us to engineer soil bacteria to produce new bioactive natural product compounds with hit rates 20x-better than synthetic chemicals and create structural variants of bioactive molecules. Our developed platform has applications in several sectors including pharmaceutical and agrochemical – to discover and develop new natural products into new medicines and crop protection compounds.

 

A man wearing glasses

Mr Samuel Rotenberg, Heriot-Watt University
Funder: RSE
Company/project: INFINECT, Flat Panel Antenna for Satellite Communications on the Move

Whilst 3G/4G/5G telecommunication services will provide the majority of internet access in urban areas (only 3% of global land area), digital connectivity in remote and rural areas continues to be a significant challenge and will require the provision of satellite connectivity.

INFINECT is developing a low-profile self-scanning antenna to enable fast and reliable broadband connectivity for public safety-driven services and fixed-route transport operations, using available satellite infrastructure. INFINECT patent-pending antenna design provides superior satellite tracking performance and offers improved reliability over traditional approaches at a lower cost. Our solution addresses connectivity demand in the geographies.

 

Equality, diversity, and inclusion

We acknowledge that this round whole cohort is composed of men. We saw a 10/90% women/men split in applications – this is an unusually high imbalance, with a typical 40/60% women/men. Research has shown that women have been disproportionality impacted throughout the Covid-19 pandemic, which has exacerbated the gender inequalities within STEM. Although we acknowledge that this is not the only reason for the gender balance it has likely played a part. Our focus is on encouraging applications from Women through new methods of outreach, awareness and partnerships.

The RSE is taking a number of steps around increasing diversity within funding and awards. Recent calls such as Research Re-boot (Covid-19 impact) Research Grants were designed to support academics who face disadvantage and inequality due to Covid-19, including those who were impacted by caring responsibilities. The framework of the new Research Awards programme is moving towards representing a more inclusive and open funding environment (supporting academics at any career stage, within all disciplines across Scottish HEIs).

This is only the beginning. The RSE has a continued commitment to further embed equality, diversity and inclusion across the organisation.

If you wish to discuss anything related to this or anything regarding the Enterprise Fellowships, please reach out to [email protected].

 

The next call for RSE Enterprise Fellowships will open in Autumn 2021. Find out more:

www.rse.org.uk/awards/enterprise-fellowships/