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    Author Archive

    Last chance to win up to £2,000 cash to explore your idea for a new business

    “We pledge to inject up to £2,000 each month into a new idea that we believe to be innovative.” – Innovation Optimiser, UMIP.

    Do you have an idea for a new business? Are you a staff member at The University of Manchester? Apply today for an Ignition Award of up to £2,000 to test its viability.

    The team at Innovation Optimiser made a pledge back in January to provide an Ignition Award of up to £2,000 each month* until the end of July 2019 to an innovative idea. Sticking to that promise, £12,000 has been awarded to 6 new projects over the last 6 months. This funding has enabled awardees from across all faculties at the university to explore their idea through market validation and create product prototypes to test within industry.


    The 14th “Chunhui Cup” Oversea Students Innovation and Entrepreneurship Competition

    The “Chunhui Cup” – the national Chinese Students Innovation and Entrepreneurship Competition – is the most prestigious and influential entrepreneurial competition in China, jointly organised by the Chinese Ministry of Education and the Chinese Ministry of Science and Technology.

    The winners of the “Chunhui Cup” have the opportunity to get very close connections with international partners, often resulting in the development of a new level of international collaborations in business, technology and research.


    The £2,000 Ignition Awardees for April are…

    Rahul Shah and Nipin Gopi, Alliance Manchester Business School

    We’re delighted to announce that the winners of the April Ignition Award allocation are Rahul Shah and Nipin Gopi, both recent MBA graduates from AMBS.

    Last month, we teamed up with the Masood Enterprise Centre (MEC) and worked with the University’s Blockchain Society, ‘Blockchainers’, to award up to £2,000 to an idea containing blockchain technology.

    Rahul and Nipin presented a fascinating concept which uses blockchain to secure our online environment. Their focus is predominantly around the security of emails using identity management which could be of great importance to certain financial organisations.

    With Cyberattacks becoming increasingly dangerous to organizations, it is no wonder that the Cyber Security market is worth billions.

    “With a background in Computer Science, I’m aware of the risks that organisations face due to cyberattacks and with advancements in technology, the attacks will only get more sophisticated,” commented Rahul. He added, “we live in an age where we are dependent upon the internet, in particular emailing. Emails are not getting replaced in the near future and organisations are becoming increasingly vulnerable to technological threats such as cyberattacks, as they may be designed to access or destroy sensitive data or steal money. Using blockchain technology we have come up with a method to secure enterprise email networks by ensuring the emails can be verified and traced.

    “Having had an interest in entrepreneurship since before we can remember, we’re excited to have an idea that we believe will swell in the market. It’s really encouraging to have the support from both MEC and the Innovation Optimiser to help move this forward.”

    Nipin added, “our idea is still quite early stage, but we’re keen to get started on developing it. Winning this [Ignition Award] will now enable us to create a prototype to test our methods before approaching financial firms within Manchester. Our mission is to make our world more secure, one email at a time!”

    Do you have a solution to a commercial, societal, or environmental problem? Then you could be the Ignition Award winner for May. Apply now to get your idea off the ground by emailing ignitionawards@umip.com

    The Innovation Optimiser Ignition Award of up to £2,000 is available every month* until the end of July 2019 for staff and Early Career Researchers† (ECRs) at The University of Manchester with innovative ideas.

    For more information, please visit the FAQs on our website.

    The closing date for this month’s award is Sunday 26th May 2019.

    *Subject to availability.

    † UK Research Council definition of ECR: an individual who is within eight years of the award of their PhD or equivalent professional training, or an individual who is within six years of their first academic appointment. These durations exclude any period of career break, e.g. for family care or health reasons. The ‘first academic appointment’ is defined as the first paid contract of employment, either full-time or part-time, which lists research and/or teaching as the primary functions. The award of PhD is defined at the point of successful PhD viva.


    Ignite your idea this May with up to £2,000

    We are on the lookout for new, budding entrepreneurs with innovative ideas. We’re proud to have supported so many people already this year across all faculties at The University of Manchester with their fantastic ideas; from meetings to discuss the commercial potential of an idea, through to hosting exclusive commercialisation programmes for early career researchers to help develop innovative thinking and an entrepreneurial mindset. We’ve plugged tens of thousands of pounds into innovators to enable them to conduct customer discovery, but we don’t want to stop there!

    We at the Innovation Optimiser made a pledge back in January to provide a £2,000 Ignition Award* to an innovative idea each month until the end of July 2019. We have stuck to our promise so far awarding £6,000 in total to three new projects. This funding has enabled the campus-based innovators to attend both national and international events, meet with potential customers to gather invaluable feedback and create product prototypes to test in industry. Brilliant, right?

    Let us ignite your idea this May with our monthly Ignition Award.

    Do you have an idea that you believe would make a great business opportunity? Do you have the solution to a problem and desperate to share it with the world? Are you an ambitious member of staff at The University of Manchester and ready to test your idea in a risk-free environment? Then apply today for an Ignition Award of up to £2,000.

    To obtain an application form, please email IgnitionAwards@umip.com – the closing date for this month’s award is Sunday 26th May 2019.

    Questions? We have a range of FAQs published on our blog which you may find useful before submitting an application. Alternatively, feel free to contact us using the email above.

    For inspiration, please take a look at some CASE STUDIES to learn about other campus-based innovators who have received support through the Innovation Optimiser.

    *Subject to availability.


    Our March Ignition Award winners are…

    Dr Jean-Marc Schwartz and Petronela Buiga

    We are delighted to be awarding Dr Jean-Marc Schwartz and Petronela Buiga from the School of Biological Sciences a £2,000 Ignition Award; an initiative to empower campus-based innovators in a risk-free environment.

    Jean-Marc and Petronela have been working on data intensive techniques within the Faculty of Biology, Medicine and Health to support researchers with their data analysis. Since recognising the impact their service has on accelerating discoveries in Biology and Medicine, they are keen to branch this out nationally at first, with a vision to go global.

    Jean-Marc commented: “We’ve been delivering our analytical services in FBMH for a while now and recently recognised the potential it could have to support not just researchers at The University of Manchester, but also for external research groups. Our specialised analytical services help users exploit their data to a higher level and provides new information to researchers, helping them to accelerate their discoveries.”

    Petronela added: “Between us, we have over 25 years of experience in Bioinformatics, and with our professionalism and expertise we’re motivated to scale what we do to ultimately be a leading bioinformatics analysis service. With the support we’re receiving through the Innovation Optimiser Roadmap programme combined with this Ignition Award, we’re both really excited to drive our enterprise forward, and are grateful for the opportunity.”

    Jean-Marc and Petronela will use their Ignition Award to attend conferences and events around the UK and US to speak with potential users to clarify the needs, which will help them shape their business model.

    The Innovation Optimiser Ignition Award of up to £2,000 is available every month* until the end of July 2019 for staff and Early Career Researchers† (ECRs) at The University of Manchester with innovative ideas.

    Do you have a solution to a commercial, societal, or environmental problem? Then you could be our April Ignition Award winner. Apply now to get your idea off the ground by emailing ignitionawards@umip.com

    For more information, please visit the FAQs section of our website.

    Closing date for this month’s award is Thursday 25th April 2019.

    *Subject to availability.
    † UK Research Council definition of ECR: an individual who is within eight years of the award of their PhD or equivalent professional training, or an individual who is within six years of their first academic appointment. These durations exclude any period of career break, e.g. for family care or health reasons. The ‘first academic appointment’ is defined as the first paid contract of employment, either full-time or part-time, which lists research and/or teaching as the primary functions. The award of PhD is defined at the point of successful PhD viva.


    April Ignition Award: now open for applications!

    Apply today for an Ignition Award of up to £2,000 to test the feasibility of your idea.

    Do you have an idea that you believe would make a great business opportunity? Do you have a solution to a problem and desperate to share it with the world? Are you a member of staff at The University of Manchester? Then apply today for an Ignition Award of up to £2,000 to test the feasibility of your idea.

    The Innovation Optimiser have pledged to inject up to £2,000 each month* to the end of the current academic year into new ideas that we believe to be innovative.

    This Ignition Award allocation supports our vision to inspire and further build on the spirit of innovation and entrepreneurship across campus. Available every month until the end of July 2019, staff and Early Career Researchers (ECRs) at The University have the opportunity to apply for an Ignition Award of up to £2,000. This funding may be used to test your idea, learn more about what is needed to progress with your idea and even create a prototype product.

    We have a range of FAQs published on our blog which you may find useful before submitting an application.

    To obtain an application form, please email IgnitionAwards@umip.com – the closing date for this month’s award is Thursday 25th April 2019.

    For inspiration, feel free to take a look at some CASE STUDIES to learn about other campus-based innovators who received support through the Innovation Optimiser programme.

    *Subject to availability.


    Second series of the ‘Researcher to Innovator’ programme launching May 2019

    SECURE YOUR PLACE TODAY

    Due to popular demand, the UMIP Innovation Optimiser are pleased to announce the launch of a second series of the Researcher to Innovator (R2I) programme this May. R2I is a brand-new fully-funded programme that was introduced to The University of Manchester earlier this year. It familiarises Early Career Researchers* (ECRs) with the concept of commercialisation and encourages creativity, innovative thinking and an entrepreneurial mindset. Throughout the 4-part programme, ECRs can explore and refine their ideas and conduct good-quality customer discovery activities.

    As a researcher at an early stage in your career, it can be both daunting and exciting to discover that, increasingly, universities are encouraging you to maximise the potential impact of your research. This programme will encompass an initial ‘boot-camp’ style event, lasting just short of 12 hours comprising a series of interactive professional development sessions, which will enable you to identify skills and opportunities to develop impact through commercialisation.

    This event will take place on Tuesday 14th May 2019 and is limited to 30 ambitious ECRs at The University of Manchester.

    The inaugural R2I programme launched in February and was a huge success. Abouzied Nasar, an ECR from the school of MACE commented: “I attended the R2I boot-camp back in February after my line manager Prof. Benedict Rogers recommended it to me. I saw it as an opportunity to find out what support is available to develop my idea for a start-up business. I knew the programme was focussed around commercialisation, but I wasn’t expecting to gain the skills and support that I have from just three workshops. The other ECRs and I soon became a pretty close-knit group, sharing ideas and supporting one another with our experiences and thinking. With the help of the R2I team I managed to identify key groups within business that I needed to speak with to evaluate the merit of my idea. I’ve recently been awarded just over £3,000 in funding through the Innovation Optimiser to enable me to go out and test the feasibility of my idea in the global market; I’m very excited for what the future holds. In summary: If you are an ECR with even an inch of an idea I strongly recommend the R2I programme. It is an incredible opportunity not to be missed!”

    If you would like to benefit from this bespoke programme of support, please register using EVENTBRITE by the 9th May 2019. Places are available on a FCFS basis.

    Please note: this event is exclusive to ECRs at The University of Manchester.

    *UK Research Council definition of ECR: an individual who is within eight years of the award of their PhD or equivalent professional training, or an individual who is within six years of their first academic appointment. These durations exclude any period of career break, e.g. for family care or health reasons. The ‘first academic appointment’ is defined as the first paid contract of employment, either full-time or part-time, which lists research and/or teaching as the primary functions. The award of PhD is defined at the point of successful PhD viva.


    Our February Ignition Awardee is…

    Dr Daniel White, Senior Scientific Officer from Cancer Research UK Manchester Institute

    Congratulations to Dr Daniel White, winner of a £2,000 Ignition Award through the UMIP Innovation Optimiser; an initiative that empowers innovators across the University campus. Daniel’s idea aims to ultimately make the lives of researchers easier by providing commercially managed on-site ultra-low temperature sample storage.

    Daniel commented: “I have first-hand experience as a scientific researcher of the hassle of storing biomedical samples on-site. I believe my idea has the potential to free up valuable time and financial resources of University staff, allowing them to focus on what’s important – research and teaching.

    “The support available through the Innovation Optimiser, including both the Ignition Award and the Roadmap programme, will be a great help in driving my enterprise forward. Using my knowledge and enthusiasm I am determined to make a success of it.”

    Daniel will be spending the next few months developing new relationships with stakeholders as well as gathering market research data from potential future users.

    If you’re a researcher who stores samples at -80 degrees and below, please take just 5 minutes to help Daniel drive his venture forward by completing this short survey via Survey Monkey.

    The Innovation Optimiser Ignition Award of up to £2,000 is available every month* until the end of July 2019 for staff and early career researchers at The University of Manchester with innovative ideas.

    Do you have a solution to a commercial, societal, or environmental problem? Then you could be our March Ignition Award winner. Apply now to get your idea off the ground by emailing ignitionawards@umip.com

    To find out more about the monthly Ignition Awards and about the support available through the Innovation Optimiser, please register today for this free event, ‘Ignite Your Idea’ taking place on Wednesday 27th March over at The Milk & Honey Café, 1pm-2.30pm.

    *Subject to availability


    March Ignition Award: Open for applications!

    Do you have an innovative idea and would like some support to develop your own business? Are you a member of staff at The University of Manchester? Apply today for a grant of up to £2,000 to test its viability.

    The Innovation Optimiser have pledged to inject up to £2,000 each month* to the end of the current academic year into new ideas that we believe to be innovative.

    This Ignition Award allocation supports our vision to inspire and further build on the spirit of innovation and entrepreneurship across The University of Manchester. Available every month until the end of July 2019, staff and Early Career Researchers (ECRs) at The University have the opportunity to apply for an Ignition Award of up to £2,000. This funding may be used to test the feasibility of your idea, learn more about what is needed to progress with your idea and even create a prototype product.

    For further information about the monthly Ignition Awards you’re invited to attend our FREE event on Wednesday 27th March, ‘Ignite Your Idea’, over at the Milk & Honey café and hear first hand about the support available through Innovation Optimiser from one of our previous awardees. Book your place today.

    To obtain an application form, please email ignitionawards@umip.com

    The closing date for the March Ignition Award is Monday 25th March 2019.

    For inspiration, take a look at some CASE STUDIES to read about The University of Manchester innovators who received support through the Innovation Optimiser programme.

    *Subject to availability.


    A resounding success for Innovation Optimiser’s new Researcher to Innovator programme

    Researcher to Innovator (R2I) has been heralded a resounding success with over 25 early career researchers from The University of Manchester participating in this new and exclusive programme.

    R2I introduces the concept of commercialisation aiming to develop innovative thinking and an entrepreneurial mindset. This fully funded ‘boot-camp’ style event lasted just short of 12 hours, testing the Early Career Researchers’ (ECRs) abilities to remain focussed, engaged and motivated – three crucial, yet natural skills of successful entrepreneurs.

    The University of Manchester Intellectual Property (UMIP) commissioned Dr Simon Brown and Alan Scrase to design and deliver the programme. Simon and Alan are renowned for the creation of ICURe – Innovate UK’s award-winning commercialisation programme, and have worked on a number of high value, innovative projects throughout their careers.

    Tony Walker, Director of Innovation Optimiser, UMIP, said: “We were, and still are extremely excited to work with Simon and Alan in both designing and delivering the 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 in commercialising Manchester-based discoveries to deliver societal and economic benefit.

    “It was an informative and enjoyable day filled with an abundance of interactive activities; the whole group did a fantastic job in staying focussed and committed throughout the 12 hours. We had some brilliant ideas floating around the room which we’re really interested in supporting through the process.”

    Jessica Grocutt, Enterprise and Business Development Assistant who co-developed and manages the R2I programme commented: “The programme reached capacity in just two weeks and accrued a hefty waiting list, which demonstrates that the demand for such activity is certainly there. We are already looking to fund another R2I programme in the near future, and it excites us to be able to offer the support to our campus-based innovators and enhance their entrepreneurial skills.”

    All attendees have been invited to participate in the next stage of the R2I programme where they will further refine their ideas and test the viability of their business plan.

    To hear more about the support available through the Innovation Optimiser, register now for your free place at our ‘Ignite Your Idea’ event on Wednesday 27th March from 13.00 – 14.30 at the Milk & Honey Café, St Peter’s House, Oxford Road, Manchester.