Bristol’s scientific talent win entrepreneurship prize
Press release issued: 11 January 2010
A team of researchers from the University of Bristol has won an award in a national competition that rewards exceptional entrepreneurial skills.
The annual Biotechnology YES competition, hosted by the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC) and the University of Nottingham Institute for Enterprise and Innovation (UNIEI), involved teams of early-career researchers pitching their ideas for a hypothetical product and company to a panel of investors.
The multi-disciplinary team, comprising of mathematician, Chris Joyner, bioscientist, Graham Britton, chemists, Daniel Carew and Rebecca Rice, pitched their ideas for a hypothetical product called the AviFilter, a novel medical device to treat Multiple Sclerosis (MS). The device works by removing disease-causing white blood cells from the blood without any of the side effects associated with existing therapies.
Together, they pitched their ideas against 13 other teams and won the award for ‘best healthcare business plan’, one of six ‘Biotechnology YES awards’, sponsored by GlaxoSmithKline.
Graham Britton, who is studying for a PhD in immunology at the University of Bristol, said: "We are delighted to have won this award, the competition has enabled us all to be exposed to the commercial aspect of science which we do not normally come into contact with during our postgraduate studies. It was a fantastic experience and has taught us all so much."
Professor Sir Tom Blundell, Chair of BBSRC, said: "Having been involved with the launch of Biotechnology YES in 1995, it has been good to see that the competition continues to grow from strength to strength. The standard is remarkably high and the ideas people have come up with are certainly innovative. I would like to congratulate all the finalists for their impressive achievements and acknowledge the hard work everyone has put in to developing their ideas.
"This competition is an excellent opportunity for scientists to develop important skills for commercialising research, and indeed these scientists now have a good grasp of finance, marketing and intellectual property. UK science has great potential and researchers must recognise and realise that potential for social and economic benefit in the UK and beyond. The participants in the competition should be commended for their commitment to developing the skills to make this happen for their own research."
The final of the competition was held at held at One Whitehall Place, London. For more information visit the Biotechnology Yes website.