Dundee entrant makes top ten in battle for Scotland’s biggest start-up prize
A researcher at the University of Dundee has been short-listed in a Scotland-wide competition for start-ups, with £45,000 as the first prize.
The short-listed applicants for Converge Challenge, whittled down from 50, include Lee Baker, who is based in the School of Medicine at Dundee.
Lee is a statistician who specialises in research into breast cancer.
His business start-up is centred around MOSAIC, a fully-automated intelligent statistical analysis system that analyses data without requiring prior statistical knowledge.
Conducting statistical analyses of complex datasets is demanding and time-consuming, made all the more difficult by current statistical packages that assume that users are knowledgeable and experienced. MOSAIC presents a unique alternative.
Lee is currently building a company, Chi-Squared Innovations, that will offer the use of MOSAIC and specialist advice on how to apply it.
Using web-based internet technology and needing only a device that has an internet connection and a web-browser, MOSAIC will be accessible by anyone, anywhere and at any time.
Converge Challenge, run by Heriot-Watt University, gives students and members of staff of any Scottish university the chance to develop the commercial potential of their inventions with a four month-long series of business mentoring and training, before being short-listed for the final prize, £25k cash funding and a further £20k in-kind support from the private sector.
The rest of the top ten business ideas on the list include ‘dress rehearsal’ facility for surgeons, a new form of plastic that can purify water, and ‘smart paint’ that detects structural defects.
Olga Kozlova, creator of Converge Challenge, said, “New and existing SMEs are set to be a key driver in Scotland’s economic recovery.
“Converge Challenge is about equipping people with the right skills and support they need to turn their academic research into a successful commercial venture.
“All ten short-listed entrants have a market-focussed product or service, and have demonstrated impressive commercial acumen and business planning.
“Going by the number and quality of this year’s entrants, Scotland’s track record of nurturing home-grown entrepreneurs across life sciences, IT, design and other key sectors, looks set to continue.”
In addition to the top ten, a special ‘Entrepreneurial Spirit’ award of £2,000 support has been awarded to Christine Watson, who is using her research into smart fabrics and heat-sensitive dyes to develop fashionable, water-proof garments, some of which may change colour as body heat alters, targeted primarily at music festival-goers.
This year, Converge Challenge has seen a record number of applicants, 50 from 14 separate institutions across Scotland, up 18% on the previous year.
According to the Higher Education Statistics Authority, university research led to the creation of 184 spin-offs in Scotland in 2010/11, up from 74 in 2008/9. With the Scottish Government considering how to ensure more public sector contracts go to SMEs, the opportunities for start-ups are growing.
The Beano's Bash Street Kids will have a Dundee street named in their honour.
Company formation in Dundee reached record-breaking levels during the first half of the year, according to data in the latest Duport Business Confidence Report.
Martin Kemp, one of the world’s leading authorities on Leonardo da Vinci, will give a public lecture in Dundee next Saturday (Sept 1st) to mark the arrival in the city of a new exhibition of Leonardo’s drawings. 'Ten Drawings by Leonardo da Vinci: A Diamond Jubilee Celebration from the Royal Collection' is at The McManus: Dundee’s Art Gallery and Museum, from August 31st to November 4th. It is the only Scottish venue hosting the exhibition.
The University of Dundee has been ranked best in the UK in this year's Times Higher Education Student Experience Survey.
The Times Higher Education student experience survey is one of the biggest polls of student opinion in the UK, gathering responses from more than 14,000 full-time undergraduates at 105 institutions.