Engineering YES - 2016 Grand Final

19 July 2016

The eighth national final of Engineering YES was held at Faraday Wharf on the Innovation Birmingham Campus on Wednesday June 15th. Six teams of post-graduate engineering researchers from universities across the UK presented their business plans to a panel of judges that included senior executives from Rolls-Royce, the Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS), the Natural Environment Research Council (NERC) and Potter Clarkson.

This year’s finalist teams were from the Universities of Bath, Birmingham, Loughborough, Manchester, and Nottingham.

Whilst the judges deliberated the teams heard from Dr Phil Harper of Tribosonics Ltd who spoke inspirationally and entertainingly about his journey from completing his PhD at the University of Sheffield to running what is now a well established and successful technology company.

The competition was very closely fought with the winners of the £2,000 first prize, sponsored by Rolls-Royce, being Sygnocare from the University of Nottingham who presented their plan to commercialise a heart rate monitor for new born babies using green light technology. Sygnocare also won the Potter Clarkson £500 prize for the best use of intellectual property.

Team Sygnocare (Menghao Chen, Jessica Butterworth, Enabulele Courage Ogbebor, Olufisayo Olanrewaju, Oriol Gavalda Diaz and Yang Zhang) said, “Engineering YES was a wonderful experience, winning was just the icing on the cake. We had great support from the various mentors during the heat and from the University of Nottingham staff. The lessons we have learnt together are invaluable to our future careers. We didn’t know each other two months ago, but now can very confidently say we are true team mates and lovely friends. This will become one of our best memories and we will cherish it for a long, long time.

Professor Sarah Sharples, Associate Pro-Vice Chancellor for Research and Knowledge Exchange, Faculty of Engineering, University of Nottingham said, “We are extremely proud of the success of this team, drawn from a number of research groups from across the Faculty of Engineering. I’d like to offer the team our warmest congratulations on this tremendous success, demonstrating their excellence in engineering, innovation and entrepreneurship.”

The runners-up, winning a £500 prize sponsored by RBS, were Revma from Loughborough University with a project to commercialise an environmentally friendly, low cost, ozone based water cleaning system for swimming pools.

Final round judge, Matt Price of Rolls-Royce said, “Innovation is the lifeblood of Engineering companies such as Rolls-Royce, and successful innovation requires more than just a great idea. Being able to see an idea through the eyes of our customers and create a convincing plan that transforms an idea into reality are essential ingredients for innovation to thrive. Innovation also needs energy, commitment and great teamwork - all of which were in abundance in the finalists.

New for 2016 was a £500 prize for the best environmental project, sponsored by the Natural Environment Research Council (NERC). The winners of this prize were Calcaneus from the University of Bath for a project to introduce biodegradable cellulose micro-beads for use in cosmetics as an alternative to environmentally harmful plastic beads.

Engineering YES is a national business plan training competition that aims to raise awareness of the commercialisation of engineering ideas and encourages enterprise amongst postgraduate and post-doctoral researchers. This year’s event involved fifteen teams of researchers from universities across the country competing at three workshops. Each workshop heat involved three and a half days of intense activity; teams were given presentations and mentoring covering all the core business skills and had to prepare a business plan for a fictitious but realistic opportunity to a panel of expert judges, including Venture Capitalists and senior managers from the engineering sector.

The competition is organised by Loughborough University in partnership Loughborough Beacon Rotary club.  All the judges, speakers and mentors give their time for free to support projects designed to encourage a new generation of business aware researchers and entrepreneurs.


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