Converge Challenge 2017

Top prize for Hughes’ child scan technology


Converge Challenge 2017

Prize winners: Liam McMorrow, Juan Pablo Echenique, Corien Staels, Lorna Paul, Holly Butler, Callum MacKinnon, Dave Hughes and Olga Kozlova

Technology that will allow expectant parents to see their unborn child with enhanced image quality won a young entrepreneur a £78,000 prize in a pitching competition.

Dave Hughes of the University of West of Scotland was the winner of this year’s Converge Challenge competition which drew entries from across the Scottish academic community.

Mr Hughes’ novosound project won £50,000 in cash and £28,000 worth of business support, which includes mentoring from Royal Bank of Scotland, automatic entry to pitch on-stage at EIE18 – organised by Informatics Ventures – and an opportunity to match a Scottish Enterprise SMART Feasibility Award.

All main Converge Challenge category winners also gain automatic entry to the semi-final of Scottish EDGE.

This year’s projects included revolutionary sensors, a cooling back-rest cushion for wheelchair users, a blood test to detect brain tumours, algorithms for wind turbines, a birthing mirror for midwifes, an online platform for physiotherapy and sensory gardens for dementia sufferers.

The winners shared an increased prize fund of £170,000 of cash and in-kind prizes at a ceremony in Glasgow attended by First Minister, Nicola Sturgeon, Bob Keiller, chairman of Scottish Enterprise, Professor Sally Mapstone, and the technology pioneer David Sibbald.

Second prize was awarded to Dr Holly Butler of University of Strathclyde with ClinSpec Dx, a simple blood test that can detect brain tumours allowing rapid diagnosis.

The Design and Creativity prize was awarded to Corien Staels from the University of Glasgow of Staels Design, a company that aims to meet the unmet needs in rehabilitation product design.

The KickStart category, which recognises promising early stage projects that are still in their infancy, was won by Juan Pablo Echenique from the University of Edinburgh with Power Enable Solutions, an algorithm that improves the performance of wind turbines

Fiona Denison from University of Edinburgh was named KickStart Digital Entrepreneur for her concept, Birth Mirror that is easily adjustable, submersible and illuminated to assist midwives and all new mums to view the birthing process. 

The Social Enterprise category, focusing on ideas that will have a positive impact on social and environmental issues. was awarded to Lorna Paul from Glasgow Caledonian University for Web-Based Physiotherapy, an online platform for the remote delivery and monitoring of personalised physiotherapy exercise programmes.

The prize for Entrepreneurial Spirit was awarded to Garry Boyle of Heriot-Watt University with HeadSpace Design, a project that helps make life better for adults with dementia who are living in residential care, through the provision of unique sensory gardens.


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