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Converge Challenge

Converge finalists reveal ground-breaking talent

Claudia Cavalluzzo

Claudia Cavalluzzo: innovation has never been more important

Converge, the entrepreneurial development programme for higher education, says the finalists for this year’s competition show how Scotland’s universities are competing on the global stage with ground-breaking innovations.

Eighteen academic entrepreneurs will contest the final stage which takes place at the V&A Dundee next week. 

For the first time in the programme’s history, women founders outnumber men (55%).

Climate change and health care lead the charge this year with the shortlisted projects spanning everything from a human skin culture system that mimics living skin, to a computer game aimed at gamifying the physiotherapy routine for children suffering from cystic fibrosis.

Finalists are now chasing a prize package of equity-free cash and in-kind business support totalling £220,000 which will be shared across three categories: Converge Challenge, Creative Challenge and Impact Challenge.

Converge director, Claudia Cavalluzzo, said: “Innovation has never been more important that it is today, not just in terms of generating economic growth, but also as a solution to some of society’s most urgent challenges including climate change, social inclusion and public health.

“The calibre of this year’s Converge finalists is proof positive that our Universities are playing a pivotal role in the enterprise agenda and are at the forefront of innovation for the public good.

“By working closely with all Scotland’s universities, we help the most creative thinkers from academia to turn their discoveries and ideas into commercially viable businesses. We are delighted to be working with such a strong cohort of innovators and look forward to spring-boarding their success.”

The full list of finalists is:

Impact Challenge

Astellis – Maggie Ellis – University of St Andrews

Konglomerate Games – Jamie Bankhead – Abertay University 

Seawater Solutions – Yanik Nyberg – University of Strathclyde

SolarisKit – Faisal Ghani – Heriot-Watt University

S’wheat – Amee Ritchie – Queen Margaret University  

Creative Challenge

Atypical Cosmetics Ltd – Marwa Ebrahim – University of Glasgow/The Glasgow School of Art 

Sculpture Placement Group – Kate Robertson – Queen Margaret University

SENSEcity Ltd – Pooja Katara – University of Glasgow/The Glasgow School of Art

Sing Hero – Elizabeth Jenkinson – The Royal Conservatoire of Scotland

Untitled Comics – Cliff Hughes – Robert Gordon University 

Converge Challenge 

Beltfree by Miss James – Emma James – Robert Gordon University

Crover Ltd – Lorenzo Conti – University of Edinburgh

In4Derm – Andrew Woodland – University of Dundee 

mycoBiologics – Fiona Rudkin – University of Aberdeen

Natantis – Maiwenn Kersaudy-Kerhoas – Heriot-Watt University

Nebu-Flow – Elijah Nazarzadeh – University of Glasgow 

Speak:Unique – Alice Smith – University of Edinburgh 

Ten Bio – Michael Conneely – University of Dundee 



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