£300k prize pot

Converge finalists dispel fears of Covid setback

Claudia Cavalluzzo

Claudia Cavalluzzo: ‘exceptional ideas’

The 28 finalists who will compete for a slice of a £300,000 Converge prize pot this year have dispelled any concerns that the past year would adversely impact on the quality of innovation across Scottish academia.

This year’s cohort is drawn from across a range of sectors and includes businesses with solutions to the growing climate crisis and to animal and human health.

Converge director Claudia Cavalluzzo said: “If you had any doubts about the strength of university-led innovation in Scotland, particularly given the setbacks of the last 18 months, then this year’s Converge finalists quickly dispel them.

“Despite all the odds, the quality, creativity and sheer ingenuity of their business ideas is nothing short of exceptional.”

She added: “Turning problems into opportunities is what entrepreneurs do best – even seemingly insurmountable problems like climate change.

“With COP26, the UN Climate Change Conference, just around the corner, it’s great to see that Scotland’s university sector is rising to the challenge and creating a new generation of solutions that will one day turn the tide on the growing climate crisis.”

Successful candidates will receive their prize in equity-free cash and in-kind support at an event on 30 September.

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New for this year, and regardless of whether they emerge as winners, all finalists will receive a cash prize to help fund their new ventures.  This includes £2,000 for each Converge, Creative and Impact Challenge finalist and £500 for each KickStart Challenge finalist.

This year’s speakers include world record-breaking biologist, conservationist and explorer, Sacha Dench and Cabinet Secretary for Finance, Kate Forbes.

Converge is funded by the Scottish Funding Council, all 18 Scottish universities, Creative Scotland and a roster of partners and sponsors – all of whom lend their invaluable expertise and knowledge to helping Converge businesses on their journey to success. They include Cisco, SSE, the Royal Bank of Scotland and CPI Enterprises.  

This year’s finalists are:

Converge Challenge:

Exergy 3Markus RondeEdinburgh
Fitabeo Therapeutics LtdMallikarjan ChitlayaStrathclyde
Lightwater SensorsRoss GillandersSt Andrews
Net AIPaul PatrasEdinburgh
Microplate DxStuart HannahStrathclyde
WellFish DiagnosticsBrian QuinnUWS
X-Genix LtdRebecca GossSt Andrews

Creative Challenge:

CanchaJack OswaldStirling
Knit ItLucy FisherRGU
Make Your Own MusicalsJonathan O’NeillRCS
NeosomeJo-Anne TaitRGU
The Grey HillBarry RobertsonRGU

Impact Challenge:

BioLibertyRoss O’HanlonEdinburgh
eMoodieClaire Ann BangaEdinburgh
LUErin ReidEdin Napier
Silver Lion Innovations LtdRuth CrozierStrathclyde
WallBoAmol DeshmukhGlasgow

KickStart Challenge:

DeepQAThomas CartwrightEdinburgh
Field to FabricRosemary BristowHWU
FirehorseAnna RenoufUHI
FORCEnceBadri AekboteGlasgow
Gibson RoboticsJoe GibsonStrathclyde
MPulse02Victor Ochoa-GutierrezGlasgow
Nozzle CyclesGlen CraigDundee
PodspectrixMarija VellaHWU
ViSion-RFDimitris AnagnostouHWU
WhiteHaulMohamed KassemEdinburgh

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