Academic innovators turning AI into force for good

Claudia Cavalluzzo

Claudia Cavalluzzo: ideas thriving (pic: Terry Murden)

Scotland’s universities are harnessing artificial intelligence (AI) as a force for good for both people and the planet, the national springboard for university innovators, Converge, has revealed.

Converge has today unveiled the 100 start-ups and spinouts that will receive support to turn their ideas for products and services into reality and a growing number are using AI to help tackle challenges including the climate emergency, health conditions, and childhood literacy.

As questions arise over AI should be regulated, this year’s cohort demonstrates the power and potential of AI for good.

Examples include Books2Life, created by Aisha Kasim from Robert Gordon University in Aberdeen, which uses AI to create illustrations based on the text of any book, bringing stories to life for children with dyslexia.

Scott Black, from Claymore Surgical at the University of Strathclyde in Glasgow, is using AI to speed up the diagnosis of paediatric obstructive sleep apnoea, one of the most common respiratory disorders in children.

Darius Roman’s yaiLab at Heriot-Watt University in Edinburgh helps companies to optimise their use of large batteries connected to the electricity grid through the use of AI.

Dr Claudia Cavalluzzo, executive director at Converge, said: “This year’s cohort proves that ideas and innovations are thriving in Scotland’s universities, with AI at the heart of many of these new companies. 

“Turning ideas into impact is at the core of Converge’s mission to unlock the potential of innovators, creatives, and aspiring business founders across Scotland’s universities.”

Data released last week by Beauhurst showed that Edinburgh is the top start-up hub outside London, with 12.3% of companies working in AI, digital security, and financial technology. 

Dr Cavalluzzo added: “We are proud to be supporting ambitious people from right across Scotland who demonstrate that university students, staff, and graduates are rising to the challenge of delivering sustainable and inclusive economic growth in every region.

“At Converge, we continue to become more diverse and inclusive, with a 28% increase in applicants from ethnically diverse backgrounds, and an 8% rise in applications from women.

“Broadening diversity and inclusion is part of our aim to change the narrative around the word ‘entrepreneur’, which has negative connotations for lots of people, particularly women and impact-driven individuals.

“Call them creatives, call them innovators, call them founders – these are the people who have the potential to change the world for the better.”

Full cohort list for Converge 2023’s programme of challenges:

Converge Challenge

  • Amytis Ltd (University of Edinburgh)
  • Beoscot Ltd. (Robert Gordon University)
  • SMARTLEARN STUDIO LTD (Robert Gordon University)\0
  • Concinnity Genetics (University of Edinburgh)
  • DeepQA (University of Edinburgh)
  • Georgina Robinson (University of the Highlands and Islands)
  • INFINECT ( Heriot-Watt University)
  • Kaiba (University of Strathclyde)
  • Kineticolor (University of Strathclyde)
  • LOOPSIO (University of Glasgow)
  • Navigate Precision Biology (University of Dundee)
  • Rigpa ltd (University of Edinburgh)
  • SensiBile (University of Edinburgh)
  • Singular Photonics (University of Edinburgh)
  • Soumya Palliyil (University of Aberdeen)
  • TargoPep Ltd. (University of Strathclyde)
  • TETCo (Glasgow Caledonian University)
  • TrueDeploy (Edinburgh Napier University)
  • WhiteHaul (University of Edinburgh)
  • Hubble Bubble (University of Dundee)

Create Change Challenge

  • Education Evolved Ltd (University of Glasgow)
  • Exhibition Artspace Ltd (Robert Gordon University)
  • Field to Fabric (Heriot-Watt University)
  • Holly Elissa (University of the West of Scotland)
  • Impact Investment Academy (Edinburgh Napier University)
  • Marmoset Construction Ltd (Royal Conservatoire of Scotland)
  • NCLSV (Glasgow Caledonian University)
  • Overdrive Dance Company (Royal Conservatoire of Scotland)
  • Person Centred Solutions Ltd (University of the Highlands and Islands)
  • Queerativity (Queen Margaret University)
  • Screen Hustler (University of the West of Scotland)
  • Selki Store (University of Stirling)
  • Shasha Network (University of Edinburgh)
  • Shivoh (Heriot-Watt University)
  • The Frangipane Bakery (Open University Scotland)
  • The Starving Artist (University of Glasgow)
  • Two Raccoons (University of Aberdeen)
  • Ujamaa Spice (University of Edinburgh)
  • Whimsylabs (University of Edinburgh)
  • Wild-Ness Spa & Retreat Ltd (University of Aberdeen)

KickStart Challenge

  • 4SB Mobility Ltd (Heriot-Watt University)
  • Academy of Thought (University of Strathclyde)
  • AeroDundee (University of Dundee)
  • AllSteady (University of Dundee)
  • AMJ Tech Consultants Ltd (University of Glasgow)
  • Ansearch (Heriot-Watt University)
  • Bobbll LTD (University of Glasgow)
  • Books2Life (Robert Gordon University)
  • CEXAL (University of Edinburgh)
  • Claymore Surgical Ltd (University of Strathclyde)
  • David Husz (University of the West of Scotland)
  • Dr Goat (University of the Highlands and Islands)
  • Ealanta Digital Ltd (Queen Margaret University)
  • effMobility (University of Strathclyde)
  • Excellio Labs (University of Edinburgh)
  • GenProtex (University of Dundee)
  • GFibers (University of Strathclyde)
  • Giraud (University of Strathclyde)
  • GlycemIA (University of Dundee)
  • Ovation Agriculture (Scotland’s Rural College (SRUC))
  • Happy Leaf (University of Strathclyde)
  • Holo-Labs (Robert Gordon University)
  • iQuestIRL (University of Glasgow)
  • KindHive (University of St Andrews)
  • LastingAsset (Edinburgh Napier University)
  • Mantas (University of Glasgow)
  • Marine Forest (University of St Andrews)
  • Matilda Remijsen(Glasgow School of Art)
  • Neurodapt (University of Strathclyde)
  • NORTHERN FRIGHTS (Open University Scotland)
  • Nuclevolve Pvt. Ltd. (University of Glasgow)
  • Parameter Ltd (Robert Gordon University)
  • PELLET (Scotland’s Rural College (SRUC))
  • Peter Hou (University of Strathclyde)
  • Rehabi-Ware (University of Dundee)
  • Rescue Winch Ltd (University of Dundee)
  • Rowan (University of Strathclyde)
  • School link LTD (Abertay University)
  • Silico (University of St Andrews)
  • Socialyz (University of Strathclyde)
  • Soleus Digital Health (University of Edinburgh)
  • SöT Böna (University of Aberdeen)
  • SymphoMe (University of Edinburgh)
  • SynSense (University of Edinburgh)
  • Team Bravo (University of Aberdeen)
  • Thomas Molony (Glasgow Caledonian University)
  • Tourprism (University of Stirling)
  • World of Medics (University of Dundee)
  • Zaiqiao Meng (University of Glasgow)
  • Zhengjian Wang; Rashed Hasan (University of Strathclyde)

Net Zero Challenge

  • CataNiTek (University of Strathclyde)
  • ENTROPYST (University of Strathclyde)
  • FireHorse (Scotland’s Rural College (SRUC))
  • Moxie Energy Group (University of Edinburgh)
  • Rockit (Heriot-Watt University)
  • VanFill (University of the Highlands and Islands)
  • Vertical Forest C.I.C (University of Strathclyde)
  • Well Spent ltd (Abertay University)
  • YaiLab (Heriot-Watt University)
  • Zephyrus Aerolabs Ltd (University of Aberdeen)

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