Aberdeen 'superbug-busting' drugs spin out lands innovation award

Aberdeen 'superbug-busting' drugs spin out lands innovation award

Dr Fiona Rudkin from the University of Aberdeen has won the runner-up prize in a major innovation and entrepreneurship competition.

Dr Rudkin’s mycobiologics spin out company is bringing new, life saving therapeutics to market to fight bacterial and fungal infections that are currently resistant to available treatments.

Her work scooped the award in the Converge Challenge category of The Converge Awards -  Scotland’s annual celebration of academic innovation and entrepreneurship for staff, students and recent graduates across all Scottish Universities. She wins £20,000 and £11,000 of in-kind support.

The annual quest to find the country’s most promising academic entrepreneurs with commercially-viable business ideas took place on Wednesday September 25 at the V&A in Dundee and was attended by 200 guests, including investors, entrepreneurs and the wider business eco-system, with an opening address from University of Aberdeen Principal & Vice-Chancellor Professor George Boyne.

The evening showcased 18 finalists – over half of them women – with an impressive and diverse range of projects across health care, the creative industries, renewables and food security. 

The speaker line-up at the event also included Richard Lochhead MSP, Minister for Further Education, Higher Education and Science; Poonam Gupta OBE, CEO of PG Papers and former Converge alumnus, Christopher McCann of Current Health.

This year for the first time ever, all 18 Scottish Universities have joined forces with the Scottish Funding Council (SFC) to pledge financial support for Converge, with SFC earmarking over £1 million funding to cover the next three years. Further additional support has been pledged by The National Lottery through Creative Scotland for the new ‘Creative’ Challenge.

Claudia Cavalluzzo, Director of Converge, said: As ever, Converge has produced exceptional winners and finalists this year. Many congratulations to them all. What we have seen again this year is the incredible collective talent of our Universities to create transformative, game-changing innovations that have the power to change people’s lives for the better. From disrupting the healthcare market to novel, low cost solar energy collector, Scotland’s Universities have set a new bar for innovation.”

Richard Lochhead MSP, Minister for Further Education, Higher Education and Science, who presented trophies to winners in the Impact and Creative Challenge categories added: “The overall entrants to Converge this year were outstanding and once again demonstrates Scotland’s strengths in academic innovation and entrepreneurship.”

Dr Rudkin is currently supported by an award from Scottish Enterprise’s High-Growth Spin Out Programme.

Converge is Scotland’s leading entrepreneurial development programme for staff, students and recent graduates of Scottish Universities and Research Institutes. Converge represents all of Scotland’s Universities and Research Institutes, demonstrating a strong collaborative enterprise agenda in Scotland. The programme has trained 300 aspiring academic entrepreneurs and supported over 200 businesses, with an overall 84% survival rate.