Converge Challenge success for University of Aberdeen researchers and students

Converge Challenge success for University of Aberdeen researchers and students

The business idea of University of Aberdeen academics has finished runner-up in Scotland's premier company creation competition.

Elasmogen – fronted by Professor Andrew Porter and Dr Caroline Barelle, which looks to pioneer next generation biologics for the treatment of auto-inflammatory disease, claimed second spot in the prestigious Converge Challenge event.

Meanwhile, the business idea of two Aberdeen fourth year medical students triumphed in the Social Enterprise Award category. EuroBiotix UK, formed by, James McIlroy and Matthew Bracchi, aims to create a convenient and affordable treatment for Clostridium difficile infection that will be available on the NHS.

The awards were presented at a dinner held at the University of Strathclyde’s Barony Hall on Tuesday evening.

Dr Alasdair Mort and Prof Phillip Wilson’s business idea, Managing Information in Medical Services (MIME) Technologies, also made it through to the final six of the competition.

The successes are the latest in a series for University of Aberdeen innovations. In 2014 Chukwudi Onyia & Jonas Marcius of Next Stage Health & Wellbeing Education, University of Aberdeen were joint winners in the KickStart Social Enterprise Award. And in 2013 Madhu Nair, Founder of Saccade Diagnostics, a spin-out from the University of Aberdeen, won the coveted Converge Challenge competition. 

Deputy First Minister John Swinney said: “Scotland’s schools, colleges and universities have a crucial role in helping our young people to realise their entrepreneurial potential.

“Converge is a great supporter of our Scotland CAN DO initiative. Investing in entrepreneurial education will mean that Scotland will be fostering the next generation of Scottish entrepreneurs and help the Higher Education sector fulfil its vision for Scotland to be a world-leading entrepreneurial and innovative nation, a CAN DO place for business.”

Olga Kozlova, Director of Converge Challenge, comments: "Converge Challenge remains a great motivator to help encourage more academic staff and students to exploit the commercial potential of their inventions and continue our remarkable quest for technological innovation.

This year has been quite exceptional. The diversity of applications from a wide geographical spread across Scotland universities and research institutes has shown our campuses remain full of inspirational innovators wanting to adopt Converge Challenge's array of bespoke learning and business mentoring support programmes that forearm these budding entrepreneurs with the appropriate skill-sets to get their business idea off the ground.  I congratulate all our winners this year."

Guest speaker, Professor David Lane, Founder of SeeByte Inc and Director of the Edinburgh Centre for Robotics also praised the high calibre of Converge entrants this year.

He added: "Scotland’s universities are fortunate to have academic competitions such as Converge Challenge. The business ideas seen at this year’s Converge event can help shape society in one way or another.

From dynamic healthcare innovation, through wearable technology and a raft of ideas which, given the opportunity, have the ability to transform lives, we must heartily congratulate the calibre of innovation which makes Scotland a ‘can do’ country when it comes to cutting edge entrepreneurship."

This year’s judging panel was once again headed by Converge Challenge Chairman, Mervyn Jones, together with Anton Ziolkowski is Professor of Petroleum Geoscience at the University of Edinburgh, Gillian MacAulay, who established the Strathclyde University Incubator Limited (SUI) ) as one of the leading environments for young companies looking to develop and grow, Douglas Anderson, a healthcare technology product design and product commercialisation process specialist, Professor David Milne, founder of Wolfson Microelectronics and Mary Jane Brouwers, an Investment Executive at Archangels.