RSE Enterprise Fellows Celebrate Success at the 2015 Converge Challenge Awards
In front of a packed out Barony Hall at the University of Strathclyde, the Deputy First Minister, John Swinney MSP presented Dr. Richard Walker of Photon Force with the first prize (£60,000) in the Converge Challenge Awards.
Jointly funded by The Scottish Funding Council and Scotland's eight research-intensive universities, the Converge Challenge is Scotland’s premier company creation competition, supporting budding entrepreneurs explore the commercial potential of their inventions.
Dr. Walker, who is about to embark on a Royal Society of Edinburgh (RSE)/SE Enterprise Fellowship, imagined Photon Force Ltd at Edinburgh University. He aims to use the Enterprise Fellowship to develop his company which will design, build and supply scientific sensors that can precisely detect and measure, single photons – the tiny building blocks of light. He said, “I am delighted Photon Force Ltd won the Converge Challenge 2015. Complementing our recent award of a 12 month Enterprise Fellowship, we now have access to financial and commercial resources which will enable Photon Force to accelerate the growth of the business, to launch our innovative product to the life sciences market and to put our powerful imaging technology within reach of researchers worldwide.”
The second prize in the Converge Challenge went to Dr. Caroline Barelle, University of Aberdeen who is currently mid-way through her RSE SE/BBSRC Enterprise Fellowship. Her company, Elasmogen Ltd., is looking to create the next generation of drugs for the treatment of disease. She said, “Receiving the second place prize at the Converge Challenge awards was truly a fantastic moment. It simply could not have happened at a better time for team Elasmogen as we begin the process of spinning out our next-generation therapeutics company. Winning this prestigious award together with the continual coaching I receive as an Enterprise Fellow has provided me with invaluable expertise and the network to support the creation of our new venture.”
The third RSE/SE Enterprise Fellow to receive an award was Salman Tahir from the University of Edinburgh. He won the KickStart award for his project Xi; a specialist software package that studies the cross-linking interactions in proteins to perform crucial data analysis of interest to molecular and structural biologists. On winning the award he commented, “This award is a great boost for project Xi along with the Enterprise fellowship which has opened many doors through a fantastic network and coaching programme. This achievement pushes us further towards our goal of spinning out and attaining commercial success."
The RSE is delighted to see the recognition of home grown entrepreneurial talent in Scotland. It congratulates all the 2015 Converge Challenge finalists and wishes the Enterprise Fellows every success in their future endeavours on the programme.