Seven researchers secure funding through the flagship Researcher to Innovator (R2I) programme to continue developing their commercial ideas

Seven researchers secure funding through the flagship Researcher to Innovator (R2I) programme to continue developing their commercial ideas

Published on 24/06/2024
Seven researchers secure funding through the flagship Researcher to Innovator (R2I) programme to continue developing their commercial ideas
Twenty two early career researchers have now successfully completed the Researcher to Innovator (R2I) programme, an exciting entrepreneurship training programme for researchers with ambitions to develop commercial ventures and create impact from their academic studies.

The Options Roundabout event on the 12th June 2024 was the culmination of the R2I programme which saw our researchers pitch to a panel of entrepreneurs, funders and commercialisation experts. The event which was an opportunity for the cohort to network and celebrate their achievements was hosted in our MEC Enterprise Zone, a dedicated entrepreneurship space in the Alliance Manchester Business School. 

The R2I programme aims to inspire and accelerate the translation of the knowledge created through academic research into products, services or processes to deliver tangible benefit through a series of bespoke workshops and mentoring opportunities. The workshops helped researchers articulate their ideas by taking them through a lean start-up pathway to explore the commercial potential of their research.

The Innovation Enabling Awards were granted to acknowledge the impact and growth potential with early career researchers receiving between £2000 to £8000 to further develop the commercial potential of their ideas and businesses.

Aline Miller, Professor of Biomolecular Engineering and Associate Dean for Business Engagement and Innovation, presented the Innovation Enabling Awards to the seven winning projects.
Award Winners

Innovation Enabling Awards: £8,000

Personalised phage therapy for bacteria infections 
Dr Rosanna Wright (School of Biological Sciences)
“The Researcher to Innovator programme has been an incredibly rewarding experience; the workshops, support and mentorship have helped me to understand the potential impact of my research and develop skills to better communicate with stakeholders. I am thrilled to receive an Innovation Prize which will accelerate our pathway to translation. Thank you R2I!”

Josiah Edebiri (School of Engineering)
"The Researcher to Innovator program has been a great experience; I enjoyed connecting with the other aspiring entrepreneurs and found the workshops hugely beneficial in developing my skillset to progress my enterprise moving forward."
Innovation Enabling Awards: £5,000

Scrap Metal Separation
Dr Kane Williams (School of Engineering)
"R2I enabled me to make contacts in areas of my research that I would not have had otherwise. These contacts will allow me to develop my research further and branch out into new areas." 
Gait Analysis System
Muhammad Taimoor Adil (School of Engineering)
“Participating in the Researcher to Innovator programme has been a transformative experience. The award validates my research's potential and provides essential support to turn it into an impactful solution. I'm grateful for the opportunity and excited to advance my deep-tech startup journey.”
Innovation Enabling Awards: £2,000

Breaking the barrier: A science-art hub
Dr Soheb Mandhai (School of Natural Sciences)
 “The R2I journey has opened my mind to new horizons and has equipped me with the foundational skills that I need to build my enterprise.”
Select Xpress
Matthew Reaney (School of Engineering)
“Having completed the program I can say our idea is in a better place and I feel I have skilled-up in terms of my communication of scientific ideas and willingness to reach out to potential collaborators.”
Hongning Ren (School of Natural Sciences)
"I gained more appreciation of how to use my research to actually make a difference - sometimes it's better stepping out from lab to talk to real people, then you can solve some real problems."
The prize winners will also receive expert support and signposting to regional and national accelerator programmes and all the participants on the programme will have access to further support, mentoring and guidance from internal professional support teams, including the opportunity to build relationships with business engagement, Innovation Factory and the Masood Entrepreneurship Centre.

The R2I programme not only encourages and supports researchers to consider the commercial potential of their research but also develops entrepreneurial mind-sets, commercial awareness, confidence, resilience and networking skills. The success of the researchers is testament to their dedication, hard work and commitment throughout the programme. Congratulations to everyone that participated in this cohort and I look forward to supporting you to develop your ideas further.
Dr Laura Etchells, Enterprise Business Development Manager, Masood Entrepreneurship Centre

The R2I options roundabout ‘pitch’ day is always a highlight, and this cohort didn’t disappoint! The researchers were truly inspiring not only in showcasing their passion for their projects but also in seeing their progress in customer discovery and shaping their research into a commercial proposition over the 8 week R2I programme. I wish them all luck and look forward to seeing them, and their ventures, thrive moving forward.
Prof. Aline Miller, Professor of Biomolecular Engineering and Associate Dean for Business Engagement and Innovation

The organisers wish to thank the Engineers for Business Fellowship for their sponsorship of the Innovation Enabling Awards.

Get Involved
If you are an early career researcher looking for an exciting opportunity to develop your innovative thinking and enhance your understanding of creating and developing impact join the next round of the R2I programme. Find out more here.
The Researcher to Innovator (R2I) programme has been coordinated by the University’s Innovation Academy, which brings together knowledge, expertise and routes to facilitate the commercialisation of research. It is a joint venture between the Business Engagement Team, the University of Manchester Innovation Factory and the Masood Entrepreneurship Centre

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