We aim to foster a culture of entrepreneurship, innovation and success among engineers in the UK, creating economic growth and societal impact. At the heart of how we do this are the Hub Members, the promising entrepreneurs who we support through our programmes, and our Hub Mentors, the business leaders who volunteer their expertise and time to help the Hub Members succeed.
From manufacturing to medtech, our Hub Membership is made up of some of the UK’s most innovative entrepreneurs. But don’t just take our word for it: read more about our Hub Members to see how they are, without exaggeration, changing the world.
Companies dedicate lots of time and resources to innovating breakthrough products, yet a large majority of consumer packaged goods product launches fail: estimates suggest up to 90%. Solutions for mapping markets, consumer patterns and their complex relationships can help uncover new insights and support the creative thinking needed for successful innovation.
Klydo has developed a tool that provides innovation insights using artificial intelligence (AI). Its platform provides consumer brands with the market intelligence needed to accelerate product innovation, by using algorithms that enable a quantitative approach in what is traditionally qualitative research.
The technology aims to support and enhance creative thinking in any team. It works by combining machine learning with data visualisation to bring existing online information to life in creative and user-friendly ways.
Current approaches to market research can be expensive and time-consuming, typically lasting two to three months. Klydo’s technology works in real-time to offer differentiating perspectives, reveal unmade connections, and expose patterns and trends. This helps companies to more easily and efficiently build new products, make smarter, strategic decisions and improve innovation roadmapping.
Nick Schweitzer, CEO and Co-Founder, got the
idea to develop the technology based on an interest in how to engineer the
creative spark behind innovation. Klydo’s technology brings together diverse
interests and expertise in fields such as design thinking, psychology and AI.
It currently sells to leading brands such as Unilever, with others in line to
trial the platform.
Nick Schweitzerwas awarded a 2018 Enterprise Fellowship to continue developing the technology and support a growing team at Klydo. Klydo is also supported by Venture Capitalists Episode 1 and True.
There are 1.2 million wheelchair users in the UK and children are the fastest-growing user group. For many wheelchair users, comfort and independent use is restricted because of poor postural support.
Poor posture impacts a child’s ability to breathe, swallow and communicate, affecting physical health and deterring them from socially engaging with the world comfortably and independently. There are over 70,000 young wheelchair users in the UK and parents with a disabled child spend an average of £200 million annually on specialist equipment.
Aergo has developed responsive, postural support seating for young wheelchair users. It uses pressure-sensitive inflatable supports that react to a user’s position to reinforce posture.
Aergo’s cost-effective solution works by inflating or deflating separate cells to achieve a natural and responsive form of support. Controlled either by the user or automatically, the technology increases independence by reducing the need for manual repositioning.
Current solutions are bulky and expensive. Some use straps and wedges to fix users into a single position, which restrict movement. This can lead to poor blood circulation and an increased likelihood of developing pressure ulcers. For children with cerebral palsy, scoliosis and paraplegia, Aergo posture support is adaptable for use in a variety of chairs and buggies, and expands in width for longer-term use.
Working with a special educational needs school inspired Sheana Yu, Founder and CEO, to find better ways to support children to interact with their environment. This led to the development of the seating technology, Sheana now leads the startup in finalising designs to comply with safety standards. The aim is to launch Aergo seating to market by 2020.
Sheana Yu was awarded the 2018 Enterprise Fellowship to continue developing this technology and her startup Aergo.
Over 70% of the world’s coastlines experience erosion, which is increasing at an exponential rate due to climate change. Coral reefs provide valuable ecosystems that naturally prevent this erosion, but these are also rapidly being lost globally.
Zyba Ltd has developed CCell, a technology that uses wave energy to create artificial coral reefs in any shape or size. This can provide a long-term, ecological solution to coastal erosion, restoring fisheries and enhancing tourism in the process by creating new scuba dive sites.
CCell technology is an ultra-lightweight energy converter that uses ocean waves to generate electricity. This is used to power BioRock – a process of electrolysis that makes sea minerals form around a steel structure, effectively creating a reef. The process enables corals to grow up to five times faster than they would naturally.
Many coastal regions such as those in Indonesia, the Dominican Republic and Mexico rely heavily on tourist income. Governments and the hotel industry absorb the high costs of coastal protection and many current solutions are both temporary and, in some cases, can increase erosion rates over time.
CCell has gained significant interest in Mexico where local partners have been supporting pilot projects to demonstrate the benefits in this key market. Future plans include scaling up the technology to increase access to a market that is valued at £16 billion globally. Tara Massoudi leads Business Development at Zyba Ltd and is responsible for developing the partnerships that will support the growth of the company and the implementation of its core technology, CCell.
In 2018, Tara Massoudi was awarded an 1851 Royal Commission Enterprise Fellowship to support Zyba as it expands and brings its technology to market. Zyba Ltd has also been supported by Innovate UK as well as the EU Commission as part of a Horizon 2020 project.
Drones can be used to significantly reduce time, cost and risk of structural surveying and inspection, but they generate large quantities of image-related data that can be costly and resource-intensive to process.
TRIK has developed software that makes drone use for surveying and inspection more accessible. It takes photos and videos captured by drones and automatically turns them into an interactive 3D model that acts as a twin of the real structure.
The technology opens up new possibilities for engineers to visualise sites and structures. Its interactive 3D models can be used to generate insights and also double as a database. They can be used for fast and efficient search, measurement, analysis and comment without the need to visit the actual structure.
It can make drone photography more efficient with processes for auto-tagging images and mapping changes across time. This supports surveyors, asset managers and engineers by making it easier to detect structural changes, predict failure, evaluate risk and maintain sites.
Drone-related services are projected to grow dramatically in the next five years. For example, growth for drone software in asset monitoring and inspection is predicted to reach $7.5 billion by 2022.
Led by Dr Pae Natwilai, an innovator selected
for the Forbes 30 Under 30 Europe Industry list in 2018, TRIK is working with
companies to scale its systems and impact the global market for drone software.
It aims to achieve this by making drone survey and inspection more accessible,
without the need for significant technical expertise.
Dr Natwilai was awarded a 2018 Enterprise Fellowship to support her in bringing TRIK’s solutions to market. TRIK is also funded by Zoopla founder, Alex Chesterman, and LoveFilm founder, Simon Franks.
The ability to manipulate sound waves could lead to new opportunities and products in a wide range of sectors, from medical imaging to improved building acoustics. Achieving this is a challenge as many current technologies are large, inefficient and expensive.
Metasonics’ new technology can focus, sculpt and direct soundwaves in real time, bringing enhanced control and new functionality to sound.
Similar to how a projector transforms a single light beam into a vast and varied image, the technology can make a single speaker sound like hundreds of individual speakers. It uses acoustic metamaterials, and is a cost-effective, compact and scalable solution with the potential to disrupt a range of sectors.
The patented technology easily and flexibly manipulates sound and can be adapted to different contexts and environments. It also has lower power consumption, so increases the applications of a single device.
Sectors that could benefit include building and architecture where the technology can be used for effective sound insulation. Metasonics filters (such as sound-proof windows) are suitable for places where light and air flow are beneficial, yet external noise levels are an obstacle.
It could also improve ultrasonic testing for non-destructive safety evaluation in structures such as bridges, aircrafts and power stations. The ultrasound technology also opens up new possibilities in medical therapies and diagnostics. Metasonics’ solutions can improve the quality and detail in non-invasive imaging and help to tailor therapies such as high-intensity-focused ultrasound, which is used to reduce tumours and in various fat reduction and plastic surgeries.
Metasonics initial market focus is silence through smart engineering within the automotive sector. Its technology can provide more effective and efficient control strategies to help improve comfort and sound insulation inside a vehicle cockpit.
In consumer or other more complex markets, Metasonics’ technology shares a common goal: increase efficiency and cost reduction for end users. Current and future products encompass proprietary designs, which yield substantial benefits over competitive products, enable new applications and open up new markets.
Dr Mihai Caleap, CEO, has a multidisciplinary background and leads the startup in optimising designs and prototyping with a view to creating the first spatial sound modulator for shaping and manipulating sound.
Dr Caleap was awarded a 2018 Enterprise Fellowship to provide him with time to develop Metasonics’ technology and support the company’s growth.
Minimally invasive surgery offers significant benefits over conventional surgery. Smaller incisions lead to faster healing times and improved patient outcomes. However, these intricate procedures can be challenging to perform. Up to one in six surgeries still result in complications, many of which could be prevented by using better surgical planning tools.
Innersight’s 3D modelling technology can be used by surgeons to improve operative planning. It uses medical scans to create interactive, 3D models of a patient’s anatomy. Surgeons can then refine these models, using interactive artificial intelligence tools, to plan surgeries and visualise potential risks.
The technology uses deep learning algorithms to create accurate models that can be viewed on mobile devices, used in virtual reality or 3D printed. Innersight’s solutions are web-based, allowing surgeons to build and view models from any computer with an internet connection without installing specialised software.
Their retrospective clinical study has shown that the technology has helped surgeons adapt their approach in up to one in five cases. This leads to better informed decisions about, for example, which vessels to clamp or the right area for tissue incision. By reducing the risk of complications, the technology will help patients to have shorter hospital stays and save healthcare providers money.
Dr Eoin Hyde, CEO, draws on significant experience in computational physiology and the development of medical devices, as he leads Innersight towards making its technology widely available.
From abdominal and thoracic soft-tissue operations to orthopaedics and cardiac surgeries, Innersight is expanding its products to capture a share of the global minimally invasive surgery market, currently valued at $40 billion.
Dr Hyde was awarded a 2018 Enterprise Fellowship to support him as he leads Innersight in bringing its solutions to market.
Flexible, transparent electronics are increasingly in demand to support advances in electronic technologies. However, developments in materials science currently limits the availability of materials with the right properties.
Graphexe Nanotechnology have used graphene to create an ultra-thin, flexible and transparent material known as GraphExeter. The material has a distinctive combination of properties – it is as conductive as metal and as flexible as plastics. This creates new possibilities for advances in electronics in areas such as flexible lighting, foldable screens and other display technologies.
As a researcher with expertise in two-dimensional materials, Dr Liping Lu is helping Graphexe Nanotechnology to design integrated manufacturing processes for consistent and reliable production. The aim is to draw on the material’s properties to make it in a cost-effective and environmentally sustainable way.
Graphexe Nanotechnology is working in partnership with leading technology companies to refine and develop the use of its material in a range of new devices. This includes collaborations with Cambridge Display Technology, a leading developer of flexible lighting, and BOE, a global leader in manufacturing displays for mobile phones, tablets, televisions and other consumer electronics.
As Graphexe Nanotechnology grows in scale, with support from its partners its focus is to target the display technology and OLED-based lighting industry, which has a projected value of $10 billion by 2028.
Dr Lu was awarded a 2018 Enterprise Fellowship to further develop Graphexe Nanotechnology.
Balancing electrical supply with consumption is a challenge for power grids. An added difficulty is maintaining the balance across different timescales – from milliseconds to seasons. Sustainable grid management solutions need to manage intermittent supply from sources, including renewables. New technologies with long-term durability are needed to manage these demands.
Gyrotricity Ltd, a spin out from City, University of London, has developed a new technology for kinetic energy storage. . The technology is based on a flywheel, a steel rotor that stores energy that can be converted to electrical energy and released quickly on demand.
Gyrotricity’s flywheel is made using thin layers of laminated steel. As a result, it is more durable and safer than single-mass steel flywheels, as any potential damage can be easily contained. The company has also designed an electrical motor generator that lasts for up to 25 years, and is used for transmitting and retrieving power from the flywheel. Combined, the systems provide a lightweight and cost-effective solution to energy storage in the grid.
The Gyrotricity flywheel has two to four times greater energy density than conventional steel flywheels. High power, at the megawatt scale, can be provided by having flywheels connected in banks in containers. Gyrotricity is currently designing and testing these in the laboratory and at customer sites.
Professor Keith Pullen, Chief Technical Officer,
holds the patents for the laminated flywheel technology. He draws on over
twenty years of expertise in the field as he supports Gyrotricity in bringing
its solutions to market.
Professor Pullen was awarded a 2018 Enterprise Fellowship to support him in refining Gyrotricity’s flywheel technology and bringing it to market.
Simulations can provide insights and analyses that transform and optimise businesses across sectors. Yet creating simulations is a highly specialised task that requires expensive software and hardware as well as expertise in network analysis, physics and software engineering. This means that many companies find it challenging to access.
Slingshot Simulations aims to make simulation and data analytics more accessible through its user-friendly simulation service. The automated, integrated cloud-based service is a fast, cost-effective route to accurate simulation.
Slingshot uses a patent-pending optimisation technique for automated analysis of big data. The technology is based on over a decade of research and development, in close collaboration with industry. It can quickly handle large amounts of data to create real-time simulations for use in forecasting and analysis.
Dr David McKee was closely involved in the development of the technology as the company’s Lead Technological Architect while at the University of Leeds. As CTO, David leads the company as it extends its scalable platform for companies in sectors including logistics, real estate, city planning, sustainable design and insurance.
The insights gained by more cost-effective, readily-accessible simulation services have been shown to improve clients’ market share by 2% to 3%. With such potential to influence business, Slingshot simulations is well placed to impact the global simulation market, currently valued at $6.5 billion.
Dr McKee was awarded a 2018 Enterprise Fellowship to further develop University of Leeds spin-out, Slingshot Simulations.
What makes us different is the Academy’s Fellows and our wider Mentor network – an unrivalled community of the UK’s most successful industry leaders, technology experts and entrepreneurs. Find out more about our Mentors and their areas of expertise.
Chairman of The Abbeyfield Research Foundation and Hull Minster Development Trust.
Trustee at Livability, Royal Academy of Engineering, Methodist Independent Schools Trust, Royal College of Surgeons.
Director of Eva Diagnostics.
Former Chairman/Chief Executive of Smith & Nephew plc.
Former Chair The Abbeyfield Society, Chairman Railtrack plc, George Wimpey plc, Low and Bonar plc, UK Coal plc, Voyage Ltd and a number of companies in the care sector.
Past President of the Institution of Chemical Engineers.
Past President of the Chartered Institute of Management.
Past Pro-Chancellor and Chairman of the University of Hull Governing Council
Past Master of the Worshipful Company of Engineers, Chair of The Engineers Trust.
Professor May has over 45 years' experience in transport planning and traffic engineering. He has been a professor at Leeds since 1977, and has served as Director of the Institute for Transport Studies, Head of the Department of Civil Engineering, Dean of the Faculty of Engineering and Pro-Vice Chancellor for Research. Between 1985 and 2001 he maintained a link between research and teaching at Leeds and practical experience in consultancy with MVA Ltd for which he was Director of Transport Policy.
Prior to 1977 he spent ten years with the Greater London Council, where he was responsible for policy on highways, traffic management and transport-related land use planning for the capital. He managed major studies on traffic restraint, parking policy and motorway traffic control during his time there.
Anthony was elected to a fellowship of the Royal Academy of Engineering in 1995, and awarded the OBE for services to transport engineering in 2004. He retired in 2009 but is still active in research, consultancy and professional development. He served as President of the World Conference on Transport Research Society between 2007 and 2013. He has until recently been Editor in Chief of the European Transport Research Review and Secretary General of the World Conference on Transport Research Society.
John is currently Chair of the Water Informatics Science & Engineering Centre for Doctoral Training (WISE CDT) advisory board where he provides guidance on strategic development, direction and future sustainability.
He joined Severn Trent Water on its foundation in 1974 and held a number of senior roles until his retirement at the end of December 2004. He has served as a director of Severn Trent plc; Severn Trent Water Ltd; and was a non-executive director of the North American subsidiary together with a number of other non-executive positions; Board member of the Water Industry Commission for Scotland; Chairman of the West Midlands Innovation and Technology Council; Chairman of the Development Forum for the Infrastructure Conditions of Contract; Chairman of the Civil Engineering Standard Method of Management Panel. He also works as an independent consultant.
He is a Past Master of the Worshipful Company of Engineers and is currently their Treasurer.
John is a Chartered Civil Engineer and was elected a Fellow of the Royal Academy of Engineering in 1997. He was made a Fellow of the City & Guilds of London Institute in 2000 and awarded an OBE for services to Engineering and The Water Industry in December 2004.
Christopher is Professor of Biotechnology and Director of the Cambridge Academy of Therapeutic Sciences at the University of Cambridge.
His main research interests cover areas of healthcare biotechnology including biopharmaceuticals, diagnostics and sensors, ageing and medical microbiology. The work is highly multi-disciplinary, encompassing biochemistry, microbiology, chemistry, electrochemistry, physics, electronics, medicine and chemical engineering, but also covering the entire range from pure science to strategic applied science, much of which has significant commercial applications.
He has carried out research in the area of biosensors, biopharmaceuticals, and enzyme, protein and microbial technology.
Professor Lowe has been the driving force for the establishment of 11 spin-out companies with a current market capitalisation of well over $1.5 billion, and has been awarded numerous national and international prizes and distinctions. His research has been recognised by over 20 major national and international awards. He is a Fellow of the Royal Academy of Engineering (2005) and is also a Fellow at Trinity College.
"I vowed to take matters into my own hands and exploit technologies developed in my own laboratories myself. I have unique experience of this approach in the UK and hence my title, the Most Entrepreneurial Scientist of the UK.”
Professor Jon Cooper holds the Wolfson Chair of Bioengineering (Biomedical Engineering) and is responsible for Glasgow University’s Knowledge Exchange strategy. He manages the university’s relationships with its strategic partners in industry, the NHS, government and charities.
Jon is responsible for the university’s enterprise activities which includes the promotion of spinout companies. He has been involved as an academic founder of three spin-out companies in the fields of medical diagnostics, drug delivery and new medicines discovery: Modedx; SAWdx and Clyde Biosciences.
His research group is currently looking at using phononic structures to shape how sound interacts with fluids. Applications are in varying stages of development and include ‘silent’ underwater motors; new diagnostics for infectious diseases; sample processing for next generation gene sequencing tools and targeted drug delivery.
Jon was elected as a Fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh (2001) and a Fellow of the Royal Academy of Engineering (2004). He holds an ERC advanced investigator award, a Royal Society Merit award and is an EPSRC Fellow.
"Focus above all else on excellence – whether this be in publications, knowledge exchange & innovation, teaching or supervision. Try to do one thing really well."
Nick is Professor of Regenerative Medicine Manufacture at Loughborough University and Director of the EPSRC Centre for Innovative Manufacturing in Regenerative Medicine.
Nick has experience in regenerative medicine development building on a career in industry as a chemist and chemical engineer. Regenerative medicine is the application of living cells and tissues to resolve disease or injury. It has the potential to revolutionise healthcare. It has been named by the government as one of the priority technologies for UK competitiveness. The market has a global value estimated to be worth $20 billion by 2025.
Nick is a Chartered Chemist and a Chartered Chemical Engineer, and he has spent a significant amount of his career working within Smith & Nephew. Nick also has experience in quality assurance, process design, regulatory affairs and economic analysis.
His specialties include: project cost projections and cost control, advice to grant funding bodies, set up and management of cleanroom facilities and pilot plant, application of healthcare regulations to new medical product development, project planning and control, the construction of efficient Quality Management Systems for medical research programmes.
He was made Fellow of the Royal Academy of Engineering in 2011.
David Ball’s career has involved roles as a CEO for six businesses, chairing three publicly quoted companies, and positions as executive director on the boards of over 65 companies across the world.
David’s key experience lies in creating business success in established businesses which have failed and in start ups, with particular expertise in strategic business development, effective and efficient operational management of both large and small businesses, and managing major business transforming R&D. He has also served on the boards of numerous UK trusts, trade associations and public arts and industry bodies.
He was elected a Fellow of the Royal Academy of Engineering (FREng) in 1998.
"It’s rewarding to work with enthusiastic and dedicated young people who have great ideas and inherent capability but lack experience of business. Knowing I’ve had an influential role as an integral part of the team in bringing about subsequent commercial and personal successes is so satisfying for a mentor.”
Bill was previously Chief Scientist and Head of Research of ICL/FUJITSU and Chairman of the ECRC (European Computer Research Centre) in Munich.
Bill was an advisor to two International Governments on Science and Technology Strategies. He has also had many advisory roles to the European Commission on Science and Technology initiatives especially around biocomputing.
He is currently interested in the security of embedded controllers in scientific and engineering systems and he is an advisor to several tech startups. He was elected a Fellow of the Royal Academy of Engineering in 1998.
Ian is known worldwide as an authority on microdisplay technology, systems and applications. He describes himself as an "academic, innovator and entrepreneur."
Today he is employed by the University of Edinburgh as its Head of the Institute for Integrated Micro and Nano Systems (IMNS) and also acts as an independent consultant with pre-spin-out technology projects and early stage technology companies. He was a force in the pre-spin-out stage of Sofant; is Chairman of PureVLC; advisor to Holoxica and has mentored the management at Optoscribe.
Ian is an Associate Editor of the Journal of the Society for Information Display and sits on the technical program committee of the International Solid State Circuits Conference, the International Displays Research Conference and the Society for Information Display's Annual International Symposium.
His specialities include: electronic information displays, photonic and optoelectronic devices, components and systems.
Recent personal recognition includes Ernst & Young Emerging Entrepreneur of the Year, Scotland (2003); Fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh (2004); Gannochy Medal for Innovation winner (2004); Fellow of the Institute of Physics (2008); Appointed to the Scottish Science Advisory Council (2008) and elected a Fellow of the Royal Academy of Engineering (FREng) in 2008.