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.
MediSieve has developed
magnetic blood filtration, a unique tool that enables doctors to selectively
remove harmful substances directly from a patient’s bloodstream. Practically
any target can be removed including specific cells, inflammatory cytokines,
pathogens and antibodies, providing a platform to treat a huge range of medical
conditions and accessing billion-dollar global markets.
The MediSieve Filter is a single-use, disposable magnetic filter that can capture and retain magnetic components. It can filtrate large quantities of blood quickly, with only a small volume outside the patient’s body at any one time, enabling most treatments to be performed in two to three hours.
Dr Cristina Blanco-Andujar is the CTO for MediSieve, where she leads its internal research development and contributes to clinical trials’ setup. Cristina became an SME Leader in 2018 and says: “The programme has helped me to know myself better as a leader. I have gained the skills and confidence to become a better manager, indeed, I would not have been able to face all the challenges of growing the company without its constant support.”
In 2020, MediSieve, found itself working on a number of different fronts. Although solutions are being developed for a broad range of medical conditions, including leukaemia and malaria, MediSieve’s current focus is on dysregulated immune responses or hyperinflammation. Dysregulated immune reactions, often called cytokine storms, are significant drivers of severity and mortality across a large number of diseases, including sepsis and viral infections such as COVID-19.
MediSieve is currently using its sepsis research to help tackle the high levels of inflammatory cytokine interleukin (IL-6) in the blood of COVID-19 patients. With several UK grants totalling £3 million, MediSieve has pivoted its focus to accelerate the testing of its anti-IL-6 product. This could eventually be used to treat the symptoms of severe COVID-19 patients.
Belfast-based company Axial3D transforms CT and MRI scans into physical 3D printed models for surgeons to use in planning critical surgery in orthopaedics, cardiology and neurology. These patient-specific medical models take 24 to 48 hours to make, giving surgeons much greater insight into a patient than they would get from 2D scans. Surgeons using these models for complex operations say that they change pre-operative plans for half of patients, enabling time and money savings in most surgeries.
Niall Haslam is the CTO at Axial3D, responsible for the company’s research and development activities. Niall became an SME Leader in 2018 and credits the programme with helping to grow
his team. He says: “Engineers are used to solving problems. The Academy’s courses helped me take a step back from our research work and learn how to contribute to the company strategy in other ways. I have been able to do this both from a technical point of view, and financial too.”
Axial3D is expanding rapidly with a doubling of staff numbers in just two years as it has transitioned from startup to a scale-up company. It has been able to attract funding from Innovate UK to validate the use of its models in pre-operative planning. This has been especially useful in helping address surgical waiting lists caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. Surgeons have found that they can save 62 minutes per case on average when using a 3D model to plan a procedure.
Niall says that the US healthcare market has recently become even more important to Axial3D. It has been involved in a number of collaborative projects there and is continuing to grow its presence and sales in the region.
VOID have developed VO+, a patented technology that works at the nano-scale to create lighter, stronger and more sustainable polymers. It does this by producing a cavitated structure that, in effect, replaces plastic with air. This reduces the amount of material needed to make commodity and bio-based plastics by up to 50%.
Dr Graeme Karney is the Chief Operating Officer for VOID, responsible for the company’s operations across North America and Europe. Graeme says that the SME Leaders programme has been useful in several ways: “The leadership training courses developed my thinking on negotiation and the dynamics of industry value chains. And the lessons learned from an experienced mentor helped to shape and clarify my approach to organisation management.”
In 2020, he relocated to Canada to oversee the group’s operations in the North America. In the same year, VOID secured £6 million of investment from two venture capital funds specialising in materials technology and petrochemicals. Now the company is hoping to work with film and packaging manufacturers to commercialise applications for VO+.
VO+ technology will enable manufacturers and retailers to significantly reduce plastic consumption and help them to achieve sustainability targets.
Diffblue Ltd is a University of Oxford spin-out company that combines artificial intelligence (AI) with software analysis to make coding more efficient and cost-effective. Diffblue Cover software uses AI to automatically write unit tests for Java code in minutes, a process that take days or weeks for a developer to write manually.
Peter Schrammel is the Co-Founder and CTO of Diffblue. Peter joined the SME Leaders programme in 2018 and has noticed the benefits. He says: “It has definitely sharpened my focus. I find I am able to more easily zoom in on the important elements of business. What I’ve learned on the programme has helped improve our organisation’s communications, both within the executive team and the company as a whole.”
Diffblue is disrupting traditional computer programming by helping developers automate their everyday tasks. Its software has been used by clients including Goldman Sachs and AWS, and operates through a paid subscription model. In September 2020, Diffblue launched its free community edition, which offers an IntelliJ plug-in with some of the paid features.
Diffblue aims to further revolutionise the programming process by using AI. In the future, its technology could even help developers to automatically correct and fix bugs in their systems - especially security bugs.
Loowatt designs and manufactures high quality, waterless flush toilets that could significantly improve access to adequate sanitation and hygiene where it is most needed. According to the World Health Organization and the United Nations Children’s Fund, 60% of the global population does not have access to safely managed sanitation, meaning that untreated waste from 4.3 billion people enters our environment every day. Loowatt toilets offer a safe and simple solution with a patented flushing technology that locks in odour and disease without using water or chemicals.
Virginia Gardiner, Founder and CEO, developed the technology and now leads the company in establishing a robust strategy and vision for growth. Loowatt has successfully generated revenue by operating toilets and waste processing in a range of contexts, from outdoor events in the UK to easy-to-install, outdoor toilets for homes in Madagascar. The company now aims to manufacture and sell universally-applicable, waterless flush toilets and sanitation solutions to a range of global markets.
Virginia aims to use training and support from the SME Leaders Programme to advance the company’s fundraising strategy as it develops plans to scale manufacturing processes and sell its products to international utilities.
Graphene has been dubbed the 21st century’s ‘super-material’. It is the most conductive material in existence, super-strong yet flexible and capable of resisting high electrical forces. However, until now, manufacturers had not been able to commercially exploit it successfully. In 2020, Paragraf Ltd took up the challenge and launched the GHS Series Hall-Effect sensor.
Paragraf’s direct-to-wafer manufacturing approach enables high purity graphene, with a high carrier mobility, to be integrated into sensing technologies. The GHS series of analogue sensors is designed to provide high-performance measurement, sensing and control for scientific research, healthcare, aerospace, industrial and automotive applications.
Dr Simon Thomas is the CEO of Paragraf Ltd. He became an SME Leader in 2018 and credits the programme with giving him “some fantastic learning opportunities. Thanks to these, I have grown significantly, both in terms of capability and as a person. The support of the Academy has helped me grow Paragraf into a strong and successful company.”
Paragraf has recently raised £16.2 million in series A funding and obtained several grants to investigate the replacement of rare and expensive metals in electronic devices. Now the company’s 50 staff are scaling up its commercial activities and maximising the reach of its products. It is now aiming to build strong partnerships that will enable it to bring graphene applications to a wider marketplace.
When Dr Daniel Tilley joined the SME leaders programme in 2018, he was leading the analytical science team at CyberOwl Ltd, developing products to support data risk management. CyberOwl works with companies to identify cyber security risks to their data systems by spotting suspicious or unsecure behaviour and unauthorised workarounds to security controls.
In 2020, Daniel set up his own company, Daniel Tilley Analytic Solutions, to work as an independent consultant in defence and cyber security. He credits the SME Leaders programme with helping him develop sufficient confidence to set up an independent consultancy, with the networking and mentoring opportunities being especially useful.
Daniel has experience in establishing statistical analysis systems of historical data, as well as building mathematical tools and prototypes. He has also supported military officers on training exercises helping quantify potential casualties and outcomes in conflict scenarios. This has led to other work in a variety of settings including an advisory role for a social enterprise group that builds up older people’s support groups to counter loneliness. His military expertise includes work representing human and environmental factors in combat models.
When Umar Wani became an SME Leader in 2018, he was the Co-Founder and CTO of Accelerated Dynamics. The company uses artificial intelligence to create software that optimises the behaviour of robot fleets to accomplish shared goals faster and more efficiently than a single robot.
Accelerated Dynamics was acquired in 2019 and Umar played a leading role in the acquisition process. Umar has now left the company and is validating a new business idea. He is building and testing prototypes for a new initiative, currently under wraps.
Umar says that the SME Leaders programme “placed me on a path of self-discovery, both as an entrepreneur and product leader. It provided the basis for developing my leadership style. It has enabled me to acquire an executive education by targeting high impact courses such as ‘Leading Teams for Emerging Leaders’ taught at London Business School, which outlines the arts of influencing and negotiating. This gave me a solid insight and practical tips showing how to get buy-in from employees, fellow inventors and clients.”
Umar hopes to develop his business ventures and become a serial entrepreneur. He believes the SME Leaders programme has provided him with the foundation to launch and lead successful organisations.
and Chief Technology Officer, Oxford HighQ
Oxford HighQ is a spin-out company from the University of Oxford’s Departments of Materials and Chemistry. It is developing nanoparticle sensing instruments that are up to 10,000 times more sensitive than available optical sensing technologies. The company has engineered a way of producing large-scale, repeatable, high precision optical microcavities for the first time.
These sensors will enable new tools to be created in pharmaceutical and medical research, as well as food and water monitoring. This technology could prove a step-change in performance for chemical and nanoparticle sensing.
Aurélien Trichet is Co-Founder and CTO at Oxford HighQ, managing the R&D team and directing technology development. He became an SME Leader in 2020 and is looking forward to using the programme. He says: “This opportunity is ideal for me. It will allow me to move from a heavy academic skillset to a more business and technology management one. The workshop, coaching and mentoring will all help me make this transition.”
Oxford HighQ is aiming to transition from R&D to mass production in 2021. Its first product provides a way to measure drug loading and delivery profiles as well as particle size for nanomedicine applications. As a consequence, researchers within academic institutions, SMEs and pharmaceutical companies will have better quality assurance procedures, a crucial requirement in this valuable industry.
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.
Phil is an active Cambridge-based angel investor where he chairs, coaches, invests in and helps communications, software and device companies. He is a frequent speaker on a broad range of entrepreneurial topics and an advisor to universities on the commercialisation of their IP.
In 1999 Phil co-founded the spin-out Cambridge Silicon Radio (CSR) and as managing director, helped to grow CSR plc from a startup of nine people into a highly successful FTSE 250 listed fabless semiconductor company. In 2003, CSR plc had become the largest global market supplier of Bluetooth chips. By 2015, they had shipped three billion chips, employed more than 2,000 people in 23 locations and was acquired by US-based Qualcomm for $2.5 billion.
Phil has been a research fellow at AERE, a chief research engineer at Standard Telecommunication Laboratories, UK Alvey & CEC ESPRIT project manager and a telecoms practice manager at Arthur D Little’s Cambridge Consultants, from which he spun-out CSR plc.
Phil was a recipient of the MacRobert Award in 2005 along with CSR colleagues, for the world's first high-volume single chip Bluetooth device. He was elected as a Royal Academy of Engineering Fellow in 2017 and holds an honorary doctorate from the University of Essex.
“I believe that the commercialisation of IP and the engineering of high-volume products is integral to a vibrant and healthy society. The Enterprise Hub has created an effective mechanism for enabling Fellows to become coaches and mentors to the next generation of engineering entrepreneurs and I am honoured to be in a position to help contribute to its success.”
Saeed is Technical Director at the prosthetic manufacturer Blatchford, winners of the 2016 RAEng MacRobert Award.
He has built a highly successful career based on outstanding innovation, product development and scientific research in the field of prosthetics. His work saw the company shortlisted for the Royal Academy of Engineering MacRobert Award in 2010.
Saeed has provided invaluable advice to emerging innovators in his field, such as negotiating with investors, creating new business cases and establishing alternative investment return strategies, IP issues, and how to identify new needs and opportunities in the market to develop a road map of future products.
He was elected a Fellow of the Royal Academy of Engineering (FREng) in 2012.
Anne is a prominent venture capitalist and European technology investor who has been Chief Executive of Amadeus Capital Partners from 1997. As a co-founder in the organisation, Anne’s role combines her experience as a scientist, operating manager and venture capitalist.
Anne began her career in manufacturing with Cummins Engine Company before moving into investment as a business angel. She was also Chief Operating Officer of Virtuality Group, which had been one of her investee companies.
Anne has held a number of high profile advisory positions, having served as Chairman of the British Venture Capital Association in 2004, and as a non-executive director of the UK Technology Strategy Board from 2005-2012. In 2008 Anne led the establishment of the Glover advisory committee for the Chancellor of the Exchequer, reporting on government procurement from SMEs. She is also a member of the European Research and Innovation Advisory Board. Anne was awarded a CBE for services to business in 2006 and was elected an Honourary Fellow of the Royal Academy of Engineering in 2008.
“There is a long-standing need for science to engage more proactively with policy-makers and business. The Enterprise Hub is playing a big part in addressing this, by bridging the gap between outstanding academic talent and influential figures in the industry to ensure the UK’s ongoing international success in science and technology.”
Dr John C Taylor OBE FREng was born in Buxton, Derbyshire in 1936. Having spent five years living in Canada
during his childhood, he returned home towards the end of the Second World War.
He attended King William’s College on
the Isle of Man before studying Natural Sciences at the University of Cambridge.
Dr John C Taylor is one of the UK’s most successful and prolific living inventors and, over a sixty-year career, has invented, produced and sold components for numerous electrical appliances around the world.
While at his company Strix Ltd, Dr Taylor established the business as the world-leading manufacturer of kettle controls. His research was instrumental in designing the ubiquitous safety switch that turns a kettle off when it boils and prevents it from overheating, and he also designed the 360˚ cordless connectors in modern kettles.
Dr Taylor’s innovations led to the production and sale of almost two billion kettle controls - 75% of the global market. His inventions in the development of bi-metallic safety critical cut-outs for electric motors are also used in domestic appliances such as hairdryers and fan heaters. His work has also seen over four hundred patents filed, including automatic windshield wipers, electric motor protectors and cordless kettle connectors and controls, and it is a testament to these components’ visionary design that they continue to be in prolific use today.
Dr Taylor has been the recipient of many honours including, but not limited to, the following:
He is also an elected Honorary Fellow of Corpus Christi College, University of Cambridge, and has been conferred Honorary Doctorates from University of Manchester Institute of Science and Technology (UMIST) and Durham University. When he’s not inventing and innovating, Dr Taylor is a keen aviator, mountaineer, yachtmaster and philanthropist.
Dr John C Taylor is a committed philanthropist and has made a number of donations in order to ensure that young engineers in the UK have the tools they need to be competitive in a global market. In 2017, he became the main sponsor of the new Dr John C Taylor Enterprise Hub, affectionately known as the Taylor Centre, in the Royal Academy of Engineering. He also established in perpetuity a Chair Professorship of Innovation in the Engineering Department of the University of Cambridge.
Following his career in creating electrical control switches, Dr Taylor became well-known for his interest in clocks and is one of the world’s leading experts in the work of John Harrison, an early pioneer of timekeeping and sea clocks. This led him to design and help build the Corpus Chronophage, a large, time-eating clock which that stands proud on the exterior of the Taylor Library, Corpus Christi College, Cambridge. Dr Taylor donated the clock, alongside a bestowment to make the Taylor Library possible, to his alma mater in order to support bright students of future generations.
Sir Robin is a technology entrepreneur most known for his work as ARM Holdings’ founding CEO and Chairman. Under his leadership, ARM become the world’s leading semiconductor Intellectual Property (IP) company with ARM chips becoming the most prolific on our planet. He guided ARM from start-up through flotation on NASDAQ and the LSE in 1998 before retiring in 2007.
Robin first became interested in technology aged 8 and at 13, was running his own radio and TV repair business which lead him to study Electronic Engineering at the University of Liverpool.
Sir Robin’s early career was in electronic design with Rank Bush Murphy and Pye TMC followed by 13 years with Motorola Semiconductors. Prior to his time at ARM, Robin served as the Managing Director of ES2 Ltd. and was the CEO of Henderson Security Systems. In addition to his day-to-day work, Robin served as Chairman of the Open Microprocessor Initiative (an ESPRIT panel advising on the collaborative R&D across Europe). He is a past President of the IET.
Robin was knighted in 2002 for services to the information technology industry, was elected a Fellow of the Royal Academy of Engineering in 2002 and Fellow of the Royal Society in 2015. He is a visiting professor at the University of Liverpool, and regularly mentors new entrepreneurs and serves as an angel investor and advisor to several UK-headquartered high-tech companies. His hobbies include skiing, tennis, painting and music.
“For business success, customer pull is 1000 times more important than technology push, and today I enjoy guiding and mentoring other companies that have the potential to change the world. The Enterprise Hub connects new technology entrepreneurs to the experience of Fellows, so that together we can create economic benefit from strong engineering foundations.”
Steve is a leading expert with over 35 years of experience.in the fields of semiconductor device research, nanotechnology and millimetre-wave integrated circuit design.
After founding and leading the Nanoelectronics Research Centre at the University of Glasgow, he co-founded and became Technical Director of Intellemetrics Ltd. His enterprising spirit continued with the foundation of Kelvin Nanotechnology Ltd in 2001.
Steve became Vice-Principal for Research and Enterprise at the University of Glasgow in 2005 where e is responsible for the University’s research strategy and policies. These includes key relations with research sponsors and strategic partners. He also heads up the University’s enterprise activities which has a strong focus on research links with industry and the promotion of spinout companies.
Steve was awarded an OBE for services to the field of nanotechnology in the 2002 Jubilee Honours List and was elected a Fellow of the Royal Academy of Engineering in 2007.
“Encouraging innovation and entrepreneurship in technology and engineering requires a genuine link up and sharing of knowledge between research partners and industry. The Enterprise Hub is a key part of this, sharing enterprising expertise with individuals who have an incredible amount of technical talent, and providing the links to springboard their success in the industry.”
Dr Hermann Hauser KBE FREng FRS is widely regarded as one of the founding fathers of the Silicon Fen cluster. He is a co-founder of Amadeus Capital Partners, alongside Anne Glover CBE HonFREng. He has been involved in several successful startups in his time at Amadeus such as CSR plc, Entropic Research Laboratory (which was later acquired by Microsoft) and Icera (acquired by Nvidia in 2011).
His career began famously as the co-founder of Acorn Computers, responsible for the iconic BBC Microcomputer, which led to the development of ARM Holdings, now a global microprocessor giant. He was also founding director at organisations including IQ (Bio), IXI Limited, SynGenix and Advanced Displays Limited.
Hermann was awarded an honorary CBE for innovative service to the UK enterprise sector in 2001 and was made a member of the Government’s Council for Science and Technology in 2004. He has subsequently commissioned to write a report on technology and innovation in the UK by the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills. In 2015 the then business secretary Sajid Javid bestowed upon Dr Hauser an honorary KBE, in recognition of his valuable services to engineering and industry.
He became a Fellow of the Royal Society in 2012, recognising his contribution to the translation of science into business. He is a Fellow of the Institute of Physics, the Royal Society of Chemistry, the Royal Academy of Engineering from 2002 and holds honorary doctorates from Bath, Loughborough, Anglia Ruskin, Strathclyde, Glasgow and York universities.
“I am a firm believer in the idea that entrepreneurship with supportive venture capital can change the world for the better. Britain has an outstanding track record in computing innovation, and the support of the Enterprise Hub will help to ensure the next generation of highly talented individuals in this space will continue this proud legacy.”
In some of the most male-dominated parts of the engineering world, Jane has shown by example that women are at least as capable as men. Her work in education has been dedicated to keeping the door open behind her for future generations of engineers.
Jane Atkinson is currently Director, Cape Specialist Services part of Cape Ltd, an international leader in the provision of critical industrial services.
Brought up in Middlesbough, her career began as a sponsored engineering student with British Steel in 1990. She worked as a technical advisor at the Teesside Blast Furnace before moving into operations, managing the Cast House at Redcar. During her time in the steel industry she managed many major production units and spent five years with the company in Alabama in the USA. Jane then moved into power generation managing coal and gas fired assets for Sembcorp Utilities Ltd. During that role she was responsible for the operations of the UK’s first Biomass Power Plant.
Jane has won several awards most notably the CBI First Woman Award in Manufacturing and the prestigious Stephenson’s Award for inspiring young people in science and engineering. She is an active member of the Royal Academy of Engineering and the Chair of the UK IChemE Board. Jane is also a Governor of Teesside University and an Advisory Board Member of the National Science Museum in London.
“If I can persuade at least one child a year to become an engineer, I think I must be doing OK. It’s my mission.”
Jeremy is Chief Technology Officer at Cambridge Display Technology. He is one of the three original inventors of P-OLED, the technology used to create digital displays in devices such as TV screens, computer monitors and smart phones.
He played a major role in transforming early permutations of the invention into a fully manufacturable and marketable technology using new device architectures, materials and manufacturing processes - including the direct printing of full colour LED displays.
Jeremy's career has also involved working with Toshiba in the UK and Japan to develop quantum electronic and opto-electronic devices. He was elected a Fellow of the Royal Academy of Engineering (FREng) in 2009.
“I believe it’s vital that emerging entrepreneurs with bright ideas in this industry are given the encouragement and direction they need to make a real success of their work. By imparting my knowledge and experience with talented individuals at the Enterprise Hub, I hope to play a significant part in laying the foundations for the long-term growth of technology development in the UK.”