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.
Losing your eyesight is one of the most devastating things that can happen to a person.
Some forms of vision loss that affect the retina, such as age-related macular degeneration (AMD), or diabetes can be treated. This requires monthly injections into the eye for at least five years. The treatment works well for most people but requires regular outpatient visits and there is a small risk of additional complications from the injection process itself.
There is a real need to make treatments better, safer and more convenient.
I-Daruma has developed a technology that takes the same treatment and makes it possible to deliver the currently injected drugs as eye drops instead. It works by creating short-lived nanoparticles that are mixed with the drugs. These then dissociate at the target tissues, releasing the drug. The nanoparticles are made from compounds that naturally occur in the body and are well-tolerated, giving the technology the advantages of nanoparticle delivery without the toxicity associated with current nanoparticles.
The eye drops will address several issues with the current treatment regime. While injections must be administered by trained healthcare professionals in a clinical setting, eye drops can be administered by the patient themselves anywhere, resulting in large healthcare cost savings.
Worldwide, there were 14 million intravitreal injections performed in 2018 and it’s a number that has been growing 20% year-on-year. The drivers of treatment are the ageing global population and metabolic disease such as diabetes. About one third of people living with diabetes will suffer from diabetic retinopathy. Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is also a leading cause of vision loss in Europe and the US. Currently, 196 million people are estimated to be affected by AMD globally, a figure expected to hit 288 million by 2040.
In the next 12 to 18 months, Naa Dei anticipates applying for InnovateUK Grant funding and looks forward to completing pre-clinical trials and having a dossier for approval for clinical trials.
2020 – Awarded a Royal Academy of Engineering’s Enterprise Fellowship.
2020 – Piloting trials of technology with a pharmaceutical company.
“[The Enterprise Fellowship] has opened my eyes to what goes into turning a neat idea into a business and has equipped me with tools to do so. It’s an amazing network of people at different stages of their enterprises, and I’ve found it very supportive.”
Sustainable construction demands better management of social and environmental impact. To achieve this, reliable, efficient tools are needed to make sense of large volumes of data across the range of related fields.
Qflow is a cloud-based platform that enables construction projects to manage their environmental risk and stay compliant with environmental standards.
Qflow brings together machine learning and the Internet of things to capture and analyse environmental data, making it easier to identify and manage risk. This increases productivity and reduces cost while positively impacting the built environment.
The technology connects to existing, on-site systems to automate real-time data collection and analysis. This leads to better informed decisions, more accurate predictions and the ability to generate standardised reports. It reduces costs associated with delays and mitigation processes caused by unmanaged environmental risk.
Trials have shown that Qualis Flows’ solutions can improve data capture against existing competitors by over 100%. Four pilot programmes are scheduled for spring 2019 to further validate the technology’s use in monitoring aspects such as waste, noise, air quality and vibration.
Brittany Harris brings significant experience in civil engineering as she leads a multi-skilled team of engineers, environmental professionals and software architects as Qualis Flow brings its solutions to market.
The array of switches, buttons, wheels and controls that help us to interact with electronics all rely on bulky and complex networks of sensors that can cost a lot to create.
TG0 has developed a new technology for making interactive 3D controls that are ergonomic, intuitive and engaging. Its solutions replace complicated networks of electronic sensors with one uniform, flexible, touch-sensitive material.
Driven by artificial intelligence algorithms and advanced signal processing, TG0’s platform technology can accurately detect variations in touch across a single flexible surface. This allows its material to easily sense pressure, location, speed, direction and movement allowing users to engage in more intuitive ways.
As Co-Founder, Ming leads research and development for the technology’s hardware. TG0’s seamless, interactive surfaces can be used in a range of applications including tactile gaming controls, car dashboard controls and ergonomic computer peripherals such as keyboards, amongst many others.
TG0 is also exploring how its technology can be used to make interactive products that are more accessible for the visually impaired.
Since its launch in 2016, TG0 has worked with high profile brands and manufacturers in the consumer and automotive sector and built a patent portfolio with more than ten international patent entries to date. A rapidly growing team is helping the company to expand and target a range of industries including sensor-embedded industrial robots, wearables, gadgets and underwater electronics.
"Getting to grips with a whole new mechanism for sensing and control doesn’t come naturally when you’ve spent your life learning to use another system."
The flexible and printed electronics markets are working towards having speedy, defect-free manufacturing processes. To achieve this, they need new inspection systems that allow live testing and enable real-time quality assurance without stopping production.
Dr Muhamedsalih has helped create a multi-wavelength polarising interferometer (MPI) for in-line surface metrology. It operates at the micro/nano-scale level and can be used for real time inspections of moving surfaces. The interferometer is combined with a software method to handle larger amount of data for surface analysis without direct interaction from the operator.
The system detects and characterises defects. This means that manufacturers will be able to understand what causes faults and take measures to correct them. Importantly, the technology is sufficiently robust to be used on the shop floor.
Hussam is now working to validate the MPI’s performance with world-leading manufacturers and research centres. His innovation is being tested by the UK Catapult National Centre for Printable Electronics – Centre for Process Innovation. His proof of concept system should reach Technology Readiness Level 9 before the end of 2021 and be ready to launch and available to buy soon after.
Analysts have forecast that the global metrology market will grow to over $600 million by 2023 in the traditional manufacturing market. Hussam’s technology also fits into the printed and flexible electronics markets, which are predicted to grow to $77 billion by 2023.
For Dr Muhamedsalih, the Enterprise Fellowship experience has: “allowed me to structure my business model and test it out by intensive direct interaction with industry and potential clients.”
Women deserve a better way of getting professionally fitted for bras. The lack of care and proper training within the bra industry means that bra-sizing confusion is a never-ending debate. Inefficient practices result in 80% of women wearing bras that don’t fit properly and billions of pounds lost every year in size- and fit-related exchanges and returns.
Combining state-of-the-art computer vision with data from real-life women (our co-creators), Brarista is bringing professional bra-fitting to bra-wearers’ homes. Its technology makes it possible for clients to find their best fit across product lines simply by using their phone camera.
Researching this technology to ensure its usefulness and accuracy is technically complex. Brarista is working hard to continue building, testing, and improving the current prototype before conducting technical trials.
The ongoing pandemic gave Brarista an opportunity to collaborate with Boost Innovations Ltd to apply its technology to fit breast prostheses online for breast cancer survivors (classified by the NHS as a higher-risk group). Research shows that getting bra-fitted using a tape-measure results in a 70% inaccuracy rate, but this is still the most popular method used by high street bra-fitters and online bra-fitting guides. Brarista hopes that its technology will improve the accuracy by at least 40% to be on par with professional bra-fitting by eyesight.
2018 - Won the Most Innovative Idea at the UCL Innovation and Enterprise Launch Programme
2019 - Team formation and acquired trial interests from the industry
2019 - Selected as a startup to be mentored by DeFine Network EU (a European Commission-funded FashionTech Community).
2019 - Selected as one of seven startups to join Women in AI & Data in Israel with InnovateUK
2019 - Highly Commended Award at the Academy’s Enterprise Hub Launchpad Competition Final
2020 - Crowdfunded successfully and matchfunded with NatWest Back Her Business
2020 - Acquired a new research client to apply its technology to fit breast prosthesis online
To find out more abut Brarista visit https://www.brarista.co/
“[The programme has helped by] providing the network of supporters, coaches and mentors that help me grow as an entrepreneur.”
For decades, satellites have been getting smaller but the rockets that launch them haven’t. Most active vehicles are still designed for historically large satellites and this is forcing a new generation of SmallSats to rideshare on enormous rockets in an expensive system of compromise.
Of the small satellites forecast to be launched between 2021 and 2030, 70% are predicted to fall in the under 250-kilogram weight class. However, launch vehicles that can operate at this weight lack appropriate propulsion systems. There is a clear market demand for dedicated launch vehicles that can take small satellites exactly where and when they need to go, but the fundamental technical challenge is that rocket engines and their associated pumps and turbomachinery are incredibly difficult to scale down. Attempts to scale down existing technology commonly result in spiralling costs and complexities.
Protolaunch believes that the right engine is the key to unlocking a successful microlauncher, and aims to supply that propulsion. It is developing an engine based around a novel thermodynamic cycle designed specifically for small payloads from the outset. This is possible because of its core engine technology, which acts as the enabler for a new type of launch vehicle.
The Protolaunch engine has three key advantages:
“Over the next 12 to 18 months, we look forward to working with the Royal Academy of Engineering as we build our long-term commercial strategy and start to engage with larger aerospace partners and customers.”
Better intraoperative guidance can help reduce patient morbidity and healthcare costs across surgical specialties. For example, brain tumour patients undergoing surgery have significantly improved outcomes and increased life expectancy if complete tumour removal is achieved. However, maximal resection needs to be balanced with the goal of healthy tissue preservation in order to minimise patient risk and neurological impairment. Yet, even with the most advanced current techniques, intraoperative decisions with potentially life-changing consequences are still based on the surgeon’s subjective visual assessment.
Hypervision Surgical has designed an AI-powered imaging system for wide-field tissue characterisation that attaches to and enhances existing surgical equipment. For the first time, surgeons will have real-time actionable information on tumour and critical brain structure margins during surgery. In addition, their system can monitor vital physiological tissue properties thereby increasing surgical precision and patient safety while optimising resection.
As a King’s College London spin-out, Hypervision Surgical is embedded in the St Thomas’ MedTech Hub and has close ties with King’s Health Partner hospitals. Further clinical studies are scheduled to develop and evaluate their technology to achieve commercial readiness.
Dr Ebner was awarded an Enterprise Fellowship award in 2020 to support him as he leads Hypervision Surgical in bringing its innovations to market.
Modern surgical implants use ‘press-fit’ and are hammered into place by the surgeon, creating friction that holds the implant in place. If the surgeon impacts the implant too rigorously, the bone may be over-stressed and fracture.
Bone fracture during hip replacement surgery affects between 2% and 8% of patients. If fracture occurs the patient is seven times more likely to need expensive revision surgery and twice as likely to die from complications.
Additive Instruments’ technology is a ‘smart’ surgical tool that can sense the force being applied to the instrument and adjust it to reduce the chances of fracture. By reducing the variation in impaction force, the technology also reduces the learning curve for new surgeons – reducing the likelihood of fracture through inexperience.
In the UK and US, 400,000 hip replacement procedures are conducted every year. If a conservative estimate of 2% of these surgeries were to result in fracture, 8,000 patients would suffer a painful and debilitating injury each year, most requiring revision surgery at great expense. These surgeries are estimated to cost £25 million every year.
Additive Instruments’ technology has been proven in the laboratory, so its next key milestone is to validate the product in a clinical environment, first with specimens and subsequently with live patients. Once the efficacy of the product has been proven, Additive Instruments will apply for a CE mark – a key achievement for any medical device.
Early laboratory development was supported by the Wellcome trust with a product translation award. Following the support of the Royal Academy of Engineering’s Enterprise Hub, Additive Instruments has been awarded an i4i (invention for innovation) award from the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR). This funding will help it achieve its goal of first clinical usage within the next two years.
“The real value of the Enterprise Fellowship is in the soft support I have received. Business coaching, workshops to develop interpersonal and planning skills, as well as brilliant insights from my mentor have all been hugely useful as Additive Instruments starts its journey into the commercial world.”
Commercial drones are now being used for several different roles such as mapping farms, inspecting buildings and search-and-rescue operations. Most commercial drone automation software on the market is generic, meaning drone operators and enterprises requiring customised solutions are forced to use many different types of software to get their job done. This becomes incredibly expensive and unreliable.
Hammer Flights Ltd is the world’s first adaptive flight automation software for unmanned aerial vehicles. It is highly versatile, supporting many different types of flight automation and yet is extremely simple to use. Using modular software architecture and APIs , the software morphs according to the task at hand.
Hammer aims to empower every drone operation in the world with adaptive flight automation to make their operations more productive, creative and safe. Its next key milestone is to understand how it can scale its enterprise offerings over the next 12 to 18 months.
The commercial drone industry is currently worth $13 billion and is expected to grow to $45 billion by 2025. A lot of this growth is attributed to enterprises rapidly setting up in-house drone teams and integrating drones into their existing workflows. Each one of these businesses will be looking for a customised flight automation solution that adapts to the needs of their business.
Hammer is currently grant funded by Ordnance Survey – the UK’s largest mapping agency – and the Royal Academy of Engineering through its Enterprise Fellowship programme. It has also formed strategic partnerships within the drone ecosystem.
“The Enterprise Fellowship has provided us with an amazing network of fellow entrepreneurs and mentors that we can learn from throughout our journey.”
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.
Chris has a first class degree in Computer Science from Cambridge University where he is now an honorary fellow at Churchill college. He co-founded leading network technology provider Metaswitch Networks and spent many years as the company's Chief Technology Officer.
He is now an active early stage investor, sits on the board of several UK technology start ups and is a Venture Partner at Entrepreneur First. Being blind himself, he is a patron or trustee of three different charities in the sight loss sector. He is also a trustee of The Raspberry Pi Foundation.
Chris was made a CBE (Commander of the Order of the British Empire) in 2014 by the Prince of Wales at Buckingham Palace for his services to engineering. He was elected to the Royal Academy of Engineering in 2006.
David Hawkes is currently the Director of the Centre for Medical Image Computing at UCL. He was previously Director of the EPSRC and MRC-funded Interdisciplinary Research Collaboration on Medical Images and Signals (MIAS-IRC) that was an £8million six year programme. David also served as Chairman of the Division of Imaging Sciences at KCL (2002-2004).
He spent 10 years working as a clinical scientist within the NHS before returning to academia. He is co-Founder of IXICO Ltd. (www.ixico.com), a university spin-out that provides imaging solutions to the pharmaceutical industry.
David's current research interests encompass image matching, data fusion, visualisation, shape representation, surface geometry and modelling tissue deformation. He continues to work promoting medical imaging as an accurate measurement tool and the use of image-guided interventions.
Professor Hawkes was elected a Fellow of the Royal Academy of Engineering (FREng) in 2003.
John Harris Robinson CBE FREng is currently Chairman of MHA (Methodist Homes), Rheon Labs Ltd and Hull Minster Development Trust. He is Director of Entia Ltd, Trustee at Livability and former Chairman/Chief Executive of Smith & Nephew plc. Additional former chair positions include The Abbeyfield Society, Railtrack plc, George Wimpey plc, Low and Bonar plc, UK Coal plc, Voyage Ltd and several companies in the care sector.
John has been elected to positions including President of the Institution of Chemical Engineers and the Chartered Institute of Management, Pro-Chancellor and Chairman of the University of Hull Governing Council and a Past Master of the Worshipful Company of Engineers. He has been a Fellow of the Royal Academy of Engineering since his election in 1998.
Professor John Banyard OBE FREng is currently Chair of the Water Informatics, Science and Engineering CDT advisory board, the Forum for Infrastructure Conditions of Contract and the Civil Engineering Standard Method of Measurement Panel, where he provides guidance on strategic development, direction and future sustainability.
He joined Severn Trent Water on its foundation in 1974 and held several senior roles until his retirement in December 2004. He has served as a director of Severn Trent plc and Severn Trent Water Ltd, and was a non-executive director of the North American subsidiary together with a number of other non-executive positions. He served as: 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; and is a Past Master of the Worshipful Company of Engineers. He also works as an independent consultant.
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 and 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 FREng FRSE holds the Wolfson Chair of Bioengineering (Biomedical Engineering) and is an Emeritus Vice Principal. 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. 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 in 2001 and a Fellow of the Royal Academy of Engineering in 2004.
"Focus above all else on excellence – whether this be in publications, knowledge exchange & innovation, teaching or supervision. Try to do one thing really well."
Professor Nicholas Medcalf FREng has worked for Innovate UK, part of UK Research and Innovation, since 2017. He is the Deputy Challenge Director for the Medicines Manufacturing Challenge in the Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund team. The work involves building business cases for government investment in capital and R&D projects to boost UK health and wealth and delivery of funded programmes.
Nick retains a Visiting Professor role at Loughborough University where he was Professor of Regenerative Medicine Manufacture and Director of the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) Centre for Innovative Manufacturing in Regenerative Medicine under an EPSRC Fellowship.
Nick has experience in regenerative medicine development building on a career in industry as a chemist and chemical engineer. 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 plants; application of healthcare regulations to new medical product development; project planning and control; and the construction of efficient quality management systems for medical research programmes.
He was made Fellow of the Royal Academy of Engineering in 2011.
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.
Dr David Parker FREng has a significant track record of helping to create and run successful technology companies.
He has extensive experience in building companies from early stage through to private and public exits, along with a long career in senior management in technology corporates.
Notable companies include HP, Agilent Technologies, Marconi, SPI and TRUMPF. He is currently a board member at several technology companies including Perpetuum where he serves as the Chairman, and he is the Managing Director of OPS Innovations. David is also Chairman of Lumenisity Ltd, has served as a Venture Partner at Touchstone Innovations (IP Group) and as the Chair of Concirus and Inflowmatics. His technical expertise is in optics, semiconductors and IIoT.
He has practical experience of standards organisations and their interactions with product roadmaps, corporate governance, risk management, environmental compliance and intellectual property.