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.
There are more than 100,000 strokes in the UK each year. Almost two-thirds of stroke survivors leave hospital with a disability and in need of rehabilitation, with arms and hands most commonly affected.
Through his digital health startup Neurofenix, Guillem Singla Buxarrais is seeking to increase the accessibility and effectiveness of post-stroke rehabilitation with the NeuroBall, a novel and cost-effective medical device making bold changes to stroke rehabilitation.
Physiotherapy exercises can be repetitive and boring, whereas the Neuroball encourages users to exercise the whole arm, from shoulder to fingers, through a set of entertaining games, keeping the user engaged in their therapy.
Engineered with stroke survivors and physiotherapists from inception, the mobile application and handheld controller is a user-friendly device that helps people to regain function in an enjoyable way, as verified in user testing.
Guillem’s experience of volunteering in stroke rehabilitation motivated him to ensure that stroke survivors and physiotherapists were involved with the engineering of the device from inception. The mobile application and handheld controller is user-friendly and helps people to regain function in an enjoyable way, as verified in user testing.
The Neuroball has been engineered to sensitively monitor recovery. It shows stroke survivors their progress, and they can share results with a supportive online community, helping them to feel re-connected with family, friends and other survivors.
Guillem was awarded a 2017 Enterprise Fellowship supported by the Royal Commission for the Exhibition of 1851 to continue developing this technology and the Neurofenix team has grown rapidly as a result. It is also supported by the Nominet Trust and Entrepreneur First.
"The Enterprise Fellowship had a profound impact on Neurofenix’s progress and reducing our time to market. Our mentor and the Enterprise team provided invaluable support throughout."
Oliver has spent over five years as part of a team developing clinical probes that could revolutionise cancer screening. They are committed to enabling on-the-spot cancer diagnosis with minimal discomfort for patients - and without an anxious wait for results.
The group has developed a proprietary method of using small probes using fibre optics to direct laser light onto cells. They then analyse the interaction of this light with the molecules inside. This provides a molecular ‘fingerprint’ to identify different types of cells and any cancerous changes within them.
Using this technique can yield almost instantaneous results and is both faster and more objective than current testing. Traditional testing involves sending tissue that has been surgically removed to a lab to be analysed by a pathologist, a process that is traumatic for the patient and costly for the system.
The new process has been demonstrated to be at least as accurate as conventional gold standard pathology. However it doesn’t require the removal of tissue and allows for the immediate intervention and ongoing monitoring by clinicians.
In future, the technology is seen to have many other clinical applications as well as this humane testing process.
The technique has already undergone extensive tests on human tissue at Gloucestershire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, with one of the probes set to begin clinical trials within 18 months.
Smell disorders can detrimentally impact a person’s wellbeing. For example, when someone loses their sense of smell it can mean that food loses its flavour or their social interactions are impaired. This is especially relevant among an ageing population.
Current technological solutions to measure and train people’s sense of smell are not standardised or accurate, and are based on manual approaches such as soaked pens and scratch-and-sniff saturated materials. These manual approaches have shortcomings including a lack of control over smell stimuli, consistency of the smell delivery parameters such as intensity and concentration and a lack of comparable digital performance records to determine changes over time.
Dr Emanuela Maggioni and Professor Marianna Obrist are co-founders of OWidgets (Olfactory Widgets). Their company is developing patented digital, personalised, and automated smell training solutions that will enable standardised, comparable, and replicable smell stimuli.
OWidgets is looking to develop opportunities beyond the health and medical sectors. Its technology has been used by a creative studio exploiting multisensory elements to enhance participants’ immersion in a virtual reality project that has been displayed at the World Economic Forum in Davos and has long-term installations in Singapore and New York.
OWidgets is now developing a cloud-based software solution to help with smell training, including digital performance records. Smell disorders are associated with early onsets of degenerative diseases such as dementia, Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s. Retraining the brain to smell through regular exercises can positively impact cognitive capability and memory. An adaptive hardware system helps training usability and user experience, making it more engaging, and keeping people motivated to do the training regularly.
Dr Maggioni says: “We have partnered with Rockefeller University (SMELL-RS) to create the first automated and standardised smell test toolkit to measure smell capabilities and extending smell training. We aim to integrate the smell training into smell tests, akin to eye tests/hearing tests, as part of routine healthcare checks, promoting a culture of ‘sense of smell care’ and ‘smell physiotherapy’.”
She continues: “The Enterprise Fellowship has been a life-changing experience! The support of the mentors, the Enterprise team, the workshops and networking possibilities have been invaluable and positively impacted the growth and development of OWidgets.”
2017 – OWidgets receives equity-free funding from European Research Council’s Proof-of-Concept programme
2018-19 – OWidgets obtains its first international
clients and early technology adopters in the immersive experience sector
2019 – Dr Emanuela Maggioni was awarded an Enterprise Fellowship
2019 – OWidgets Ltd spun out from the University of Sussex
Visit their website: www.owidgets.co.uk
in every 300 people worldwide is classified as legally blind. Of these, most (up to 90%) have some remaining sight called residual
vision. This can be limited to an awareness of colour, light, shapes
and motion. Stephen and his team have developed a non-invasive visual
display that can be worn like glasses to enhance the usefulness of
The glasses work by detecting the three dimensional structure of nearby objects and preferentially highlighting the nearest and most important objects, such as people, faces and obstacles.
Traditional assistive technologies for the visually impaired usually involve touch or sound-based devices. Although useful, these older solutions are hard to learn and provide a fairly limited increase in quality of life and independence.
Stephen's company Oxsight (a spin-out of the University of Oxford) is currently refining the prototype into a new lightweight pair of glasses, and a market-ready device is expected soon. It will initially be sold online, and potentially made available on the high street in the future.
Every year an estimated 4.1 million patients in the European Union (EU) are affected by a Healthcare-associated infections (HCAIs). This is equivalent to one in twenty hospitalised patients, making it one of the most common adverse outcomes for hospital patients.
Dr Felicity de Cogan has engineered a novel protective coating with the ability to kill bacteria on contact. Developed at her University of Birmingham spin-out company, NitroPep, the technology bonds antimicrobial agents to metals and plastics so that bacteria are rapidly killed on contact.
Used in healthcare facilities, the technology has the potential to inhibit the contamination of surfaces, from door-knobs to surgical tables, helping to prevent the 37,000 deaths that are thought to be caused directly by HCAIs in Europe.
Trials have shown that treated metals remain effective in killing over 99% of bacteria for up to 10 years. The technology has been independently verified and has regulatory approval to be sold.
Led by Felicity, an award-winning innovator, NitroPep is already partnering with key companies to sell into the domestic healthcare market. The technology is also attracting interest from a diverse range of sectors, including transport, filtration and air conditioning.
James identified one big problem with offshore wind generation: it costs way too much. If he can solve this, not only will he have a valuable stake in a huge market, he might just save us all.
A major barrier to widespread use of offshore renewable energy is the cost of generation and maintenance. It is estimated that offshore wind infrastructure is approximately 30% more costly than onshore wind and 40% more costly than gas generation.
After working in the wind industry in Germany and Denmark for three years, James started a PhD looking into the cost of wind energy at the University of Strathclyde.
He worked with Professor Bill Leithead on an offshore wind energy concept that aims to reduce the cost of generating energy from offshore wind turbines, making offshore wind more viable.
The resulting X-Rotor offshore wind turbine combines proven wind energy technologies in a manner that has never been done before, in order to save costs in manufacturing and maintenance of offshore wind turbines. It can reduce the cost of energy by approximately 30% in comparison to current offshore wind turbines.
The X-rotor development team is focusing on a proof of concept for the X Rotor Turbine and securing a patent. As soon as development partners are in place, the aim is to have the product to market in the next five years. The long term goal is to secure a 20% share of the new turbine market which is estimated to be 30GW (3,750 8MW turbines) between 2021 and 2023.
Traditional methods for storing and transporting gas require either compression or liquefaction - both of which are energy intensive and costly.
Dr Andrew Marsden founded his company, Immaterial, to commercialise a new technology for gas storage and separation. The technology makes it easy for gas to be stored at lower pressures leading to significant savings in cost.
Every year hundreds of billions of pounds are spent on storing, separating, and transporting gases using traditional technologies. Immaterial’s solution uses porous materials called metal-organic frameworks (MOF) that enable gas to be adsorbed and separated at the molecular level.
While MOFs have been around for many years, they are unusable in their natural, powdered form and it has been a challenge to find ways to use them on an industrial scale. Immaterial’s patented technology shapes MOF into marble-sized pellets, called ‘monoliths’, that can be used on an industrial scale where performance and mechanical stability are critical.
Launched in 2015, Immaterial works with customers to bring its solutions to a range of sectors including in power plants where it can be used as a cost-effective way to reduce carbon dioxide emissions.
Andrew was awarded a 2016 Enterprise Fellowship to support him in growing his company, Immaterial.
Mark is interested in all aspects of energy conversion in chemical systems. In the first instance, this means using electrical, photochemical and sonochemical inputs to drive chemical reactions that might not happen otherwise. A cornerstone of his approach is using renewable (or potentially renewable) energy sources to drive unfavourable or slow chemical reactions to deliver fuels and other high-commodity substances.
Mark is the Group Leader of the Symes Group based in the School of Chemistry at the University of Glasgow, where interests lie primarily in energy conversion and small molecule activation.
The Group has developed PROMISE. a revolutionary platform technology with applications in energy storage that combines aspects of redox flow batteries, proton-exchange membrane electrolysers and fuel cells to give a single device that can produce hydrogen or act as a battery depending on the requirements of the user. As renewable power generation grows, grid operators are increasingly looking to adapt to variable generation loads.
The PROMISE breakthrough helps to meet these requirements and allows users to monetise intermittent renewable electricity by either storage and release to the electricity grid, or conversion to hydrogen for off-grid systems.
Nick is developing a pioneering system that combines the wearability and ease-of-use of EEG scanners with the imaging capabilities of MRI to enable mobile imaging of brain activity in real time.
The benchtop version of the technology, using near-infrared light to image the brain, is already selling well. It has many uses such as investigating the development of language in children, monitoring the response to pain in premature babies and discoveries such as that the lack of social awareness in autistic children develops much earlier than once thought.
The new generation of wearable technology will open up whole new fields of neuroscience research and a potential new approach to monitoring long-term neurological conditions.
Nick's company, Gowerlabs, has already developed a series of successful prototypes and has been awarded an Innovate UK Smart grant to commercialise these.
He is also working towards a consumer version of this innovative neuroimaging system that will empower users to monitor their own brain function in any environment using headsets that can capture real-time images.
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.
John is a highly experienced executive and senior consultant across the oil and gas, renewable energy and digital technology sectors, as well as a member of many international boards. He has significant interest in the commercial and technology challenges that energy transition presents, especially as these intersect with corporations’ digital transformation.
John is currently Chair of the Gresham House Energy Storage Fund Board, which specialises in the commercialisation of grid-level storage investments. The company is now the largest energy storage fund in the UK and is the market leader. In November 2018, the company listed on LSE at £100 million and at the end of 2020 had a market cap of around £250 million; it is on a strong growth trajectory and should double in size over the next 24 months.
Until April 2019, John was an advisor to the Board of ACWA Power International (Riyadh), the largest independent power producer in Saudi Arabia. Until December 2017, he was on the Board of the ASX-listed Carnegie Clean Energy, based in Perth, WA. He is also an investor and Board member of Global Integrity, a cybersecurity software and cyber consultancy firm based in Washington DC.
John spent more than 25 years working at BP, the last 10 of which were spent at the corporate executive level in various roles including:
In his early career, John worked on the design and construction of nuclear power generation plants in UK.
Since leaving BP, John has been active as a senior advisor to blue chip global consultants specialising in the energy sector, energy transition and corporate digital transformation.
John serves on the Royal Academy of Engineering’s Enterprise Committee.
Professor Dick Whittington FREng is an entrepreneur, business mentor and investor, focusing on the software industry and digital marketplaces, with over 30 years of experience in business. His experience has included co-founding a successful international software business recognised in UK through three Queen's Awards covering both innovation and international trade.
In 2012 he was elected Fellow of the Royal Academy of Engineering where he plays an active role, including as a mentor for early-stage technology startups and spin-outs through its highly successful Enterprise Hub. He is also an active mentor and angel investor within several London and regional technology accelerator programmes, and is Honorary Professor of Business Innovation at the University of York.
Prior to pursuing business interests, Dick lectured in computer science at the University of York. He managed a successful research team and published several research papers and books. His latest book Digital Innovation and Entrepreneurship (Cambridge University Press, 2018) provides an introduction to digital business for STEM students and early-stage entrepreneurs.
"The concept of the Enterprise Hub resonated with me as a solid, practical initiative to benefit UK engineering through engaging the Academy’s extraordinary network of talent. The role of the Hub in launching and scaling such businesses is of enormous value to the UK economy and the engineering profession.”
Paul Taylor FREng has led the delivery of some of the most demanding national security programmes in the UK, operating at the very highest levels of government. He is uniquely qualified to understand the evolving threat environment, as well as having an exceptional track record of driving and delivering change in complex organisations. Paul’s contribution to the world of science technology was recognised by his election as a Fellow of the Royal Academy of Engineering in 2013, where he now sits on its Engineering Policy Committee.
Paul is Deputy Managing Director at AWE plc, where he is responsible for providing the AWE Board and UK Ministry of Defence (MOD) with assurance of delivery of the £1 billion per annum nuclear warhead programme. Prior to this, he was Director General of Technology and Chief Information Officer in a central government department, where he was a member of both ExCo and the main board.
He held the position of Director General of Strategic Technologies and then Director General of Equipment in MOD, and Senior Responsible Owner for the UK’s Future Nuclear Deterrent. Paul was the first Chief Executive of the Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (DSTL). The post carried responsibility for all elements of defence research and the 3,000 staff that were retained within government following the split of MOD R&D activities into QinetiQ and DSTL.
A member of several government technical advisory committees, Paul also chairs the Advisory Board of the Imperial College Institute of Security Science and Technology. He is currently advising and exercising several global retail and investment banks at board level, helping to address their cyber and information protection challenges. Paul sits on a number of bank board risk committee advisory panels.
Formerly the UK Innovation Director for Atkins, Elspeth is the CEO and Founder of IAND, a digital platform that helps major enterprises manage multiple suppliers.
Initially graduating as a chemist, Elspeth later turned her hand to transport and urban design, demonstrating business and technical leadership on over 100 transport planning projects both nationally and around the world.
Elspeth chairs the Enterprise Hub’s Innovators Network and is a judge for the Hub’s Launchpad Competition. She is also a member of the Royal Academy of Engineering’s Diversity and Inclusion Committee.
In 2017, Elspeth was awarded a Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE) for her services to Engineering and Enterprise.
“I believe that collaboration within our industry is the key to driving innovation faster. I am so proud to be involved with the Enterprise Hub, as a Mentor, and as Chair of the Innovators Network and to support young entrepreneurs as a Judge on Launchpad competition.
It is rare to find a place which brings together startups and established companies to exchange ideas and learn from each other. We have a shared goal which is to fast track the growth of engineering enterprises in the UK. The Enterprise Hub has helped me grow my business and it is helping young engineers build the businesses of the future.”
Dr Liane Smith FREng founded Intetech Ltd in 1991, winning the Queen’s Award for Innovation in 2012 for its software. She sold the business to Wood Group in 2013 and in 2018 she left to form a new consulting engineering business, Larkton Ltd.
Liane is enthusiastic about the capability of digital technologies to transform businesses, bringing efficiencies, cost reduction, production control and increasing safety. In her last role as Senior Vice President Digital Solutions for Wood, she built the new global service line and defined its strategy roadmap and development plan. Her expertise is in various specialist branches of engineering in the industrial and energy sectors and in software product design and commercialisation, data management, data analysis, and analytics.
“I try to fill in gaps in mentees experience and give them confidence in their decisions. Typically we touch on building strong teams, role and task delegation, agile development, growing sales, exporting and strategy."
Sir Peter Bonfield CBE FREng is a leading international business executive with over 50 years’ experience in the fields of electronics, computers and communications. Change management in international technology companies has been at the centre of his long and illustrious career.
Since 2002 Sir Peter has been involved with a diverse portfolio of companies and is currently operating at main board level or director of several companies in the US, Europe and the Far East. In the past, he has served in as CEO of ICL and more recently of BT Group.
He is a Fellow of the Royal Academy of Engineering (1993), the Institution of Engineering and Technology, the British Computer Society, the Chartered Institute of Marketing, the Marketing Society and the Royal Society of Arts.
Sir Peter is a Liveryman of The Worshipful Company of Information Technologists, Freeman of the City of London, Honorary Citizen of Dallas, Texas and Member of The Pilgrims of Great Britain.
More information about Sir Peter can be found at www.sirpeterbonfield.com
Scientist and entrepreneur Dr Graeme Malcolm is CEO and founder of the multi-award-winning photonics and quantum technology company, M Squared. M Squared is headquartered in the UK with offices globally and is one of the UK's most innovative and disruptive technology businesses, well-known for creating the world's purest light.
Graeme finds technological and entrepreneurial solutions to some of society's greatest problems from improving healthcare to halting climate change. He's a Fellow of the Royal Academy of Engineering, The Royal Society Edinburgh, and The Institute of Physics and his achievements include an OBE for his services to Science and Innovation, The Swan Medal from the Institute of Physics, and Entrepreneur of the Year at the Amazon Growing Business Awards.
Dr Mark Selby joined Ceres Power in 2006 as a control systems engineer and spent several years in various leadership roles. In 2013, he became Chief Technology Officer as part of deploying a new corporate strategy to embed Ceres Technology through licensing to world-leading product companies like Bosch, Weichai, Doosan and Honda.
Mark is responsible for all aspects of the Steel Cell technology and brings 20 years of experience in clean technology product development, always working in multidisciplinary teams to solve hard science and engineering problems. As CTO, he sits at the interface of the commercial, technology, shareholders and wider stakeholders’ worlds and uses this insight to build ambitious collaborative programs that create value for everyone involved in the journey.
Prior to joining Ceres Power, he was part of the Control and Electronics Team at Ricardo UK Limited. Mark has degrees in electronics, dynamics and control systems from the University of Leeds and is a charted engineer.
His mission is to get world-changing science out of the lab and into products that actually change the world.
Professor Roger Benson FREng retired from full-time employment 2003. Since retiring he has been a part time consultant in world-class performance, working with the NDA and other organisations. In addition he has been a Chairman/Director of four university spin-out companies: PAROS (failed), Perceptive Engineering Ltd (recently sold), Industrial Tomography Systems (slow growth) and TDL Sensors Ltd (sold). When requested he is also an assessor for Innovate UK, EPSRC and EU projects.
Roger has been a judge for the UK Best Factory Awards for over 20 years. During that period he has visited and benchmarked over 200 of the best UK manufacturing plants across all industries.
Over a 35-year industrial career Roger worked for ICI. Positions included Chief Engineer of ICI Engineering Technology and Head of the Global Control / Electrical Function. He created and managed the ICI internal Manufacturing Technology capability. In 1993 he was seconded to the DTI Innovation Unit for two years where he coordinated and published the Winning Report. For the last four years of his career he was acquired by ABB where he was the Global Technology Programmes for ABB Analytics and Advanced Solutions, and an Executive member of ABB Process Solutions.
In 1999 he was appointed a Fellow of the Royal Academy of Engineering. He has published over 80 papers, and given many presentations on innovation, process control, benchmarking, world-class manufacturing and the future of the Process Industries. In 1999 Roger wrote and published the Institution of Chemical Engineers book, Benchmarking Process Manufacturing. It is still the only book on the subject. He has been a Visiting Professor to three UK universities.