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.
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.
Research shows that 23% of the
world’s energy is lost through tribological contact, which is the wear and
friction generated by interacting surfaces in motion.
Tribosonics Limited, a Sheffield company, has developed sensing technology to tackle wear, friction and lubrication issues in rotating equipment. The business venture designs, manufactures and installs high-end, often bespoke, ultrasonic sensing and data capture platforms across many industrial sectors.
Tribosonics inserts sensors within bearings, seals and other moving parts to create smart components that can measure and monitor tribological contact as well as other performance and structural metrics. The generated data helps companies to extend plant life, prevent critical failures, shorten maintenance cycles and reduce energy use through improved operational efficiency.
Christina King is the Chief Commercial Officer for Tribosonics, responsible for building innovative commercial partnerships with large corporations. Christina joined the SME Leaders programme in 2021 and says “I want to gain business insights and build networks that will help develop my personal journey, as well as scale-up the company.”
In 2020, Tribosonics secured over £1 million of equity investment from the Northern Powerhouse Investment Fund, via Mercia Asset Management. This will enable the company to double in size over the next three years. It is now looking to further expand its patented ultrasonic sensing technologies into global industrial markets.
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.
Matthew has developed and patented Ultrafast Laser Plasma Implantation (ULPI) as a novel manufacturing platform with his product, Alpin.
ULPI can implant any glass with femtosecond-laser generated plasma – a highly charged and energetic gas, such as one containing optically active elements. This introduces visible or light-activated colouring (e.g. when exposed to UV) to glass.
Using a mask much like a stencil, ULPI can create a pattern upon the surface such as a barcode or branding.
This could have any number of applications such as an anti-counterfeiting measure, made unique for an individual batch or product. It could provide security and authenticity for diverse products such as pharmaceutical, alcohol and perfume bottles. The invention could add a unique selling point to a product as well as limiting the severe health and financial implications of counterfeiting.
Matthew founded Ultramatis Ltd as a spin-out of the University of Leeds to further expand the possibilities of this exciting technology.
Angus is working to ensure transport companies improve margins through better investment in efficiency solutions. An average heavy goods vehicle in the UK uses £42,000 of fuel annually. For haulage companies operating on extremely tight margins averaging between one to three percent, savings on fuel can have a huge effect on their profits.
There are a number of products available on the market designed to improve the efficiency of haulage vehicles, but a lack of evidence of savings on fuel has limited their uptake. Angus established his start-up Dynamon to address this lack of quantifiable data for the haulage industry.
Dynamon combines big data from vehicles with dynamic modelling and statistics in order to give hauliers tailored recommendations on the products that will help them make the greatest savings. It can also be used to help in gauging impact on air quality improvement programmes.
The company has two main products, both of which provide measurements that are far more reliable and accurate than MPG (miles per gallon) or litres per 100km.
The first product, Advanced Fuel Measurement, measures fuel savings from tracking aerodynamics, fuel additives, driver training and regenerative braking. Dynamon’s software links directly to vehicle telematics data and can measure vehicle performance without variables caused by driver behaviour, route, traffic, and vehicle weight.
Dynamon's second product is currently under development. The Fuel Saving Platform utilises a database of fuel saving products to recommend those that provide best return on investment (ROI) for a particular company. This ensures road transport companies invest in the correct fuel saving products based on how they use their vehicles.
Wayve Technologies has created a software system that teaches cars to drive autonomously. Rather than use sensors and hand-coded rules, it uses artificial intelligence and machine-learning to navigate city streets.
Initially, Wayve-vehicles are trained using simulated environments. This knowledge is then taken onto the road where a safety driver prompts and intervenes when needed. The car learns to drive autonomously through this reinforced learning supported by cameras and GPS navigation. Wayve Technologies’ vehicles have successfully negotiated roads they have never been on before without the need for an HD map of the environment.
Alex Kendall co-founded Wayve in 2017 and is currently CEO. When he joined the SME Leaders programme in 2020, his company had already generated £20 million of investment from interested organisations worldwide. Alex hopes that the networking opportunities the programme provides will help his company generate product strategies and promote organisational growth. The wealth of engineering experience within the programme will be relevant, as robotics, mechanical and software engineering are all crucial for developing autonomous vehicles.
Alex’s mission over the coming years is to advance the role of machine-learning for self-driving cars. He plans to have vehicles using Wayve technology deployed across European cities and wants the company to demonstrate that scalable autonomy can be achieved without the need for HD-mapping infrastructure or hand-coded behavioural rules.
Jack founded the innovative startup Massless to address the frustration of working with computers using existing devices.
Augmented and Virtual Reality (AR/VR) will move us far beyond just using the keyboard, mouse and touchscreen (2D) to new 3D mixed reality interaction with computers.
Massless is developing an interaction layer allowing people to experience new approaches such as using fingers, high precision devices and mobile devices.
This would affect user interaction in both work and play. High-quality Massless solutions can improve productivity for professionals such as developers, designers and engineers and also improve mobile VR interaction for entertainment.
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.
Dr Robert Sansom FREng is an experienced angel investor and mentor to technology-based startup businesses in the UK and US.
He is the founder of the Cambridge Angels, a group of expert technology and biotechnology entrepreneurs who invest in and mentor technology startups across the UK.
Robert serves on the board of several startups including Arachnys Information Services, Cambridge Communication Systems, CRFS, Featurespace, IQGeo plc, Myrtle Software, and Netronome Systems. Prior to becoming an angel investor, he co-founded FORE Systems, a leader in high-speed data communications, where he was Chief Technical Officer. Fore Systems went public on NASDAQ in 1994 and was sold to Marconi plc in 1999.
Robert was elected a Fellow of the Royal Academy of Engineering in 2010.
“Through my career I’ve built up considerable experience taking knowledge-based technology business from initial idea through to becoming successful businesses. I’d like to help a new generation of technology entrepreneurs do the same, and the Enterprise Hub is an excellent platform for me to do this.”
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.”
Paul Excell is an award-winning entrepreneur, investor and global executive leader with an impressive track record of delivering growth and transformation in startups, scale-ups, global corporates and is passionate about social mobility. He is Chief Operating Officer and Non-Executive Director at ScaleUp Group™️, providing tech scaleups with unique insights from successful entrepreneurs with over $4 billion in exits plus patient equity/debt growth funding (£2 million to £20 million). He has six tech clients in the growth portfolio, and his clients have raised £30 million to date.
In addition to this, Paul is Co-Founder and Chair of Global iLabs, Founder and CEO of Excelerate™️ and Non-Executive Director with Knowledge Gateway (University of Essex). He acts as a judge and mentor for the UK Enterprise Awards and the Royal Academy of Engineering’s Launchpad Innovation Award and SME Leaders.
Paul was previously Chief Customer Innovation Officer, Chief Operating Officer/Group Technology Officer, SVP[PS1] Global at BT, Chair/member of several business Boards (UK and Spain, Nordics, AsiaPac) and sat on BT Group Board committees on Technology, Risk and Diversity. He was an Engineering Council Board member and acted as advisor to UN Secretary General on sustainability, technology and innovation.
He started his career as an apprentice and is now a chartered engineer (CEng), Fellow of the Institution of Engineering and Technology (FIET), the Chartered Institute for IT (FBCS) and Court Liveryman, Worshipful Company of Information Technologists.
Suranga has long experience as an engineer and entrepreneur. He founded Blinkx - an intelligent search engine for video and audio content - in 2004. He led Blinkx as CEO for eight years as well as taking it public in 2007. He is widely regarded as an expert on the convergence of the web, television and online advertising.
Before his work with Blinkx, Suranga was US Chief Technology Officer of Autonomy where he was mentored by Mike Lynch and led the effort to enable Autonomy’s software to work in highly distributed environments. Suranga joined Balderton as a General Partner in 2014.
An accomplished speaker and commentator on the overlap between technology and media, Suranga has been elected by the World Economic Forum as one of its Young Global Leaders. He was also included in the Top 10 leaders in Science and Innovation by The Observer’s Future 500 list, and was a recipient of the Royal Academy of Engineering’s Silver Medal in 2012. Suranga was elected a Fellow of the Royal Academy of Engineering (FREng) in 2012.
“The real high-growth value companies are currently all in the tech space. In order for these businesses to reach their potential, it’s vital that they can benefit from the guidance of those with experience.”
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.”
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 Norman Apsley OBE FREng recently retired from 18 years as founding Chief Executive of Catalyst Inc (formerly Northern Ireland Science Park), steering the organisation from idea to reality. The NI Science Park was a key first step to transform the near derelict H&W shipyard into the innovation district for Belfast. He had spent the previous two decades at the Royal Signals and Radar Establishment (now QinetiQ Malvern), where he had researched a wide variety of microwave and optical devices, publishing some 70 scientific papers and patents during his scientific career. He joined management in 1990, rising to Director Electronics and Site Director for the Malvern cluster in the then Defence Research and Evaluation Agency by 1995.
In 2011, he was elected as a Fellow of the Royal Academy of Engineering, just as he finished his term as Vice-President (Business and Innovation) of the Institute of Physics. He has been an active Enterprise Committee member from the beginning and continues to contribute to its various programmes as reviewer, mentor and on steering groups, most lately the SME Leaders’ Award.
Norman also supports the international work of the Academy. In 2018, he became Chair of the Academy’s Newton-funded project, Leaders in Innovation Fellowships (LIF), which works in all 16 Newton Fund countries. Alongside in-country partners, LIF helps innovators with technology to tackle their country’s sustainable development goals launch startups. Over the past few years, LIf fellows have been built into a thousand strong, peer-to-peer support group across the world.
At home, Norman chairs the Local Economic Development Company serving South and East Antrim and consults occasionally for both public and private sector. In 2012, Norman was awarded an OBE for his contributions to science and economic development. In 2019, the honorary degree of Doctor of Science (Econ Sci) was conferred by Queens University Belfast. In the same year, he was awarded the Max Rainey Medal for service to the Polymer Industry of Northern Ireland. He is looking forward to Belfast becoming the first (of many) spokes to the Enterprise Hub.
"(Engineering) entrepreneurs are typically rich with ideas, energy and enthusiasm but cash poor. They cannot afford the quality help they need to find the right business model for their idea, discovery or invention. Pro Bono support from Fellows from their experience and from their “black books” helps speed the process and leads to increased innovation.”
Professor Neville Jackson FREng has spent nearly 40 years in industrial R&D, primarily in transport and energy systems. He has experience in managing complex R&D portfolios and spinning out new technologies into commercially funded startups.
He currently chairs both the RAC Foundation and the Institute of Digital Engineering Advisory Board and is also a non-executive director of the UK Advanced Propulsion Centre. He also chairs the Royal Academy of Engineering’s steering group for the Increasing engineering business R&D investment project. He has been a member of the UK Automotive Council since it was formed and is a member of the Strategy Team, chairing the R&D/Horizon Scanning working group.
From 2009 until 2019 he was Chief Technology and Innovation Officer for Ricardo plc. He has co-ordinated and authored a wide range of technology roadmaps at national and European level, defining the potential, and technology pathways for transport energy, propulsion systems, future vehicle electrical/electronic architectures and digitalisation/virtual product development.
A graduate of Imperial College London, he is also a visiting professor at the University of Brighton. His past roles have included Chairman of the Low Carbon Vehicle Partnership, a six-year term as a member of the EPSRC Strategic Advisory Network, Vice Chair of the European Road Transport Research Advisory Council (ERTRAC) and a member of the Industry Delegation for the European Green Vehicles Initiative (EGVI). He is also a Fellow of the US SAE and was elected a Fellow of the Royal Academy of Engineering in 2011.
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.