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.
People with poor control over their bladders increasingly prefer to use intermittent self-catheterisation (ISC) for treatment. This is the procedure where the patients insert catheters via their urethra into their own bladder by themselves.
Thanks to the greater degree of personal independence and lower infection risk there are over 600 million ISC sold each year. However, the regular insertion of catheters can be painful and lead to complications such as urethral damage, bleeding and inflammation.
The lubricant coatings traditionally used on catheters haven't changed in a decade. They tend to dry out quickly, making them less slippery. This means inserting and removing a catheter can become difficult and painful.
Nicola, Professor Colin McCoy and her team at Queen’s University Belfast developed a new coating that is cheaper, more slippery, stays wet longer and adheres strongly to the catheter which eases insertion and reduces damage on removal.
By transforming catheterisation into a quick and painless process patients can easily do themselves, Uroglide is expected to save medical personnel time and, importantly, make a life-changing difference to the dignity and health of patients.
Uroglide is undergoing independent testing and expected to be available for use by patients in healthcare and home settings next year.
“With the training and mentoring provided through my Enterprise Fellowship, I hope to be able to confidently make the transition from the academic environment to the commercial world. I’m keen to develop my entrepreneurial skills and business acumen so that I can effectively drive the expansion of the company.”
Dr David Heath is founder and CEO of Cutitronics Ltd, a spin-out company from the University of Strathclyde. David identified a gap in the market for personalised, adaptive skin care which would harness the power of engineering and technology-based innovation, to support consumers in achieving their desired skincare and beauty results.
Cutitronics offers a menu of patented CutiTron™ technology including assessment of personal skin health, a unique method of automated skin stimulation to enhance topical product absorption and precise personalised product dosage. The technology becomes intuitive through adaptive coaching, supporting the consumer to achieve optimum results.
In August 2017 the company announced a strategic partnership with FTSE 100 Company Croda International plc, who recognised CutiTron™ technology as truly innovative and disruptive for the personal care industry. The partnership will support David and the Cutitronics team to progress their ambitious growth and development plans, taking the technology from prototype to market-ready.
"Breaking into such a huge and established market is both an exciting and challenging prospect. The experience of my mentor, Dr Jeremy Burroughes, will be invaluable in this respect, and gaining this recognition for my technology from the Royal Academy of Engineering stands me in excellent stead to take it to market."
Ben is a research associate at Imperial College London and a founder of MicroTech Ceramic Ltd. The company is producing new catalytic convertor technology to reduce exhaust emissions in vehicles.
Catalytic convertors are used in engines to convert the pollutants in exhaust gas into less toxic pollutants. This is done by using ceramic substrates to connect exhaust gas with the catalyst.
Innovations and advances in this field had plateaued in the last decade, but MicroTech’s system has changed that.
Ben has developed an advanced structure of the substrate that provides a larger surface area for the contact and thereby make it more efficient.
This drastically reduces the quantity of precious metal required in the catalyst and the production cost of the catalytic converter overall.
The new structure also delivers a two to three percent fuel saving and offers high performance
cars an equivalent increase in engine power.
Microtech's system means the size of catalytic convertors can be reduced by around 50%. As this offers engine and exhaust system designers greater freedom, it is a benefit that has already garnered significant interest from the automotive industry.
“Having spent two years beginning to commercialise my technology, I’m now at the stage where the project needs support from experienced and like-minded individuals to develop collaborations, generate funding and fully understand customer needs. With its focus on helping researchers quickly make the transition from academia to operating as a fully-fledged entrepreneur, the Enterprise Hub is the perfect support platform.”
Scientists use atomic force microscopes to examine matter such as biological cells and bacteria at the nanoscale.
Loren set out to develop the fastest one in the world, and achieved this ground-breaking goal in 2014.
His project is unique in that it can map not only the height of the sample surface but also its stiffness and conductance with nanometre resolution.
The microscope has a touch screen interface so that scientists can use ‘multi-touch’ gestures much like on smartphones to interact with samples in real time.
This improves usability, makes analysis quicker.and opens up new ways of manipulating samples. And it lets non-skilled operators control the instrument.
Having already invested significant time in his research at the University of Bristol, Loren is now commercialising the project through his company Bristol NanoDynamics. It promises to be even more of a game-changer in future.
“I have spent the last ten years developing and refining my technology, and now is the time to take this work to the next stage and begin to really revolutionise nanoscale imaging. Working with the Enterprise Hub is the ideal opportunity for me to learn how to do this successfully and ensure it is available to users around the world.”
Dr Kai Yang has developed an everyday fabric-based electrode for wearable medical devices so that stroke sufferers and people in need of pain relief can get electrical stimulation treatment in a far more practical way than ever before.
Traditional electrodes (made from hydrogel) are not ideal for wearable applications as they are sticky, have a limited lifetime, need to be kept in a sealed bag to stop moisture evaporation, and are incompatible with clothing.
Dr Kai Yang's fabric electrode can be applied on the skin directly without using any gel. Everyday fabrics and clothing items such as an arm band or sleeve can have the electrodes added to suit various needs. The fabric-based electrode is comfortable to wear, easy to use, washable and unobtrusive.
The fabric electrode can be used to deliver Functional Electrical Stimulation (FES) for stroke rehabilitation; TENS for pain relief (e.g. arthritis, back pain, neck pain) and health monitoring (e.g. ECG, EEG, EMG).
As a Principal Investigator, Kai has secured £1.1M research funding from the Medical Research Council for a multi-disciplinary team to develop a wearable FES training system for home based stroke rehabilitation using the fabric electrode together with advanced control and sensor technologies. The FES training system will enable stroke survivors to conduct rehabilitation activities without the need of a carer or therapist.
TG0 has developed a new technology for interactive 3D controls, which enables them to be both intuitive and ergonomic. Most electronic products and dashboards have individual on/off buttons as well as multiple sensors and parts. TG0 has replaced these multi-part electronic interfaces with one flexible touch-sensitive material that works with AI-based algorithms.
Using machine learning and advanced signal processing technology, the company has created a sensing method that can detect touch interactions such as pressure, location, direction, speed and movement on uniform large surfaces. The resulting material technology can be used in tactile gaming controls, car dashboard controls and ergonomic computer accessories such as keyboards.
Dr Liucheng Guo is the Co-Founder and CTO of TG0. He became an SME Leader in 2019 and says that the programme has benefited the company in a number of ways. “Thanks to the leadership training and mentoring, I have rethought and realigned our technical strategies with business requirements. The networking has been especially productive, as it found us a collaborator who has helped secure an InnovateUK funding.”
Now, TG0 is selling directly to consumers. The company has developed a new VR controller called etee, which it launched on Kickstarter. The lightweight device fits onto a person’s fingers and manoeuvres around the VR environment through touch, proximity, pressure and gestures. It can be used for both gaming and medical applications.
Daniel is the inventor of RHEON™ and CTO of RHEON LABS.
RHEON is a revolutionary mouldable material that is capable of absorbing high levels of energy in impact, tension and vibration. It uses a property known as strain-rate dependency to allow this material to be flexible in normal wearing, but to stiffen instantaneously and temporarily when subject to an acute energy input. It can be moulded directly onto clothing, incorporated into the fabric as a thread or coating, or laminated onto a material and is both breathable and washable.
Daniel has worked in the field of energy absorbing systems and their applications for over 15 years, including specialisation work in smart textiles for NASA and sitting on the London 2012 Olympic committee. During his PhD, the fellowship and throughout his work since has built up a significant portfolio of patents which are now being exploited for the sports sector through RHEON LABS Ltd.
The scientists, engineers and designers at RHEON LABS are already engaged with best-in-class brands across a wide spectrum of sports apparel, collaborating with some of the biggest names to integrate RHEON™ into their products to enhance the performance, comfort and protection.
Poised now for rapid growth, Daniel and RHEON LABS are building a team to widen the commercialisation of this exciting technology. Whilst the initial focus is on the sports-apparel sector, there are significant opportunities for applying this potentially life-saving technology in several other sectors such as electronics, healthcare and defence.
“For me, the opportunity to work for an extended period with one product and a single focus is very welcome. The highly relevant and focused mentorship, and the prestige of growing my business under the Academy scheme, is too good an opportunity to ignore.”
Jon has developed software to help drug developers predict the effects of new drugs on auto-immune diseases, such as rheumatoid arthritis and multiple sclerosis.
His software is capable of integrating far more data and concepts than the systems currently used by drug developers creating clinical trials of new products. The increased data input through Jon's system results in improved confidence in computer simulations, cost savings and quicker speed to market for new drug releases.
Jon is Professor of Intelligent and Adaptive Systems at the University of York, where his research focuses on building computer models of immune function in the human body. He is the founder of SimOmics, a spin out of the University of York, which is expanding on these developments.
Philip is the founder of Synaptec Ltd and is pioneering new photonic sensor and interrogator designs for complex modern energy systems like smart grids.
His technology eliminates the need to duplicate expensive measurement hardware. This is achieved by getting simultaneous measurements of electrical parameters from across the power grid, without bandwidth limitations and with minimal infrastructure.
Synaptec reduces electrical power transmission costs through reducing outages, preventing circuit damage, and minimising civil works. These low-carbon technologies are what will underpin electric power generation and distribution in the future.
He is also working with the industry to improve power system protection capabilities by removing the bottlenecks that often take place with present methods.
“It’s the combination of marketing, networking and training opportunities that makes the Enterprise Hub such a unique opportunity, and it would simply be impossible for me to focus on beginning to commercialise this technology without its support. The opportunities to access potential investors, mentors, and a community of academic entrepreneurial peers will be invaluable.”
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.
Former Inaugural Chair of the Enterprise Committee and a long-standing Academy Fellow, Ian Shott CBE FREng has played a prominent role in establishing the Enterprise Hub. His track record of helping businesses in the engineering and life science sectors transform their approach and improve their vision, ambition, business models and enterprise value is an invaluable resource.
Ian is the Founder and former Executive Chair of contract pharmaceutical development and manufacturing company ARCINOVA, which he sold to Quotient Sciences in February 2021 and continues as Senior Advisor to the board. Ian is also the Managing Director at investment and advisory firm Shott Trinova. Prior to his specialist investment work at Shott Trinova, Ian was the founder and CEO of Excelsyn, which was sold to an American multinational in 2010. Earlier in his career he held numerous senior executive positions at multinational life science companies across the globe.
Ian has a wealth of experience with major industry bodies. He is formerly the Chair of the UK government’s Leadership Forum for Industrial Biotechnology and a Governing Board Member of Innovate UK. Ian is also Visiting Professor at Oxford, Nottingham and Newcastle universities.
“Apart from a deep-seated passion to change the entrepreneurial landscape in the UK and rediscover our legacy from the industrial revolution, I am highly excited by the prospect of engaging with new young talent and using my experience to accelerate and amplify their success. I’ve been involved in mentoring for over a decade but believe the Hub offers a very special opportunity to work with the brightest and best”.
Andy’s career in industry has involved co-founding over a dozen spin-outs and start-ups, three of which floated on stock markets. Virata floated on NASDAQ and at its peak had a market capitalisation of $5 billion.
His most prominent successes have come through RealVNC, which won the prestigious MacRobert Award in 2013, and Ubisense plc. Collectively, these two organisations have received five Queen’s Awards for Enterprise.
In academia, Andy heads the University of Cambridge’s Computer Laboratory and is an Honorary Fellow of Trinity Hall and Corpus Christi College. Elsewhere, he served as President of the IET between 2012 and 2013, and in 2007 received a CBE for services to the computer industry.
Andy is co-founder and Chairman of pioneering remote access software developers RealVNC and is also Professor of Computer Technology at the University of Cambridge. He was elected a Fellow of the Royal Academy of Engineering in 1996.
“My own career experiences have demonstrated just how important it is that the bridges between academia and industry are present and robust, and also what can be achieved when the relationship works to its potential. The Enterprise Hub offers an invaluable opportunity for exceptional academics to work with experienced industry figures and bring truly exciting new technology businesses to fruition.”
Naeem Alvi is an award-winning brand strategist and the founder of Notepad. After years of helping fast-growth SMEs and big brands such as Nike, Adidas and RBS Natwest to better leverage their brand, Naeem founded Notepad to connect big brand experience with ambitious tech companies that want to define and scale up their brands effectively and affordably.
Recent achievements include:
John is Professor of Optoelectronic Systems and Dean of transnational Education at the University of Glasgow.
He moved to Glasgow in 1986, where he established an internationally leading research group addressing linear and nonlinear integrated optoelectronic systems. He developed new integration technologies for photonic integrated circuits based on quantum well devices and quantum well intermixing, which ultimately led to the formation of the spin-out company Intense Ltd in 2000.
Intense developed the world’s most advanced integrated laser systems, bringing monolithic laser arrays together with electronic ASICs and optics for precise energy delivery in a range of applications from printing to material processing. The monolithic laser arrays pushed reliability and manufacturing yields to new levels.
John has extensive experience of operating in both academic and high-technology industrial environments, and as a result has an excellent understanding of spinning out IP and creating commercial value from an academic base.
He has been involved with several start-up companies including Kelvin Nanotechnology Ltd (1997-2000); Compound Semiconductor Technologies Ltd (1999-2000) and Intense Ltd (now Intense Inc) (2000-2009).
John was elected a Fellow of the Royal Academy of Engineering (FREng) in 2007; Fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh (FRSE) in 2000; Fellow of IEEE (FIEEE) in 2000 ‘for contributions to development of integrated optics based on semiconductor quantum well devices’; and Fellow of the Optical Society (FOSA) in 2016 for ‘for contributions to quantum and photonics technologies and systems in III-V compound semiconductors’.
Alastair is Head of Analytics and Machine Learning at MDRxTECH, Mishcon de Reya's digital transformation consultancy.
Alastair is a UCL Computer Science PhD with a background in computer vision, analytics, machine learning, blockchain, strategy, and technology innovation. He is an experienced manager and entrepreneur who has built teams in both large and small organisations. He is regularly called upon to audit, evaluate and provide guidance to large scale technology programmes for MDRxTECH clients. An entrepreneurial and dynamic problem solver, Alastair co-founded Satalia, which builds and applies AI technology to solve efficiency problems for organisations such as Tesco and PwC. He also co-founded the venture backed WeArePopUp.com, and helped establish the IDEALondon innovation centre with Cisco Systems.
Alastair continues to maintain an active teaching role in the UCL School of Management (MSc Business Analytics) and Peking University, Beijing (MBA Technology Strategy). His research interests include technology strategy, blockchain, smart contracting and computational law.
Brewster Barclay has been selling, marketing and product managing for more than 40 years in a wide variety of high technology industries including printed circuit boards, both manufacturing processes and capital equipment, 3D circuit boards, online advertising, optical sensors, military chip packaging, radar tubes and software engineering services. Brewster has worked at Zuhlke Engineering, e2v technologies, Clicktream Technologies, Orbotech and PCK Technology Kollmorgen.
The experience of launching new products and almost six years running an internet advertising startup led to Brewster giving back in the form of mentoring early stage and growth startups. He identified a massive gap in business development, sales support and strategy that angels, accelerators and VCs give to startups. He has focused solely on sharing his experiences in business development sales, sales techniques and the practicalities of day to day sales and lead generation.
He has mentored at the Royal Academy of Engineering for the past seven years as well as for Accelerate Cambridge, Seraphim Space Capital and many other groups.
Vida is a behavioural change coach with over seven years’ experience helping people think differently and positively change lives. She helps people to build connection and balance in order to create a sustainable future for themselves, others and the world. Vida does this as a speaker, trainer and coach, focusing on wellbeing, self-care, belief change, and motivation.
Having worked in prisons and schools as well as the public sector with non-clinical NHS staff and private sector for companies such Telefónica and Wavin, she has a unique insight to share.
Professor Alison Noble is the Technikos Professor of Biomedical Engineering, in the Department of Engineering Science at the University of Oxford, and Associate Head of MPLS Division. She is a Fellow of the Royal Society (2017), the Royal Academy of Engineering (2008) and the President of the Medical Image Computing and Computer Assisted Interventions (MICCAI) Society, the international society in biomedical image analysis.
Alison’s research interests are in computer analysis of clinical and biological images and the development and translation into clinical practice of novel methodologies that provide new diagnostic and therapeutic image based biomarkers and software tools for image-based quantification and decision-making. Her research group works in close collaboration with clinicians and industry players. She is also a Founder and the Chief Technology Officer of a university spin-out company that is commercialising research from her laboratory (Intelligent Ultrasound Ltd).
She returned to Oxford as a University Lecturer in 1995 to set up a biomedical image analysis group. Biomedical image analysis has since grown to be the largest biomedical engineering activity in Oxford.
Alison has played a leading role in setting up the biomedical engineering undergraduate and postgraduate biomedical engineering teaching and training (MSc and CDT) programmes at Oxford over the last decade. She is a member of both the Oxford University’s Research and Education Committees (from Oct 2013), and has served or currently serves on a number of committees of the Royal Academy of Engineering and other national organisations as well as numerous research funding agency panels.
Bill is a leading scientist worldwide in the field of Medical Materials. His major research contributions have been recognised by numerous international awards, medals and memberships.
He has been the Professor of Medical Materials at the University of Cambridge; served as Director of Cambridge Pfizer Institute for Pharmaceutical Materials Science; Cambridge Director of CMI Interdisciplinary Research Cluster in Biomaterials and Tissue Engineering and Director of University of London Interdisciplinary Research Centre (IRC) in Biomedical Materials. He has been Head of Department, Dean, and Governor at Queen Mary University of London.
He has been the editor of the Journal of The Royal Society: Interface, the Journal of Materials Science: Materials in Medicine, the Journal of Materials Science, and of the Journal of Materials Science Letters.
Bill is Emeritus Professor of Medical Materials in the University of Cambridge. He is internationally recognised for his pioneering research contributions to biomaterials for medical devices, with awards including the Royal Academy of Engineering Prince Philip Gold Medal; the Royal Society Armourers and Brasiers Company Medal; the Kelvin Medal; the European Society for Biomaterials George Winter Award; the Japanese Society for Biomaterials Medal; the Institute of Materials Griffiths Medal and Chapman Medal; the UK Society for Biomaterials President's Prize; the Acta Metallurgica H.H. Holloman Award and the International Union for Physical Sciences and Engineering in Medicine Award of Merit.
Professor Bonfield's exceptional interdisciplinary contribution has been recognised by his election to all three UK National Academies as a Fellow of the Royal Society (FRS), a Fellow of the Royal Academy of Engineering (FREng) and a Fellow of the Academy of Medical Sciences (FMedSci).