From AI to detect skin cancer to next-generation products to reduce plastic use: 11 engineering innovators recognised by the Royal Academy of Engineering

10 Dec 2018

We’re excited to announce the latest cohort of exceptional engineering innovators to join the SME Leaders Programme. The selected entrepreneurs are developing technologies that are set to disrupt a wide range of sectors, including healthcare, cyber-security, manufacturing and sanitation. 

The programme is designed to equip leaders of engineering and technology SMEs in the UK with the skills they need to scale-up. On top of receiving £10,000 to spend on training for their own development, each of the new cohort innovators will receive coaching and development opportunities, mentoring and access the Academy’s Fellowship – a network of over 1,500 engineering and business experts.

The entrepreneurs, who will be the fifth cohort of SME Leaders to join the Enterprise Hub, include Virginia Gardiner, who has developed high quality, waterless flush toilets that are providing access to adequate sanitation and hygiene where it’s most needed, and Jack Greenhalgh, who is using artificial intelligence to ensure more cases of melanoma are caught at the earliest stage.

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Meet our latest SME Leaders:

Dr Cristina Blanco Andujar, Head of Research and Development, Medisieve

Medisieve helps doctors to rapidly target and remove infected cells from a patient’s bloodstream using a technique known as magnetic blood filtration. Cristina has responsibility for all aspects of product development from design to clinical trials and regulatory approval.  She is motivated to improve her commercial skills and establish a sales-to-market strategy that can adapt and respond to different audiences and markets.

Dr Daniel Elford, Co-founder and CTO, Sonobex Ltd

Sonobex develops engineering solutions to increase capacity for effective noise control in a range of environments, such as mechanical plant machinery. Daniel leads a team of acoustic engineers and is responsible for developing Sonobex's technical vision as the company enters a phase of high growth. On the programme, Daniel’s focus is on strategy development as the company establishes licence and distribution agreements to expand into global markets.

Virginia Gardiner, Founder and CEO, Loowatt

Loowatt designs and manufactures high quality, waterless flush toilets that could significantly improve access to adequate sanitation and hygiene where it’s most needed. Virginia developed the technology and now leads the company in establishing a robust strategy and vision for growth. She aims to use training and support from the SME Leaders Programme to advance the company’s fundraising strategy as it develops plans to scale manufacturing processes and sell its products to international utilities.

Jack Greenhalgh, Head of Artificial Intelligence, Skin Analytics

Skin Analytics has developed a new screening technology that uses artificial intelligence to quickly and accurately detect melanoma skin cancer. Jack leads in designing and validating the machine learning algorithms behind the technology. His ambition is to build a research team to help the company explore how its technology might support diagnosis of other skin cancers along with skin conditions such as acne and eczema.

Niall Haslam, CTO, axial3D

Globally, over three million complex surgical cases could benefit from 3D printing. Through a combination of software and expert services, axial3D aims to make 3D printing more accessible across the healthcare sector. Niall leads a rapidly-growing team of engineers involved in refining manufacturing processes and designing new services. His vision is to support the development of the team while fostering a culture of innovation and continued growth at axial3D.

Dr Graeme Karney, COO, VOID Technologies

A patented technology, developed by VOID, is enabling the production of a new generation of high-performance products with significantly reduced levels of plastic, such as flexible packaging. Graeme leads the company’s business development activity, manufacturing operations and supply chain. He aims to strengthen his skills in managing technical operations and development, while also drawing on guidance from a mentor with experience in the materials manufacturing sector.

Peter Schrammel, CTO, Diffblue Ltd

Diffblue is disrupting traditional computer programming by automating everyday tasks such as bug fixing, test-writing and translation across computer languages. With increasing sales of its core product, Peter has a key role in coordinating technology development to support sustainable growth at Diffblue. He aims to extend his leadership skills beyond engineering management and strengthen skills in effective communication and engagement to improve decision-making across both technical and non-technical challenges as the company grows in scale.

Dr Phillipa Smith, CTO, Duvas Technologies 

Duvas Technologies has developed the DV3000 for rapid, real-time environmental air monitoring. This patent-protected technology ensures that air pollution can be effectively detected and monitored, allowing protective legislation to be enforced at the earliest opportunity. Phillipa’s current goals include developing a technological vision and diversifying the company’s products. Phillipa aims to use the training and networking opportunities gained through the SME Leaders Programme to complement her technical and business skills as she develops a clear strategy for growth as the company scales up.

Dr Simon Thomas, CEO, Paragraf 

Paragraf has developed transformative manufacturing processes to make high-quality, large area graphene, bringing the full capabilities of the material to a range of advanced technologies. Simon manages strategy and operations as Paragraf moves from technology transfer to commercial viability. Training through the programme will help to develop partnerships and build strategic business management skills to support the early-stage company in further commercial exploitation as its first products go to market.

Dr Dan Tilley, Principal Analytics Scientist, CyberOwl 

CyberOwl develops technologies to help industry tackle the rising levels of risk associated with cyber threats. Dan manages the team that drives the analytical capability behind CyberOwl’s solutions and is developing a corporate strategy for scaling the technology to access the market for cyber-security in industrial systems, which has an estimated value of over £13 billion by 2022. He aims to strengthen his technical expertise, leadership and management skills to build a high-performance team to support the company’s growth.

Umar Wani, Co-founder and CTO, Accelerated Dynamics

Accelerated Dynamics (AD) is a deep technology company that uses artificial intelligence to create software for mission control, coordination and collaboration of robot fleets. Umar Wani, Co-Founder and Chief Technology Officer, leads AD’s product development as it defines key features that can be scaled up for various sectors within the drone industry. He is motivated to strengthen his commercial and management skills and embed a culture of good leadership as a foundation for growth in the early stages of the company’s development. 

Interested in accessing the support of the Enterprise Hub? Find out more about when applications for the next cohort of SME Leaders will open and how to apply here.

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