A new way of repelling insects, a device aimed at finding the next generation of sporting superstars and a novel plant extract have all been unveiled at a special business event.
Enterprising students from Cambridge University’s i-Teams programme described how they would help budding Branson’s take their radical products to market.
The teams presented ideas for new inventions before an audience of business experts at an event at University Centre in Mill Lane on Thursday (December 10th). Among the invited guests were celebrity angel investor Doug Richard, David Gill of the St. John’s Innovation Centre and Stewart McTavish from the soon-to-open Hauser Forum IdeaSpace.
The i-Teams programme was set up in Cambridge in 2006 by Amy Mokady, and is a collaboration between the IfM and the Cambridge University Technology and Enterprise Club. The programme, based on the successful programme created in the US at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, is designed to analyse the commercial potential of an emerging, breakthrough technology.
Amy Mokady, i-Teams Director said: “It was our biggest presentation evening yet, attracting some very high-profile people who were extremely impressed with the results of the projects.”
Former Dragon’s Den star Doug Richard said: “I watched i-Teams do the hard work the other night. They took new and innovative technologies and guided them towards a useful and potentially commercial purpose.
“Entrepreneurship animates innovation and drives change. Amy Mokady and her i-Teams programme are showing how science and engineering will continue to drive us forward.”
i-Teams allows entrepreneurial post-graduate students to work with real inventions to determine the best route for their commercialisation, and present the results to an audience of experts from the University and the local business community.
Each i-Team consists of up to 7 students from different disciplines and experience, and works with a nominated Cambridge University research project, assessing the commercial prospects of the invention.
The teams are guided by the inventors, and mentors from the local business community. Together they identify suitable product markets, and define directions for future technology development, helping to drive the use of lab research in real-world applications.
Among the radical innovations presented at the event were a revolutionary non-toxic and environmentally safe insect repellent coating designed by Jan-Henning Dirks, Christofer Clemente and Walter Federle at the University’s Department of Zoology.
Also featured was a detailed sensing project for athletes. The SESAME project (SEnsing in Sport and Managed Exercise) developed a technique to analyse the detailed performance of athletes. The methods could lead to major improvements in athletic performance.
The final team looked at ways of transforming plants into cosmetic and herbal products. Dr Francoise Barbira-Freedman has spent years studying the herbal traditions of indigenous Peruvian peoples, and compiling a database of over 400 of the country’s plants with special properties and has set up a company to commercialise this knowledge. The team helped her with a new business strategy.
All the teams were able to speak to multiple potential commercial partners about their technologies, and several of these companies plan to meet the researchers in the new year.
Notes for Editors
For further information contact:
Institute for Manufacturing
The Institute for Manufacturing
The University of Cambridge’s Institute for Manufacturing (IfM), is a division of the Department of Engineering. The IfM brings together expertise in management, economics and technology to address the full spectrum of industrial issues. Its activities integrate research and education with practical application in companies, providing a unique environment for the creation of new ideas and approaches to modern industrial practice.
The IfM works closely with industry, at a regional, national and international level, providing strategic, technical and operational expertise to help companies to grow and to become more competitive. This work brings benefits to both parties. Industry receives practical solutions based on the latest applied research. The university receives live feedback to help set the agenda for new research.
Running since 2006, i-Teams allows entrepreneurial post-graduate students to work with real inventions to determine the best route for their commercialization.
Each i-Team consists of up to 7 students from different disciplines and experience, who work with a nominated research project selected from several University departments. The i-Team assesses the commercial prospects for the technology, by discussing the technology with real target customers in relevant industries.
The teams are guided by the labs’ Principal Investigators, the i-Teams Program Director (Amy Mokady), and mentors from the local business community. Together they identify suitable product markets, and define directions for future technology development, helping to drive the use of lab research in real-world applications.
i-Teams sponsors include the Hauser Forum IdeaSpace, the Isaac Newton Trust, the EPSRC, the CIKC, and Marks & Clerk. i-Teams projects are open to students and researchers from anywhere in the East of England.