Two teams share £70,000 to develop their commercially-viable technology businesses.
Winners of the £70,000 prize fund were announced on Friday, 10 July at the Masood Enterprise Centre’s 2020 Harari Awards celebration evening, which was streamed online through its Facebook page.
The Eli and Britt Harari Graphene Enterprise Award, in association with Nobel Laureate Sir Andre Geim, is awarded each year to help the implementation of commercially-viable business proposals from students, post-doctoral researchers and recent graduates of The University of Manchester based on developing the commercial prospects of graphene and other 2D materials.
Six teams from The University of Manchester were shortlisted and pitched their graphene-related business proposals to a panel of professional judges in bid to secure funding to drive their novel ideas forward.
First prize of £50,000 was awarded to PhD student Scott Dean and his team Graphene Trace, for Sleep Mapp - an idea aimed at those who suffer from Obstructive Sleep Apnoea (OSA), by offering a novel technology for sleep monitoring, diagnostics and therapeutics. Disguised as a mattress protector, Sleep Mapp utilises graphene sensor technology to monitor and respond to every toss and turn. Their Active Sleep Control technology uses machine learning to identify sleep postures that exacerbate OSA and helps correct them - all without masks or sports equipment.
Scott Dean from the school of Natural Sciences commented: “We’re extremely proud to be this year’s winners. This award marks a lot of hard work from an incredible team and the start of an exciting journey for sleep mapp”. He added: “The prize money will enable us to produce a professional prototype, conduct thorough market research and software development, not to mention the professional support we’ll have access to through the University.”
In second place and claiming £20,000 prize was Robert Ataria with his idea Graphene Green Concrete, a proposal to make high-performance graphene recycled aggregate concrete. This transformative approach will look to develop formulations for specific construction applications, to drastically improve the rate of using recycled aggregate concrete in high-value applications without environmentally demanding processes of carbon footprint for new constructions.
Robert commented: “I am thrilled to have won this award; the funding from this competition is timely as it will allow me to bring Graphene Green Concrete closer to practical applications by developing a full set of commercially applicable results.”
The quality of the business proposals presented in this year’s finals was exceptionally high. Professor Luke Georghiou, Deputy President and Deputy Vice-Chancellor, and chair of the judging panel for this year’s competition said: “Our commitment to the support of entrepreneurship across the University has never been stronger and is a vital part of our approach to the commercialisation of research.
"The support provided by Eli Harari over the last seven years has enabled new and exciting ventures to be developed."
Physics alumnus and founder of global flash-memory giant, SanDisk, Dr Eli Harari joined the event as a guest speaker, who tuned in from the US. He shared his entrepreneurial journey with the audience and the importance of inventing and commercialising. Harari told the viewers: “what you have here in Manchester is like the early days of Silicon Valley.”
The award is co-funded by the North American Foundation for The University of Manchester through the support of Dr Eli Harari and his wife, Britt. It recognises the role that high-level, flexible, early-stage financial support can play in the successful development of a business targeting the full commercialisation of a product or technology related to research in graphene and 2D materials.
If you have an idea that you would like to explore, please contact email@example.com to speak with a member of the Enterprise Team.