Bright SCIdea Challenge

The Bright SCIdea Challenge provides support for students based in the UK and Republic of Ireland to develop an innovative science-based idea into a business plan and to compete for a £5,000 prize.

SCI supports entrants to the competition by delivering free, exclusive training. Teams with the strongest business plan are invited to deliver their pitch to an expert panel of experienced, successful senior business people and innovators

Bright SCIdea Video Title

How to Enter

Registrations for the Bright SCIdea Challenge 2021 will be open later this year. If you are a student at university UK or ROI, you can register your interest now to receive email updates about the competition.


If your company would like to support talented young innovators through the Bright SCIdea Challenge, get in touch with us via email to discuss the different ways that you can get involved.


Our Bright SCIdea Champions

Team Glucoguard (UCL)

Team Glucoguard fought off stiff competition from an excellent field of finalists to win the inaugural Bright SCIdea Challenge with their pitch for a genetically modified bacterium for treatment of pre-and type II diabetes.

Plastech Innovation (Durham Univ)

In the face of tough competition, Plastech Innovation emerged triumphant in 2019 with their pitch for a new method of processing waste plastic into plastic aggregates for use in construction materials.

Finalists for 2020 have been announced!

The 2020 Final for the Bright SCIdea Challenge will be held in November. Find out more about the teams who have made it to the final.

All entrants to the Bright SCIdea Challenge receive

An exclusive video training course featuring masterclasses on numerous aspects of developing a business pitch, including how to market your product, protect your idea and manage your money.

Networking opportunities and advice from successful entrepreneurs, investors and patent lawyers.

Templates for all aspects of your business plan, and advice on completing them.

Meet our judges and supporters

Lucinda Bruce-Gardyne

Lucinda Bruce-Gardyne

After struggling to find quality alternative bread for her gluten-intolerant son, Lucinda, a professional chef who studied physiology at university, founded Genius Foods in 2009 with her gluten-free bread. First sold in Tesco, Genius bread is now the UK’s leading ‘free-from’ bakery brand and is sold across Europe, America and Australia.

Lucinda has won numerous awards for her work at Genius Foods, including the Ernst & Young UK Emerging Entrepreneur of the Year 2012. In addition to Genius, Lucinda is an SCI Board Trustee, an NED of Scotland Food and Drink, The Scale Up Institute and  is currently Royal Society Entrepreneur in Residence at The School of Physics and Astronomy, University of Edinburgh.

Robin Harrison

Robin Harrison

Robin Harrison is the Global Innovation Director for the international FTSE 200 listed company Synthomer. Synthomer is one of the world’s foremost suppliers of aqueous and speciality polymers which help customers create new tailored solutions and enhance the performance of existing products in key industries such as coatings, construction, textiles, paper and synthetic latex gloves. As Global Innovation Director Robin is responsible for group R&D strategy and product development activities at the company’s six research centres.

Victor Christou

Victor Christou

Victor is a seasoned entrepreneur with vast experience in investment on both sides of the table, with a focus on the technology industry. Victor, alongside Oleg Salata, started Opsys, an electronics business producing organic light-emitting diodes used to create displays on TV and phone screens. Victor is currently a Venture Partner as US/UK based AV8 Ventures. Prior to AV8, Victor was CEO of Cambridge Innovation Capital, a preferred investor for the University of Cambridge, where he helped to build relationships between the University of Cambridge and intellectual property-rich companies in the Cambridge cluster. Victor was named the Royal Society of Chemistry Entrepreneur of the Year in 2002.

“Bright SCIdea Challenge appealed to us because it seemed an excellent way to develop skills unobtainable at University. Although it promotes heavily academic thinking and creativity, we were most excited to receive professional entrepreneurial training. Also, the best way to influence everyday reality is trying to change it yourself. We wanted to immerse ourselves in a challenge like this.”
“Bright SCIdea gave us the opportunity to exit our comfort zones and immerse ourselves in entrepreneurial activities. It was so exciting and also nerve racking to pitch our business to a live audience. Employers are always looking for scientists with other skills, Bright SCIdea gives you a unique opportunity to learn vital business skills.“
Plastech Innovation
“The BrightSCIdea Challenge will help us connect with the scientific community, to compete with other bright minds and will give us vital feedback, helping us with improving our product and its future.”

Sponsored and supported by

synthomer logo
Cambridge Innovation Capital logo
Croda logo
eIP logo
Genius Foods logo
INEOS logo
Johnson Matthey logo
Potter Clarkson logo