The Bright SCIdea Challenge 2019

01 April 2019

Untitled Document

The second annual Bright SCIdea Challenge saw Durham University students, Plastech Innovation, win £5,000 for their plastics-derived concrete business.
Georgina Hines

All Images: Andrew Lunn/SCI 

On 19 March 2019, SCI hosted the second annual final of the Bright SCIdea Challenge, bringing together some of the brightest business minds of the future to pitch their science-based innovation to a panel of expert judges and a captivated audience.

As an opportunity to support UK/ROI students interested in commercialising their ideas and developing their business skills, the final included talks and training from our judges and networking with industry professionals.

lucinda talkned wakeman talk 

Judge Lucinda Bruce-Gardyne gave an inspiring talk about how she took her company, Genius Foods, out of her kitchen to the shelves of international supermarkets.

Ned Wakeman, Director of the Incubation Services at Alderley Park, spoke about the Dos and Don’ts of running a successful start-up.

sharon todd

Sharon Todd, CEO of SCI, introduced delegates from industry and academia to SCI’s activities, the Bright SCIdea Challenge and our five pitching finalists.

setaseta pitch 

Team Seta from UCL were the first pitch of the day, with their idea for a high-throughput synthetic biology approach to the design and testing of biomaterials for tissue applications – an idea they have built from their recent success in iGEM 2018.

plastech innovationplastech pitch

Next up were Team Plastech Innovation from Durham University who are looking to start a business with their sustainably sourced plastic-based concrete.

Asked by the judges how they would differentiate themselves from the popular market, the team told the audience that they will be the first to their knowledge to create concrete fine aggregate from ocean plastic waste, as opposed to companies who are focused on coarse aggregates.

daydreamersdaydreamers pitch

Team DayDreamers from the Universities of Bristol, Southampton and Edinburgh closed the first session with their pitch for a AI-driven mental wellness app targeted at students, who would be accompanied by a dedicated chatbot through their journey to better mental health.

novacat poster

Team NovaCAT

glubiotech poster

Team Glubiotech

During the breaks, delegates and finalists were tasked with judging the poster competition between Teams Glubiotech, Online Analytics, HappiAppi and NovaCAT.

brisl antimicrobialsbrisl pitch

The second UCL team pitching at the final were BRISL Antimicrobials, who presented their idea for a toothbrush with light-activated antimicrobial bristles.

The judges seemed impressed with the science and the team’s business plan, and urged them to look at different markets they could enter, such as toilet brushes and hairbrushes, to expand their company.

oxigenoxigen pitch

The final team of the day were Team OxiGen from the University of St Andrew’s with their service based on a designer cell line, optimised for protein expression using characteristics derived from both prokaryotic and human cells.

2019 scidea judges

Our judges (L-R: Dave Freeman (Croda), Lucinda Bruce-Gardyne (Genius Foods), Robin Harrison (Synthomer), Ian Howell (Unilever) and Inna Baigozina-Goreli (Accenture)) then had the difficult task of choosing the winners of this year’s competition.

And the winners are…


Our Poster Prize went to Team HappiAppi from Durham University

seta with trophybrisl with trophy

2nd runner-up: Team Seta from UCL              1st runner-up: Team BRISL Antimicrobials from UCL

plastech with cheque

The 2019 Bright SCIdea winners were Plastech Innovation from Durham University!

To find out more about the Bright SCIdea Challenge and our 2020 competition, sign up to our mailing list.

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