2007-08 RCUK Business Plan Competition winner announced

October 20, 2008

A mind-boggling variety of business ideas from some of the UK's brightest researchers today competed for the prize of being crowned this years RCUK Business Plan Competition winner.

Concentrating on turning research into marketable businesses to benefit UK society, the judging took place at Chelsea Football Club where the teams were invited to present their ideas to a panel of experts.

The winning team who receive £25,000 to propel their business to new heights are:

Blackford Analysis - Real-time Image Registration
(Led by) Dr Ben Panter, University of Edinburgh

Faster scans with real-time MRI

Scientists from the Blackford Analysis - Real-Time MRI Team at the University of Edinburgh have developed a complex algorithm which will stabilise MRI images; ensuring scans deliver their life-changing results.

Presently, one in ten scans are useless because of distortion - the disruption of the image often caused by movement - which involves further hardship for the patient and a real cost to the hospital; for an average machine around £120,000 per year. This major breakthrough will save millions for hospitals and ensure patients get the most from these essential scans.

Clive Rowland, head of the competition Judging Panel and Chief Executive Officer of UMIP - the University of Manchester Intellectual Property Limited said: "The competition is an important initiative as it not only increases the awareness of intellectual property issues and opportunities amongst the research community but it also provides professional business planning and related training as a core component of the competition. Indeed it is a perfect complement to the funds made available for knowledge transfer by the research councils.

"This is a well organised and coordinated approach by the joint Research Councils to facilitate the commercialisation of research outputs from their basic funding programmes. As with previous years, the panel has been impressed by the quality of the entries which reach a high standard."

The runners up are:
Detailed outlines of the Business Plan ideas of the six teams are available from the EPSRC Press Office.

Notes to editors

If you would any further information about the event or the participants, please email: Lawrie.jones@epsrc.ac.uk at the EPSRC Press Office or telephone 01793 444404.

Images are available from the EPSRC press office. The first (PN46-08RealtimeMRIScan) is to be used with the suggested caption: 'Examples of Real-time MRI Scans'

Photographs from the day will be available on request from the Press Office from October 21st.

Further details of the competition can be found at: http://www.rcuk.ac.uk/innovation/fundingkt/bpc/default.htm

The competition manager is Sarah Cooper, and she can be contacted on: 01793 444570 email: rcbpcomp@epsrc.ac.uk

The event was held in the Drake/Harris Suite at Chelsea Football Club, Fulham Road, London, SW6 1HS.

About Research Councils UK

The Research Councils' Business Plan Competition provides support, mentoring and training to produce high-quality business plans to commercialise research carried out in UK universities and research institutions. Participants in the competition submitted business propositions from across the arts, biosciences, the environment, science and technology.

The seven Research Councils are independent non-departmental public bodies, funded by the Science and Research Budget through the Department of Innovation, Universities and Skills (DIUS). They are incorporated by Royal Charter and together manage a research budget of around £3 billion a year.

Research Councils UK (RCUK) is the partnership between the UK's seven Research Councils. Through RCUK, the Research Councils work together to champion the research, training and innovation they support.

The seven UK Research Councils are:
Arts & Humanities Research Council (AHRC)
Biotechnology & Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC)
Economic & Social Research Council (ESRC)
Engineering & Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC)
Medical Research Council (MRC)
Natural Environment Research Council (NERC)
Science & Technology Facilities Council (STFC)

Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council

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