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Top researchers reach final hurdle to become Innovator of the Year

17 March 2011

BBSRC is pleased to announce the six finalists in the 2011 Innovator of the Year competition. They will compete for a share of £20,000 prize money, to be announced at the BBSRC Bioscience for Growth business networking event on 24 March. This year's applications were of a particularly high standard and finalists were selected by an independent panel; by category, they are:

Commercial innovator

  • Curtis Dobson, The University of Manchester - Re-engineering a neuroscience research tool to provide a platform technology to prevent medical device infection
  • Chris Lowe, University of Cambridge - SMART HOLOGRAMS is a revolutionary intelligent optical sensor technology for a wide number of applications

Social innovator

  • Siobhan Abeyesinghe, Royal Veterinary College - "Inside Chicken Run"; an animal welfare education experience
  • Jason Swedlow, University of Dundee - The Open Microscopy Environment: Open Innovation & Opportunities for Biological Image Informatics

Most promising innovator

  • Davidson Ateh, Queen Mary, University of London - OncoJanTM: CD95 targeted formulation of paclitaxel for treatment of ovarian cancer
  • Keith Waldron, Institute of Food Research - A novel peat replacement from food chain wastes produced by a brand-new composting process

There will be one winner in each category, each of whom will receive £5000. And one of the three category winners will be selected as the overall Innovator of the Year 2011, receiving a further £5000.

The finalists are due to present to the judging panel on 23 March 2011 and the winners will be announced in the early evening on 24 March at Glaziers Hall, London. This forms part of Bioscience for Growth - a business networking reception including senior representatives from 20 leading universities, business, industry, investors and policy makers. Speakers include Minister of State for Universities and Science, David Willetts MP. Winners in the BBSRC Excellence with Impact competition for academic research departments will also be announced.


About BBSRC Impact Awards

Innovator of the Year and the Excellence with Impact award recognise individual and institutional commitment to realising the social and economic potential of excellent research.

Innovator of the Year has been awarded twice previously, in 2009 and 2010. Prize money in 2011 totals £20,000 with two category winners receiving £5,000 and one category winner who is also awarded the title of Innovator of the Year receiving £10,000. The award is to be spent at the winners discretion to support their research, training or other activities promoting economic or social impact, providing it falls within BBSRC's sphere of interest.

The Excellence with Impact award competition began in December 2008 and ran over a two year period. On 24 March 2011 BBSRC will award a total of £300,000 to the bioscience departments that are embedding a culture that recognises the importance of deriving economic and social impact from excellent research. One award will go to the department that has been most effective in introducing a significant culture change, which values impact as well as research excellence and the other will go to the department that can best demonstrate the achievement of economic and social impact from its research. A further £50,000 of prizes will be available for runners up in these two categories.


BBSRC is the UK funding agency for research in the life sciences. Sponsored by Government, BBSRC annually invests around £470M in a wide range of research that makes a significant contribution to the quality of life in the UK and beyond and supports a number of important industrial stakeholders, including the agriculture, food, chemical, healthcare and pharmaceutical sectors.

BBSRC provides institute strategic research grants to the following:

  • The Babraham Institute
  • Institute for Animal Health
  • Institute of Biological, Environmental and Rural Sciences (Aberystwyth University)
  • Institute of Food Research
  • John Innes Centre
  • The Genome Analysis Centre
  • The Roslin Institute (University of Edinburgh)
  • Rothamsted Research

The Institutes conduct long-term, mission-oriented research using specialist facilities. They have strong interactions with industry, Government departments and other end-users of their research.


Matt Goode, Head of External Relations

tel: 01793 413299