Bristol students make biotechnology enterprise competition final
4 November 2009
Four students from the University of Bristol have won the southern regional heat in a national enterprise competition and will battle it out in the final on 14 December.
The Biotechnology YES (Young Entrepreneur Scheme) is a competition developed to raise awareness of the commercialisation of bioscience ideas among postgraduate students and postdoctoral scientists.
This year, three teams from Bristol entered the Biotechnology YES regional heats and two teams entered Environment YES, a sister competition aimed at business ideas focused on the environment and conservation.
The competition was run over three days, during which time teams attended presentations from leading figures in the biotechnology industry on all aspects of technology transfer and the commercialisation of bioscience ideas. On the final day, the participants made a formal oral ‘pitch’ of their hypothetical business plan before a panel of business, financial and academic representatives.
Two teams from each of the six regional heats were then selected to progress to the national competition held in London on 14 December. One of the teams from Bristol, comprising two chemists (Daniel Carew and Rebecca Rice), a mathematician (Chris Joyner) and a cellular and molecular medicine researcher (Graham Britton), have made it through with their idea for a treatment for multiple sclerosis.
Daniel Carew said: ‘This competition is a unique opportunity to explore the world of biotechnology commercialisation. We’ve enjoyed taking part and look forward to the next stage.’
Fellow team member, Rebecca Rice added: ‘I would encourage others to take part. It would be great to see the University more involved with competitions such as this.’
The Biotechnology YES competition has been running for 14 years, thanks to the generous support of the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council, the University of Nottingham, the Natural Environment Research Council and many others. Participation, travel and accommodation are free to all entrants.
The Research and Enterprise Development (RED) division at the University of Bristol provided commercialisation and idea-generation advice to several teams and helped promote the scheme to a larger audience, more than doubling the University’s participation in the two YES schemes.
Dave Jarman, Enterprise Skills and Education Manager at the University, commented: ‘These schemes are a really valuable way of enabling future academic researchers to develop a range of critical skills that help them work with industry as well as potentially spin out technologies. They also help them develop their awareness of career options and professional skills outside of academia.’