Edinburgh team wins business contest

A University team has won the top prize of £25,000 in a business plan competition run by the Research Councils UK.

The winners of the RCUK competition - Dr Keith McKellar (Outcome Manager), Dr Ben Panter, Dr. Rob Tweedie, Prof Alan Heavens (PI).

The competition is designed to encourage and support the creation of high quality business plans for the commercialisation of research carried out in the UK's universities and research institutions.

The Edinburgh entry came first out of 200 entrants.

Proof of Concept

The winning plan was developed during a Scottish Enterprise-funded 'Proof of Concept' contract.

The contract brought together physicists, astronomers, and medics from the University's Brain Imaging Centre at the Western General hospital.

The team, led by astronomer Professor Alan Heavens, has proved the concept that fast processing techniques developed in astronomy can greatly improve the speed and quality of MRI imaging.

In particular, they are able to correct the distortion of images caused when patients move during an MRI scan, a problem that costs hospitals and the NHS millions of pounds annually.

This is an astonishing achievement. The University is strategically dedicated to growing its Knowledge Transfer activity and is delighted by this success.

Trevor WhittleyCommercialisation Manager, ERI


The success in the competition was largely down to the dedication of the two young researchers and entrepreneurs on the project, Dr. Ben Panter and Dr. Rob Tweedie.

They were supported by Edinburgh Research and Innovation (ERI), the Scottish Enterprise Outcome manager, Dr Keith McKellar and mentors from the RCUK competition itself.

Ben now plans to put the prize money towards a spin-out company, Blackford Analysis, which will look to apply the technology in medical and other markets.