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Students win science challenge with life-saving burn treatment



A team of second year Natural Science students from University College, London (UCL) has shown how the UK’s young scientists have the potential to address global problems. 

Team Phagel won SCI’s annual Bright SCIdea challenge for young entrepreneurs, with the announced at the Final at SCI’s offices yesterday (March 30).

The team was awarded a £5,000 prize to invest in its business idea.

The team, consisting of co-founders Ellen Roshier, Daniel Wan and Tristan Edwards, developed a burn healing technology that fights off antibiotic resistant species and biofilms.

Describing the size of the opportunity to an audience of industry leaders, researchers and academics, the students explained that burns are the fourth most common trauma worldwide, with around 175,000 people attending A&E each year due to burns in the UK alone.

Burn patients face the risk of contracting septic complications – around half of deaths in burns victims are a result of such infection.

The judging panel consisted of Robin Harrison, , Emily Wilson, Editor, New Scientist, Victor Christou, previous CEO of Cambridge Innovation Capital and Jonathan Hague, Homecare R&D Head of Clean Future Science And Technology, Unilever.

Panel judge Robin Harrison,VP, Platform Technology and External Innovation, Synthomer, said:

“The judges loved the concept as it has the potential to solve a real societal problem. It could treat burns effectively and help the move away from antibiotics.

“There would be a beneficial impact on the individual, on hospitals and the NHS – and on society.

“The team understood the steps needed to reach the solution and had a clear timeline to do this”.

Now in its sixth year, the Bright SCIdea Challenge is open to budding entrepreneurs with scientific ideas that could be commercialised to benefit society.

The international competition provides training and mentoring alongside the opportunity to win funding to help launch a business, develop and showcase business skills.

The university teams receive free, accredited business planning training and are asked to submit a full business plan that sets out how their idea can be taken to market.

Sharon Todd, SCI CEO, said:

“SCI is a global industrial innovation hub which works to accelerate scientific innovation out of the laboratory and into industry for societal benefit.

“Team Phagel illustrated how it would do just that with its winning idea – a testimony to the scientific talent in universities today.

“Once again, the event provided the opportunity for the finalists to network with industry leaders who can provide future business support.”

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