Spotlight on attractive innovation projects at Uppsala University
15 January 2018
In connection with UU Innovation’s 10th anniversary, promising innovation projects at Uppsala University were identified. The 11 projects that received the new ‘Attractive Innovation Project’ award are creating new solutions in a wide range of areas, from archaeology, human rights and youth news feeds to plant cultivation, new materials and diagnostic tests.
At its anniversary event on 5 December, UU Innovation introduced this new award to highlight ongoing innovation projects initiated by researchers and students at Uppsala University. An “Attractive Innovation Project” is one with high innovation potential that has received support from UU Innovation, and also external funding that has further enhanced its development potential. The latter may come from public or private funders, customers or collaboration partners, in the form of grants, investments or revenues from sales. The award will be given once a year.
This year, 11 projects were recognised as Attractive Innovation Projects. They represent an exciting range of novel solutions to real challenges.
“It’s fun to give visibility to the University’s innovation projects, and here we have projects that are really under way and have strengthened their prospects by managing to attract external funding. They’re worth all possible attention and encouragement,” says Jenny Nordquist, deputy group leader of UU Innovation, who presented flowers and diplomas to representatives of the projects at the event.
Attractive Innovation Projects 2017:
PLATINEA: collaboration platform to optimise antibiotic use
PLATINEA is a collaboration platform that stimulates important cooperation between parties who can jointly help to optimise antibiotic use and thus increase the life span of existing antibiotics. The platform provides a neutral forum where stakeholders in healthcare, government agencies, academia and industry can meet, discuss and agree on practical measures to tackle the problem of further development and supply of antibiotics. Enrico Baraldi, Professor at the Department of Engineering Sciences, heads the project, which has received funds from Vinnova’s (Sweden’s innovation agency) Challenge-Driven Innovation programme.
More about PLATINEA
GraphMaTech: developing a lightweight graphene-based material with good cooling effect
GraphMaTech (short for Graphene Materials Technology) has developed Aros Graphene, a newly patented, lightweight, graphene-based nanocomposite with very good electrical and thermal properties. These make it suitable for many applications, such as cooling of electronic components. During the year, the company was incorporated into EIT InnoEnergy’s accelerator programme “The Highway“ and received support from Vinnova in the Innovative Start-ups call for proposals. Behind the discovery of the new material is Mamoun Taher, a researcher at the Department of Chemistry – Ångström Laboratory.
More about GraphMaTech
Astrego Diagnostics: fast, safe diagnosis of urinary-tract infections and a contribution in the fight against antibiotic resistance
Astrego Diagnostics is developing a system, qUTI that detects urinary-tract infections (UTIs) in less than 30 minutes, while providing information on active antibiotics to cure the infection. The test allows the physician to assess and, if necessary, prescribe the correct antibiotics directly, during the patient’s visit. The goal is to launch an initial test on the market in a couple of years. The company is a spin-off from Professor Johan Elf’s research group at the Department of Cell and Molecular Biology. UU Holding joined the company as part-owner in 2017, together with several other investors.
More about Astrego Diagnostics
Preoperative diagnosis of gynaecological cancers to save lives and reduce suffering
Many women with suspected cancer in the genitals and lower abdomen undergo surgical procedures unnecessarily. In others, the cancer is not detected until it has developed too far. This may be about to change. The project, which is led by Professor Ulf Gyllensten at the Department of Immunology, Genetics and Pathology, is developing a unique biomarker test for improved diagnosis and early detection, chiefly of ovarian cancer. The test is based on analysis of a panel of biomarkers in a simple blood sample and, besides early detection and preoperative diagnosis, can be used to assess how far the cancer has progressed. The project was granted funding in Swelife’s first Accelerator Innovation Program call, which selected particularly promising young companies, and also projects ready for commercialisation.
More about biomarker tests for gynaecological cancers
Human Rights Clinic: putting human rights and practical humanitarian work on the curriculum
Anna Jonsson Cornell, Professor at the Department of Law, jointly with representatives of the human rights organisation Civil Rights Defenders, has been heading the development of the Human Rights Clinic, a collaborative project that is unique of its kind in Sweden. It enables law students to work under supervision, within the framework of their education, on real cases. The project helps to strengthen students’ interest in and knowledge of human rights, while enhancing human rights organisations’ capacity to defend these rights. The Human Rights Clinic has received funding from Vinnova’s Social Innovation programme.
For more information on the Human Rights Clinic, contact Anna Jonsson Cornell.
Optima Planta: developing next-generation growing methods
Optima Planta produces plants – vertically, locally, all year round and with less water usage than traditional cultivation – without soil, sunlight, pesticides or other additives. Soon the first lettuce is expected to be harvested at the company’s premises at Green Innovation Park in Ultuna, south of Uppsala. The company’s founder, Lennart Sör, is a former Uppsala University student. In 2017, as a contestant in the entrepreneurship competition Företagsänglarna (‘The Angels), he won and received an investment from the five ‘angel investors’ in the jury.
More about Optima Planta
Disir Productions: bringing historical research to life in modern gaming environments
Disir Productions combines archaeology and digital communication. The apps developed by the company in the Augmented History concept enable users to experience and interact with digitally reconstructed historical environments. June 2017 saw the launch of the Visir Uplandia app, which allows the user to step straight into the early 16th-century environs of Uppsala Cathedral. Next up are apps for additional historical environments in Uppsala County, supported by the Augmented Export initiative, funded by the Swedish Agency for Economic and Regional Growth, in Uppsala Region (Uppsala County Council). Disir Productions was founded in 2015 by John Ljungkvist and Daniel Löwenborg, both of whom are researchers at the Department of Archaeology and Ancient History, and others. UU Holding invested in the company in 2017.
More about Disir Productions
Magström: developing a new method that can help to reduce downtime
Magström is developing both software and hardware to reduce unnecessary wear of components in hydropower plants. This means less downtime, which gives better stability and higher profitability – paramount considerations for a country like Sweden, where hydropower accounts for just under half of electricity generated. The team behind the Uppsala company has designed a scaled-down test facility at the Ångström Laboratory, where they carry out research on electricity at the Department of Engineering Sciences. For full-scale tests, the team has initiated collaboration with Vattenfall, the Swedish state-owned power group, which has testing facilities in Porjus, in the far north of Sweden. The Swedish Energy Agency is involved and is funding the pilot project.
For more information about Magström, contact Johan Abrahamsson.
F&A Forecasting: developing software for more accurate financial forecasting
F&A Forecasting has developed the Indicio software for more accurate forecasts of, for example, sales volumes, commodity prices and exchange rates. The aim is to make complex circumstances involving many parameters manageable for people with no expert knowledge of statistics. This Uppsala company is targeting both industry and the banking sector. It was one of last year’s winners of the Bona Postulata business award, which is given to selected companies with great growth potential in Uppsala County. The company, started by two Uppsala University students, received investments from private parties during the year.
More about F&A Forecasting
Inossia: developing new elastic bone cement for brittle bones
Older people with osteoporosis often suffer from fractures in their vertebrae, for which no good treatment is currently available. Inossia wants to change this. The company has developed a bone-cement softener to make bone cements better suited to fragile bones. The new bone cement enables pain relief for patients with osteoporosis fractures to be improved while reducing the risk of further spinal fractures, thanks to the good elastic properties of the softened bone cement. During the year, Inossia received external funding and support in its business development from Vinnova and EIT Health. Cecilia Persson, a researcher in Applied Materials Science at the Ångström Laboratory, is the inventor of the bone-cement softener that Inossia is now commercialising.
More about Inossia
The News Evaluator: a digital tool in the enlightened citizen’s service
How credible are young people’s news feeds? The News Evaluator project has created a completely new research-based approach to managing news feeds in practice. It is a digital tool that provides new information about young people’s news feeds while enabling their readers to practise scientific thinking and source criticism. Thousands of school pupils across the country took part in the mass experiment that was conducted within the framework of the project in 2017 and has boosted new knowledge about pupils’ critical thinking in the digital era. With funding from Vinnova’s Social Innovation programme, the project is conducted under the supervision of Associate Professor Thomas Nygren of Uppsala University’s Department of Education, Didactics and Educational Studies and in collaboration with Vetenskap & Allmänhet, VA (Public & Science) and RISE Interactive, part of the Swedish Research Institute.
More about the News Evaluator experiment.