Super glue and solar cells among this year's attractive innovation projects
Promising innovations were recognised on 10 December at Uppsala University when 17 projects received 2018 Attractive Innovation Project awards. They create new solutions in a wide range of areas, from sustainable destination development, female entrepreneurship and renewable energy to tools for more accurate cancer diagnosis and smart materials for medical applications.
Promising innovations were recognised at Uppsala University on Nobel Day, 10 December. The 17 projects that received the Attractive Innovation Project Award were started by researchers and students at Uppsala University and in some cases worked in collaboration with external partners. The projects represent a wide range of new solutions to real-world challenges, such as protection from substance abuse of pharmaceuticals and increased entrepreneurship among women.
“During the year several of the projects that received early phase support from UU Innovation have attracted funding for their ideas and initiatives,” Jonas Åström, head of UU Innovation notes. “They represent an exciting mix of projects from all disciplinary domains. This shows that the support we provide helps to build quality and that the projects are relevant and interest financial backers, both in Sweden and at the European level.”
For the second year in a row, UU Innovation presented the Attractive Innovation Project Award to projects with high innovation potential that have received external funding, which further strengthens their development potential. Funding can come from public or private financiers, customers or partners and take the form of grants, investments or revenues from sales.
There was a lot of interest in the various innovation projects and many people wanted to help celebrate them. More than 100 attendees mingled during the evening in the Hub’s atrium in Uppsala Science Park, where the projects received diplomas and flowers.
“It is important to highlight and celebrate good progress. Funding plays a key role in helping innovative projects continue developing positively. In addition, this provides an excellent opportunity for anyone who is in any way interested in innovations from the University to learn more about what is going on,” says Åström.
Attractive Innovation Projects 2018:
EMPLICURE – safer, more effective drug delivery with less risk of abuse
Emplicure has developed a ceramic-based transdermal patch to combat chronic pain, in cooperation with Håkan Engqvist at the Department of Engineering Sciences. By gradually releasing strong opioids for uptake through the skin, the company’s treatment is not only safer and less painful for patients, it also reduces the risk of drug abuse via smoking or oral intake.
CARTANA – providing more information about the brain in situ
Cartana’s first product, a new way to sequence genes directly in tissues, is aimed at brain researchers and ready for launch. The technique provides information on both the type and function of individual brain cells as well as their location in relation to each other. Several of the people behind Cartana, including Malte Kühnemund and Mats Nilsson, have previously worked as researchers at Uppsala University.
DEEP FORESTRY – new drone to better control the forest
Deep Forestry develops powerful sensor systems to build 3D models of forest stocks that can then be used to provide volume calculations and very accurate maps with georeferences. Among other things, the company has developed a prototype of a drone that can safely navigate between trees, under the tree canopy of an industrial forest. Deep Forestry has received funding from Vinnova's new investment in the drones of the future and has also attracted private capital. The company's co-founder and COO, Willliam Johnsson, is a former student at the Department of Engineering Sciences.
STABLE LITHIUM METAL ELECTRODES– safer charging and discharging
Lithium-based batteries are common but recharging them can be problematic due to metal threads known as dendrites growing between the electrodes. Leif Nyholm and David Rehnlund, working at the Department of Chemistry – Ångström Laboratory, have found a way to prevent this, thus improving performance and reducing the risk of short circuiting.
FEMALE ENTREPRENEURS – surveying co-working spaces to encourage sustainable entrepreneurship
Co-working concept Hera Hub offers female entrepreneurs a shared workplace. Together with researchers Gabriele Griffin and Annelie Häyrén at the Centre for Gender Research, it aims to investigate how such hubs can encourage women to start businesses and increase our knowledge of what they perceive as decent and sustainable work.
VIRUS REMOVAL FILTER – safer, cost-effective biological drug manufacturing
Albert Mihranyan’s research team at the Department of Engineering Sciences has developed a cost-effective mille-feuille filter paper for viral filtration, a key step in biological drug manufacture. Their filter, which separates all types of microorganisms from water or protein solutions, has shown promising performance.
PEAFOWL SOLAR POWER – novel solar cell technology for new applications
Peafowl Solar Power has developed a very thin, transparent and cost-effective solar cell. Its key competitive advantage, however, is that the technology allows for coating surfaces with solar cells without altering their appearance, opening up a vast array of new applications. Jacinto Sá, working at the Department of Chemistry – Ångström Laboratory, is co-founder of the company.
SOCCERMATICS – expert help in understanding football using mathematics
Soccermatics’ digital expert David the bot, an algorithm created by Professor David Sumpter at the Department of Mathematics, uses statistics and machine learning to analyse real-time games. Intended to make football more fun and engaging to watch, David also assists professional football clubs in understanding matches.
ONCODIA – software for faster and more precise cancer diagnosis
Oncodia has streamlined the clinical analysis process from DNA sequence data to cancer-specific mutation report and integrated it into a single, quality-managed solution. This will help facilitate the choice of treatment, provide better quality care and reduce costs to society. Oncodia was founded by Tobias Sjöblom, Ivaylo Stoimenov and Tom Adlerteg from the Department of Immunology, Genetics and Pathology.
SUSTAINABLE TOURISM – GPS tracking and surveys as development tools
Using GPS tracking in combination with interviews, the Sustainable Tourism project follows visitors’ footsteps and discovers what drives their choices and movement. The knowledge gathered will help influence visitors, via nudging, to make more sustainable choices. The method was developed and tested in 2014 by the researchers Sabine Gebert Persson and Karin Ågren, and has since been further developed with other researchers.
SENCE RESEARCH – improved post-market follow-up of new drugs
Careful follow-up of drugs after launch is needed for their continued evaluation. Sence Research’s statistical modelling analyses drug benefits, side effects and cost-effectiveness using data from records, thus creating an important decision base for authorities and industry. Thomas Cars, a researcher at the Department of Medical Sciences, has developed the method.
AUTOMATISED FIELDWORK IN AGRICULTURE – IT and sensors increase production efficiency
IT and sensors help analyse weather, irrigation, soil and fertilisation data to increase the efficiency of food production. This project aims to develop an autonomous vehicle that allows new forms of economically, socially and ecologically sustainable agriculture. The project is run in collaboration between researchers at SLU, Uppsala University and Örebro University, and the company Mapro Systems.
SYMPTOMS EUROPE – connecting patient input with medical data improves care
Symptoms Europe’s decision-support system links up with existing journals and allows patients to add information about their symptoms, functions and quality of life. This helps patients and staff prioritise needs, plan healthcare, evaluate outcomes and, if necessary, make changes. The team behind Symptoms Europe includes Martin Wohlin and Johan Sundström from the Department of Medical Sciences.
FOURTH STATE SYSTEMS – robust, highly sensitive detector with many applications
Fourth State Systems, with researchers Anders Persson, Greger Thornell and Martin Berglund from the Department of Engineering Sciences, has developed a highly sensitive yet robust and lightweight microdetector that detects extremely small amounts of airborne gases. Analysing exhaled air, measuring greenhouse gases, tracing toxic gases and detecting explosives are examples of its many uses.
SUPERGLUE FOR BROKEN BONES – keeps fragments in place and speeds up healing
In collaboration with the company GPBio, a biocompatible super glue for bones has been developed that is so strong that surgeons can safely and successfully glue together fragments and crushed joints. Following preclinical concept validation, steps can now be taken towards CE marking. The project is run by Philip Procter, researcher at the Department of Engineering Sciences.
LEAFYMADE – products from leaves promote social and environmental sustainability
Leafymade’s biodegradable plates and bowls are made from leaves found in the Odisha jungle in eastern India. No glue, plastic or other chemical substances are used, and the products do not cause deforestation. Local production helps ensure good working conditions for women. Leafymade’s founders Suman Mehta and Vinh Hoang are a former researcher and student respectively at Uppsala University.
MAISHABIT – eHealth solutions improve quality of life for chronic disease patients
In close collaboration with patients and healthcare, MaishaBit develops eHealth solutions for diabetes and other chronic diseases. The aim is to empower patients and make treatment more effective, for example by helping healthcare staff monitor their patients’ health status. The company was founded by Michael Nahashon, a former Uppsala University student.