The University of Manchester launched an £50,000 enterprise competition for students with new graphene ideas at a staff event attended by more than 500 people.
The event was held to showcase and appeal for new ideas for graphene, a wonder material that is the world’s thinnest, strongest and most conductive material with the potential to revolutionise a huge number of diverse applications; from smartphones and ultrafast broadband to drug delivery and computer chips.
Andre Geim and Kostya Novoselov isolated graphene at the University in 2004 and were awarded the 2010 Nobel prize in Physics. The University is building the £61 million National Graphene Institute to develop the material.
A packed audience in University Place heard from a range of graphene researchers, including Professor Novoselov, about the key sectors that graphene can potentially revolutionise.
The Eli and Britt Harari Graphene Enterprise Award will help establish further enterprises in graphene at the University. The £50,000 award aims to encourage the development of an entrepreneurial culture across the University’s doctoral and postdoctoral research base.
The competition is co-funded by the North American Foundation for The University of Manchester, through the generous support of one of the University’s former students, Dr Eli Harari, and his wife Britt, and the UK Government’s Higher Education Innovation Fund. The award judging panel will be chaired by Andre Geim, Holder of the Langworthy Chair and Regius Professor.
The 2013 competition is open to final year PhD students and Postdoctoral Research Associates at the University. It will be awarded to the candidate who can demonstrate outstanding potential in establishing a new enterprise related to graphene and who now wishes to embark on an entrepreneurial career in innovation and commercialisation.
Applications will be judged on the strength of their business plan to develop a new graphene-related business.
The award then becomes seed funding to allow the candidate to take the first steps towards realising this plan. It recognises the role that high-level, flexible early-stage financial support can play in the successful development of a business targeting the full commercialisation of a product or technology related to research in graphene.
A total of £38m of funding has come from the Government through the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council, and £23m has been applied for from the European Regional Development Fund.
Further details of the award can be found at www.graphene.manchester.ac.uk or by emailing Ivan Buckley at [email protected]