UWE Professor named as 'outstanding innovator' for work on food safety

Issue date: 03 May 2013

The Royal Academy of Engineering has awarded a prestigious Engineering Enterprise Fellowship to Professor Janice Kiely from UWE Bristol. It is one of five awards that the Academy has just made to outstanding innovators at UK universities.

Professor Kiely won the accolade for her work in developing bio-sensing systems for rapid, automated detection of food contaminations such as salmonella, e. coli and listeria, which are harmful to human health. This is at the interface of engineering and biochemistry and results from a long standing collaboration with Professor Richard Luxton.

The unique fellowships form part of the Academy's Enterprise Hub, a new resource for entrepreneurial businesses that will see Academy Fellows providing expertise and mentoring for engineering and technology start-ups and SMEs.

Professor Kiely, who is Director of the Institute of Bio-sensing Technology at UWE, said, “Every year 2.2 million people across the world die from food infections. Richard Luxton, Patrick Wraith and I have worked together to develop novel bio-sensing test kits using magneto immuno-assay technology which aim to make the detection of food contamination faster, more reliable and more affordable.

“Currently, standard safety tests take over 27 hours to complete, but this innovative solution has the potential to produce a result in less than eight hours.”

The five projects chosen by the Academy demonstrate the breadth of opportunities within engineering, from new technology for food safety testing to printable lasers designed to help stop the sale of counterfeit goods, as well as healthcare solutions. Each fellowship provides up to £85,000 of funding and support per awardee, allowing researchers to spend 12 months totally and exclusively committed to developing a spin-out business around their technological idea.

The fellowship awardees will receive mentoring from Academy Fellows with a track record of entrepreneurial success. This is the second year of the scheme, with individuals from the first cohort already forming companies and attracting significant investment.

Ian Shott CBE FREng, Managing Partner of Shott Trinova and chair of the selection panel, said, “It is fundamental to the wellbeing of the engineering sector which will drive growth of the UK economy that researchers are given support to create the next generation of businesses based on effective innovations. Business-minded engineers need investment and support from experienced industry practitioners to exploit their research, filling gaps in the market and providing solutions to industry problems, which could become the commercial success stories of tomorrow. This is why activities such as the Enterprise Fellowships and the Academy's new Enterprise Hub are so important."

The Academy's Enterprise Hub, launched on 29 April, aims to bring about a step-change in the success of UK based entrepreneurial technology businesses and the contribution that they make to UK economic growth. The Hub will build on the Engineering Enterprise Fellowships and introduce new activities targeted at building the skills, capabilities and vision of UK-based technology entrepreneurs.

The Academy has recently launched its Engineering for Growth campaign to highlight the contribution that engineering and research makes to the UK economy.

For more information see http://engineeringforgrowth.org.uk/

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