By Dee Davis, on 24 May 2011
Award ceremonies tend to be mainly of interest to recipients and their families, but for me the UCL Awards for Enterprise Awards – held on 15 May in the UCL Bloomsbury Theatre by UCL Advances – was an informative experience, enlightening me as to the rich diversity of UCL entrepreneurial engagement.
As Professor Richard Catlow (Dean of Mathematical & Physical Sciences) put it, it is assumed that most entrepreneurs come from computer science and engineering departments. However, there were nominations from across the board from UCL Arts and Humanities, the Bartlett, Mathematical & Physical Sciences and Laws.
Watch a video about how UCL has championed enterprise in London throughout its history:
There were nine categories with a few involving several prizes. The first award was presented to Professor Mark Pepys, Head of the Division of Medicine at the Royal Free Campus of UCL’s Medical School. Professor Pepys has been involved in research for the past 40 years and was given the UCL Business Award for his perseverance and determination in pursing the development of small molecule targets, and for securing their licence.
The London Entrepreneurs’ Challenge Awards is in its ninth year of running student workshops. In the UK it is the largest and longest running programme of its kind. Notably, this year the phase one winners, Tipgain and a runner-up eeve, a business guiding partygoers to the best local events as recommend by other users, both based their businesses on mobile phone application technology.
The Bright Ideas Award really did showcase a diversity of projects from tracking devices to chatrooms, and from diabetes management systems to one which really caught my eye run by Olabode Jacob Raji, a student in UCL Computer Science. LearnBuddy is a multimedia platform teaching children subjects such as mathematics in an interesting way, relating them to everyday life. Animations are being developed by students to teach algebra to children from London schools.
UCL alumnus Delwar Hossain (UCL Architecture MSc,1991) won the aptly named UCL SMILE Best Mentor Award (Selected Mentors and Interims for London Enterprises programme) for his work with Kidz4Mation – an organisation that raises confidence in children to improve their behaviour and attainment at school. Hossain said he was honoured and flattered to get such an award from his own university and that he wanted to give back to the university who had given him so much.
Over the past two years the popularity of Bright Club, ‘where funny meets brains’, has been steadily increasing. This was recognised with the UCL Social Enterprise Partner of the Year award. Bright Club is a monthly event where UCL academics and students perform short comedic sets based on an aspect of their research.
To the loud whoops of praise, Dr David Chapman (Deputy Head of UCL Management Science & Innovation) was awarded the prestigious Provost’s Spirit of Enterprise Award for his pioneering work in developing enterprise and entrepreneurship at UCL, including establishing the MSc in Technology Entrepreneurship. On receiving the award, he said :“I get paid to work with the best students…and the best companies in the world so why give me a prize as well?”
For a full list of winners, see the UCL Advances website.