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UCL announces winners of 2017 Awards for Enterprise and Entrepreneurship

“Innovation and enterprise are essential activities at UCL”, President and Provost Michael Arthur told the audience at an enterprise awards ceremony held on the Bloomsbury campus on Tuesday.

Dr Robert Thompson and Dr Kenneth Tong collect their award from President and Provost Michael Arthur and Dr Celia Caulcott, Vice-Provost (Enterprise)

24 November 2017

Speaking at the UCL Awards for Enterprise and Entrepreneurship 2017 - designed to recognise and celebrate the success of UCL students and staff in a range of enterprise and entrepreneurship activities - Professor Arthur said enterprise should be considered on equal terms with research and education.

The UCL Provost’s Spirit of Enterprise Award was won by staff from the Department of Electronic and Electrical Engineering. It recognises the achievements and approach of UCL staff, teams or partnerships that have demonstrated a real spirit of enterprise at UCL.

Dr Kenneth Tong, Reader in Antennas, Microwave and Millimetre Wave, and Dr Robert Thompson, researcher, were recognised for their work on informing agricultural practices at a local level in the developing world - currently focused on helping farmers in Kenya and the Philippines. Professor Arthur said the winners “exemplified an enterprising spirit at UCL, showing how UCL can apply its knowledge for wider benefit across the world. They have cultivated partnerships with research centres, adopted an innovative approach to knowledge sharing and the promotion of these goals through a series of multi-discipline hackathons and social enterprise training, and have applied it to the developing world.”

Dr Tong said: “We are delighted to receive recognition for our work, which has the potential to make a huge difference to livelihoods in the area of agriculture.”

Four other nominees in this category received commendations for outstanding work in their fields (see full list of winners and commendations).

The Provost also presented the Farha New Venture Awards, funded by a generous donation from UCL alumnus and philanthropist George Farha (Chemical Engineering, 1991). These awards, designed to recognise promising businesses emerging from UCL undergraduate and postgraduate students, staff and recent graduates, went to four startup businesses and social enterprises (see full list of winners and commendations). All had completed the ‘Launch - £10,000 challenge’ summer pre-accelerator programme. The winning startups ranged from a digital personal finance manager tailored to the needs of older people to a social network dedicated to youth football players.

“This year, our business acceleration advisors helped 40 new businesses to start and supported startups to raise just over £1m so I am delighted to present these awards, which highlight the extraordinary depth of entrepreneurship activity at UCL,” said Professor Arthur. “For UCL, encouraging entrepreneurship allows the university to use its research to make a difference to society while bringing benefits for students and staff on a personal level.”

Dr Celia Caulcott, Vice-Provost (Enterprise), said: “These awards showcased the depth and range of innovative ideas among students and staff at UCL. At UCL Innovation &Enterprise we are proud to help our colleagues transform their knowledge and ideas into action.”

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