UCL Mathematical & Physical Sciences


MAPS 2023 Undergraduate (MSci) Innovation & Enterprise Competition Prize Winner Announced

31 August 2023

Many congratulations to Romain Lotthe and Andrei-Gabriel Pavel winners of the 2023 MAPS Faculty Undergraduate (MSci) Innovation and Enterprise Prize Competition.

Image of a trophy - Credit: iStock

Undergraduate (MSci) Innovation and Enterprise Prize Competition

The Undergraduate (MSci) Innovation and Enterprise prize was awarded to Romain Lotthe (UCL Chemistry) and Andrei-Gabriel Pavel (UCL Physics and Astronomy). Their projects were deemed to have an outstanding innovative aspect and a potential economic and societal impact. The competition aimed to motivate entrepreneurial spirit among the students.

Romain Lotthe - UCL Chemistry


Romain's supervisor Dr Michael Booth said:

"I am absolutely delighted that Romain has won a MAPS Innovation and Enterprise Prize for his final year research project, which he carried out in my group. Romain’s project was on developing controllable antibody-oligonucleotide conjugates, which are fast becoming an important clinical avenue for the application of DNA/RNA therapies. These types of therapies have the potential to revolutionise medicine, through using the gene sequence to personalise medicine.

Romain’s dedication and input was crucial in seeing this project come to fruition. He is a technically gifted scientist and was able to lead this project as a collaboration with multiple other groups."

In his response to being awarded the prize, Romain stated:

Romain Lotthe, winner of the MAPS I&E Student Prize Competition
"My MSci research project was definitely what I was most looking forward to when starting my degree four years ago. And it did not disappoint. Working on new tools for precision medicine in cancers was an extremely challenging but rewarding journey that I am proud to have completed here at UCL. The exciting atmosphere in the lab accompanying (rare) new discoveries and the support of other group members in front of the (many) failures was a thrilling environment to be part of. The guidance offered by Dr Michael Booth, Prof Vijay Chudasama and Prof Jamie Baker, my supervisors, was incredibly precious and I will surely keep in mind their advice during my PhD next year. Taking our promising findings to the MAPS I&E Competition helped to enrich the discussions we started together on the real-world impact for the treatment of aggressive cancers and on the ways to turn our progress into tangible applications. Making targeted DNA strands that we can activate with just a fibre optic indeed seems to be only the first step towards the development of a powerful new class of medicines able to help a wide range of patients. I am really looking forward to see the future developments of this project!"

Andrei-Gabriel Pavel - UCL Physics & Astronomy


Andrei's supervisor Professor Giorgio Savini said:

"Supervising Andrei has been a pleasure and eye-opening. What was initially an academic goal in defining the scientific aspects and optimal components for a very small solar spectroscopy "shoebox" satellite (cubesat) became, with Andrei's initiative, an investigation in the combined design and its commercial optimization by analyzing the range of existing off the shelf components for each subsystem.

The Faculty Innovation and Entrepreneurship prize is a great way to highlight to students and faculty alike how some projects can be taken to another level through commercialization while enhancing the impact they can have in society."

In his response to being awarded the prize, Andrei stated:

Andrei Pavel, winner of the MAPS I&E Student Prize Competition
"For my Master’s project, I designed a small type of satellite called a CubeSat aimed at measuring the ultraviolet radiation that the Earth receives from the Sun, which is very important in understanding climate and how to protect ourselves against space weather phenomena. I was very fortunate to have Professor Giorgio Savini as my supervisor, who gave me freedom to explore what I was most interested in while always keeping me on the right track. My project is relevant in today’s rapidly expanding space industry, in which the paradigm has been shifting for the last two decades: if in the past the goal was to build bigger and higher-performing instruments to overcome technological challenges and only government space agencies could afford them, nowadays smaller and cheaper spacecraft are becoming increasingly popular, as they facilitate access to space for a wider variety of entities: universities, private companies, and even interested amateurs.


Taking part in the MAPS Innovation and Enterprise Student Prize Competition was a highly rewarding experience for me, as it helped me think beyond the immediate aspects of my project and towards its potential impact on our society. It also gave me some ideas that I would like to pursue in the future. I strongly believe that space exploration is a vital area for our evolution and ultimately our survival, and making it more accessible is the natural way going forward."