UCL Mathematical & Physical Sciences


Celebrating Innovation: Winners of the MAPS Innovation and Enterprise Grants 2023/24

9 May 2024

Many congratulations to Dr Shahab Akhavan (UCL Institute for Materials Discovery) and Dr Roberto Gentile (UCL Risk and Disaster Reduction), winners of the MAPS Innovation and Enterprise Grants 2023/24.

Image of a trophy - Credit: iStock

MAPS Innovation and Enterprise Grants 2023/24

We are thrilled to announce the recipients of the MAPS Innovation and Enterprise Grants 2023/34, an initiative crafted to enhance the exchange of ideas and expertise, while accelerating the impact of research by fostering connections with industry, public sector, and the wider community. These grants help fund activities aimed at engaging end-users, forging strategic partnerships, cultivating a culture of innovation and entrepreneurship, exploring commercial avenues, or spearheading policy initiatives within our academic community.

With funding opportunities of up to £2,000 allocated to support proposed activities, the following initiatives have been funded:

  • “Entrepreneurship Empowerment Workshop and Pitch Competition”, led by Dr Shahab Akhavan, UCL Institute for Materials Discovery.

Dr Shahab Akhavan's proposal, "Entrepreneurship Empowerment Workshop and Pitch Competition," aims to nurture entrepreneurial expertise among students within the Institute for Materials Discovery (IMD) and the MAPS Faculty, with a primary focus on postgraduate levels. The proposed initiative is designed to explore various facets of entrepreneurship, including essential terms, business model development, marketing strategies, and fundraising techniques. Through interactive sessions including the participation of a notable industry speaker and a pitched competition, students will be immersed in a hands-on learning environment, cultivating critical thinking and problem-solving skills essential in today's competitive business landscape.
This initiative seeks to empower students and foster a vibrant culture of enterprise and knowledge exchange within the IMD department and MAPS Faculty.

  • "Scaling up OpenVulnerability: from Prototype to Deployed Web Platform", led by Dr Roberto Gentile, UCL Risk and Disaster Reduction

Under the lead of Dr Roberto Gentile, OpenVulnerability aims to transform catastrophe risk modelling by providing a worldwide-unique interactive web database that facilitates the selection and calibration of vulnerability models tailored to specific hazards, buildings/assets, and geographical locations. Roberto's methodology for scoring models and selecting the most suitable one for each circumstance addresses a critical industry challenge. In the face of natural disasters, OpenVulnerability provides an innovative response to the urgent need for more precise risk assessment, offering significant potential to become a key tool within the field, streamlining processes, and enhancing decision-making capabilities.
OpenVulnerability also aims to activate a community of practice, bringing together diverse stakeholders (catastrophe modelling companies, (re)insures, insurer brokers, NGOs, foundations and academics) and foster new research and consultancy collaboration between UCL and industry.

As we celebrate the recipients of the MAPS Innovation and Enterprise Grants 2023/34, we commend their dedication to driving innovation and entrepreneurship forward. Their contributions not only enrich our academic community but also have a positive impact reaching far beyond.