UCL School of Life and Medical Sciences


ACCELERATE Innovation Team Challenge funds additional interdisciplinary teams (2022)

Three additional teams have each been awarded up to £10k to help fund their original ideas to tackle healthcare challenges after taking part in a 7-week training programme.


ACCELERATE Innovation Team Challenge round two continues to support interdisciplinary teams with training and funding; we were able to fund an additional three projects (listed below). Teams not funded at this time are being supported with a coaching session to determine next steps for their project and professional development.

Round two funded projects:

Project 1: COOLNeo - An affordable, portable, and auto-regulated cooling blanket for use in therapeutic hypothermia for new-borns with hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy in low-to-middle-income countries. The team comprises a GP with paediatrics/neonatal experience, a product designer/materials engineer, and a medical informatician. Team Members: Minhong Wang, UCL Institute of Health Informatics; Tigmanshu (Tigi) Bhatnagar, UCL Division of Psychology and Language Sciences (PALS), UCL Department of Computer Science; Dinarda Ulf Nadobudskaya, UCL Great Ormond Street Institute of Child Health.

Project 2: EMMA - ‘Efficient Medical record Manager & Administration’ tool. EMMA is an innovative, web-based tool that will reduce administration time associated with clinical appointments and improve healthcare capacity in the NHS. The team comprises a consultant radiologist, an applied mathematician, and a vascular biologist. Team Members: Athina Dritsoula, UCL Institute of Ophthalmology; Dimitrios Priftakis, Institute of Nuclear Medicine, UCLH; Florencia Tettamanti Boshier, UCL Great Ormond Street Institute of Child Health.

Project 3: Option - A free, personalised nutrition support service for breast cancer patients to improve their personal wellbeing (Option’s website). The team comprises an academic clinician, an epidemiologist, a trainee cardiothoracic surgeon, and a consultant nuclear medicine physician. Team Members: Cristina Venturini, UCL Great Ormond Street Institute of Child Health, Department of Infection, Immunity and Inflammation; Jenni Pratita, UCL Division of Surgery and Interventional Science; Robert Smillie, Centre for Rheumatology and Connective Tissue Diseases, UCL Division of Medicine; Stefan Adrian Voo, Institute of Nuclear Medicine, UCLH.

Reflections from round two of the programme:

Main comments from participants on round two of the programme were that the Team Challenge was a great experience and opportunity to develop leadership, communication, and teamwork skills. They also commented that it was well organised, provided good support & training, and a great opportunity to establish new collaborations across multiple disciplines and career stages.  One participant wrote: “Your work has changed my life and broadened my career options as a clinician-researcher who wants to make tangible, impactful changes for patients.”

"Taking on feedback from round one participants, we tweaked the programme design to incorparate more flexibility. We were more flexible with the pace that teams were expected to move through the sessions. It is apparent from the strength of the teams' ideas and pitches/written proposals that this adjustment allowed the teams to work around their busy schedules and deliver very well thought out and impactful ideas while developing strong team bonds."~ Kim Gurwitz, ACCELERATE Manger, UCL Academic Careers Office. 

Update from round one participants:

We caught up with the teams from round one of the programme for a 6-month update on their progress and to hear their reflections on taking part in the Team Challenge. Participants commented on how they had engaged with various stakeholder groups, including holding focus groups with patients. They had also made use of expertise hubs at UCL for support such as the UCL Translational Research Office, UCL Public Engagement, and UCL Business.

See the below video for reflections on the experience of taking part in the Team Challenge:

YouTube Widget Placeholderhttps://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YDToYxG2Dzc


To inspire the next generation of medical innovators, the Team Challenge participants were invited to share their experiences with undergraduate students from UCL’s Medical Innovation and Enterprise BSc (MIE). They did this by joining a panel that provided comments on draft pitches presented by students showcasing their coursework. The panellists asked the students about the important aspects of a pitch and translational ideas; these are lessons the panellists learned while participating in the Team Challenge.

Input from the ACCELERATE organisers and the Team Challenge alumni was hugely important in reinforcing the students' understanding of key concepts in translational research. Having perspectives from an interdisciplinary group, including medics, basic scientists and healthcare workers, ensured that students received broad feedback on the aims of their projects and how they could be strengthened. The MIE faculty are very keen to repeat the exercise in future”. ~ Dr John Counsell, Module Convenor, Medical Innovation and Enterprise BSC.

You can support the teams by reaching out and following their progress on social media or sharing their requests for engagement, such as Team Option’s call for focus group participants.