Robyn Hickerson wins Research Staff Award at Venture final

Published on 8 March 2019

Dr Robyn Hickerson and her team won the Research Staff Award at Venture 2019 competition.

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Dr Robyn Hickerson and her team won the Research Staff Award at Venture 2019 competition hosted by the University of Dundee’s Centre of Entrepreneurship. The final involved pitching budding business ideas to an expert panel of judges with the chance to share in a £27,500 prize fund.

Dr Hickerson’s company, Ten Biotech was awarded £7,500 for their Venture. Robyn who is part of the Division of Biological Chemistry and Drug Discovery delivered the pitch over Skype, as she was in the U.S. at the time of the competition where she was meeting potential collaborators. As they state, 'We have developed and patented a skin model that mimics living skin and thus provides a state-of-the-art tool for skin biology research and pharmaceutical and cosmetic testing.’ 

Alongside Ten Biotech, two other business ideas from the School made the finals. Dr Elad Katz from the Division of Cell Signalling and Immunology with his idea ‘cancer-in-a-box’. Navigate Precision Oncology provides a new service that utilizes cells found in the bloodstream of advanced cancer patients to select appropriate cancer therapies. The other idea was a cross-school project in collaboration with the Geomicrobiology Group, a self-cleaning surface coating on medical devices that was presented by Dr Shuai Zhang in the School of Science and Engineering. BudeeCare have created this coating to prevent biofilm formation on medical devices that are implanted in the body or come into contact with body fluids. These devices face a critical challenge that can threaten the life of a patient with bacterial infection.

Brian McNicoll, Head of Centre of Entrepreneurship said, “We were blown away by the high standard of pitching at this year’s Venture final, proving to be a perfect showcase of the exceptional entrepreneurial talent we have right here at the University of Dundee. With such a diversity of ideas across a spectrum of disciplines our expert judging panel commented on the passion, determination and creativity that shone from each of the 22 finalists.”

“The Centre of Entrepreneurship now looks forward to continue to work closely with each of the winners and indeed all of the finalists to support them on their business journeys and we hope they can take the opportunity to participate in this summer’s three-month accelerator programme delivered at the centre by our partners Elevator.”

About the Venture Competition

Venture 2019 was a £27,500 new business idea competition for University of Dundee Students, Staff and Recent Graduates (graduated last 2 years) with 8 prize fund categories. Additionally, to the prize money on offer there was 10 Memberships for the 'Emerging Tier' category of the Entrepreneurial Scotland network on offer. Winners were offered a place on the 3-month summer cohort of Elevator's Dundee accelerator programme. There were also three iPad's awarded to the best pitches as voted by the audience on the day.

The Staff Award (University of Dundee Research Related Idea) had a £7,500 prize fund sponsored by Research and Innovation Services, University of Dundee, School of Business and Talent and Development.


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