Global Game Changers

Strathclyders scooped a trio of awards this week at a ceremony to celebrate innovation.

The University took the Innovation in STEM/Training award at the inaugural Global Game Changers Awards ceremony, held in Glasgow.  Dr Holly Butler, a Research Associate in Strathclyde’s Department of Pure and Applied Chemistry, won the Women in Innovation award and the Circular Breakthrough prize went to 3f bio, a spinout company involved in the sustainable production of food protein.

The awards are made to organisations and individuals which recognise and support innovation, cultural change and sustainability and are designed to promote meaningful shifts in culture towards a more open, sustainable and innovative future for the global economy.

Strathclyde won the Innovation in STEM/Training award for a range of initiatives to interest young people in careers in science, engineering, technology and mathematics. One of the most successful is the Scottish Space School, an annual-week long residential course for S5 pupils which offers lectures, labs and workshops and regularly features appearances by NASA astronauts and engineers.

Since its inception more than a decade ago, the Space School has been attended by well over 1800 pupils, more than half of whom have gone on to work in engineering, science and technology.

Dr Butler received her award for her work with ClinSpec Dx, an early brain tumour diagnosis venture in which she is a partner. She has helped to develop a test which is based on the interaction of light with blood, and is able to diagnose the presence of a brain tumour within minutes. Brain tumour diagnosis currently relies on the early detection of non-specific symptoms such as headache, subsequent referral for a brain scan and a highly invasive biopsy in which tissue is removed from the brain but, by using blood samples, the ClinSpec Dx test could prevent unnecessary procedures. 

Earlier in 2017, Dr Butler also won the Converge Challenge Ready, Steady, Pitch! competition and was named Entrepreneur of the Year in the Scottish Women’s Awards.

Spun out of Strathclyde in 2016, 3f bio has developed patented zero-waste process technology which covers the large-scale integrated production of protein, alongside bioethanol and animal feed, and addresses the global market for protein. By converting carbohydrate, such as wheat or grain, to protein, this offers signifcant sustainability advantages.

The technology produced by 3f bio is aimed at producing mycoprotein, the ingredient in meat-free brand Quorn™, at half the current production cost, and with a 90% lower carbon footprint and 95% lower water and land footprint compared with beef.

Strathclyde Engineering alumna Victoria Hamilton was commended in the Young Pioneers category for her company VH Innovation, which produces personal protective equipment for the construction industry.

The Global Game Changers Awards were presented by The Herald, in partnership with Innovators Magazine.