Gábor Várkonyi, CEO and Founder of NeuroVLC, Research Associate at the University of Strathclyde, EngD in medical devices (2018)
Gábor Várkonyi is CEO and Founder of University of Strathclyde pre spin out company, NeuroVLC. The company was formed in 2020 by combining world-class research of the free-space optical communication and neurophotonics groups, based in the University of Strathclyde’s Institute of Photonics. This collaborative approach in commercialising research allowed expertise from both research areas to collaborate effectively in tackling neuroscience challenges in a unique way. NeuroVLC aims to gain a better understanding of the brain’s exact operation, using a proprietary wireless neural recording system, with the potential to record and transmit more than 1000x more data than competing solutions. This should support the development of novel treatments, technologies and targeted therapies for brain-related health conditions and diseases.
Throughout the journey of commercialisation, Gábor credits the University of Strathclyde in supporting the development of numerous key transferable skills, including pitching, networking, and presenting ideas to a wide range of audiences. The University of Strathclyde has also supported the company in exposure to networks which has led to the introductions to mentors, commercial champions and chairperson candidates, along with numerous investors and investment groups. Being supported through the University’s commercialisation process, Gábor notes that the application advice and support from International Institute for Environment and Development (IIED) - a Strathclyde partner - was instrumental in securing funding from Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) Impact Accelerator Account, the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC) Pathfinder, the Royal Society of Edinburgh (RSE) Enterprise Fellowship and the Innovation to Commercialisation of University Research (iCURe) programme.
Access to office and lab space has also provided the company with the tools to rapidly prototype its devices and test them in authentic environments to gain critical feedback from early adapters.
Strathclyde has provided the tools and knowledge to help me realise the commercial opportunity in my research by outlining the pathways available beyond the traditional academic route, and supporting the commercialisation effort through every step of the way (e.g. patent filing, customer discovery). Developing something novel is already exhilarating, but by taking it to the market you can potentially make a much more significant impact.