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i-Solve Challenge

04 August 2011

iSolve - webBack row - Ataul Chowdhury Front Road L-R - Raji Ramakrishnan, Jitka Soukupova, Sabbir Ahmed, Muhammad Khan, Yun Zheng, Professor Hywel Thomas, Pro Vice-Chancellor Engagement and International.

The entrepreneurs of the future have taken part in a University–wide competition to identify commercial opportunities for technologies being developed by Cardiff researchers.

Postgraduate students and research staff from a variety of academic schools applied their ingenuity and innovation skills in the 2011 i-Solve challenge, which saw Team Anti-Cancer scoop the winning prize for their recommendations for commercial application of a biological therapy being developed in the School of Medicine.

The team, made up of postgraduate students from Cardiff Business School and the School of Biosciences, were tasked with investigating and recommending methods of taking the therapy, which is based on activation of a patient’s own immune cells to attack cancer cells, to market.

After several weeks of preparation, which included external speakers and mentoring from staff within the University, the competitors were quizzed by four external judges in a Dragons’ Den scenario. The winning team were commended for delivering a professional, informative and creative presentation, displaying confidence and business flair.

Karen O’Rourke, coordinator of the initiative said: "Team Anti-Cancer had some really interesting and informed recommendations and fully justified their decisions. The students were able to handle the judges’ probing questions and all members came across as knowledgeable and enthusiastic."

The team members were Ataul Chowdhury, Jitka Soukupova, Sabbir Ahmed, Muhammad Ajmal Khan, Raji Ramakrishnan and Yun Zheng.

This year’s i-Solve competition attracted more than 25 postgraduate students and research staff from across the University, who formed three interdisciplinary project teams with each team expected to research and create a go-to-market strategy with the support of a Principal Investigator and overseen by a mentor from industry. It was led by Student Enterprise, part of the Research and Commercial Development Division.

Cardiff’s i-Solve is based on the i-Teams programmes at Cambridge University and MIT. This makes Cardiff the first university in the UK after Cambridge University to launch an i-Teams Programme.

Karen O’Rourke added: "This is not a business game or a simulation – it’s an opportunity to make a real impact on a real-life project and as such is exciting and challenging for all involved."

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