Innovator of the Year 2014, a prestigious competition from the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC), is now underway to recognise and reward innovation from BBSRC-funded scientists to deliver real-world impacts.
The competition, now in its sixth year, offers a personal award of £30,000 to the overall winner for taking their research beyond the lab to deliver social and economic benefits.
This year winners in the competition's three categories will each take away greater rewards of £15,000 each, up from £10,000 in previous years, with the overall winner receiving an additional £15,000 to make £30,000 in total prize money to support their research, training or other activities promoting economic or social impact.
Applications are open for entries to the competition's three categories of 'Commercial Innovator', 'Social Innovator' and 'Most Promising Innovator', designed to reflect the breadth of the benefits delivered by BBSRC's investment in UK bioscience.
Entry is open to all BBSRC-funded scientists with the deadline for nominations on 19 September and the deadline for applications 6 November. Nominations can be made by simply filling out a form at www.bbsrc.ac.uk/business/impact-incentive/innovator .
A shortlist of finalists will be completed in January 2014, with the winners to be announced in March 2014.
The finalists will be judged by an expert independent panel. The judges will be looking to recognise those innovators who have worked hardest and have gone furthest to take their science out of the lab to deliver impact.
Last year's winner was Dr Ryan Donnelly of Queen's University Belfast who won the Most Promising Innovator and Overall Innovator titles for his work on hydrogel-based microneedles.
Dr Donnelly said: "Winning BBSRC Innovator of the Year has been the highlight of my career to date. To be recognised in this way is something very special.
"From the point of view of progressing my own microneedle technology, I have already had contact from two world players in the pharma industry as a result of my award from BBSRC, with a view to conducting collaborative projects.
"I would thoroughly recommend academics to apply for BBSRC Innovator of the Year, due to enhanced visibility for their work, increased opportunity to network with peers and the real possibility of initiating collaborations."
Professor Douglas Kell, BBSRC Chief Executive, said: "Innovator of the Year has established itself as a highly respected and much anticipated competition. BBSRC funds world class research across the biosciences and translating that work into benefits for society and the economy is incredibly important.
"This is a great chance to recognise the excellent work that BBSRC-funded scientists do to generate impact and I'm very much looking forward to hearing about what I expect will be a very high calibre of entrants this year."