Innovation news in brief: Entrepreneurship; photonics; energy; education

Mike Bandar, co-founder of Hopper

Hopper founder celebrates Maserati 100 listing

Midland entrepreneur Mike Bandar has been named one of the most successful UK business leaders who actively support the next generation of entrepreneurs, as part of this year’s Maserati 100.

Based at Innovation Birmingham Campus, Mike is co-founder of; the world’s first fully automated scheduling tool for Instagram. The user-friendly platform enables individuals, brands and agencies to schedule content for a specific date and time, similar to popular applications such as Hootsuite and Buffer.

The Maserati 100, which was launched by Italian car manufacturer, Maserati and the Centre for Entrepreneurs, recognises the UK’s most successful business leaders, who generously give time and resources to support the next generation of young entrepreneurs.

In 2015; Peter Jones CBE, Sir Richard Branson and Michael Acton Smith OBE, all featured on the Maserati top 100 list.

To view the full Maserati 100 list, please visit:

North Wales photonics Launchpad

Innovate UK is to invest up to £500,000 in innovative research and development projects centred on the emerging cluster of photonics, electro-optics, and opto-electronics businesses in North Wales.

The competition aims to stimulate this hotspot of photonics, electro-optics and opto-electronics businesses by enabling companies towards commercial success.

Innovate UK want to draw investment and people into the area, and to encourage networking and collaboration to strengthen the cluster.

Projects should demonstrate significant innovation in relation to topics that may include, but are not limited to the following:

  • Optical components
  • Optical coatings
  • Manufacture and measurement of high-surface-quality parts for optics and photonics
  • Conventional and modern optics
  • Anti-reflection thin films for optical and photovoltaic (PV) technologies
  • Electrostatic discharge films for solar cells
  • Solar cell thin films for different technologies or applications
  • Transparent, conducting oxides, spanning all PV technologies
  • Optical features in polymers and semiconductors and automotive/ medical (mainly micro-mould tools for injection moulding)
  • 3D printing of optically transparent glass and rapid prototyping of complete optical systems

More details here

Energy boost for Scotland

Oil and gas firms in Scotland are to receive £12.5 million to sustain growth and develop new technologies as part of a package of support announced by First Minister Nicola Sturgeon, reports Energy Voice.

Scottish Enterprise funding of £10 million will help firms reduce risks associated with carrying out research and development, as well as giving them access to specialist experts who will help them kick-start innovation projects and maintain global competitiveness.

An additional £2.5million from Scottish Enterprise will allow firms to implement targeted support from senior industry experts to troubleshoot problems through bespoke business resilience reviews focused on strategic, financial, operational or market issues.

Manchester business school honoured for education innovation

Manchester Metropolitan Business School has been honoured for its business education innovation after running a commercial training programme with HMRC, reports the Manchester Evening News.

The programme has been recognised as one of the 30 best in the world by the global accrediting body and membership association for business schools, AACSB International. The award was announced at AACSB International’s 2016 Deans Conference in Florida, US.

Celebrated as part of the centennial anniversary and upcoming Visioning Initiative, the inaugural Innovations That Inspire shines a spotlight on how business schools, around the globe, are working to innovate and diversify the business education environment.

Manchester Met Business School was recognised for its submission ‘The Way We Connect: Outreach and Engagement’ for its commercial training programme with HMRC which detailed how the business school, in partnership with HMRC, has devised two qualifications: one for their graduate entry scheme for tax professionals and a second for senior policy staff.

Kinesis Health Technologies in NHS Innovation ‘test beds’ initiative

Irish medical technology company Kinesis Health Technologies has been selected as an industry partner to participate in a new NHS Innovation ‘Test Beds’ initiative to improve patient care in the UK.

Frontline health and care workers in seven ‘test bed’ areas will pioneer and evaluate the use of novel combinations of interconnected devices such as wearable monitors, data analysis and ways of working which will help patients stay well and monitor their conditions themselves at home.

Successful innovations will then be available for other parts of the UK to adopt and adapt to the particular needs of their local populations.

Kinesis Health Technologies, a University College Dublin (UCD) spin-out company headquartered at NexusUCD, the University’s industry partnership centre, has been selected to participate in two of the seven ‘test beds’.

The company will be deploying its innovative QTUG mobility and falls risk assessment technology at scale in the Care City Health and Care Test Bed in North East London and the Perfect Patient Pathway Test Bed in the Sheffield City Region.

Simon Stevens, chief executive, NHS England said: "Over the next decade major health gains won’t just come from a few 'miracle cures', but also from combining diverse breakthroughs in fields such as biosensors, medtech and drug discovery, mobile communications, and AI computing.”

He added: “Our new NHS Test Beds programme aims to cut through the hype and test the practical benefits for patients when we bring together some of these most promising technologies in receptive environments inside the world's largest public, integrated health service."