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Professor Richard Buswell receives the Innovation in Construction Award, with LLEP Head of Business and Innovation Sue Tilley and technology TV presenter Jason Bradbury. © Will Johnston

Four wins for University research and enterprise in LeicestershireLive Innovation Awards

Loughborough University has won four categories in the 2021 LeicestershireLive Innovation Awards, representing the impacts of pioneering engineering research and dynamic start-ups which have been launched on LUSEP, the University’s Science and Enterprise Park.

L-R: Pete Hitchings, Loughborough University Incubator Manager, Jason Bradbury, and graduate start-up winners Thomas Constant (BeoBia) and Tom Jelliffe (Tzuka)

A record 13 nominations across University research and enterprise were shortlisted for the Awards which were celebrated at a ceremony on 14th September 2021 at the National Space Centre in Leicester.

Dr Nik Kotecha, CEO of Morningside Pharmaceuticals and Chair of the Leicester and Leicestershire Enterprise Partnership (LLEP) Innovation Board, opened the Awards ceremony, praising the adaptability and the new ideas and approaches pioneered in the region, and outlined the Board’s vision for creating long-term sustainable innovation through partnerships.

Loughborough University’s winners are

Innovation in Construction – 3D Concrete Printing

A notable highlight of the University’s resilient infrastructure research, 3D Concrete Printing is a pioneering technology invented at Loughborough which has shaped the international research landscape of large-scale additive manufacturing for construction. The research into these digital manufacturing approaches is crucially aligned to the Industrial Strategy’s demand to optimise innovation and skills to build faster, more effectively, and more productively.

Innovation in Technology – Tzuka

Tzuka has designed and is currently engineering what it reports to be the world's most durable sports earbuds, to be launched later this year. Founded by alumnus Tom Jelliffe (Geography and Business Management BSc, 2018), the earbuds aim to be the first in the world with an impact resistance certification as well as being totally waterproof and shock proof, with built-in storage for directly uploading 4GB of music or podcasts. Tzuka is based in the University’s incubator, LU Inc on LUSEP. 

Medical and Health Innovator of the Year – HIVE Composites

Answering the call to expedite new products to support the response to the Covid-19 pandemic, HIVE has created an innovative material that contains antiviral and foaming agents that has been used to manufacture disposable gloves that can be washed off in hot water, thereby safely reducing the amount of contaminated plastic waste. HIVE is co-founded by alumnus Gerry Boyce (Materials Engineering MSc, 1980) and is based on LUSEP.

University Student Innovation – BeoBia

Learning that intensive meat production was responsible for 25% of the world’s greenhouse emissions, alumnus Thomas Constant (Industrial Design and Technology BSc, 2018), spent 10 months researching possible solutions before launching his startup BeoBia to manufacture a closed-loop system that turns food waste into protein, including sustainable pet food, and also plant fertiliser. BeoBia has very recently raised investment and graduated from LU Inc.

The following University nominations were also highly commended finalists:

Shifa Technologies, founded by a Leicester-based medical doctor and four Loughborough PhD students, developers of ShiVent, an off-grid, oxygen-efficient non-invasive ventilator, specifically designed for hospitals in emerging economies.

The People Deal, founded by alumnus Louise Lennon (Business Psychology MSc, 2019), the organisation development consultancy behind the Fairness First Framework™, a nationally unique research-evidenced framework to advance fairness in the workplace.

Alcuris, founded by Alex Nash (Product Design Engineering MEng, 2016), the assistive technology company behind Connec+™ and MemoHub®, the proactive, next generation solution for social care that is already adopted by several health care authorities.

Intelligence-led safe road systems research is helping to reduce deaths and ease congestion on UK roads by using AI to interpret data provided through satellite technology to accurately identify high-risk routes and provide highly accurate mapping of traffic accident blackspots.

Professor Claudia Eberlein, Loughborough University’s Dean of Science and Enterprise lead commented: “To have the excellent research impact as well as the work of so many graduate-founded companies recognised by the LeicestershireLive Innovation Awards is a fantastic success.  It reflects the breadth of the University’s outstanding achievements in a very challenging year. Many congratulations to all our finalists.”

Notes for editors

Press release reference number: PR 21/202

Loughborough is one of the country’s leading universities, with an international reputation for research that matters, excellence in teaching, strong links with industry, and unrivalled achievement in sport and its underpinning academic disciplines.

It has been awarded five stars in the independent QS Stars university rating scheme, named the best university in the world for sports-related subjects in the 2021 QS World University Rankings and University of the Year for Sport by The Times and Sunday Times University Guide 2022.

Loughborough is in the top 10 of every national league table, being ranked 7th in The UK Complete University Guide 2022, and 10th in both the Guardian University League Table 2022 and the Times and Sunday Times Good University Guide 2022.

Loughborough is consistently ranked in the top twenty of UK universities in the Times Higher Education’s ‘table of tables’ and is in the top 10 in England for research intensity. In recognition of its contribution to the sector, Loughborough has been awarded seven Queen's Anniversary Prizes

The Loughborough University London campus is based on the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park and offers postgraduate and executive-level education, as well as research and enterprise opportunities. It is home to influential thought leaders, pioneering researchers and creative innovators who provide students with the highest quality of teaching and the very latest in modern thinking.

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