Innovation in Sustainability finalists Plastic Energy at the global company’s R&D base at Loughborough University Science and Enterprise Park

Innovation in Sustainability finalists Plastic Energy at the global company’s R&D base at Loughborough University Science and Enterprise Park

Twelve nominations for University research and innovation in LeicestershireLive Innovation Awards

Loughborough University has 12 nominations across eight categories in the 2023 LeicestershireLive Innovation Awards.

The 10 finalists represent a wealth of impactful research collaborations and a wide spectrum of academic spinouts and graduate start-ups  – all launched from LUinc., the University’s incubator on LUSEP, its Science and Enterprise Park.

The finalists delivering innovative new technologies and solutions to major challenges are:

Innovation in Sustainability

Plastic Energy is transforming the global landscape of plastic waste by converting previously difficult to recycle plastic into a recycled oil (called TACOIL™) that replaces fossil oils in the production of new plastics. The global company has partnered with Loughborough University’s chemistry researchers for 10 years to accelerate this innovative recycling process. LUSEP is home to Plastic Energy’s R&D hub which is at the heart of realising the goal where plastics are re-used repeatedly, for good.

CarbonVue is an innovative new digital platform for adoption by UK manufacturers of all sizes in all sectors. It will provide visibility of carbon in the end-to-end supply chain, enable integrated real-time carbon and productivity management, and provide a framework to foster greater collaboration, to reduce carbon emissions. Loughborough University’s logistics experts are part of an Innovate UK consortia behind this platform which launches in March 2023.

Innovation in Logistics and Exports

CarbonVue (see Innovation in Sustainability)

Innovation in STEM Industries

Loughborough University’s 20-year partnership with adidas has enabled the design, manufacture and analysis of innovative global sports products as well as driving impacts in other sectors.Through the pioneering application of computational modelling and virtual simulation of product performance, substantial efficiencies have been gained that have reduced costs and lead-times as well as reduced the wastage and resource intensity of repetitive physical prototyping. 

Innovation in Food and Drink

High-tech food machinery manufacturers Millitec Food Systems has partnered with Loughborough University's computer scientists to create a unique sandwich-making robot featuring the latest embedded artificial intelligence technology. Since launching in October 2020 in one of the UK’s largest sandwich-making factories, which produces an astounding 750k sandwiches a day, Millitec now have a strategic advantage in the marketplace.

Mechanical, Electrical and Manufacturing Engineering spinout Zayndu founded in 2019, helps global growers increase agricultural yield using unique cold plasma equipment that vitalises seeds, speeding up germination and encouraging growth. Seeds grow stronger and between 15-25% bigger without the need for agrochemicals or pesticides. The subscription-based technology provides a timely and affordable solution for growers as many of the chemicals the industry relies on are becoming banned internationally.

Innovation in Education and Community

RealTalk is an innovative educational approach that promotes positive conversations about end-of-life, underpinned by world-leading scientific research in conversation analysis from Loughborough University. Licensed to Treetops Hospice, RealTalk has the potential to positively impact everyone’s lives by capturing and passing on how skilled communicators enable sensitive, open conversations, patients and their companions, supporting them to make decisions about their lives and future.

Innovation in Sport, Well being and Accessibility

Sport, Exercise and Health Sciences spinout Dineticq, founded in 2022, combines artificial intelligence with leading biomechanics to deliver a virtual coaching environment. The simple to use, gamified app will cross borders and income divides to enable athletes from across the globe to unlock their true performance potential.

Rewire Fitness is a mental fitness platform that helps athletes reach their full potential and avoid burnout by providing tools that improve mindset, readiness and resilience. The US-based start-up is co-founded by Ed Gibbins (Sports Science). With pre-seed investment in excess of $1M, its patented technology integrates protocols used by the Navy SEALs, NASA and neuroscience.

Innovation in Med-Tech and Life Sciences

3D printed children’s prosthetics manufacturer ExpHand Prosthetics, founded in 2018 by Kate Allan (Product Design Engineering MEng, 2019) has won multiple national awards for the patented ExpHand that can be adjusted to fit any child from the age of 3 and is up to 90% cheaper than competitor products.

Moti Me is a physiotherapy-focused product to help children with disabilities. Since founding the company in 2021, Katie Michaels (Industrial Design and Technology BA 2020) has been testing Moti Me prototypes with special needs schools and physiotherapy centres across the country, including Ashmount Primary School and STEPS Conductive Education Centre.

Innovation in Creative

Moti Me (see Innovation in Med-Tech and Life Sciences)

Professor Dan Parsons, Pro Vice Chancellor, Research and Innovation at Loughborough, commented: “Getting so many nominations for the LeicestershireLive Innovation Awards from across the University’s extensive innovation and research portfolio, is testament to the impressive variety in our activities and their level of excellence. All nominees have shown ingenuity and determination in solving some of today’s important problems so that each would be a worthy winner. I am delighted to see them nominated and wish all of them the very best of luck for the finals.”

The winners of the LeicestershireLive Innovation Awards will be held on the evening of Thursday 16 February at the National Space Centre in Leicester. Indro Mukerjee, Chief Executive of Innovate UK will deliver the keynote speech and tickets are now on sale.

The Awards are part of the Leicestershire Innovation Festival, an initiative of the Leicester and Leicestershire Enterprise Partnership. Headline sponsors are Morningside Pharmaceuticals, De Montfort University, and the University of Leicester, with category sponsors Acute Business Advisory, Intelligent Energy, Loughborough University, and MIRA Technology Institute.