A project for the development of a rapid, low-cost, antibiotic susceptibility test is among the winners in a Scotland-wide innovation showcase.

Dr Stuart Hannah, a Research Associate in Strathclyde’s Department of Biomedical Engineering and a Royal Society of Edinburgh Enterprise Fellow, won the Best Pitch award in the Converge Challenge category of Inside Innovation, in which 58 academic entrepreneurs from around Scotland made 60-second pitches for cash prizes.

Dr Hannah won the prize for the Microplate Dx project, which is developing a test which indicates the correct antibiotic for each patient.

The test takes around 45 minutes, is sensor-based and designed for use at the point-of-care, with the potential to show which antibiotic to use significantly quicker than current methods, which take days.

Inside Innovation was hosted by Converge, Scotland’s largest company creation programme for the university sector. The online event had an international audience of 200, including university principals, senior academic staff, investors, entrepreneurs, business influencers, media, Converge funders and commercial partners.

Dr Hannah said: “Being successfully chosen as one of the Converge Challenge semi-finalists for this year was great but being chosen as winner of the best pitch at Inside Innovation was absolutely fantastic, especially considering we were up against some really strong business ideas. Our success is testament to the hard work of the whole Microplate Dx team, and we are very grateful for the opportunity to take part in such an exciting and prestigious event.” 

Converge Director Claudia Cavalluzzo said: “Inside Innovation is one of the highlights of the Converge calendar, bringing together the very best new ideas and technologies from across Scotland’s world-renowned university sector. Created during a pandemic, in the most trying of circumstances, they are testament to the inventiveness and resilience of Scotland’s students, graduates and university staff.

“Despite all the difficulties of the past year, yesterday’s showcase gives us great cause for hope and demonstrates very clearly that we have a strong pipeline of entrepreneurs emerging from Scottish academia.

“I want to congratulate all our semi-finalists for their fantastic pitches and particularly the winners as they were up against some stiff competition.”

The Microplate Dx team was previously awarded nearly £30,000 from a £3 million Scottish Government support package, managed by Scottish Enterprise (SE), for innovative start-ups and university spinouts whose growth has been impacted by coronavirus. The project has also received funding worth a total of £280,000,over two phases, from SE’s High Growth Spin-out Programme.

The company was also a recent winner of a £15,000 prize in the Wild Card category of the Scottish EDGE business funding competition.

Microplate has received support from Strathclyde Inspire, the University’s flagship entrepreneurship programme, which offers entrepreneurial training and opportunities to every student and staff member.