Eight promising University research based technologies have been awarded funding through the Enterprise Fellowship scheme from the Royal Academy of Engineering this week – including Sussex based TribeHive, which has created software to crowd-share smartphone data bandwidth in congested spaces.
Each of the selected projects will receive up to £85,000 in funding, along with expert industry mentoring to aid the transition from the lab to reality.
TribeHive – the spin-out company from software research at the University of Sussex is headed up by Managing Director Dr Ian Wakeman and addresses the problem of poor smartphone data connectivity in congested areas. His innovation enables individual smartphone apps to crowd-share data bandwidth by building a network directly between smartphones and using them as the basis for distributing information, such as reliably delivering match-related content and social media feeds to football fans in stadiums.
Having the Brighton and Hove Albion football stadium literally next door to the University of Sussex campus has allowed the app to be successfully trialled in just this way with season ticket holders, but the potential for the technology and concept is far reaching. The awarding of the Enterprise Fellowship funding and the valuable mentoring will allow Dr Wakeman and the rest of TribeHive to progress the proven test model into a wider marketplace.
This is the third year of the Enterprise Fellowships scheme and is the largest cohort to date. President of the Royal Academy of Engineering, Sir John Parker GBE FREng, said, “Engineering already contributes at least £480 billion to the UK economy each year, and the ability to create wealth from innovation is essential in building a stronger and more competitive economy. By bridging the gap between industry and academia and enabling entrepreneurship to thrive, the Academy’s Enterprise Hub aims to ensure that the country’s brightest entrepreneurial minds are given the best possible chance to succeed, whilst helping to bring new technologies and services to market for the benefit of society.”
Arnoud Jullens, Head of Enterprise at the Royal Academy of Engineering, added, “UK universities produce some of the greatest innovations in the world, but getting them out of the lab and into the marketplace remains a huge challenge. Business-minded academics need investment and support from experienced industry practitioners to exploit their research, which could become the commercial success stories of tomorrow, and this is exactly what the Academy’s Enterprise Hub provides.”
And we will be keeping in touch with Dr Wakeman and TribeHive as they progress through the Fellowship.
(images courtesy of Dr Ian Wakeman)