Environment researchers reach national final of entrepreneurial innovation competition

A group of entrepreneurial post-doctoral researchers from the School of Earth and Environment have reached the national finals of the Environment YES! competition.


Andy Bray, Julie Calkins, Adriana Matamoros-Veloza and Tomasz Stawski teamed up with PhD researcher Jessica Roberts from the University of York to formulate an innovative business idea, Arteria Solutions, that impressed judges in both Scotland and London.

The team had to present their business idea to a panel of venture capitalists and make their case for further investment.  They asked for £3 million to enable Arteria Solutions to continue developing the idea of a self-healing nano-coating that could be applied to the inside of pipes in oil extraction systems to reduce corrosion and the build-up of mineral scaling, making systems more productive and reducing maintenance costs.

After a tense round of presentations, the Leeds team came runner-up in the national final.

Looking back on the competition, the team is keen to encourage others to get involved in the Environment YES! competition.

Andy Bray said: "This is a growing competition which is funded by the Natural Environment Research Council [jointly with the Nottingham Institute for Enterprise and Innovation].  So far, as a team, we have received many hours of business development training.  Reaching the national final demonstrates our potential to take ideas to industry and business, an aspect of impact that is highly valued by funding agencies and research councils."

Julie Calkins added: "We made some great contacts and received some really valuable mentoring.  It's also been really fun and challenging to transfer research skills to use in an entrepreneurial way and as a cohesive team."

The team gratefully acknowledges the support of the School of Earth and Environment for funding travel to the competition final.

Read more about the Environment YES! competition.

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