Breakthrough battery technology to transform energy storage, a rapid diagnostic test that reduces the risk of antimicrobial resistance, and a cost-saving food waste system that cuts CO2 emissions have won the 2022 Trinity Bradfield Prizes.
The annual awards – a collaboration between Trinity College and the Bradfield Centre at Cambridge Science Park – were announced by former Master and biotech entrepreneur Sir Gregory Winter this week.
First prize went to Daniel Buhl, PhD researcher at Cambridge Vet School, whose initiative has created a diagnostic test for a common condition in cows that will ultimately help reduce the risk of antimicrobial resistance and the emergence of vectors of infection between animals and humans.
Rapid Bacterial Diagnostics is a collaboration between Daniel, Professor Mark Holmes, Reader in Microbial Genomics and Veterinary Medicine at Cambridge, and academics at Imperial and Nottingham.
Daniel Buhl said:
Taking part in the Trinity Bradfield Prize competition has been a truly transformative experience. From the pitch training to the final, I have already learned many new skills and made valuable connections.
The prize money will enable us to transform our prototype to a first product, and I am very excited about the mentoring programme and the opportunities the Trinity Bradfield Prize will open up.
I am extremely grateful for all the support we have received already and am looking forward to seeing what the future holds for our joint venture.
The other collaborators in Rapid Bacterial Diagnostics are Zoltan Takats, Professor in Analytical Chemistry at Imperial College, Andrew Bradley, Professor of Dairy Herd Health and Production at Nottingham, and bio-informaticians James McKenzie of Imperial and Jacob Moss at Cambridge.
Second prize went to PhD researcher at the Department of Chemistry Mark Carrington who has devised a new air-stable battery technology for cheap, reliable energy storage at the largest scales.
Mark studied at Stanford University before coming to Cambridge to conduct research under Professor Dame Clare Grey. He set up the Oxonium Energy project to develop his technology. He said:
Over the years, the University of Cambridge and its broader academic and entrepreneurial ecosystem have played a leading role in the development of sustainable technologies and initiatives. These are needed now more than ever.
I am delighted to receive the support and recognition of the Trinity Bradfield Prize as I hope to bring to market a breakthrough battery technology with the potential to transform the way we do grid-scale energy storage.
The Hellings’ Prize went to Abiel Ma whose onsite food waste separation system reduces the amount going into landfill, thereby cutting CO2 emissions, saves organisations money and creates raw material for biogas and animal feed.
Inspired by his father Dr Anthony Ma’s research and work in food waste recycling, Abiel determined to develop a viable solution during his Master’s in Entrepreneurship. Father and son joined forces to invent Vuala X1, their first prototype in the UK, which will be piloted at Homerton, Abiel’s College.
Abiel, who received the UK Innovation Agency Young Innovator Award 2023, said he was honoured to receive the Hellings’ Prize.
Winning has already opened so many doors, we’ve received many enquiries about our technology, and will be having a conversation with both Trinity College and Bradfield Centre on doing pilot trials for Vuala X1, our automatic food waste separation system.
We are currently having follow-up conversation with potential investors today and will hopefully be closing our £200k pre-seed investment round soon!
Sir Gregory said:
It was heart-warming to see so many applicants wanting to solve important practical problems. This year, the applicants had thought much more about the process of commercialisation; it wouldn’t surprise me to see the winning applications reach the market in some form or other within the next few years.
The Trinity Bradfield Prize, now in its fourth year, has awarded prizes worth a total of £50,000.
Any team with a Cambridge student keen to pursue early-stage tech ideas and commercialise their research can apply to the Trinity Bradfield Prize. All finalists can take part in a three-month mentoring programme tailored to their needs alongside membership of the Bradfield Centre, the leading entrepreneurial hub in East Anglia.
This year’s judges were Sir Gregory Winter, Kerry Baldwin of IQ Capital, and Anne Dobree of Cambridge Enterprise.