Breakthrough ideas sought for NISP Connect £25k Awards

18 Apr 2011

The deadline for entries into a competition to find the ‘Next Big Thing’ to come out of Northern Ireland’s publically funded research base is fast approaching.

Local innovators are being urged to come forward with their breakthrough ideas to meet the 22 April deadline for the NISP Connect £25K Awards.

The competition aims to identify, qualify, prepare and present the ‘Next Big Thing’ to come out of Northern Ireland’s publically-funded research base.

Launched in March, the £25K Awards are sponsored by the Bank of Ireland UK, QUB, University of Ulster and AFBI (Agri Food and Biosciences Institute) and supported by NI’s Health and Social Care Trusts with the aim of connecting local inventors with relevant stakeholders to increase the propensity of commercialisation and help turn innovative ideas into business reality.

“Research, innovation and competitive advantage sit side by side in the knowledge-driven economy. The £25K Awards bring together these elements in practice and act as a catalyst for new venture start-ups in Northern Ireland by encouraging the collaboration of public institution researchers and private sector professionals,” said director of NISP Connect, Steve Orr.

“The awards offer a full range of support for Northern Ireland’s up-and-coming innovators, from advice on product improvements, finance and business planning to help on building the competencies of the people behind the big idea.”

The top prize is £13,000 and the top 10 teams each receive £500 and category winners a further £2,500.

All entrants get the chance to tap into the extensive range of support, advice, networking and mentoring opportunities with established science and technology professionals and investors.

Winners will be announced in September before an audience of more than 250 executives, entrepreneurs, investors, service providers and academics.

This year’s attendees will also include influential venture capital investors from across the UK and Ireland who will be at the Science Park for a VC Forum earlier that day

To enter, participants need to complete a simple two-page application form outlining their innovation idea within one of four categories: Hitech, Biotech, CleanTech or Digital Media and Software.

Further information can be found online.