Scottish students rise to the challenge

Dragon's Den-style competition to discover new health and social care technologies

Scottish university students are hoping to improve health services with the invention of technologies that will help the NHS to enhance performance and save money.

As part of the countrywide New Ideas Competition (NIC), teams of students have designed products and technologies that will compete to win much-needed funding from the Scottish Institute of Enterprise (SIE).

Scottish university students are hoping to improve health services with the invention of technologies that will help the NHS to enhance performance and save money.

As part of the countrywide New Ideas Competition (NIC), teams of students have designed products and technologies that will compete to win much-needed funding from the Scottish Institute of Enterprise (SIE).

The programme invites entrants in six categories including science, technology and engineering to put their innovations in front of a Dragon’s Den-style panel, which will provide support, and small grants, to help them develop and commercialise their ideas.

Among the entries going forward is a survival kit to guide and facilitate health professionals in maintaining CPD. It was the brainchild of a group of five occupational health students from the Faculty of Health and Social Care at Robert Gordon University (RGU). Other shortlisted entries from the centre included a drug and dietary interaction mobile app, which provides information on when medication may clash, causing one drug to become ineffective or putting patients’ health at risk.

Dr John Park, leader of the Charles P Skene Entrepreneurship Programme at the university, said: “The standard of ideas across all faculties was extremely high this year and even for the entries that didn’t win I see a lot of potential. All entrants have the commitment to take their idea to the next stage and turning it into a real venture, with the full support of our business incubator and the SIE.”

He added that, of the three faculties involved, the highest number of submissions came from health and social care students.

The first stage of the NIC initiative is held at the various universities across Scotland. Each then chooses its best idea to go forward to the next stage, where they will compete against each other to be named the overall winner.

Dr Park said: “The Faculty of Health and Social Care produced a large number of submissions and, while only one can go forward, we plan to expand each of the top three ideas into real businesses.”

At RGU the shortlisting process was sponsored by BP, which through the Charles P Skene Entrepreneurship Programme and the university’s business incubator has provided support and coaching for the various ideas, as well as the potential to win cash grants to help fund them.

At the national final, the winner in each of the six categories will get £1,500 towards commercialising their idea.

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