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Cash prize of £10,000 targeted by University of the Highlands and Islands student

By Staff Reporter

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Tom Carew at work in the biochemistry labs, Centre for Health Science, Inverness.
Tom Carew at work in the biochemistry labs, Centre for Health Science, Inverness.

STUDENT Tom Carew’s cutting-edge invention has seen him win through to the second stage of a contest which could net him a £10,000 cash prize.

Mr Carew (25), a University of the Highlands and Islands (UHI) PhD student based at the Centre for Health Science in Inverness, has developed a lab-tech, mechanical scalpel device.

This can be used to prepare in-gel protein, DNA and RNA samples into evenly sized gel pieces. This will resolve a number of existing sample preparation issues and significantly lower the risk of contamination and sample loss.

It joins 32 innovations which have won through to the semi-finals of the Converge KickStart Challenge, an early-stage entrepreneurial development programme for university staff, students and recent graduates across Scotland.

Other contenders include a biodegradable coffee cup made from coffee waste, a sensor that checks if airport runway conditions are safe, and a solution for the diagnosis and therapy of “lazy eye”.

KickStart helps academic entrepreneurs from all sectors test and validate their business ideas with the aim of establishing whether they are commercially viable.

Semi-finalists will be invited to take part in two days of intensive business training designed specifically for academic entrepreneurs.

They will then be asked to submit a business case with the best of those asked to pitch at an awards final in February.

One winner will take home a £10,000 cash prize. A runner-up will also receive £5000 in cash.

Mr Carew said: “To say I’m excited would not do my current feeling justice.

“I’m really looking forward to the training workshop!”

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