Team of University of Leicester researchers win prestigious national award

On Tuesday 11 December, five researchers won the UK final of Biotechnology YES  (Young Entrepreneurs Scheme). 

A team of researchers from the University of Leicester has won the UK final of Biotechnology YES (Young Entrepreneurs Scheme). This is an innovative competition designed to encourage an entrepreneurial culture in the UK bioscience postgraduate and postdoctoral base for the benefit of the UK economy.  

It requires participating teams of researchers to develop a business idea from inception through all the stages of business development, to the point where the team are making a pitch for funding.

The team, all from the Department of Genetics and Genome Biology, consisted of Dr Megan De Ste Croix and Dr Laura Delfino, both post-doctoral researchers alongside PhD researchers Kalina Boytcheva, Joe Watkins and Charlotte Davison. 

Their pitching of their company, Phytocolours, won over the judges as they painted a commanding picture of how they planned to succeed in revolutionising the world of dyeing material. The team get £2,500 in prize money and an invitation to attend the BIA Gala Dinner.

In addition to the team winning the overall prize, Dr Laura Delfino won the prize for Best Presenter for her energetic and engaging situating of the opportunity the team set out to address.

The final was hosted by the Royal Society in London. 

The competition was of the highest standard against teams from Queen Mary University of London, who had two finalists, Loughborough University, University of Nottingham, Newcastle University, University of Sheffield, University of Reading and a team combining researchers from the Universities of Durham and Liverpool.

The team was mentored by Martin Coffey from the Doctoral College, with entrepreneurial coaching from Dr Chris Finnis, Honorary Visiting Fellow at the University of Leicester, and Dr Alex Goddard from the Doctoral College.

The delighted team members said: "We are thrilled by the whole experience, and the support provided throughout the entire process has been incredible.

“Aside from winning the competition, YES has been extremely rewarding in a multitude of different ways. This experience has certainly enriched our set of skills and we are sure it will help us in our future career paths."

More information can be found on the YES Competitions website

If you are a postgraduate researcher, or research staff member, and would like to take advantage of this opportunity which runs annually, get in contact with Martin Coffey on