The Oxford Trust has announced the winners of its 2019 Enterprise Awards, which recognise and celebrate the innovative companies and individuals working in the science and technology industry in the Oxford region today.
This year’s winners include a business that is enabling the next generation of satellite services, a pioneer of insect pest control through genetical engineering, a company that’s developed a fully industrialised diamond marking system and two entrepreneurs who have developed a software platform that will speed up cancer diagnosis.
The awards, which are run in partnership with Venturefest Oxford and sponsored by big names such as Barclays, Marks & Clerk, Advanced Oxford, Oxford Innovation and product design company Triteq, took place at Oxford Brookes Headington Campus.
The awards are a showcase for Oxfordshire’s high-tech industry and celebrate entrepreneurs and start-ups who are just setting out on their journey to success as well as established tech businesses and individuals who have made an impact on the economy through innovation. The awards have been running since 2005 and have previously highlighted future high-growth companies such as Oxbotica, Immunocore, Adaptix and Oxford Nanopore.
The award categories and winners are:
Young Entrepreneur Award – .
Liberty Foreman and Katherine Willetts
Dr Liberty Foreman and Dr Katherine Willetts founded DynamX Medical in 2015 to commercialise research carried out during their PhDs into the clinical applications of infrared spectroscopy. They have developed a software platform for developing multi-screening solutions, combining AI and infrared spectroscopy to improve cancer diagnosis that will bring benefits to patients across the globe.
Runner up: Alexander Finlayson, Nye Health
A spin-out from the University of Oxford, Opsydia creates practically invisible structures inside transparent materials by using ultra-fast laser technology. Its current application is to include security markings inside diamond gemstones, providing an identity trace and the ability to link to the gemstone’s quality and heritage. The technology has been adopted by Debeers and the company has developed a fully industrialised diamond marking system. Not only that, their laser process allows electrical circuits and features to be written inside a synthetic diamond wafer, paving the way for future application from electro-chemical and radiation sensing to quantum computing.
Breakthrough Technology Award
Oxitec is a UK-based biotechnology company pioneering the use of genetic engineering to control insect pests that spread disease and damage crops. The company is developing safe targeted, self-limiting technology capable of significantly suppressing populations of mosquito species that transmit dengue, Zika, yellow fever and malaria, while potentially reversing insecticide resistance for remaining test pest populations. Oxitec’s agriculture-focused insect technologies are being developed to suppress specific pests that destroy food crops.
Runners up: Electrospinning Company, Oxford Photovoltaics, Oxsight
Award for Innovation
Oxford Space Systems.
OSS is pioneering the development of a new generation of deployable antennas and structures that are lighter, less complex and lower cost than those in current demand. The company is currently transitioning from R&D to commercial exploitation. OSS technology is viewed as a key enabler for the next generation of satellite services such as the internet of things, earth observation and communication. The company’s emerging portfolio of technologies offer advantages such as cost, higher performance and reduction in lead time over existing structures.
Runners up: Learning with Experts, Open Cosmos, Oxford nanoSystems
Barclays also gave a special recognition award to leading gene and cell therapy group Oxford Biomedica for their life-changing treatments for serious diseases and their contribution to Oxfordshire.
Outstanding Achievement Award – this prestigious award recognises an individual who has made an outstanding contribution to society and has had a major impact on our enterprise and economy.
Professor Lionel Tarassenko.
Lionel Tarassenko, CBE, FREng, FMedSci is an engineer and academic and the Head of Department of Engineering Science at the University of Oxford. He was chosen for his contribution to biomedical engineering and translational innovation in healthcare technology systems. His pioneering work in the clinical use of machine learning has had a huge influence not just on the development of e-Health in Oxford, but around the world. Lionel’s innovations have had a major impact on the identification of deterioration in acute care and on the self-management of long-term conditions using mobile communications. He has also been an innovator in developing early warning systems for acutely-ill patients.
Lionel has been Professor of Electrical Engineering at Oxford since 1997 and is a Professorial Fellow of St John’s College, Oxford. He is the author of over 200 journal papers, nearly 200 conference papers, three books and over 30 granted patents. In addition, he is the founder-director of four University spin-out companies, the director of Oxford University Innovation and the and driving force behind the creation of the Institute of Biomedical Engineering (IBME). He was director of the Institute from 2008–12 and it was awarded the Queen’s Anniversary Prize for Higher Education in 2015. Most recently, he has been invited by the Vice-Chancellor to oversee the development of Parks College, a new graduate society at the University, as founding president.
“Now in their 15th year, The Oxford Trust Enterprise Awards are an annual highlight and a real showcase for Oxfordshire’s entrepreneurs and high-tech industry. This year was no exception with a strong list of contenders and some outstanding winners. As with previous winners like Oxbotica, Adaptix and Oxford Nanopore, we look forward to seeing these companies develop and grow.”
John Boyle, Chair, The Oxford Trust.
The Oxford Trust, established by Oxford’s first true entrepreneurs Sir Martin and Lady Audrey Wood in 1985, has been a part of the local innovation ecosystem for the past thirty years and helped establish Venturefest Oxford 18 years ago.