Allery Treatment News

Converting research into commercial reality

June 05, 2017

UK - Winners announced by Lord Sainsbury

The winner of the Research Councils' Business Plan Competition has been announced. The judging took place at the Royal Society in London with a top prize of 25,000 awarded by Science and Innovation Minister Lord Sainsbury.

UK research in science, technology and the arts ranks among the highest in the world. The aim of this competition is to help commercialise some of the best projects so that the whole of UK society can benefit.

The winning team are ThruVision Ltd from the Rutherford Appleton Laboratory in Oxfordshire led by Dr Jonathan James. ThruVision is developing an innovative terahertz imaging technology initially for security screening products.

A working prototype has successfully imaged; guns and explosives hidden under clothing, concealed body armour and various other concealed metallic and non- metallic objects. This is the first time that all seven of the UK's Research Councils and the Arts and Humanities Research Board have joined together to run the competition under the banner of Research Councils UK (RCUK).

Lord Sainsbury said: 'This competition highlights how world class UK science is being put to use for the benefit of us all. I congratulate all of the excellent applicants and particularly the winners. They all deserve to be highly successful in the future.' The four runners up are teams from

EigenFIT, Dr Christopher Solomon, University of Kent at Canterbury

The Holographic Image Studio Ltd, Dr Martin Richardson, De Montfort University, Leicester.

'Monika' - a Foetal Health Monitoring company, Dr Barrie Hayes-Gill, University of Nottingham. (winners of the Bioscience award at the competition)

VEMDisTM - Virtually Enhanced Museum Display, Dr Angie Geary, Camberwell College of Arts (More details on each of the projects are below).

The UK Research Councils invest more than 2 billion in research and training to support the development of new knowledge for the benefit of the UK economy and society. The Research Councils' Business Plan Competition provides support, mentoring and training to develop high quality business plans to commercialise research carried out in UK universities and research institutions. Participants in the competition submitted business propositions from across the arts, biosciences, the environment, science and technology.

Notes for Editors:

Details of the five teams that took part in the final and their project leaders:

EigenFIT, Dr Christopher Solomon, University of Kent at Canterbury

EigenFIT is a new facial composite system which has been developed by EigenFIT Ltd, a spin-out from the University of Kent Forensic Imaging Group. It has major speed and accuracy advantages over existing commercial products and can be used at the scene of the crime for rapid searches against police databases. The short-term marketing objective is for the product to become the primary facial synthesis policing tool in the UK and to rapidly extend to the international market. Within the framework of a recently formed U.S. joint venture company (FacePrints Inc.), in which EigenFIT has majority shareholding, the company will also develop new markets for this technology in beauty, cosmetic surgery and advertising.

ThruVision Ltd, Dr Jonathan James, Rutherford Appleton Laboratory (CCLRC)

Compact terahertz imaging systems for concealed object detection: A new spinout from CCLRC, Rutherford Appleton Laboratory (RAL), ThruVision Ltd is developing an innovative terahertz (THz) imaging technology initially for security screening products. Conventional airport and secure installation personnel screening methods only detect metal objects. In the past 12 months the ThruVision team (as RAL employees) have built and demonstrated the world's first compact THz camera for security screening applications. A working prototype has successfully imaged; guns and explosives concealed under clothing, concealed body armour and various other concealed metallic and non-metallic objects. Product prototypes of the equipment are now under development. Future potential applications of this technology could also include life science tissue imaging and production materials inspection and remote imaging applications.

The Holographic Image Studio Ltd (T.H.I.S Ltd), Dr Martin Richardson, De Montfort University, Leicester

The Holographic Image Studio Ltd is addressing some of the largest markets in the world stricken by the piracy plague. T.H.I.S. will bring to the market cutting-edge, patented holographic techniques. The major benefits of this revolutionary digital disc protection process are essentially three-fold: illegal copies of CDs and DVDs can be spotted at a glance (literally); the holographic-switch technology deployed in new players will prevent the disc from being copied or can serve to limit the numbers of copies made from each original; the process is extremely cost-efficient as no additional manipulation to existing mass-stamping processes is required once the master disc has been created. T.H.I.S. has worked with some of the most prominent British scientists in the field of holography to develop and establish a holographic-based encryption standard for CDs, DVDs and other electronic publishing devices which are currently the target of large scale organised piracy.

'Monika' - a Foetal Health Monitoring company, Dr Barrie Hayes-Gill, University of Nottingham

This team is proposing the formation of a spin out company to commercially exploit patented technology to help in the safe delivery of unborn babies. The technology underpinning the proposed company, 'Monika' - developed jointly by the Schools of Electrical and Electronic Engineering and Human Development, has the potential to revolutionise the way in which high-risk pregnancies are managed. Research into the technology has been ongoing at the University for over 15 years and is based around the diagnostic capabilities of the abdominal foetal Electrocardiogram - the tiny electrical signal generated by the foetal heartbeat that can be picked up on the mother's abdomen. Ultimately, the technique could enable GPs and midwives to accurately assess the need for clinical intervention in the 65,000 high-risk births that take place in the UK - and many more across the developed and developing worlds - each year. The 'Monika' project won the Bioscience prize at the competition. An award of 10,000 donated by the bio-industry.

VEMDisTM - Virtually Enhanced Museum Display, Dr Angie Geary, Camberwell College of Arts

VEMDisTM Ltd. will specialise in providing a new display technology and associated services to museums and galleries. Its founders include researchers in the fields of computer visualisation, augmented reality, museology and industrial design. Using the VEMDisTM device the gallery visitor will be able to view real museum exhibits in conjunction with virtual images, in full-colour 3D. For example, an ancient sculpture with a missing arm can be viewed with a reconstructed virtual limb in place. Surface change, such as paint loss on a fresco, can also be 'virtually restored' and viewed in situ without any physical intervention with the artifact. The viewer will have the option to view the object in its current condition, or as it may have been hundreds of years ago when it was first made.

Contact details:
Dr Christopher Solomon
School of Physical Sciences
University of Kent
Tel: 44-122-782-3270

Dr Jonathan H. James
ThruVision Ltd
Rutherford Appleton Laboratory
Didcot, Oxfordshire
OX11 0QX
Tel: 44-123-544-5693

Dr Martin Richardson
De Montfort University
Tel: 44-116-257-7671
E-mail: easyhologrameasynet

Dr Carl Barratt / Dr Barrie Hayes-Gill
School of Electrical & Electronic Engineering
University of Nottingham
University Park
Tel: 0115-951-5616 / 0115-951-5547
E-mail: or

Dr Angela Geary
Camberwell College of Arts
The London Institute
Tel: 207-514-6428
E-mail: 1) Further details of the competition can be found at The Competition Manager is Jane Nicholson 179-344-4408 or contact Sarah Cooper 44-179-344-4422, e-mail: Contact Jane Reck at the EPSRC press office with media enquiries relating to the Competition on 179-344-4312 or

2) Research Councils UK (RCUK) is the strategic partnership established in May 2002 to champion research. Supported by the seven UK Research Councils and the Arts and Humanities Research Board, through RCUK the Councils are working together to create a common framework for research, training and knowledge transfer.

3) The seven UK Research Councils are:

Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC)

Council for the Central Laboratory of the Research Councils (CCLRC)

Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC)

Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC)

Medical Research Council (MRC)

Natural Environment Research Council (NERC)

Particle Physics and Astronomy Research Council (PPARC)

The Arts and Humanities Research Board is expected to become a Research Council in 2005.

4) The contact details for Research Council press officers are:

BBSRC - Andrew McLaughlin, 179-341-3301 or

CCLRC - Jacky Hutchinson, 123-544-6482 or

EPSRC - Jane Reck, 179-344-4312 or

ESRC - Iain Stewart, 179-341-3032 or

MRC - Carolan Davidge, 207-637-6011 or

NERC - Catharine Stott, 179-341-1727 or

PPARC - Julia Maddock, 179-344-2094 or

AHRB - Kathryn Willey, 117-987-6773 or

The Research Councils UK Secretariat can be contacted on 179-344-4420 or Further information can be found at

The Gatsby Charitable Foundation has supported the high quality training and mentoring component of the competition (www.gatsby)

The Department of Trade and Industry is also supporting the competition (www.dti/)

Contact: Jane Reck
Engineering and Physical Science Research Council