Greenwich grads take top prize at Lord Sainsbury awards

The Greenwich University grads behind a new medical device have won the grand prize at Lord Sainsbury’s Engineers in Business Competition.

The ceremony at the Royal Academy of Engineering saw Rapid Bio-Labs team, led by engineering PhD Amira Eltokhy, awarded £5,000 for the development of an AI-driven digital cell-counting service. The technology has the potential to dramatically reduce the amount of time researchers spend counting cells, freeing them up for other endeavours in the lab.

“We’re so excited about this award,” said Amira. “It is very prestigious and validation for our idea which is needed. We’ve had a dream to create this service for one and a half years. We didn’t imagine that we’d get this far in the competition, but we believed in ourselves and we’ve done it!”

Currently, manual cell counting can take up to 6 hours per day for a medical researcher. With Rapid Bio-Labs’ AI solution, researchers simply upload a photo of their microscope plate to the company’s website and receive the cell count back in a few minutes.

“I am delighted to see that the Engineers in Business Competition has produced so many excellent entries, many of which, in my judgement, have real commercial potential,” said Lord Sainsbury.

“I am awarding the Enterprise Award to the University of Greenwich’s Rapid Bio-Labs team, because they are the competitor that I judge to have the best commercial potential, in order to encourage them to proceed with the commercialisation of their product.”

The Gold Award of £3,000 went to Ben Lindsay, a Product Design Engineering student and Emma McQuiggan, a Mechanical Engineering student at Queen’s University Belfast.  Their device BOLD is a smart safety alert system that looks like a piece of jewellery. If the wearer feels at risk, they press a button that sends location information and a text to pre-selected contacts without using a mobile phone. BOLD uses a new low power mobile standard called NB-IoT which allows the product to be much smaller and more discrete than any other previous technology.