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Agrecalc’s scientist, Kaia Waxenberg, has been shortlisted in Converge, Scotland’s largest company creation and enterprise programme for the university sector, for her work on the farm carbon calculator in the Net Zero challenge.

More than 200 applications have been whittled down to 101 shortlisted projects across four ‘challenge’ categories – Converge, Create Change, Net Zero and KickStart, with all 18 Scottish universities represented in the final cut.

Kaia, whose blog on reducing emissions from slurry has generated considerable interest, said: “It’s a privilege and an honour to be shortlisted among such fierce and diverse competition. There are some really astonishing innovations and projects, so many ingenious and original ideas. I hope I’ll be able to sustain the momentum of my work and deliver on the product, together with our entire team. I also owe thanks to my colleague, Pierce Blackmore, whose help with the commercial side of the application has been immeasurable.”

Sustainability, AI, and engineering are key themes that shine through from this year’s shortlist. For example, SolSafe from Robert Gordon University, has developed a smart thermal battery, a green gamechanger for the energy industry as it can replace both fossil-fuel boilers and supplement heat-pump systems.

The 2022 cohort is the most diverse in Converge’s 11-year history, with 24% of projects from the BAME community.  In addition, 10% of participants identify as disabled, as well as 42% non-British participants.

Claudia Cavalluzzo, executive director at Converge, said: “I am continually amazed by the high quality of innovation emerging from Scottish universities, and this year is no different. I believe that this will be one of the most competitive years to date. The diversity and inclusivity of this year’s shortlist is particularly encouraging, with more participants from the BAME community and those with disabilities making it into the cohort. While parity across all areas remains some way off from being achieved, our efforts to extend the appeal of Converge to a broader and more diverse audience is working.

“I am also particularly inspired to see more of the current university population coming forward with interesting and new concepts and projects to make a difference in the world that we live in. Collaboration and ideation within higher education have been undeniably challenged over recent years, however, as we welcome a high proportion of submissions from students this year, this trend has been bucked and is stronger than ever.”

Converge has also announced a new partnership with the Industrial Biotechnology Innovation Centre (IBioIC), one of Scotland’s seven innovation centres, which will award a package of support to one successful Biotech project. This includes a free membership to IBioIC, a dedicated IBioIC account manager and £20,000 in project funding for the university where the project originated.

Semi-finalists will now move on to attend in-depth training sessions over the coming months, culminating in an award ceremony on 3 November 2022, where the cream of this year’s projects vie for a slice of the £300,000+ prize pot to advance their businesses.

For a full list of finalists, please follow this link:

Academic innovation shines through in Converge 2022 shortlist – Converge Challenge

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