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Innovate UK

Introducing 'infocus' more women in innovation applicants

Posted by: , Posted on: - Categories: Funding, Support

1. Future Science

Who are you?

Dr Deepika Kassen, Director and Co-founder at FutSci

I am Deepika Kassen. I am a molecular biologist by training and I have spent most of my career doing lab-based research.

My research focused on stem cells and most recently on Multiple Myeloma, a very aggressive form of bone cancer.

In 2013 I took a career break to have my daughter. It was during this time, I came up with the concept of FutSci or Future Science (@FutSciNow).

It started out as the simple idea “why can’t I ask everyone to donate a little bit of money to my research as I know it’s worthwhile and needs to be done” and evolved into what it is today, FutSci: Crowdfunding for Research, Innovation and Technology in Life Science.

What is your business?

Crowdfunding at FutSci allows everyone to make a contribution (small or big!) and support Life Science research, innovation or technology projects.

We support all projects in Life Sciences at any stage from blue sky research, clinical studies, applied and translation science to small Startups looking for funding.

As soon as an application is made, we help to prepare and promote fundraising for the project.

Quality assurance is an important part of FutSci and the robustness of projects is ensured through multiple vetting steps before the campaign goes live on the platform.

Once campaigns are ready, donors worldwide can select the individual projects they wish to support, with donations in multiple currencies starting as low as £1.

Beyond the financial gain offered by crowdfunding for science, FutSci provides a platform for members of the public to engage with researchers and contribute to a personal cause.

For scientists, it allows them to showcase their research and raise money to drive their projects and careers.

What are your dreams for your business?

I would like to see FutSci being used as a complement to the traditional science funding pathways. It can be used as a small fund for pilot studies, as bridge funding between grants, as a top-up fund or even as THE fund.

I envision working together with institutions, charities and funding bodies to drive research, innovation and technology in the Life Sciences.

In the future we’d like to reach a point where the public can come to FutSci to find research of interest and researchers from across the world can use the same mechanism to collaborate and advance their work.

Science crowdfunding also presents very visible science role models an aspect that we would like to use to nurture the next generation of scientists.

2. Lucidity 

Who are you?

Lucy Gower, Director at Lucidity

I’m Lucy Gower (@lucyinnovation) and I am the founder of Lucidity (@Luciditysays on Twitter).

Several years ago I was an innovation manager for a large UK charity and that’s where I discovered that you can have the best ideas, technology and processes but without passionate people lined up behind why their work is important and clear about how their ideas make a difference - you may as well not bother.

That’s why Lucidity specialises in the people part of innovation. We expose it as the mystical buzzword reserved for ‘creative types’ and we make it just part of ‘how we do things here’.

What is your business?

Lucidity provides training for teams, departments and whole organisations in:

  • innovation and creativity,
  • storytelling (that’s how you get other people inspired by your ideas)
  • presentation skills
  • networking skills

We even help you to love networking because ideas grow when people talk.

We facilitate ideas workshops and coach individuals and teams to ensure that ideas happen. We even do improvisation to help you ‘yes and’ ideas and make them better. People think they hate role play.  But when we get started it’s usually a lot of fun. And it works.

What are your dreams for your business?

Our dream is to equip everyone with the skills and confidence to innovate; making innovation something for everyone not just ‘creative types’.

We want to help people think differently, solve problems, involve end users from the start and learn and adapt to reduce the risk of failure.

We want, in every organisation in every industry to position innovation as a strategic business driver over a ‘nice to have when we are ready’.

We’ve developed the Lucidity Programme to get organisations together to solve big social problems. The programme starts with a two-day hack to answer a specific question.

We invite:

  • universities
  • schools
  • research agencies
  • big data specialists and practitioners
  • not for profits
  • social entrepreneurs
  • technology specialists
  • local people
  • customers
  • service users
  • SMEs
  • large companies
  • investors
  • maverick thinkers

Then the programme will provide support to secure enough funding to quickly develop and test the strongest ideas from the hack and take the best ones to market.

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