Heriot-Watt hosts final of Converge Challenge 2013

L-R: Professor Steve Chapman, Principal; Madhu Nair, Converge Challenge 2013 winner; John Swinney, Finance Secretary; Mervyn Jones, Chair of judging panel.

SACCADE Diagnostics, a spin-out from Aberdeen University, has been named as the 2013 winner of Heriot-Watt's Converge Challenge.

Eye test for disorders wins 2013 award

Madhu Nair, CEO and co-founder of SACCADE Diagnostics, was announced as the 2013 winner of the annual Converge Challenge at an Awards Dinner in front of 200 guests addressed by John Swinney MSP, Cabinet Secretary for Finance, Employment and Sustainable Growth

Madhu beat off tough competition to secure the top prize of £60,000 in cash and business support to help develop a novel eye-movement test to help in the diagnosis of psychiatric disorders.

Second prize was awarded to Kanika Bansal, MediCen Devise, University of Edinburgh, who developed an IV device that reduces the risk of infection. Helen Fisher and Liita Naukushu from Beckdales Ltd, University of Edinburgh, scooped third prize for their range of home and industrial cleaning products aimed to dramatically reduce the spread of infections.

I'm particularly thrilled that I have managed to have been trained and mentored in so many aspects of business management - an invaluable experience that helps me bridge the academic and commercial worlds
Madhu Nair, winner of Converge Challenge 2013

John Swinney, Finance Secretary, said: "The Converge Challenge programme represents an opportunity for Scotland's students and researchers to develop their knowledge and commercial skills, while providing them with the validation and confidence they require to encourage their entrepreneurial spirit.

"The growth that Converge Challenge has enjoyed over the past four years is testament to how important competitions like this have become in university circles. I would like to congratulate Madhu for creating a genuinely innovative product and I wish all those who took part in the Converge Challenge final, the very best of success in the years ahead."

The 2013 Converge Challenge winner Madhu Nair said: "The ultimate goal is to set up my own business and I'm particularly thrilled that I have managed to have been trained and mentored in so many aspects of business management - an invaluable experience that helps me bridge the academic and commercial worlds. This has been and incredible experience for both myself and the other finalists."

About Converge Challenge

Converge Challenge is in its fourth year and is attracting a growing number of applicants year-on-year. As well as the largest cash prize of its type available, it gives students and members of staff of any Scottish university and research institute access to training and support to develop their entrepreneurial skills and explore commercial potential of their inventions.

This year's entries covered a wide range of innovative businesses, from consumer products and novel drugs, to renewable energy devices, web applications and service based businesses.

The Scottish Funding Council has pledged £525,000 of funding over the next three years, in addition to Scotland's eight research universities pledging financial support to the tune of £360,000 over the same period, as Scotland's flagship entrepreneurial business competition continues to flourish.

Aberdeen, Dundee, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Heriot-Watt, St Andrews, Stirling and Strathclyde universities all jointly funded the training and prizes for Converge Challenge which is open to all Scottish Universities and Research Institutes.