Researchers Dr Sophie Cox and PhD student Thomas Hall from the School of Chemical Engineering have won a prestigious award for the most innovative collaboration with an industry partner.

The scientists are working with British biotech business Matoke Holdings Ltd to develop its proprietary Reactive Oxygen® technology platform to combat antibiotic resistance, one of the biggest challenges facing mankind.

Dr Sophie Cox and PhD student Thomas Hall

They beat stiff competition from dozens of other researchers to scoop the £5,000 prize in the Enterprising Birmingham Innovation Competition 2017.

The healthcare technologies team from the School of Chemical Engineering, led by Dr Sophie Cox and Professor Liam Grover, is developing novel antimicrobial products based on Matoke’s SurgihoneyRO™ and an alternative composition. The aim is to improve ease of use and help expand the clinical applications.

Dr Jamie Wilkie, Director of Enterprise & Innovation at the University of Birmingham, said: ‘This is a competition that is run every two years and when you consider there are over 3,000 academics at the University, to have your research innovation selected for the finals - to get down to the last three - and finally, to win is very prestigious.’

Dr Cox said: ‘We will be using the award money to accelerate the impact of this exciting research. This award is recognition of all the hard work Tom has put into his PhD so far and an acknowledgement of the high quality of his research.’

Mr Hall added: ‘I think the judges really understood what we are working to achieve and how important it is. The close relationship between ourselves and Matoke made all the difference.’

The showcase event, when finalists presented their innovative ideas and collaborations, was held at the Elgar Concert Hall, Bramall Building, on Wednesday March 29. The “dragons” on the judging panel included Richard Bishop, Investor in Growth Businesses; Chris Granger, Director of Finance, University of Birmingham; Dr Chris Moore, Partner HGF Intellectual Property Specialists; and Dr Brijesh Roy, Investment Manager, Mercia Technologies PLC.