Innovate UK recently announced the winners of their inaugural round of infocus awards, an initiative seeking to support inspiring female entrepreneurs. The awards covered 12 different sectors, from digital health to drone systems, and each of the 15 winners will receive £50,000 and a tailored business support package.
The winner of the category for Enabling and Emerging Technologies, working within the ed tech sector, was Bristol’s own Dr Becky Sage, CEO of Interactive Scientific (iSci). She scooped the award for her company’s latest product, Nano Simbox.
The company: Interactive Scientific
iSci was established in 2013 and now employs 10 people. Its aim is to develop digital experiences that use artistic visualisations to connect humans to the invisible scientific world that exists all around us. Previous work includes the development of danceroom Spectroscopy, a digital experience combining the seemingly unrelated worlds of dance and physics, which has been used by over 100,000 people around the world.
The winner: Dr Becky Sage
Dr Sage trained as a scientist (she has a first class honours Chemical Physics MSci and a PhD in Chemistry), but quickly became disillusioned by the lack of diversity and good working practice in scientific research environments. One of the driving factors of her work is her belief that the barriers between science research and the majority of people are too high, and that science needs to be democratised for the benefit of our future society.
The product: Nano Simbox
Nano Simbox is an interactive tool that puts the dynamic world of wiggling and jiggling atoms and molecules into the hands of students. It is a manifestation of its creators’ vision for the classroom and research lab of the future, helping to explore big scientific concepts such as climate change, antimicrobial resistance, photosynthesis, biological molecules and fundamental chemistry and physics.
Through allowing students to play with particles and observe their behaviour under different conditions and in different simulated contexts, students’ science learning is enhanced and their scientific curiosity and creativity is developed in an exciting and inclusive way. The tool is currently under development and a teaser app will be released at BETT in January 2017, with the full platform then launching for a limited number of schools in autumn. Some school workshops are currently being planned, and the details will be available on Nano Simbox’s website soon.