Students, staff, and graduates at Scotland's universities are harnessing artificial intelligence (AI) as a force for good for both people and the planet, the national springboard for university innovators, Converge, has revealed.
Converge has today unveiled the 100 start-ups and spinouts that will receive support to turn their ideas for products and services into reality as part of its 2023 programme. This includes people from all 19 Scottish higher education institutions, with a growing number of companies using AI to help tackle challenges including the climate emergency, health conditions, and childhood literacy.
As conversations gather pace around how AI should be regulated and applied in various industries and sectors, this year’s cohort demonstrates the power and potential of AI for good. Examples include Books2Life, created by Aisha Kasim from Robert Gordon University in Aberdeen, which uses AI to create illustrations based on the
text of any book, bringing stories to life for children with dyslexia.
Scott Black, from Claymore Surgical at the University of Strathclyde in Glasgow, is using AI to speed up the diagnosis of paediatric obstructive sleep apnoea, one of the most common respiratory disorders in children.
Darius Roman’s yaiLab at Heriot-Watt University in Edinburgh helps companies to optimise their use of large batteries connected to the electricity grid through the use of AI.
Dr Claudia Cavalluzzo, Executive Director at Converge, said:
“This year’s cohort proves that ideas and innovations are thriving in Scotland’s universities, with AI at the heart of many of these new companies.
“Turning ideas into impact is at thecore of Converge’s mission to unlock the potential of innovators, creatives, and aspiring business founders across Scotland’s universities.”
Data released last week [4 May] by Beauhurst showed that Edinburgh is the top start-up hub outside London, with 12.3% of companies working in AI, digital security, and financial technology.
Dr Cavalluzzo added:
“We are proud to be supporting ambitious people from right across Scotland who demonstrate that university students, staff, and graduates are rising to the challenge of delivering sustainable and inclusive economic growth in every region.
“At Converge, we continue to become more diverse and inclusive, with a 28% increase in applicants from ethnically diverse backgrounds, and an 8% rise in
applications from women. Broadening diversity and inclusion is part of our aim to change the narrative around the word ‘entrepreneur’, which has negative connotations for lots of people,
particularly women and impact-driven individuals.
“Call them creatives, call them innovators, call them founders – these are the people who have the potential to change the world for the better.”
Among the talented innovators, we are thrilled to congratulate the three semi-finalists from Edinburgh Napier University who have made it to this prestigious program:
🚀 Pavlos Papadopoulos of TrueDeploy in the Converge Challenge category.
The way in which we develop, supply, and secure software is often weak and lacks digital trust. The dominance of open-source software and the interconnectedness of software between organisations has raised cybersecurity risks in the software supply chain. Recent cyber-attacks (SolarWinds, Kaseya) and vulnerabilities in open-source code (Log4j, Spring4Shell) have created a sense of panic about security across the software supply chain.
TrueDeploy brings trust and transparency to the software supply chain. We will do this by bringing together a novel combination of blockchain, credential management, and access control technologies.
🚀 Wendy Wu of Impact Investment Academy in the Create Change category.
Impact Investment Academy addresses the challenges faced by 5.9 million small-medium-sized businesses (SMEs) in the UK, who struggle to access finance and adaptive capacities transitioning to Net Zero and develop sustainable supply chains. With the UK government investing between £33-£49 billion in delivering SDGs and SMEs making up 99% of UK businesses, our estimated value of £32.67-£48.51 billion is significant.
Our world-leading platform empowers investors and businesses to map their unique change journey through a bespoke learning package that includes analytical AI-aided software measuring ROI and an automated impact report. We strive for a better future through informed and impactful decisions.
🚀 Nanik Ramchandani of LastingAsset in the KickStart Challenge category.
LastingAsset's solution aims to tackle the issue of online scamming, which accounts for 50% of all financial cybercrime with victims losing approximately $47 billionannually. Scammers often impersonate representatives of banks, tech support, MSPs, and businesses to defraud unsuspecting victims. LastingAsset's innovative solution verifies the identity of individuals to ensure that only legitimate
representatives can communicate with customers.
By using a combination of blockchain technology and digital identities, LastingAssetenables secure communication that is resistant to impersonation scams. This solution has the potential to significantly reduce the financial losses caused by online scamming and increase trust in online transactions.
Kudos to all the participants, and best wishes to the Edinburgh Napier semi-finalists as they continue their journey towards turning their ideas into real-world solutions! 💪✨