Leaders in Innovation Fellowships programme celebrates five years supporting world-changing innovations from emerging economies

October 19, 2019by
  • More than $80 million in business funding has been raised by the 1000 strong community of entrepreneurs supported by the Royal Academy of Engineering’s Leaders in Innovation Fellowships programme
  • The Asia Innovates summit on 15-17 October in Kuala Lumpur celebrates the five-year anniversary, showcasing innovations from entrepreneurs across Asia who are supported by the programme
  • An online community has been launched to provide at-a-glance information on the innovations created, route to market and investment sought by the entrepreneurs, as well as collaboration opportunities

16 October 2019 – Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia – The Leaders in Innovation Fellowships (LIF) programme, which is run by the Royal Academy of Engineering and supported by the UK’s Newton Fund, is celebrating five years of providing unique support for entrepreneurs around the world. The Academy is marking the milestone by holding the Asia Innovates summit, in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, bringing together the most promising engineering entrepreneurs from seven of the participating countries – China, India, Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Thailand and Vietnam – alongside notable business leaders and investors from the region and the UK. An online community showcasing the inspiring innovators supported by the LIF programme has also been launched to mark the anniversary. It provides investors and funders with an at-a-glance summary of the innovation created, route to market, and support sought from each entrepreneur. The community also provides a platform for the LIF engineers, researchers and innovators from around the world to collaborate and learn from each other to speed the commercialisation of products that will change the world for good.

Entrepreneurial training for research-driven innovators can be a powerful tool for expanding their businesses. Since 2014, the LIF programme has fostered innovation leadership by supporting 1000 of the world’s brightest engineering entrepreneurs from emerging economies. Between them they have secured over $80 million in business funding. The programme empowers its alumni to commercialise innovations that will contribute to economic and social development in their countries and beyond. Ranging from low-cost water purification and eco-friendly biofuels, to cataract treatment and assistive technology for disabled people, innovations developed by the LIF community are changing almost every industry, in all corners of the world.

The Asia Innovates summit demonstrates the role of the LIF programme in nurturing positive social change through entrepreneurship, and deepening partnerships between Asia, the UK and Europe. The 150 alumni in attendance will receive critical business training and support, from securing funding to developing a marketing strategy. As well as an inspiring opportunity for participants to network, exchange ideas and build lasting relationships through the rich programme, the summit features thought-provoking discussions, mentoring, intense workshops, a pitching competition and a showcase that aims to further develop and promote LIF alumni along their path to commercialisation.

· An online college and career readiness platform to help Indonesia’s 138m young people connect with educational programmes, vocational courses and jobs – developed by Rizky Muhammed, Youthmanual, Indonesia

· A DNA-based purity test that is up to 100 times faster than traditional methods, promising to revolutionise the seed industry by Wirulda Pootakham, HybridSure, Thailand

· IOT-ready units that filter out airborne pollutants, keeping the air inside buildings clean by Amol Chaphekar, StrataEnviro, India

Dr Mike Short CBE FREng, Chief Scientific Advisor at the UK’s Department for International Trade and keynote speaker at the summit, said “The LIF programme has made a huge impact in facilitating innovation since its inception five years ago. Almost 1000 promising inventors have benefited from the programme and being part of this global community, and the Asia Innovates summit provides a perfect place to celebrate some of the most exciting projects from across Asia that we are proud to support.”

The event is hosted in Kuala Lumpur by the Malaysian Industry-Government Group for High Technology (MIGHT), and produced in collaboration with British Foreign and Commonwealth Office representatives in the seven participating countries. The summit presents the unique characteristics that make these seven Asian markets globally competitive, and showcases sectors where Asia pioneer’s world-leading innovations. It is delivered by the Academy as part of the UK’s Government’s Newton Fund which, through a variety of science and innovation programmes, supports the economic development and social welfare of emerging economies.

Datuk Dr. Mohd Yusoff Sulaiman, President & Chief Executive Officer, MIGHT said “Asia Innovates 2019 serves as a platform that brings together the “best of the best” innovation in the region and channels the latest and potential technologies to meet the demand of industry. It is high time we bring our innovators to the centre stage and show our capabilities to the world.”

HE Charles Hay MVO, British High Commissioner to Malaysia said “Strategic science and innovation partnership is increasingly important in shaping the modern-day relationship between the UK and Malaysia. The UK Government has committed to investing up to £35 million in Malaysia under the Newton-Ungku Omar Fund and this is matched by the Malaysian Government. The Fund supports 38 sustainability related

programmes in Malaysia and The Leaders in Innovation Fellowships programme is an excellent example of this. I am pleased to see budding Malaysian entrepreneurs being paired with UK industry experts to develop market-ready innovations in health and life sciences, future cities, agritech, environmental resilience and energy security, as well as digital innovation and creativity.”

The newly-launched LIF online community brings together alumni spanning the full five years of the programme, enabling a collaborative network for LIF alumni, mentors, trainers, programme managers and in-country partners to create, learn, explore and innovate together online. The community makes it easy to connect with other entrepreneurs who are passionate about tackling some of the world’s biggest challenges and transferring research into real-world applications. Profiles of these inspiring technologies and innovations demonstrate their social and economic impact to a global audience, connecting LIF alumni with potential investors and stakeholders ready to support their path to market. You can visit the community at https://lif.raeng.org.uk/.

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