Belfast, UK, 15th October 2015 / Sciad Newswire / Queen’s University Belfast and Ulster University are joining forces with SynbiCITE, the UK’s Innovation and Knowledge Centre for Synthetic Biology led by Imperial College London, to deliver a pre-accelerator programme, the Lean LaunchPad aimed at helping local researchers turn their inventions into new products and ventures.

The Lean LaunchPad is an import from Silicon Valley where it is used to ‘stress test’ the commercial feasibility of new innovations. Conceived by retired entrepreneur Steve Blank – creator of the Lean Start-up movement who was named one of the 30 most influential people in tech by Forbes magazine in 2013 – the Lean LaunchPad encourages entrepreneurs to put customers at the heart of their product development.

This is the first time that the Lean LaunchPad will run in Northern Ireland. By working in partnership with SynbiCITE, Queen’s University Belfast and Ulster University hope to support and increase company creation in Northern Ireland.

Caroline McGoran, Head of Investment & Enterprise at Ulster University, said ‘The Lean LaunchPad is one of a number of initiatives that we are using to test and validate the commercial potential of our early stage projects.  The programme will help us accelerate new ideas with the most commercial potential and ensure a positive impact for both universities and Northern Ireland plc.’

The programme moves the focus from the technology itself to the needs of target customers by finding out what customers want and need.  On this feedback the inventors iterate their business plan and product according to real market insights, which increases the likelihood of creating sustainable businesses.

Brian McCaul, Director of Innovation at Queen’s University, said: ‘Northern Ireland’s universities are critical to the local economy and the creation of new high-growth businesses. By running a rigorous programme focused on testing customer need, and learning from the best initiatives in the UK and US, we hope to give some early new ventures the best start they can get’.

Brian added, ‘By combining the best ideas from both Universities with some of the best business brains in Northern Ireland and elsewhere, we hope to give our economy a shot in the arm. We are keen to partner with entrepreneurial leadership from outside the University to turn our world class research into world class businesses’.

The programme has attracted support from the local business community and teams will have the opportunity to learn directly from successful national and international business leaders based in Northern Ireland.

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About the Lean LaunchPad – Belfast

The 6-week programme, aimed at three-person teams interested in commercialising their technology, launches on 15 October and will culminate in final presentations at Imperial College to an invited audience of funders, investors and journalists. The programme is based on the experiential entrepreneurship class start-up expert Steve Blank created at Stanford University in the U.S. and which has revolutionised the way entrepreneurship is taught in universities worldwide. In 2011, Steve used the class as the basis for the Innovation Corps program he developed for the National Science Foundation in the U.S. I-Corps, now used by numerous U.S. government agencies including the NSF, the National Institutes of Health and the Department of Defence, is the new standard for science commercialisation in the U.S.

Twelve teams from Queen’s University and Ulster University have been accepted on the programme:

  • Green Lizard Technologies: Purification of organic feed streams for the chemical industry.
  • IsoQ: Synthesis of biomarkers for food chain security.
  • Causeway Sensors: Innovative protein and hydrogen gas detection sensors.
  • Ivea Labs: Location-aware tourism application.
  • Cognition Video: Intelligent video analytics.
  • Point Energy: Improving equipment energy efficiency.
  • SunCat:  Sunburn warning indicators.
  • Travellise: Personalised travel application.
  • ReRotar: High performance, low cost polymer composite engineering materials. 
  • Regenagraft: Innovative tissue engineering solutions. 
  • CyroPress: High efficiency production of superior quality cold pressed vegetable oils.
  • Stiffsense: intelligent body sensors that measure joint stiffness.


About SynbiCITE

SynbiCITE is a pioneering Innovation and Knowledge Centre (IKC) dedicated to promoting the adoption and use of synthetic biology by industry. SynbiCITE and our partners across the UK and globally are committed to developing this technology through responsible innovation which encompasses ethical, societal and environmental considerations.


About Queen’s University – QUBIS

QUBIS Ltd was established in 1984 by Queen’s University Belfast to commercialise research and development activities through the formation of spin out businesses.  Since its formation, QUBIS have invested in a total of 70 companies and its current portfolio companies now have approx. 1700 employees and sell products and services on a global basis. 


About Ulster University

Ulster University is a leading provider of professional education for professional life.  Synonymous with innovation, helping local, national and international businesses develop and thrive, the University cemented its reputation as a key knowledge provider with over 5,000 companies accessing its industry relevant research and expertise in 2014.


For more information please contact:

Queen’s University/ QUBIS

Dr Kathryn Lee, QUBIS,, Tel +44 (028) 90 97 3046

Ulster University

Ms Caroline McGoran,, Tel +44 (028) 7167 5658


Dr John Collins, Commercial Director,, Tel +44 (0) 7876 750 624

Media Relations, Sciad Communications: Richard Anderson, Tel +44 (0)7973 950376

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