becky-sage-isci-nano-simboxDr Becky Sage (pictured right) is the winner of Innovate UK’s ‘Women in Innovation’ Infocus funding award in the Enabling and Emerging Technologies category. She won for her impressive work as Managing Director of Interactive Scientific (iSci) creating inspiring interactive experiences to draw people into the sciences.

“The UK economy would be improved by a better gender balance in our entrepreneurs and business leaders”

 

She hopes the £50,000 worth of funding will help with the development and impact of her latest project – Nano Simbox (NSB) – an immersive, interactive education tool that allows its users to explore big scientific concepts from climate change reactions to antimicrobial resistance.

Her vision for NSB is to create a new scientific ecosystem that is designed visually, socially and experientially to change the way people think about and interact with globally impacting scientific challenges.

Nano Simbox magic: See student reactions to
the project Becky is currently working on
 

We caught up with Becky to find out her reaction to winning. She tells us, “For this particular award I was judged on my vision for global impact and evidence that I can be a role model and a leader, so I am extremely proud to be recognised for that. I cried tears of joy for the first time in my career when I found out, because this journey is so exhausting so much of the time, I just crumbled when I found out at the end of a difficult week!

“It is so vital for me to acknowledge that our vision and innovation is a product of a whole team”

 

“It is so vital for me to acknowledge that our vision and innovation is a product of a whole team,” she adds, “so whilst the award is recognising me you should know that there are a number of other people who are on this journey with me, having an award boosts their conviction that we are going in a positive direction.”

Inspiring innovative women

Although the UK’s universities have high numbers of female graduates and the majority of the country’s most educated workforce is female, women remain underrepresented in many key industries. In fact, InnovateUK’s 2016 Infocus campaign, which included an analysis of 8,566 historic funding applications, highlighted that there is little difference in the quality of applications submitted by women and men, yet just 1 in 7 applications (14%) for funding were from women.

The Infocus award was created to support inspiring women in innovation and, as well as a funding prize, includes a support and mentoring package. It’s hoped that programmes and support such as this can help encourage women innovators in male-dominated science and technology environments and start to break down the divide.

Becky is hoping to use the prize fund and support package to find some top female talent: “I really want a world class female mentor – I think that the people who surround us play a massive part in the impact that you can make and I am limited in the number of people around me who are feminine and making huge strides in innovation.

“We have a vision for making a huge impact in science education, industry and research and I feel like someone who has done something with that type of impact could help to drive us forward. The £50k also helps us work on an exciting project which pulls together tricky tech with user needs to navigate the invisible scientific world of atoms and molecules, and by doing so getting our product to market more quickly.”

“2016 has been a ground-breaking year for us, and I hope that in supporting and telling the stories of our finalists and winners, we can inspire others to succeed”

 

Dr Ruth McKernan CBE and Chief Executive of Innovate UK says: “There are so many talented women with great business ideas. The UK economy would be improved by a better gender balance in our entrepreneurs and business leaders.

“2016 has been a ground-breaking year for us, and I hope that in supporting and telling the stories of our finalists and winners, we can inspire others to succeed.”

Becky will be on the panel talking about her experience running a pre-commercial startup tomorrow in Bristol’s the Watershed at 3:45pm for the SPARK Skills Festival – a recruitment fair for graduate and experienced developers looking for roles in tech and digital. Find out more and check out the full SPARK Skills Festival Line-up here.

Find out more about the Infocus awards on the InnovateUK website. You can also follow them on Twitter here: @innovateuk.

To find out more about Interactive Scientific and NanoSimbox, check out the Interactive Scientific website or follow them on Twitter: @NanoSimbox.