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Professor Eason wins over EPSRC 'Dragons'

Published: 5 March 2010

Professor Rob Eason won over the EPSRC ‘dragons’ at a recent ‘Dragons Den’ style pitch, receiving a Bright IDEAS award of almost £190K for research in nanoparticle fabrication techniques.

Bright IDEAS awards are intended to support genuinely novel and potentially transformative research activities. Applicants had to write a pre-pitch application and those who passed this hurdle were then invited to pitch to the EPSRC pitch panel or ‘dragons’, a team of five comprising three academics, and two venture capitalists.

The project - Nanoparticles On demand Via multiphoton Absorption (NOVA): the practical nanoparticle-making machine - caught the attention of the ‘dragons’ and will be funded over the next year and a half.

Rob will focus on developing a processing technique that will allow nanoscale materials to be generated from starting precursor liquids or gases. Using the process of multiphoton absorption of high power pulsed laser sources, such a technique, he believes, should now be possible.

If successful, his research will lead to controllable nanoparticles on demand, and 3-d nano-sculpting in whatever material you can produce from decomposition of the original liquid or gas precursor.

After the pitch interview, Rob commented that this new style of deciding on funding outcome was ‘certainly different from the normal submission process’. He had heard of the dragon’s den programme on television, but had never actually watched an episode. ‘Maybe this helped me’, he added, ‘as I really didn’t know what to expect’.

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