On 7 February, the government of the Voronezh region awarded the winners of the annual innovation projects competition Innovation Cup. This year, three projects by researchers from Voronezh State University were recognised as being the best. The award was handed by the Vitaly Shabalatov, Deputy Governor of the Voronezh region and the First Deputy Chairman of the Government of the Voronezh region.
“The competition has been held nine times. It was delightful to notice that the projects of this year were highly elaborate. It was a difficult choice. Each project has a chance to become something real. Time will show if the innovators succeed in delivering their potential,” said Alexey Sukhochev, expert of the competition jury, director of the non-commercial organisation Association “Centre of Technological Entrepreneurship and Innovations”.
Nina Diakova, Associate Professor of the Department of Pharmaceutical Chemistry and Pharmaceutical Engineering of the Faculty of Pharmaceutics, suggested a quick and cheap method of inulin production from plant sources. Her research project called “Innovative technology of obtaining inulin from plant sources” will significantly optimise the process of inulin production and compete with foreign manufacturers.
“I have submitted applications several times before but have never won. I was very dubious about the results this year, but I made it! I want to express special gratitude to the organisers of the competition and the university business incubator. They helped me see my idea as a business project. The competition had two stages: first we submitted our applications, then, we had to defend them in front of the expert committee. I don’t think I have fully realised that I’m the winner yet.”
Alexey Perepelitsa, an assistant at the Department of Optics and Spectroscopy of the Faculty of Physics, is developing an innovative technology used to generate biologically compatible antimicrobial protective coatings and polymer films to treat various surfaces. The study is a part of the project “Photobacterium coatings based on metallic sulphide nanoparticles and molecules of organic dyes used to disinfect surfaces”. Alexey Perepelitsa told us about his participation in the competition:
“This season of the Innovation Cup, I only received a runner-up prize but that is no reason to throw in the towel. Anyway, the feeling of appreciation is nice. Now, we are looking for the possible ways of developing the project, both in terms of research and application of the nanoobjects we have been studying. I hope that when we finish the research and development we will manage to switch our project over to the stage of developing a real commercial product. Participating in such contests helps to establish contacts with potential investors and industrial partners.
Sergey Solodskikh, research assistant of the Faculty of Biomedical Sciences, developed a test system for the early diagnosis of a predisposition to breast cancer “OnkoPRIME I”.
“This competition is a wonderful opportunity for young scientists to show off their accomplishments. The people who assessed our projects are real professionals. They could say from the very beginning whether a project had a future. Now, I hope to make the next step and introduce the test into medical practice.
In 2020, the expert committee had to choose from 31 projects submitted by seven educational institutions of the Voronezh region. Among the key criteria of the competitive selection were: the importance of the project and the demand for the results, its commercialisation, the stage of scientific and technological development, and its practical significance.