Knowledge Exchange & Public Engagement Awards

Glasgow Entrepreneur of the Year

ENTREPRENEUR OF THE YEAR - JOINT WINNER: Professor Shireen Davies, Institute of Molecular, Cell & Systems Biology 

Glasgow Entrepreneur of the Year is awarded to University of Glasgow staff or student who have demonstrated

·         Key entrepreneurial attributes: vision, sense of purpose, resilience, flexibility, and confidence

·         Leadership of a project that requires an entrepreneurial approach

·         Pioneering a new approach or technology

Shireen Davies was joint winner for 2020, taking fundamental molecular research directly into the applied and commercial sphere for sustainable crop protection.

Chemical insecticides have been used for decades to control insect pests that attack food crops and transmit disease. However, these chemicals harm health and the environment including damage to beneficial insect pollinators, and hundreds of insect pest species are resistant to crop protection chemicals. This costs global agriculture £ billions each year, impacting on food security and sustainability.

To meet this need, the university spinout SOLASTA Bio was founded. This ‘green’  insecticide discovery company provides new Mode of Action, peptide-based bioinsecticides which reduce resistance and do not harm beneficial insects. SOLASTA Bio is amongst the first of its kind in the world and is built on a very strong foundation of BBSRC-funded fundamental research and the European H2020 multi-party nEUROSTRESSPEP project. Currently supported by Scottish Enterprise’s High Growth Spinout Programme, BBSRC IAA and BBSRC RSE Enterprise Fellowship, the whole team is working towards successfully establishing and growing SOLASTA Bio within the global bioeconomy.

First published: 3 September 2020

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