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Applied science is on the rise in Slovakia, and innovators from across the region are joining forces

Friday evening in Nová Cvernovka belonged to the innovators. Scientists, experienced and budding entrepreneurs, investors came from all over Slovakia and the Czech Republic, and the innovation scene came together at the 3rd annual BioInnovation Award organised by Lifbee Academy. The two winning teams shared the prize of 10,000 euros.

Final of the 3rd year of the Lifbee Academy, Photo: Samuel Sedliak

We have once again proven to the world that we are not lagging behind when it comes to innovation and science. This is also proven by 7 young start-up teams that focus on biotechnological innovations in the field of medicine and sustainability and presented their solutions at the BioInnovation Award on 10 February.

Utumbo team after presenting their project to the jury, photo: Samuel Sedliak

Healthier employees thanks to gut microbiome analysis

In the MedTech category, Utumbo's team, consisting of a medical student, a bioinformatician, a biotechnologist and a business analyst, won with their idea to improve the physical and mental health of employees by analysing their gut microbiome. The way we eat influences the beneficial bacteria that live in our bodies and help us maintain our health and a healthy immune system. Scientists have found that their impact on our health and good mood is truly significant. Thank you to this year's winning team Utumbo, companies can contribute to the active care of the health of their employees, who can lead healthier and more vital lives thanks to the suggestions of a tasty menu that supports healthy bacteria.

MedTech Lab winners together with the jury on the left Ladislav Nižník from the company Takeda, on the right Alexander Feťkovský from the company SanaClis, Simona Held Veselá and Matej Held - organizers of Lifbee Academy, Liliana Unachukwu from the company Pipette & Chart (photo: Samuel Sedliak)

The shortage of bioplastics could soon be a thing of the past

Plastics are increasingly being replaced by bioplastics. These are compostable and do not require oil for their production. There is a lot of interest from manufacturers, but their production is clearly lagging behind. The Haloplastics team in the Enviro Lab category has found a solution, namely a raw material produced by microorganisms. They assume that bioplastics will be more readily available and their price will be lower. They have even managed to establish a collaboration with leading scientists in the field of materials science, with whom they will test this raw material in the pilot phase of the project. "We did not expect to win, all the projects have been great. The financial reward will help us to carry out the first experiments in the laboratory," said analytical chemist Zuzka Hucsková after the award ceremony.

Enviro Lab winners together with the jury, on the left Michal Nešpor from CBIM, Katarína Kretter from ENVI - PAK, Lucia Štefánková from Tipsport Foundation, on the right Peter Dendis from Bosenburg, Simona Held Veselá and Matej Held - organisers of Lifbee Academy (photo: Samuel Sedliak )

Roman Lauš, the founder of the biotechnology start-up Mewery, which specialises in cultured meat, spoke on stage and encouraged all the budding entrepreneurs and scientists. "The projects were on a European level, the teams could easily go to the most prestigious European innovation competitions with them," commented Liliana Unachukwu, founder of Pipette and Chart.

Roman Lauš, the founder of the biotechnology start-up Mewery (photo: Samuel Sedliak)

All teams and ideas were created directly in the incubator of Lifbee Academy, which operates as an educational and incubation programme with financial support from the private sector. This year, for example, the programme was supported by the full-service global CRO SanaClis, the ENVI - PAK organisation, the Tipsport Foundation and the pharmaceutical company Takeda, which recently set up its innovation centre in Bratislava. "Innovative companies are becoming increasingly aware of the importance of programmes like Lifbee Academy and their support, because it is necessary that the emerging ideas are put into practise," said Lifbee Academy founder Simona Held Veselá.

photo: Samuel Sedliak


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