A TEAM of five students from Oxford University’s Jesus College became the first winners of the Oxford Foundry’s inaugural All-Innovate Competition – scooping the top prize of £10,000.

DECancer.AI - their personalised diagnostic platform - uses artificial intelligence to detect early cancer through analysis of an affordable blood test.

The Oxford Times:

This, combined with the personalised medical history of the patient, allows early treatment and cure.

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Since most cancers are curable when diagnosed early, this idea could have significant global and social impact. The team included students in Clinical Medicine and Physics.

Judge Brent Hoberman said of the winning idea: “The time for this impressive diagnostic tool is now, and this is the Oxford team to seize their competitive advantage and deliver it.’

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The All-Innovate Competition, run by the Oxford Foundry in Hythe Bridge Street, is the first university-wide business ideas competition.

Opened by Tim Cook, CEO of Apple, in October 2017, The Foundry is the university’s enterprise hub for all 24,000 students.

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Tim Cook, CEO of Apple, left, at the opening of Oxford Foundry.

In its first year All-Innovate attracted entries from 21 colleges, engaging over 200 students.

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Each college selected its best ideas to go forward to an intensive one-day bootcamp, where 38 teams competed to get through to the final 10.

Covering areas as diverse as 3D printing and prosthetics, lab technology, publishing, medical diagnostics and personal safety, the competing venture teams included Oxford students from Zoology, Linguistics, Mathematics, Anthropology and more.

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Foundry director Ana Bakshi

The competition was supported by Santander Universities, and all the teams were hoping to take home one of the three prizes on offer: £10,000 for the best overall idea, or £5,000 each for the best idea from undergraduate and postgraduate teams. Winnings have to be used to develop the ideas further.

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The Oxford Foundry also produced a series of 24 workshops to support students to improve their skills in areas such as developing a business plan, design thinking, and product development, giving them a solid foundation upon which to develop their ideas and get them ready for the competition.

The shortlisted 10 went forward to the grand final, which took place at the Oxford Foundry on February 28.

Each team had five minutes to pitch their idea. This was followed by questions from the prestigious judging panel, which included Brent Hoberman of Founders Forum, Claire Davenport former CEO of HelloFresh, Matt Hutnell of Santander Universities, and Riham Satti of MeVitae.

The host for the evening was Esther Agbolade from Oriel College, PPE student and President of Oxford’s African and Caribbean Society. Special guests included Paul Polman, ex CEO of Unilever, and Will Hutton, Principal of Hertford College, who took to the stage with Foundry Director Ana Bakshi to open the event.

DECancer.AI team member Peter Liu, DPhil candidate in Clinical Medicine from Jesus College, said: “The All-Innovate Idea Competition has been an action packed and fast-paced two weeks, and taught us indispensable skills in innovation, pitching, and entrepreneurship.

“This is only the beginning for all of us to contribute to causes that will create positive impacts for our communities.”

The Best Undergraduate Prize of £5,000 was awarded to Light My Way from Wadham College, a map app that helps users find the safest way home after a night out.

For more information visit oxfordfoundry.ox.ac.uk