Press Release: Researchers show their contribution to challenges in the North East of England

An exciting event took place as part of the British Science Festival on 9th September 2013, which saw 6 teams of student and staff researchers from Newcastle University responding to societal challenges which have impact in our region, the North East of England.

ACTION 2013: Challenge North East invited researchers to develop commercial solutions to societal problems that they are passionate about solving. The challenges addressed include memory and dementia, degenerative sight conditions, fuel poverty, recycling, unemployment, health and safety and high risk of stroke. The winning solution was an innovative and sustainable home insulation product called ThermoLastics, and the runner up an online platform enabling young people and employers to communicate, share information and illustrate opportunities for careers, training or employment called FutureFlow.

Phil Berry of Future Flow said “ACTION 2013 caught my eye originally only as a potentially interesting activity, however due to the nature of the course and the way it’s facilitated it has become more than just a training course or competition to me. It has helped me with personal development, as well as providing an environment for me and my fellow team members to identify a problem, imagine a solution and then develop it into what I consider to be a very viable and positive business concept. I hope and suspect that in a few years’ time I will look back on ACTION 2013 as a catalyst for a successful career branching out into a world of entrepreneurship.”

Over 180 invited guests and members of the public attended to engage with the teams and learn more about their ideas to reduce the impact of such challenges in the North East of England. Feedback from these guests compared the standard of the teams stands to those at international conferences, and  one individual said it was “great to see researchers applying their passion and expertise to make the world better for all of us” which really captured the essence of the competition.

We would like to congratulate all of the teams for their efforts and achievements over the past 6 months; ThermoLastics (Amy Green, Eesha Raut, Kate Clark and Thomas Bohl), FutureFlow (Adeline Charlton, Chris Hill, Emily Mould and Phil Berry), Maloola (Edmond Ndam, Emmalinde Roelofse and Yiji Lu), Memobridge (Goran Erfani, Khalid Setaih, Lucille Valentine and Matt Wilcox), Plan-D Health Pod (Andrew Eigbeonan, Davidson Davis, Lisa Clark, Nhan Tran and Phil Langley) and Focus (Jaspreet Gill and Musa Al Yaman).

At the end of the showcase, the ACTION Team (Elizabeth Scanlon, Gail de Blaquiere and Katie Wray) launched next year’s competition, ACTION 2014: Ageing. We look forward to working with the Initiative for Changing Age and other stakeholders to deliver another successful competition. The ACTION competition is an enterprise training programme, which is now in its 4th year with the previous themes of Sustainability, Social Renewal, Challenge North East and the forthcoming Ageing. For more information about the ACTION Competition visit To find out more about Newcastle University’s Societal Challenge Themes visit

You can read more about the winning teams on their websites. ThermoLastics -, FutureFlow -  and by following the teams on Twitter @ThermoLastics @futurflow

6 teams of researchers took part in ACTION 2013: Challenge North East

Maloola: Emmalinde Roelofse, Edmond Ndam, Yiji Lu

FutureFlow: Phil Berry, Chris Hill, Emily Mould, Adeline Charlton

ThermoLastics: Thomas Bohl, Amy Green, Kate Clark, Eesha Raut

Memo Bridge: Khalid Setaih, Goran Erfani, Matthew Wilcox, Lucille Valentine


Plan-D: Lisa Clark, Phil Langley, Nhan Tran, Davidson Davis (not competing)

Focus: Musa Al-Yaman, Jaspreet Gill (not competing)