International Students At Forefront Of Innovation In UK Universities

A violin made from silk, an app that puts an end to queuing in shops and a medical device set to transform the lives of Parkinson’s sufferers are just some of the ground-breaking entries, shortlisted as part of the Mayor of London’s International Student Innovation Awards 2016.

The International Student Innovation Awards was set up to highlight the work of the city’s international students and also to provide some financial help to assist students in taking their innovation to the next stage of development. It was devised by London & Partners, the Mayor’s official promotional company and is also supported by the UK Government’s Education is GREAT campaign and the British Council, Cambridge English, IDP Education and The PIE.

Hundreds of entries, from 49 different countries and 17 London universities, have been received, which have now been whittled down to a final shortlist of 15.

An event crowning 'London's most innovative international student', who will receive £10,000 to kick start their business, will be held on 2nd November at Central Saint Martins, Granary Square.

Sadiq Khan, Mayor of London, said: “The incredible range of talent on show in these awards celebrates the best of the capital and clearly demonstrates that London is open to talent and ideas from across the globe. We need to do all we can to ensure that London remains the best and most welcoming destination for international students.”

Entrants include Luca Alessandrini, from Italy, who has made a violin out of a mixture of spider silk and resin. When the violin is played, the spider silk vibrates the instrument’s casing, emitting a sound which can be customised by tweaking the exact blend of the material. The combination of silk and resin produces a unique tone and can be altered by blending different quantities of the raw materials. The new material could allow the acoustics of instruments and sound equipment to be customised with a degree of control that is difficult with other modern materials such as carbon fibre.

Indian student Mustafa Khanwala has invented an app that eliminates the need to queue at the till in shops. The app allows in-store shoppers to pick up a product, scan the barcode with their phone, pay with their phone and simply walk out with it. The technology also ensures that if you try and leave without paying, the alarms will immediately sound.

While Chinese student Yin Fan Denis Huen has developed a smart sensing medical device which can be worn on your arm. It can detect, and then control, abnormal movements so that Parkinson’s sufferers can do everyday things like drink a cup of tea or hold a knife and fork.

Ideas and innovations submitted have been evaluated by a prestigious panel of judges including Eliot Forster, Executive Chair of MedCity and CEO of Immunocore, Eileen Burbidge, Partner at London venture capital firm Passion Capital and Chair of Tech City UK and Lord Bilimoria, who is also Founder and Chairman of Cobra Beer.

Lord Karan Bilimoria of Chelsea, a cross-bench peer and President of the UK Council for International Student Affairs, added: “This initiative celebrates the very best of London – demonstrating the city is an inclusive place that welcomes business, craves innovation and is genuinely open to people from every part of the world.

“International students bring in £3 billion to London’s economy every year, and help to make London what it is: the home to the best in design, creative industries, technology, legal services, architecture, shopping, cuisine and entertainment.

“London’s universities are among the very best in the world – two of the top ten best universities in the world are London universities – and it is vital that we offer those students the very best opportunities to make an impact in their chosen field.”

Dr Eliot Forster, Chair of MedCity, said: “These awards, which have unearthed a wealth of innovation in our universities, help cement London’s reputation for forward-thinking problem-solving science and entrepreneurial spirit. By supporting the creative and entrepreneurial endeavour of students it will enable them to develop and take their ideas to market which could change lives for the better and improve the healthcare landscape.”

Eileen Burbidge said: "London’s world-leading universities are bursting with some of the brightest minds who are developing businesses which will revolutionise our lives. Students coming to London from all over the world bring fresh ideas and thinking, and their talent should be nurtured and encouraged as they seek to build the next generation of global companies.”

London welcomes more international students than any other city in the world who come to study at the city's world class universities. With over 100,000 international students from over 200 different nations, London is an open and supportive city for those looking to make the capital their home.

The 15 finalists include:

Product Design




Luca Alessandrini


A violin which uses the vibrating qualities of spiders silk

Elena Dieckmann


Using waste chicken feathers to make water repellent paint

Ehab Sayed


Using waste material to build houses which can then easily be redesigned

Olivia Hildebrand


A London bus stop designed to assist blind people and partially sighted

Felicie Eymard


A womenswear collection which can morph into different pieces of clothing


Philip Kallberg


An app where you go to a chefs home to experience their cooking

Simon Weill


A shoe that uses street mapping to enable blind and partially sighted people to navigate busy city streets.

Pae Natwilai



An app that allows you to control drones like waving a magic wand

Claire Berdugo


An app that allows you to quickly sell second hand clothes from your wardrobe

Mustafa Khanwala


An app that stops queuing in shops allowing you to immediately pay for goods and services


Life Science

Xinyang Tan


A device which strengthens the limbs of children with muscular problems

Yin Fan Denis Huen


A device which stops the tremors in Parkinsons sufferers

Eyenimi Ndiomu


An app that detects whether a new born baby is suffering from asphyxia

Mei Ran Abellona


A device that preserves a vaccine during its last mile of transportation where many normally perish

Malav Sanghavi


A smart amputee socket which can be adjusted via an app to suit the individual’s needs


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About the International Student Innovation Award

London & Partners set up the International Student Innovation Award to shine a spotlight on the ground-breaking work being produced by international students in London across the fields of fashion, art & design, technology and science.

Eligible entrants are put forward for £10,000 development funding for their innovation to increase its commercial potential.

For more information visit


About London & Partners

London & Partners is the official promotional company for London. We promote London and attract businesses, events, congresses, students and visitors to the capital. Our aims are to build London’s international reputation and to attract investment and visitor spend, which

create jobs and growth. London & Partners is a not-for-profit public private partnership, funded by the Mayor of London and our network of commercial partners.

For more information visit   

About IDP

IDP Education is a world leader in international student placement services. Our global network of 100 offices helps students from 32 countries to study in Australia, Canada, New

Zealand, the USA and the UK. One student is placed in an educational institution every 20 minutes across the globe. For more than 45 years, IDP Education has played a major role in international education. During this time, IDP has placed more than 400,000 students into quality institutions in Australia, the United Kingdom, the United States of America, Canada and New Zealand. IDP Education is also a proud co-owner of IELTS (International English Language Testing System). IELTS is jointly owned by British Council, IDP: IELTS Australia and Cambridge English Language Assessment. Since its launch in 1989, IELTS has become

the world's most popular high-stakes English language proficiency test. IELTS is accepted as evidence of English language proficiency by over 9,000 organisations worldwide. Last year, more than 2.5 million tests were taken globally.


About Cambridge English

Cambridge English Language Assessment is part of the University of Cambridge. We develop and produce the most valuable range of qualifications for learners and teachers of English in the world. Over 5 million Cambridge English exams are taken each year in more than 130 countries. Around the world over 20,000 universities, employers, government

ministries and other organisations rely on our exams and qualifications as proof of English language ability. Cambridge English exams are backed by the work of the largest dedicated research team of any English language test provider.

Cambridge English Language Assessment – a not-for-profit organisation.



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Lora Jones

Press Officer

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