Leading science, pioneering therapies

CRM Early Career Innovator 2018

11 May 2018

CRM recently showcased the innovative talent of its early career researchers. 

PhD student John McKendrick held off strong competition to win £5,000 research funding to support his innovative idea. John, a first year PhD student with Dr Elaine Emmerson, plans to use the funding to identify markers of progenitor acinar cells as a potential cell transplantation therapy for salivary gland regeneration.

CRM Early Career Innovator 2018

Fellow finalists, Dr Victoria Gadd (Forbes lab) and Mr Mario Armando Gomez Salazar (Peault lab) also delivered compelling pitches highlighting the regenerative therapeutic need, their innovative solution and how they would use the £5000 funding prize to advance those solutions.

The competition was judged by a panel of industry experts, including Dr Julie Kerby, Head of Manufacturing Development at the Cell & Gene Therapy Catapult. Dr Kerby said, 

“Judging the competition was a fantastic experience- all of the competitors gave excellent presentations describing their scientific and business rationale succinctly. The three projects were very different in their aims and therapeutic target and all make a very good case for future investment. Sadly we could award only one winner and congratulations go to John McKendrick- I look forward to hearing about this therapy in the future!”

The finalists masterfully answered probing questions from the panel, which along with Dr Kerby included Dr Claire Brady (Head of Technology Transfer, Edinburgh Innovations Ltd), Dr Ed Hodgkin (Partner, Syncona Ltd) and Hans Möller (Director, Edinburgh BioQuarter).  

The competition was part of Innovation | Regeneration 2018 on May 2nd, CRM’s one day meeting bringing together academia and industry to discuss the challenges and opportunities in regenerative medicine and tissue repair.

CRM Early Career Innovator 2018 Finalists

This is the first year CRM has run the competition. The finalists worked with Translator in Residence, Dr Andrew McBride, in preparing their pitches.  Andrew said,

“All three finalists gave superb and engaging pitches, showcasing the innovative research being undertaken at MRC- CRM.  It was fantastic to see these young researchers engage so competently with translation and innovation so early in their research careers.  Congratulations to each of them and of course to John as the CRM Early Career Innovator 2018!” 

If you work at CRM and have an innovative idea you want to develop further, please get in touch with Dr Andrew McBride (a.mcbride@ed.ac.uk) or CRM Funding Development Manager Dr Marieke Hoeve (m.hoeve@ed.ac.uk) who can help you explore how to develop your idea and potential funding options. 


Marieke Hoeve
0131 651 9500