Occuity celebrates £1.4m Future Leaders Fellowship Award
Updated: Jul 14, 2022
Partnership with one of the UK’s most promising science and research leaders
Alistair Bounds PhD, will join Occuity as part of the Future Leaders Fellowship programme
£1.4m grant will run for four years looking at ocular imaging for chronic and systemic disease assessment
Research will support the development of Occuity’s ocular MedTech products
Occuity is delighted to announce that it has been awarded £1.4m as part of the Future Leaders Fellowship programme, which is run by the government-funded body, UK Research and Innovation. The scheme aims to develop the next wave of world-class research and innovation leaders in academia and business. Following a highly competitive application process, Dr Alistair Bounds, named among the UK's most promising science and research leaders, secured the prestigious fellowship. He will be engaging in a four-year project that is geared toward healthcare technologies of the future and how the healthcare market is expected to evolve.
The project, to be undertaken at Occuity, will look at ocular imaging for chronic and systemic disease assessment, with the aim being to build two prototype retinal imaging systems that will allow the detection of signature markers of chronic and systemic disease. The two systems will open up a new area for Occuity in targeting retinal imaging in a way that is highly complementary to the company’s existing programme of innovative research.
Led by Alistair, the project will commence on the 1st of August 2022 and will fund the support of 3.5 full-time employees over the course of the project, with recruitment set to start with a Retinal Imaging Scientist. The team will also collaborate with Edinburgh and Durham Universities, and Sunderland Eye Hospital will offer support and new knowledge to this cutting-edge project. If the project progresses as expected, there is potential for it to extend by a further three years with additional UKRI funding.
Commenting on the partnership Alistair said:
"I’ve been really impressed by Occuity and the rapid progress that the company has made, both in terms of developing disruptive technologies and in terms of building a company, for instance, the speed at which Occuity has put in place quality management systems, which is harder to get a sense of when working in academia. I chose Occuity for this fellowship as it seems like a great place to develop, learning from a highly experienced but friendly and welcoming team where I can move from academia into industry and get a sense of the different components that it takes to make a successful medical engineering company, and where I think there is a fantastic amount of drive to make technologies that will help people."
CEO and Co-founder Dr Dan Daly also commented:
“It's very exciting to be part of this prestigious scheme and we’re delighted to have such a talented mind on board to lead the project. The work Alistair will be doing alongside his team will impact immensely Occuity's research and development efforts, helping us continue to grow and influence the development of our future products. We’re very much looking forward to seeing this project get underway and increasing our knowledge of how the eye can be used as a window on the health of the body in our efforts to improve the screening and monitoring of some of humanity's greatest healthcare challenges.”
Of the Future Leaders Fellowship program UKRI Chief Executive, Professor Dame Ottoline Leyser, said:
The Future Leaders Fellowships provide researchers and innovators with the freedom and generous long-term support to progress adventurous new ideas, and to move across disciplinary boundaries and between academia and industry. The fellows announced today provide shining examples of the talented researchers and innovators across every discipline attracted to pursue their ideas in universities and businesses throughout the UK, with the potential to deliver transformative research that can be felt across society and the economy.
About Alistair Bounds
Alistair completed his PhD at Durham University in 2017 in atomic and optical physics, before moving into healthcare photonics and biomedical imaging systems as a postdoctoral researcher, first at Durham University and then at St Andrews University. He has worked closely with spin-outs and start-ups for the last five years, developing new biomedical imaging techniques and patented dental imaging technologies. He moved into healthcare photonics, and towards industry-partnered research, out of a desire for more impact-focused research to improve quality of life.
Founded in 2019, Occuity is a UK-based medical technology company specialising in the research, design, and production of handheld non-contacting optical instruments for use in healthcare, diagnostics, and monitoring. Occuity’s scanning technology uses light to obtain precise measurements of different structures within the eye. This enables direct measurements of the eye for optometrists and ophthalmologists but also, other more general health conditions such as diabetes and Alzheimer’s Disease to be monitored.
Occuity's Intellectual Property includes nine granted international patents with a further six patent applications covering the measurement technique and optical technology that forms the basis of the devices along with additional patents relating to the alignment and measurements within the eye.
Correct as of 15 June 2022