IOP PhD students win Lion’s Den Challenge 2014

The Graduate School is pleased to congratulate six PhD students from the IoP whose team CogniTracker recently won the top prize for best idea at this year’s Lion’s Den Challenge. Here’s what the team had to say of their experience:


“In October 2013 six neuroscience and neuroimaging PhD students from the IoP began to discuss entering the Lion’s Den challenge. Although motivations for entering the competition were varied, we all wanted to take on a new challenge with the hope of acquiring new skills along the way. In particular, we wanted something that a PhD in neuroscience doesn’t always afford, including the opportunity to learn about the business world and to develop an idea to full fruition.

So we set out on a 5 month journey of meetings, brain storming and business plan drafting that evoked a range of emotions and feelings, from excitement to frustration. Importantly, we initially had no experience in anything business, but we had big (admittedly, undirected) aspirations and so we headed to the twice-monthly workshops put on by the Lion’s Den programme, which guided us in everything from creation of an idea to taking it to market. Even our most anti-business team-member was soon won over, as it became clear that, besides a sizeable financial reward, a business can also be an excellent vehicle for doing good in the world.

Our idea is a self-monitoring health app called CogniTracker that potentially offers a research-led solution to aid in the early diagnosis of dementia in the general population and on a global scale. Our app will allow you to track your own performance, physiology and well-being by measuring visual movements, speech, touch and cognition. By this time it was already December, and over Christmas in an unbelievable team effort we put together a business plan that brought us the opportunity to pitch in the Lion’s Den challenge Grand Final. Yet more team-work followed and we all walked in with the knowledge that we had done our preparation and just had to execute the pitch smoothly (no pressure!).

Although the competition was tough and the other pitches excellent, the judges, to our surprise, announced our idea as the winner for Lion’s Den 2013/14. It has been a really exciting few weeks with everybody at the IoP offering us their congratulations and support for the future of the project.

We strongly encourage people to enter the Lion’s Den challenge, even if you do not have an idea yet. So if you gather the right people around you, be committed and critical – you are heading for success.”

Good Luck, the CogniTracker Team

3 thoughts on “IOP PhD students win Lion’s Den Challenge 2014

  1. Congratulations! What an inspired idea and so useful. I wish you well in your research using the CogniTracker. I very much hope that research will have advanced management of dementia by the time I might need it.
    As I write, I just wonder whether the population you plan to target would be confident in using an app. Some nonagenerians are computer savvy but I know those in their sixties who don’t email and don’t use the internet or smart phones. I’m sure you’ll have thought of that though.
    Good luck.

    • Thank you very much for your kind comments! The population group we are aiming to target are the middle age groups and we also believe that friends, family and carers of neurodegenerative disease or dementia sufferers would be interested in using CogniTracker to help build our research.
      CogniTracker Team

  2. Well done CogniTracker team! Really good to see PhDs using their expertise in this way.

    Best wishes


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