We are creating a unified UKRI website that brings together the existing research council, Innovate UK and Research England websites.
If you would like to be involved in its development let us know.

ESA BIC UK enables access to expertise for new tech development


Entocycle produces a cost-effective and environmentally friendly protein source for animal feed, made entirely from insects. Requiring assistance to develop autonomous processes for rearing the insects, Entocycle looked to the ESA BIC UK for space-inspired solutions.

Challenge

To scale-up its insect rearing capacity whilst keeping staff resource at a minimum, Entocycle needed to create a highly technical, automated, artificial habitat system. The team of four discovered that a lot of the technology they required had yet to be invented, or hadn’t yet been applied to insect rearing. In order to make the process fully automated, the team needed assistance with the build of a complex network of sensors for data collection, and guidance on how to analyse this data and use it appropriately.

Solution

  • 40 hours free access to STFC expertise and facilities
  • Laboratory and office space
  • Networking opportunities at Harwell Campus
  • £41,500 incentive funding used for materials and staff recruitment

Benefits

left-hand quote markBeing part of the ESA BIC UK has enabled us to build our technology and try it out, which was a huge stepping stone for where we are today. The expertise at STFC’s RAL Space really helped us move past prototype stage when we didn’t have the ability within our team in the early days.right-hand quote mark

Gabriel Walsh, Engineering Operations Manager, Entocycle Ltd

After a serendipitous introduction during a tour of STFC’s Rutherford Appleton Laboratory, scientists from RAL Space’s autonomous systems group helped Entocycle to design its network; exploring sensors, ruling out certain methods and utilising technology from ESA’s ExoMars rover. This collaboration gave the Entocycle team unrivalled access to specialist knowledge as and when they needed it, helping to efficiently build, develop and test their novel technology.

Throughout the technology development process, the ESA BIC UK incentive funding enabled Entocycle to purchase materials and employ specialist staff. Since graduating from the ESA BIC UK, Entocycle has grown to a team of 13 and won a place on both the prestigious Pearse Lyons Accelerator and the Unreasonable Group growth-stage entrepreneurial programme.

Entocycle case study (PDF, 612 KB)

Last updated: 12 February 2019

UKRI

Science and Technology Facilities Council
Switchboard: +44 (0)1793 442000