Eli and Britt Harari Graphene Enterprise Award


The Eli and Britt Harari Graphene Enterprise Award, in association with Sir Andre Geim, is a £50,000 annual award to help establish new enterprises in graphene at The University of Manchester. The award aims to encourage the development of new graphene enterprises identified through the submission of a business plan by current students or recent graduates of the University.


Graphene, a two dimensional carbon material, is a game-changing UK discovery and its properties make it one of the most important breakthroughs in recent memory.

The competition is funded by the North American Foundation for The University of Manchester, through the generous support of one of the University’s former students, Dr Eli Harari, and his wife Britt.

The 2017 competition is open to both individuals and teams. Teams can contain up to six people but at least 50% of the team must be either current students (UG/PG), Postdoctoral Research Associates and / or alumni of The University of Manchester who have graduated after June 2015.

Judges are not looking for a detailed business plan in the first instance. Instead they are looking for an outline of a real world problem, explaining what form the solution would take and what specific capabilities of graphene or related materials would enable that solution rather than a detailed business plan. 

Recent examples of opportunities of this type are the LED-based lightbulb, development of drones, strengthening products such as tennis racquets and protective clothing.

What we look for

The prize of £50,000 will be awarded to the individual or team, whose proposal is deemed by the judges to demonstrate outstanding potential in establishing a new enterprise related to graphene. Key to this will be a credible business case based on sound science. Judges will also be looking to evidence that the individual or, in the case of a team, the nominated lead entrant wishes to embark on an entrepreneurial career in innovation and commercialisation.

Applications will be judged on the strength of their business case as captured in the form of a PowerPoint file, to develop a new graphene-related business. The award then acts as seed funding which will allow the candidate to take the first steps towards realising this plan. It recognises the role that high-level, flexible early-stage financial support can play in the successful development of a business targeting the full commercialisation of a product or technology related to research in graphene.

Note that the £50,000 prize is not given to the winner in one instalment. It is a traunched award that will be used to develop the idea further along the pathway to full commercialisation. We realise that some potential entrants have been put off entering as they perceive the level of expertise for such a prize and the rapidly approaching deadline, would be too demanding.

What we would like to focus on initially is the business opportunity and associated real-world problem, linking these with research outputs that involve graphene and related materials that are more technologically advanced.

Watch this video of Seb Leaper, winner of the 2016 award, talking about his entry:

Other recent examples of opportunities of this type are the LED-based lightbulb, development of drones, strengthening products such as tennis racquets and protective clothing.

Submission details >> 

Compiling a pitch deck >>

IP position template >>

Deadline for applications - 16 June 2017

For further details about The Eli and Britt Harari Graphene Enterprise Award or any of our other competitions, email Dr Martin Henery, Manchester Enterprise Centre competition director: M.Henery@manchester.ac.uk

Read more about Eli Harari's background >>

Read about Eli Harari’s recent visit to Alliance Manchester Business School here >>

Watch the video of Eli Harari's recent visit to Alliance Manchester Business School >>