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Enterprise Fellowship

Newcastle University engineer wins prestigious Enterprise Fellowship

Published on: 11 January 2024

Dr Pavlina Theodosiou has been awarded an Enterprise Fellowship by the Royal Academy of Engineering to support her as a CEO of University spin-out company METzero.

METzero is based on Microbial Electrochemical Technology (MET), a form of wastewater treatment that avoids the expensive and energy-intensive aeration step. The technology unlocks the trapped energy in the wastewater, efficiently removes the organic matter, and recovers hydrogen from this process.

Newcastle University has been at the forefront of Microbial Electrochemical Technology (MET) research and development for the last 15 years through the research work led by Dr Elizabeth Heidrich in collaboration with Northumbrian Water Limited. After years of pilot-testing and developing the technology and IP, the team now aims to advance it further through commercialisation.

METzero's solution can help wastewater treatment plants increase their capacity and reduce the energy costs of treatment whilst also reducing their carbon emissions. It is hoped that METzero can complement existing treatment technologies and help bring the sector closer to net zero. 

The Fellowship is a 12-month accelerator programme for engineering startups and spinouts.

Dr Theodosiou, Lecturer in Environmental Engineering, said: “I am thrilled about this unique opportunity and feel honoured to be awarded the Royal Academy of Engineering Enterprise Fellowship. This Fellowship will allow me to transition from my academic position to the CEO of METzero and equip me with the necessary business and leadership skills to take on this role.

“Transitioning from an academic role into the CEO of a technology startup is an exciting yet challenging step for me. What excites me about this Fellowship is its all-around development approach, from training to coaching, mentoring and networking with alumni and investors. I am excited to get mentored by top tech entrepreneurs who will shape me as a leader and help me navigate the startup world for the first time.

“I look forward to leveraging the Enterprise Hub's extensive network and unlocking opportunities for strategic partnerships. At this crucial point in my journey, having the Enterprise Hub's knowledge and community support feels pivotal to aligning my growth with METzero's success.

“The only way to help solve some of our pressing environmental problems is to accelerate the rate of innovation adoption. Universities have incredible innovations and IP hidden in laboratories that can help solve some of these global challenges. Helping academics and early career researchers (ECRs) turn these innovations into commercialisation can catalyse change and realise impact quicker.”

Dr Pavlina Theodosiou
Dr Pavlina Theodosiou

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