Congratulations to Andreas Halner, St John's DPhil student, member of the winning team

Andreas HalsnerThe All-Innovate contest is an Oxford inter-college idea competition in which students can pitch their entrepreneurial ideas for a chance to win a top prize of £10,000 prize money, and two runner up prizes of £5,000. The competition aims to encourage ALL students at Oxford, regardless of discipline, to develop an entrepreneurial skill set and to generate entrepreneurial ideas.

All-Innovate is led by Oxford Colleges, in partnership with The Oxford Foundry, and is supported by Santander Universities. The overall winner of the £10,000 prize for the best idea in the 2019 contest was DECancer.AI, developed by a team including Andreas, who has completed pre-clinical medicine and is now in his first year reading for a DPhil in machine learning and clinical medicine. Andreas talks about the experience:

"For a long time, I’ve been fascinated with the intersection of healthcare and quantitative thinking.  This real fascination has been heightened by the growing technological opportunities in our ‘Big Data’ society, where expertise in data science, medicine and machine learning can be combined and applied in problem-specific contexts.  The February 2019 Oxford-wide All-Innovate best ideas competition was a great opportunity for me and collegiate friends, including Peter Liu who is reading for a DPhil in cancer biology at Jesus College, to showcase our start-up idea – DECancer.AI. DECancer uses artificial intelligence analysis of blood data to detect the onset of cancer. Our prototype has already shown great promise in detecting a variety of cancers at their earliest stages, which would enable healthcare systems to begin the treatment process for patients before cancers’ damaging impacts. DECancer has the potential to literally save lives, helping millions of patients and their families.

The competition was intense – there were 100 initial team entrants and four rounds of selection. Ten teams were selected for the All-Innovate final which took place on 28th February. During the final, teams had five-minute presentation time schedules followed by up to five minutes of Q&A led by external investors. Our team is grateful for and honoured to have won the 2019 All-Innovate best ideas competition as well as being awarded with £10,000 prize money, which we will use to continue developing our idea. I would like to stress that it was the All-Innovate process as a whole – irrespective of winning or not winning – which was so rewarding. One high point amongst many was the opportunity we had to engage with such a diverse range of students from across the university and sharing how we envisage translating a passion to do good for individuals and for society into a feasible product. The All-Innovate process really did encourage a spirit of competition alongside the mutual encouragement of and respect for all participating teams."

" I would thoroughly recommend the All-Innovate competition to others who’d like to be in a creative and dynamic environment in which camaraderie abounds! "