The Young Innovators Awards, awarded by Innovate UK and the Prince’s Trust, recognise young people from across Britain and from diverse backgrounds who have great business ideas and the potential to become successful entrepreneurs and future leaders in innovation
Hundreds of young innovators aged 18-30 applied for the programme, with just 63 winners announced nationally as part of the awards, which are in their third year.
As part of the Global Insight Fellowship hosted by the Oxford Healthtech Labs, Mihir was part of a multidisciplinary team consisting of a consultant anaesthetist (Dr Myra Malik) and a lawyer (Abdoukhadre Sall). They spent a month embedded at a regional hospital in Senegal and a university hospital in the UK observing the problems affecting clinicians and patients. Inspired by seeing so many patients on ventilators during the pandemic, Mihir co-invented a simple to use, non-invasive medical device that keeps patients’ muscles engaged when they are on a ventilator to prevent muscle wastage. To ensure the global applicability, it is being designed with input from clinicians from around the world. The project is now growing into a company called Inspiritus Health.
Alongside this, Mihir is also conducting research with Professor Ashok Handa at the Nuffield Department of Surgical Sciences in using oxygen nanobubbles to improve the lives of patients with chronic respiratory diseases.
Commenting on his award and project, Mihir said: ‘During the pandemic, naturally the attention globally was on the need to get seriously ill patients on ventilators, but I became increasingly frustrated as I saw patients slowly wasting away, with no-one considering how to quickly get patients off the ventilators. After six days, a patient can lose up to 32% of their respiratory muscle strength. I paired up with a consultation anaesthetist to develop a non-invasive device to keep the patient’s muscles engaged from the first day of ventilation.
'I feel incredibly grateful to be part of this cohort of winners – the other winners are incredibly inspirational, and having access to the Innovate UK mentors and network is already having a beneficial impact on the progress of the company.’
Mihir will receive a £5,000 grant, one-on-one business coaching and an allowance to cover living costs.
A full list of this year’s award winners and their projects can be found on the UK Research and Innovation website.