Humanities Innovation Competition results

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The Humanities Innovation Challenge (HIC), is a competition to identify and support innovative and entrepreneurial ideas emerging from the Humanities Division. This competition is a collaborative venture, run by Oxford University Innovation (OUI) and The Oxford Research Centre in the Humanities (TORCH), staff and students in Humanities with an idea for a social enterprise, startup business or impactful project were encouraged to apply and we received an excellent response.

Finalists were invited to attend a live “dragon’s den” style pitching session, with the winner walking away with £1,000 in cash to kickstart the idea, £5,000 of in-kind support and mentoring and further support (of social networking, media, funding opportunities and other services).

Second and third place entries received £3,000 and £2,000 worth of support, respectively.

We would like to thank everyone who took part and congratulate our winners, who are named below:

Competition Winners


1st Place – My-celium

Name: Dan Holloway (2016 Creative Thinking World Champion)

Department: Linguistics, Philology and Phonetics (Head of Administration and Finance)

“My-celium is a simple, fun way for individuals, groups, and businesses to train their creative skills”


2nd Place – Food to Freedom

Name: Emily T. Troscianko

Department: Medieval and Modern Languages (Researcher)

“Incorporating a core recovery app complemented by freestanding browser-based courses, Food to Freedom will offer the first tailored support for the entire process of recovery from the notoriously treatment-resistant eating disorder anorexia nervosa.”


3rd Place – Sensory Access to Art

Names: Iain Emsley, Nicola Bird, Susan Griffiths, Torø Graven, Jessica Suess

Department: Oxford eResearch Centre, Oxford University Museums, Experimental Psychology

“The museums are working with the OeRC and Experimental Psychology to develop tools to improve access to visual arts for blind and partially sighted people using a combination of audio description and tactile representation of art works”

Our project combines tactile pictures and audio description so that people who can’t see can touch and hear what a painting is. It’s also open to everyone else who wants to touch and listen instead of seeing.”

Other Finalists



Names: Bridget Azubuike (Researcher)

Department: Oxford Department of International Development

WML proposes a solution to the research and data analysis skills gap in Nigeria, it proposes a model with the potential to provide large scale relevant training in 21st century critical thinking, research and data analysis skills while seeking to reduce unemployment in Nigeria”


Modernist Party App

Names: Kate McLoughlin (Professor), Nanette O’Brien (DPhil student) and Bárbara Gallego Larrarte (DPhil student)

Department: Faculty of English

We propose to develop a prototype web-based phone and tablet app called The Modernist Party for use in teaching and learning about modernist literature. The app would serve both teachers and students as a preparatory tool for the role-play exercise and as an accessible resource to draw on throughout it”