We designed, organised and delivered a two-day Innovation Hack to rapidly translate a UKRI and BBSRC-funded research into the food system to improve diabetes and cardiovascular disease prevention.


Imperial College London’s Centre for Translational Nutrition and Food Research, Quadram Institute and John Innes Centre have been awarded a UKRI/BBSRC Seeding Award Fund to rapidly translate a research into the food system. The research identified a genetic mutation (GM) in peas producing a starch able to impact on energy and glucose homeostasis, and contributing on diabetes and cardiovascular disease prevention.


The clients have asked us to design and run a Hack. The objective was to engage SMEs in the food sector and to demonstrate how collaboration across the value chain could contribute to BBSRC-funded research translation. The ultimate objective was to to access a follow-on funding round to demonstrate the commercial viability.

Concepts proposals would have to be produced during the Hack responding to challenges in growing and processing GM peas, and then to design and launch desirable and affordable food propositions that consumers want to eat three times a day, and are able to prevent diabetes and cardiovascular diseases.


With a very tight deadline of just 60 days of preparation due to funding requirements, we adopted a strict management of the preparation process:

  • We organised workshops with the clients to define challenges, identify partner SMEs — across the entire food value chain — and fine-tune the messaging which will be used to prepare material (e.g. website and emails) to recruit participants and to design the Hack
  • We led food industry engagement to invite participants, consumers, mentors, speakers and judges
  • We created challenge-based teams based on confirmed participants
  • We designed Hack facilitation material, including review of keynote speeches and preparation of workshop material, templates and facilitation guide
  • We have planned logistics, coordinated participants, speakers and judges.

On Wednesday 26th February we kicked off Food Hack 2020, 2.5-day Hack aimed at guiding challenge based teams through a process for ideating concepts able to deliver impact from BBSRC-funded research, and prevent diabetes and cardiovascular diseases.

food innovation hack

A team of three venture builders and facilitators coordinated concept ideation and validation with industry mentors, rapid iteration, roadmap planning across the value chain and pitch preparation.

Accelerated Knowledge and Research Translation by Innovating Across the Food Value Chain with Imperial Food Hack 2020

On the last day, we organised a final showcase with public pitches of concepts.

Accelerated Knowledge and Research Translation by Innovating Across the Food Value Chain with Imperial Food Hack 2020


As a result of our food industry engagement, we have brought together 24 organisations from the entire food value chain:

Three teams have created new food concept proposals focusing on three opportunities: on the go, fortified staples and curated meals.

We are now supporting the client to bring these concepts forward into a follow-on funding round to launch the propositions on the market.


“I enjoyed the diverse experts brought together, structure of the day, enthusiasm, and mentors and group guides support. It was a liberating process to be in such an open and innovative environment where there were no wrong answers and quick pace was the key”.

Daniel R.Agrochemicals and Seeds Producer

‘The participants and facilitators’ energy was incredible. It was also great to meet with driven business people. The process and participants did drive innovation to a point. Further work will determine which products are most suited for further development

Becky W.Processors & Growers

‘The time & duration was intense. It was a creative and open minded process, which allowed us to test ideas through viability, feasibility and scientific possibility’.

Alex W.Food Manufacturer


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