Team NOMAD win IDEA Explosion 2017

Congratulations to PhD students Shyam Reyal and Simone Conte , from Computer Science and Senior Scientific Officer Tomas Lebl, from Chemistry who presented NOMAD (NMR Online Management and Datastore) at IDEA Explosion 2017 and emerged victorious. Shyam delivered a five-minute elevator pitch, whilst Simone and Tomas responded to questions. Judges acknowledged that NOMAD has huge potential with researchers, and were impressed that it has been used in St Andrews for the past 5 years, with other universities now lined-up to make use of its services, fully supporting the use of the prize money to set-up a company.

Shyam reflected on NOMAD’s success-

“When Tomas and I began development of NOMAD in 2012, it started as a simple lab-management system to run the NMR facility, and a mechanism for users to store and retrieve their data efficiently. We didn’t envisage that NOMAD would become what it is now, a full end-to-end data management solution for researchers with over 200 different functions, which we would like to describe as “Google Photos for Research Data”. We didn’t expect it would gain the interest of so many others outside of St Andrews, and could be taken forward as a company. I would like to thank Tomas, Simone, our wonderful dev-team, and our mentors (Professors Al Dearle, Simon Dobson, David O’Hagan, Russel Morris and Doug Philip) for their valuable guidance along the way. We have come far, but we have a long way to go and this is only a small step amongst countless other challenges we’ve faced and about to face in future”.

NOMAD is currently serving ~600 users at the School of Chemistry with storage, access, collaboration and publication of their research data, and aiding lab-managers to efficiently manage their research labs. NOMAD is currently limited to NMR (Nuclear Magnetic Resonance) services inside St Andrews, but is planned to expand into other services such as Powder-X-Ray-Diffraction, Mass Spectrometry, and to other universities outside of St Andrews with similar lab facilities. The current NOMAD team is led by Tomas, Shyam and Simone, and consists of a number of graduate and undergraduate developers and project students from the School of Computer Science.

IDEA Explosion is a competition open to all students and staff at the University of St Andrews, providing an opportunity to turn a business idea into a successful venture. Contestants submit their business idea in writing, from which 12 finalists are selected to present their idea as a five-minute “elevator pitch” in front of a panel of judges, consisting of business experts, venture capitalists, angel investors, and sponsors. The winners are awarded £1500 towards progressing their business idea and have the opportunity to meet people who can give professional business support in taking their idea from concept to creation.