A group of students from Cranfield University has won a £5,000 prize from Unilever to help them develop the next generation of ice cream products, as part of the Unilever Ice-cream Innovation Accelerator competition.

Eight multi-disciplinary student teams, from across the University, participated in a hard-fought final with the teams being asked to respond to real-life challenges posed by Unilever’s Ice Cream Division.

The eight teams were shortlisted from a group of 17 entrants, and spent four weeks developing their innovative solutions with intensive coaching support from mentors from both Unilever and Cranfield’s Bettany Centre for Entrepreneurship. In a close-run finale, each team had just seven minutes to pitch their ideas to the judging panel. The students on the winning team, ESPUK, were: Shaifur Rahman Ghori, Alvaro Huete Bernad, Walter Jose Korchoff, Jorge Lareo and Asun Lopez Contreras.

Clive Gristwood, EVP R&D Unilever Food & Refreshment Division commented: “We have a long-standing collaboration with Cranfield University and this competition has been a great opportunity to deepen our relationship and to explore new partnership opportunities. We were delighted with the enthusiasm to work on our ice cream innovation agenda and the quality of the work done by the teams! It was a great event with some exciting ideas presented that we will explore further with the winning teams.”

Professor Simon Pollard, Pro-Vice-Chancellor at Cranfield University, said: “All the student teams produced very strong pitches that demonstrated what Cranfield does best, bringing technology and management together. We are extremely grateful for the support that Unilever continues to provide to our students.”