Dagenham science teacher turned entrepreneur receives £500k government grant

Marcel Fowler, a former science teacher at Sydney Russell School who has set up his own company. Pic

Marcel Fowler, a former science teacher at Sydney Russell School who has set up his own company. Picture: New Motion Labs - Credit: New Motion Labs

A former Dagenham science teacher is attempting to rewrite the textbooks – and has received a £500,000 investment from the government to help him do so.

Marcel Fowler traded the Sydney Russell School classrooms for the world of business, setting up his own company New Motion Labs.

The company is working to improve the efficiencies of gears, belt drives and chains, with Marcel's designs aiming to reduce mechanical stress and friction whilst also improving power capacity and delivery.

And he has now received a £500,000 grant from the government's Innovate UK fund to allow his company to continue developing their products.

The money is set to fund digital testing in partnership with Brunel University London as well as pay for a test rig for physical testing at the University of Bath's specialist hub.

Marcel, who set up New Motion Labs in 2015, said: "Since childhood I have been interested in the way machines move, but it was only when I was teaching science that I decided that rather than preparing lesson plans using old textbooks, it was time to rewrite them.

"Being recognised as a game-changer by the Innovate UK team has not only enabled us to accelerate the business plan, but it's given our entire team a real boost, knowing that we are playing a crucial role in the next industrial revolution."

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Sydney Russell School principal Janis Davies added: "We are delighted to learn about Mr Fowler, one of our science teachers, and what he has gone on to achieve since leaving us. We are very proud of him.

"Mr Fowler was a role model for those he taught and in whom he created a curiosity and interest in all things scientific. This award will inspire not only his former students but those still at the school about what is possible."

The four-strong team were praised for their "highly innovative" application for the funding, with the Innovate UK grant assessor adding: "Though concentrating on three initial areas, the opportunity to diversify further is extensive.

"Rapid market entry and subsequent growth is expected."