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£100,000 Reading University research award for musical learning idea

A West London entrepreneur has won a global research award for his idea to develop learning tools that combine complex information with music.

Felix Weaver, 36 from Brentford, was crowned the winner of the University of Reading’s just IMAGINE if… award after beating hundreds of applicants from around the world.

Held every two years, the just IMAGINE if… award invites forward thinkers to come up with ideas to address a global challenge that supports one of the United Nations’ 17 Sustainable Development Goals. Their ideas are then evaluated by renowned entrepreneurs and social innovators. The winner receives an award of £100,000 for research and business support from the University of Reading and Henley Business School.

Felix was crowned winner of the just IMAGINE if… for the development of Ultra Rapid, a ground-breaking learning technique that uses generative AI to combine academic information with music and storytelling.

Felix said: “In the UK, it is estimated that up to 20% of the population is neuro-divergent. Some neuro-divergent thinkers, such as those with autism, have very high musical abilities.

“Traditional education methods may focus on listening, reading, and memorisation, but Ultra Rapid encodes information through sound, geometry, and emotion, which is more suitable for neuro-divergent learners. By presenting information this way, Ultra Rapid helps learners remember complex concepts by pairing them with easy-to-remember melodies.”

The winner of the award was announced by just IMAGINE if… founder Paul Lindley, University of Reading Chancellor and former UK Entrepreneur of the Year at a gala dinner at Henley Business School’s Greenlands campus on Thursday, 21 March.

Paul Lindley, Chancellor of the University of Reading, said: “Felix is a wonderful entrepreneur with an innovative mind. He is a very worthy winner of just IMAGINE if…

His idea will make a huge impact on a wide range of people all over the world for many years to come.

“I founded just IMAGINE if… to drive real, sustainable change by taking little ideas and making them huge and transformative. Imagination can change the world.

“The University of Reading and I believe in the limitless potential of humanity. Just IMAGINE if… is the strongest representation of this vision. By combining opportunity, kindness and great ideas, let’s see if we can create something that begins to address the global challenges we face.”

Since its inception, just IMAGINE if… has inspired more than 500 applications and created 20 finalists. Previous winners from Peru and India have benefited from the award, advice, skills, and network support provided by the University of Reading, Henley Business School and the University of Durham.


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