Innovate UK’s Women in Innovation programme was launched in 2016 to address underrepresentation of women in business innovation and to encourage more of them to apply to Innovate UK’s funding opportunities. Since its inception, the Programme has enabled brilliant women across the UK to fully achieve their vision for their businesses and change the world, while championing and celebrating gender diversity throughout UK innovation.

Sarah Nicolls is one of the UK’s most successful contemporary concert pianists, performing with London Sinfonietta and making annual appearances at London’s Southbank Centre. She is regularly broadcasted on BBC Radio 3 and her recordings feature on countless CDs and playlists. Now she is doing something no one has done for 130 years – and no woman has done ever.

Sarah’s brainchild is the Future Piano, a ‘Standing Grand’ which completely redesigns the concert piano as a lightweight, portable yet totally acoustic piano. It is designed to give the big sound of a grand piano but with an upright design that fits in most homes.

Future Piano radically rethinks the shape of the instrument by sending the strings vertically up from the keyboard, meaning a big sound facing the performer (on a normal upright, the strings go down to the floor). It also reduces the weight and carbon footprint of a normal grand piano by 60%.

“Our piano could disrupt the entire piano market, including education institutions, millions of homes across the world and world-class concert venues.”

Re-shaping the piano comes from Sarah’s own desire to experiment and innovate with a more accessible music, “to access new sounds more easily and to make that exciting and visible for an audience.”