Scottish Enterprise achieves 'impressive' support of record number of academic spin-outs
Scotland’s national economic development agency says it provides backing to research teams to commercialise their innovative ideas and projects, transforming them into businesses, leading to the creation of homegrown high-value jobs, and generating a major financial boost for Scotland. The organisation additionally noted that it was in May of this year named the UK’s top investor in spin-outs by number of deals in the Royal Academy of Engineering’s Spotlight on Spinouts report.
It has now revealed that 33 research teams were supported in the 2022/23 financial year, receiving just over £2 million in Scottish Enterprise grant funding altogether. The period also saw 14 HGSP alumni companies enjoy further growth, leveraging a total of £35.5m in private investment and undertaking £9m of research and development activity. The projects came from research institutions including the universities of Strathclyde, Edinburgh, Aberdeen, Glasgow, Heriot-Watt, Edinburgh Napier and the West of Scotland, and Dundee-based research specialist the James Hutton Institute.
Furthermore, Scottish Enterprise said it supported the creation of six new spin-outs, four of which went on to receive tailored, wrap-around support. The list of the half dozen includes Agrecalc (which came out of Scotland’s Rural College – SRUC) that is behind a carbon footprinting tool; and Albasense (a spin -out from the University of the West of Scotland), which is focused on photonics-based imaging and sensing techniques.
Also among the six firms are TauProbes (from the University of Glasgow) that makes tungsten semiconductor test probes used to check the performance of individual integrated microchips on silicon wafers; and Clyde Hydrogen Systems (that spun out from the same university) that has created technology to help build systems for green hydrogen production at scale.
Completing the list are Eye to the Future, whose retinal imaging technology comes from a collaborative project by the universities of Edinburgh and Dundee; and Fitabeo Therapeutics (spun out from the University of Strathclyde), which develops innovative medicines for situations where existing treatments are inadequate for the target population.
Eye to the Future’s chief executive and co-founder David Bowie said support from all areas of Scottish Enterprise has been “fantastic and a real motivator for our rockstar team who see this as validation of what we’re doing as a business”. Additionally, Fitabeo founder and boss Mallikarjun Chityala the HGSP “helped us access vital resources to develop our idea into a fully-fledged business plan, progress the development of our technology, and build executive and advisory teams”.
Scottish Enterprise boss Adrian Gillespie said: “We are delighted that it has been a record year as spin-outs are vital for Scotland’s economy, and our academic researchers play a pivotal role in tackling global challenges in areas such as climate change, energy and health.” Also commenting was Scottish Innovation Minister Richard Lochhead, who said: “I congratulate Scottish Enterprise for such impressive results in ensuring through this programme that our world-leading universities have a clear pathway to market. We are committed to working with our universities to enhance the role they play. This is why the First Minister recently announced a ten-year Entrepreneurial Campus plan to strengthen global networks and support more university start-up businesses.”
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