University of Edinburgh takes leading role in global push for 'post-Covid entrepreneurial ecosystems'

Edinburgh is set to take a prime spot in the global push for “post-Covid entrepreneurial ecosystems”.

George Baxter, chief executive of Edinburgh Innovations, will join a panel to discuss targeted initiatives and policies that can work in ecosystem-building.

The city will play a leading role in the initiative after Edinburgh Innovations, part of the University of Edinburgh, joined forces with nine other international universities’ commercialisation services and transatlantic policymakers to help develop entrepreneurial ecosystems for the post-pandemic economic recovery.

George Baxter, chief executive of Edinburgh Innovations, will join a panel to discuss targeted initiatives and policies that can work in ecosystem-building.

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They will draw on comparisons between New York’s entrepreneurial ecosystem and an emerging project approach in London.

Baxter said: “There has never been a greater need to nurture ecosystems for entrepreneurialism, which turns discoveries from the university sector into maximum impact in the real world.

“The TenU forum enables us to learn from successes, pool expertise and spark innovative solutions to the current challenges facing societies and economies across the world”.

The discussion on January 27 is being hosted virtually by TenU, a transatlantic collaboration of ten university technology transfer offices. Member universities are Cambridge, Columbia, Edinburgh, Imperial College London, Leuven, Manchester, MIT, Oxford, Stanford and UCL.

Orin Herskowitz, TenU member and vice-president of intellectual property and tech transfer at Columbia University, and Euan Robertson, chief operation officer (COO) of the Simons Foundation and former COO of the New York City Economic Development Corporation, will share their experiences of contributing to the development of New York’s entrepreneurial ecosystem.

Edinburgh’s membership of TenU is part of an increasingly international focus for Edinburgh Innovations, which recently appointed two US-based non-executive directors – Gillian Cannon who has more than 30 years’ experience in the pharmaceuticals industry, and Karin Immergluck, who leads the Office of Technology Licensing at Stanford University.

Meanwhile, Scale Space – billed as the UK’s new community for scaling businesses – has joined forces with the University of Edinburgh to help unlock the innovation potential of start-ups working in the artificial intelligence (AI) sector.

The aim of a new post-Covid accelerator programme is to boost the best AI start-ups in Scotland, across the UK, Europe and beyond to scale globally within a short timeframe.

Scale Space is backed by Blenheim Chalcot and has partnered with Imperial College London to launch the first physical site, in White City, London. Its partnership with the University of Edinburgh will provide start-up businesses on the accelerator programme with access to a wide range of expertise and mentoring to “help them grow faster and stronger”.

Edinburgh University is home to the largest centres for computing science and informatics in Europe.

The 20 companies selected for the accelerator programme will each receive a £7,500 grant from the Scottish Funding Council through the Data Driven Innovation (DDI) scheme.

The six-month programme will be delivered online from Edinburgh’s Bayes Centre and Scale Space in London.

Charlotte Waugh, enterprise and innovation programme Lead, Edinburgh Innovations, said: “Scale Space’s experience in the scale up sector, its new digital platform and links across the UK and London is a great match for the university’s data driven expertise, providing those on the programme with additional benefits and further developing the online delivery of this exciting and successful AI accelerator programme.”

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