Edinburgh Research and Innovation
INFINITE A UK leader in commercialising research and entrepreneurship
ISSUE 14, 2015-16
COLLABORATION DELIVERS REAL IMPACT FOR BUSINESS
NEW STAR SYSTEM
INDUSTRY PARTNERSHIP CREATES ENVIRONMENTAL SOLUTION
NEW MANUFACTURING CENTRE BOOSTS PRODUCT PROTOTYPING
ENGAGING PERSONALITIES Edinburgh’s world leading experts can offer a vital boost to your operation
08 Inspiration STAR TECH How a sustainable technology partnership has created a new soil remediation system
10 Inspiration TESTING YOUR METAL Vital collaborations between Edinburgh researchers and industry will boost extraction of nickel and cobalt
23 Insight LONG LIVE PARTNERSHIPS Trust, respect and mutual interest build successful collaborations between industry and academia
inside Other content 06 BIG BANG
Exponential growth in company formation
18 SUPERMARKET SWEEP
Innovations in places you might not expect
26 SMART THINKING
Words of wisdom from Edinburgh entrepreneurs
30 GLOBAL REACH
Edinburgh’s agenda of internationalisation
35 DATA SCIENCE
Industry role in new research centre
36 BY THE NUMBERS
How we’re doing
2 | www.research-innovation.ed.ac.uk
12 Get Involved FABLAB+ New manufacturing centre boosting prototype development for business
Get Involved THE SNOWBALL EFFECT A consultancy project is often the first vital step for industry that leads to greater engagement with universities
28 Get Involved LOAN STAR How academic secondments support business innovation
32 Insight BOARD BENEFITS Edinburgh takes an innovative approach to mentoring early stage start-ups
20 Advice MAXIMUM IMPACT Leading industry innovators discuss how to get the most out of collaborating with universities like Edinburgh
MAGAZINE 2015 This issue has been published by Edinburgh Research and Innovation Ltd 1-7 Roxburgh Street, Edinburgh EH8 9TA, Scotland, UK +44 131 650 9090 firstname.lastname@example.org www.research-innovation.ed.ac.uk
PRODUCTION: Designed and produced by Connect Publications (Scotland) Ltd www.connectmedia.cc CONTENT: Editorial: Alex Proudfoot, Marketing Manager. Contributions: Catriona McCarthy, Kevin Collins. Photography: Unless specified, images are ÂŠ Peter Tuffy Photography. All rights reserved. Printed by Stephens & George. When you have finished with this magazine please recycle it. DIGITAL VERSION: Infinite Magazine is available for readers on the go, at www.infinitemagazine.info
Edinburgh Research and Innovation is the research, innovation and enterprise arm of the University of Edinburgh. The views expressed in this magazine are those of Edinburgh Research and Innovation Ltd and the contributors and do not necessarily represent those of the University of Edinburgh. No part of this publication may be reproduced in any form without the prior written consent of the publishers.
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news SP OR T S S TAR T-UP
Fanduel shoots into the $1bn Unicorn Club
University start-up wins prestigious award Artemis Intelligent Power Ltd, a University start-up company has won the Royal Academy of Engineering’s MacRobert Award 2015, the UK’s top prize for innovation in engineering. The award judges called the company’s innovative hydraulic transmission technology “a massive leap forward”, which could increase the power of offshore wind turbines and cut fuel consumption and carbon emissions in trains and buses. The company’s Digital Displacement® hydraulic transmission technology has digitally controlled hydraulics, and researchers say it has the potential to transform the viability of offshore wind power and low carbon transportation. As well as dramatically improving power capacity, the smart, modular system has been designed to overcome the significant reliability issues associated with existing turbines. Dame Sue Ion, Chair of the MacRobert Award judging panel, added: “The company has achieved a technical advance of global importance, making significant power delivery from offshore wind considerably more credible and realisable, and facilitating the global goal of reducing CO2 emissions. This is not simply evolutionary improvement but a complete step change, and one that took years of commitment to achieve.” Artemis is now wholly owned by Mitsubishi Heavy Industries of Japan and the company’s Digital Displacement® transmission system is being used by Mitsubishi in the world’s largest floating wind-turbine – a 7 Megawatt wind-turbine installed 20km off the coast of Japan. The company has maintained strong links with the University since its formation in 1997 by Professor Win Rampen and Professor Stephen Salter to develop the next generation of high performance hydraulic machines. Now Chairman of Artemis, Professor Rampen also holds a Chair in Energy Storage at the University’s Institute for Energy Systems. 4 | www.research-innovation.ed.ac.uk
Daily fantasy sports company FanDuel has become the latest company to join the Unicorn Club for businesses with a market valuation of over $1 billion. The company’s University of Edinburgh roots show the potential for other Scottish university start-ups. FanDuel co-founders Tom Griffiths and Chris Stafford met on the MSc Informatics course at the University of Edinburgh. In 2006, the pair – plus fellow co-founder and Griffiths’ childhood friend Rob Jones – created social networking tool Groopit, which was supported by the University of Edinburgh’s student enterprise service LAUNCH.ed. In 2007, they met Nigel and Lesley Eccles at a networking event and launched HubDub, an online predictions game. They continued to receive support from LAUNCH.ed and were hosted within the Edinburgh Technology Transfer Centre (ETTC) until 2012. Continuing support was provided through Informatics Ventures’ programmes, as well as promoting the company at the annual flagship Engage Invest Exploit (EIE) technology showcase for investors.
Although popular, HubDub was hard to monetise, so the co-founders focused on the sports aspect of the business and identified a niche in the market for the creation of daily fantasy sports – a faster-paced, more exciting alternative to the traditional season-long format. In 2009, they launched HubDub’s spin-off FanDuel, a daily sports fantasy game provider covering major sports in North America, which raised $1.2 million in its first investment round. Due to their new venture’s success, the founders closed down HubDub a year later to focus on FanDuel. Six years later, FanDuel has just completed its fifth investment round, bringing total capital raised to date to $363 million, resulting in the company’s valuation breaking the $1 billion figure. The original co-founders are still at the helm of the company and continue to grow their operations and workforce in the UK and the US. FanDuel has an office at Edinburgh’s Quartermile, as well as headquarters in New York and offices in Glasgow, Orlando and Los Angeles.
SUCCESS STORIES 2000 - 01
44 2008- 09
Enterprise support for University staff and students through Edinburgh Research and Innovation (ERI) has seen company formation levels treble over the past 15 years
Keep up to date on the latest ERI news at bit.ly/ERI-news
A UK perspective on universities and industrial engagement from Dr Pete Hotten, Interim CEO of Edinburgh Research and Innovation G OING G REEN
Scotland’s first low carbon ideas incubator The Edinburgh Centre for Carbon Innovation (ECCi) launched Scotland’s first dedicated low carbon ideas incubator at the University of Edinburgh last year to encourage new enterprises that will drive Scotland’s low carbon economy. ECCi was established to accelerate Scotland’s transition towards a low carbon economy through its work supporting low carbon innovation, skills and policy. So far, the Centre has supported over 200 Scottish SMEs and engaged with more than 1,400. The Low Carbon Ideas Lab is based at ECCi and offers support, mentoring and access to ECCI’s community of key sector players. Entrepreneurs are selected in a ‘Dragon’s Den’-style scenario, pitching their business ideas to a panel of experts. The winners are hosted in the low carbon incubator for up to a year to help them develop their ‘green’ ideas and access relevant expertise and funding.
There are six University of Edinburgh start-ups at the ECCi Ideas Lab: Capture Mobility Ltd; Colour Elements Ltd; Dynamic Media Display Ltd; Silver Hydro Ltd; Town Rock Energy Ltd; and Urban Farming Company Ltd
Companies and universities are often regarded as representing very different worlds with different objectives and values. There is, of course, some truth in this view But there is and always has been a reliance on both ‘sides’, the companies (industry) and the universities, for the other to be strong. Why? Because each provides the other with essential elements for their continued success, for example, graduates entering into industry and industrial support for research. Recognition of the need for efficient processes to maximise the synergy between academia and industry for the good of the whole economy grows ever stronger. Over the last 25 years, there have been many initiatives supported by government, universities and industry designed to catalyse such synergy. While there have been notable successes there remains a nagging frustration and realisation that, within the UK at least, there is still a gap between what has been, and what could be, achieved. Current economic factors are intensifying the need for efficient and productive academia-industry interaction. Government budgets for supporting academic research are under pressure and on the other side industry is questioning the return on its own internal R&D investment. The result is greater competition between universities for a diminishing pot of central government support and industry looking to place the high-risk fundamental and early-stage research activity with external (e.g. academic) suppliers. This environment should result in an increasing and productive interaction, partnership, between universities and industry. But is either side fully equipped to maximise this opportunity? The relatively recent rise (over the last 25 years or so) and then rationalisation of university-based technology transfer offices (TTOs) provides a partial insight into some key issues. Simple ‘technology push’ from academia is not enough, nor is it sufficient for industry to fund tactical applied research (development) projects. True sustainable partnerships are needed. Such partnerships take time to form. They are built on trust and understanding.
Universities need to become better at understanding ‘market pull’ factors; what is it companies are really looking for and why? Equally industry needs to understand the importance for long-term and strategic support for universities if they are to provide continued access to excellence (be it graduates, technology, advice, etc). Both sides need high level business development (BD) skills to catalyse the interactions and relationship building. The good news is that universities and industry increasingly recognise the need to support each other and they are developing new paradigms for making this happen. In particular the priority for sustainable long term advantage over short-term financial results is becoming accepted. With the stress on multi-disciplinary approaches and the advent of quality and holistic BD functions in the university sector, the future is looking bright.
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REACTEC LTD BECOMES EDINBURGH’S FIRST STUDENT START-UP COMPANY
BIOSCOT LTD BECOMES ONE OF SCOTLAND’S FIRST BIOTECH SPIN-OUT COMPANIES
MILESTONE YEAR FOR UNIVERSIT Y OF EDINBURGH AS SPIN-OUTS AND START-UPS BREAK 400
1984 WOLFSON MICROELECTRONICS LTD SPINS OUT FROM UNIVERSITY (ACQUIRED 2014 BY CIRRUS LOGIC, INC.)
22 22 spin-out and start-up companies raised £237.4 million in 2014-15 6 | www.research-innovation.ed.ac.uk
VISION GROUP PLC: FIRST SCOTTISH UNIVERSITY SPIN-OUT TO BE PUBLICLY LISTED ON UK STOCK EXCHANGE
43 start-up events attracting 1,837 student and staff delegates in 2014-15
LAUNCH.ED IS SET UP TO BOOST STUDENT ENTERPRISE AT THE UNIVERSITY
Old College Capital (OCC) invests £2 million in 10 companies and raises a further £6 million to invest in 2015
Enterprise ecosystem at the University
2004 MTEM LTD RECEIVES LARGEST INVESTMENT (£7.4M) FOR A SCOTTISH UNIVERSITY SPINOUT COMPANY AT LAUNCH
ERI COMPANY FORMATION Edinburgh Research and Innovation (ERI) provides practical enterprise support to University staff, especially in the formation of spin-out companies to commercialise the discoveries arising from research at the University.
2014 ENTERPRISE CAMPUS LAUNCHED AT EDINBURGH TO BOOST SCOTTISH POSTGRADUATE ENTERPRISE
1967 REYNOLDS MEDICAL LTD IS THE EARLIEST RECORDED SPINOUT COMPANY FROM THE UNIVERSITY
371 new ideas uncovered in 2014-15
44 44 new spin-out/ start-up companies formed in 2014-15
2015 FANDUEL, INC. IS FIRST SCOTTISH UNIVERSITY STARTUP TO JOIN THE $1BN VALUED ‘UNICORN CLUB’
This business initiative provides enterprise support through ERI to explore alternative career options for postdocs at the University of Edinburgh, offering courses on business skills, enterprise, creativity, IP and technology transfer. LAUNCH.ED ERI’s award-winning enterprise service for student entrepreneurs, LAUNCH.ed works with students every day to help them explore their ideas, find funding and business partners, and ultimately, to work for themselves. EDINBURGH E-CLUB The Edinburgh Entrepreneurship Club (E-Club) is consortium of students, alumni, researchers, faculty and staff from across the university, and colleagues from the wider community who share a common goal of fostering the entrepreneurial spirit. EDINBURGH BIOQUARTER
1990 VLSI VISION LTD SPINS OUT TO COMMERCIALISE WORLD’S SMALLEST DIGITAL CAMERA
This joint initiative between Scottish Enterprise, the University and NHS Lothian identifies and develops life science companies from the novel scientific concepts and technologies from University academics and clinicians at the Edinburgh BioQuarter. ENTERPRISE CAMPUS Coordinated by Edinburgh Research and Innovation, three regional Enterprise Campus hubs based in Edinburgh, Aberdeen and Strathclyde will ensure that student and staff entrepreneurs across Scotland’s universities have access to high-quality enterprise services. ECCI IDEAS LAB The Edinburgh Centre for Carbon Innovation (ECCi) Ideas Lab is Scotland first low carbon ideas incubator, providing support, mentoring and world class accommodation for ideas that accelerate Scotland’s progress towards a low carbon economy.
Sector analysis ENERGY 3% RETAIL 5% HEALTHCARE 5% SPORT & LEISURE 6% EDUCATIONAL SERVICES 6% FOOD & DRINK 7% DIGITAL MEDIA 8% BIOTECHNOLOGY 9% CONSULTING 10% ICT 19%
INFORMATICS VENTURES Informatics Ventures is tied with the University’s School of Informatics to support Scotland’s technology entrepreneurs. Their entrepreneurial education programmes deliver masterclasses, workshops and the annual flagship Engage Invest Exploit (EIE) technology showcase for investors. INSTITUTE FOR ACADEMIC DEVELOPMENT (IAD) IAD delivers business and enterprise training support for students and staff who want to gain broader business skills and knowledge to enhance their career options, and supports those who specifically have a business idea they are interested in taking to market. http://www.ed.ac.uk/schools-departments/ Infinite | 7
> I N S P I R AT I O N
(c) Christine Switzer, The University of Edinburgh
Check out the latest innovations from Edinburgh that could help your company become market leaders. bit.ly/ERI-opportunities
STAR TECH Sustainable technology partnership between the University of Edinburgh and Savron Solutions has created a new system to transform previously abandoned industrial sites into viable development land
n Europe alone, there are more than 2.5 million exindustrial sites with over ¤6 billion a year currently being spent on managing contaminated sites. As growing populations increase the demand for new housing stock, as well as industrial expansion, there is an urgent need to redevelop these ‘brownfield sites’ rather than develop on ‘greenfield’ land. Now, as a result of a successful international industry/academic partnership between the 8 | www.research-innovation.ed.ac.uk
University of Edinburgh and Savron Solutions, a remediation technology provider based in Guelph, Canada, a sustainable solution is available that enables previously abandoned industrial sites to be reclaimed and reused. The Self-sustained Treatment for Active Remediation (‘STAR’) technology was developed 10 years ago by a team of researchers at the University of Edinburgh, led by Professor Jose Torero. STAR uses smouldering combustion, the type of combustion that turns charcoal into ash in your barbecue grill, to quickly and
efficiently destroy hydrocarbons, one of the most frequently occurring industrial contaminants. After demonstrating the technology in the lab, the team were able to scale up with support through the Scottish Enterprise Proof of Concept programme, which led to a semi-commercial demonstration using four tonnes of contaminated sample in a skip in 2008. In 2010, Edinburgh Research and Innovation, the University’s commercialisation arm, negotiated an exclusive worldwide licence agreement
RIGHT: Soil samples before (left) and after STAR treatment
FROM PROOF OF CONCEPT TO COMMERCIAL SOLUTION
The development of a patent-protected technology from initial concept through to full-scale implementation of a solution that is safe, effective and scalable: 2005 First ever demonstration of the smouldering of liquids in the lab by the
STAR research team
Core STAR technology is patented (subsequently granted in USA, Canada, Australia, China and Japan) Scottish Enterprise Proof of Concept funding is secured, allowing the technology to be scaled up 2007 Scale up to 200-litre barrel achieved with assistance from Lothian &
Borders Fire Service
2008 First semi-commercial implementation (four tonnes of contaminated
sample in a skip)
2010 Exclusive licence deal signed between the University and Geosyntec
2011 STAR feasibility testing of 18 sites (testing 10 different hydrocarbons, 5
soil types, and 5-100% saturation levels)
STARx prototype reactor system developed 2012 Geosyntec undertake two field trials demonstrating sustained destruction
(with additional energy input) and 99% remediation
2014 Geosyntec sets up Savron Solutions to deliver land remediation services
using STAR technology
Strategic partnership with Chevron to make STARx a widely available ex-situ product, with field reactors planned for release in 2015
(c) Geosyntec Consultants, Inc.
of contaminated soils and STARx is used for the ex situ treatment of contaminated soils and liquid organic wastes. Dr Gavin Grant, Savron Solutions’ Operations Manager, said: “Our collaboration with the University of Edinburgh and the inventors of the technology has led to the formation of Savron, a multinational provider of sustainable waste management and remediation solutions, specialising in the safe, energy-efficient, environmentally responsible treatment of a broad range of hazardous materials. “Savron’s solutions are all based on smouldering combustion and help organisations in the oil and gas, waste management, chemical manufacturing, and utilities industries manage environmental liabilities and comply with regulatory requirements.”
ABOVE: In-situ STAR remediation field trial LEFT: The results from the skip test with coal tar sample
Find out more about accessing Edinburgh’s technologies:
Research. Innovation@ ed.ac.uk
2015 Savron undertakes first full-scale application of STAR to treat coal tar at a
15 hectare site in New Jersey. Operations are under way, with an anticipated end date of late 2016
Savron develops new STARx soil pile system
with Geosyntec Consultants, Inc. for the STAR technology. In the past five years, the team of academic and industrial experts have leveraged the substantial investment needed (including Scottish and Canadian government funding and industry funding) to develop the STAR technology into a commercially viable solution. The academic-industry team conducted feasibility testing at over 18 sites with varying hydrocarbons, soil types and saturation levels, and overcame substantial technical
challenges in 2011 to develop a new ignition system and a real-time monitoring system. The largest field trial of the STAR technology demonstrated sustained destruction rates in excess of 800 kg per day, resulting in the destruction of more than 4,500 kg of coal providing 99 per cent remediation. Full-scale implementation of the technology is now underway at this site. In May 2014, Geosyntec set up a new division called Savron Solutions as their exclusive supplier of two STAR-based solutions for the safe and effective treatment of contaminated soil and liquid organic waste. STAR is used for the in situ treatment
HOW STAR WORKS
STAR provides a radically different and innovative approach to remediation. The key to this is smouldering combustion. A single, short-duration, highly localised energy input is all that is required to start the process, after which the STAR process is self-sustaining provided a sufficient flux of air is supplied. The contaminant itself provides all the energy required for the process. STAR has been shown to be an effective treatment for contaminants for which few viable alternative remediation solutions exists. Successful scale-up and implementation of STAR for a variety of contaminant and soil types has demonstrated more than 99 per cent remediation. STAR is cheaper, more sustainable and safer than alternative approaches. At some sites, it can offer a saving of 50 per cent against the current ‘dig and dump’ remediation approach that entails substantial costs and presents significant pollution and sustainability problems. It also has approximately 1/10th the carbon footprint (measured in terms of tons of equivalent carbon dioxide emitted) compared to dig and dump remediation.
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> I N S P I R AT I O N Find out what industry innovators have learned from working with the University of Edinburgh in the ‘Maximum Impact’ feature on page 20
metal With a rapidly increasing demand for base metals, an industry collaboration with Edinburgh researchers to improve extraction methods could prove vital
B DID YOU KNOW? Nickel is widely used in over 300,000 products Nickel is the fifth most common element on earth; however, most of it is inaccessible in the planet’s core About 1.4 million tonnes of new or primary nickel is produced in the world each year Nickel is traded on the London Metal Exchange (approx. US$10,500 per tonne) © Nickel Institute (http://www. nickelinstitute.org)
ase metals such as nickel and cobalt play a major role in our everyday lives, from mobile phones and rechargeable batteries to medical equipment and gas turbines; the list is almost endless. Nickel offers better corrosion resistance, better toughness, is stronger at high and low temperatures and possesses special magnetic and electronic properties. As a result, demand for nickel and cobalt is increasing rapidly. Supplies are threatened by diminishing deposits of the sulfidic ores which can be processed by traditional smelting processes. Researchers in the University of Edinburgh’s School of Chemistry have been collaborating with Cytec Industries Inc., a multinational materials and chemical technology company, to develop new technology that can recover base metals from the more prolific laterite ores (60 per cent of existing deposits). The School has a long history of collaborating with industry in the field of metal recovery, stretching back to 1985 with Emeritus Professor Peter Tasker, who directed the Coordination Chemistry Group in ICI/ Zeneca, which subsequently formed Cytec’s Metal Extraction Products R&D group. The new technology uses hydrometallurgy to process laterite ores, providing better material and energy balances than smelting if strong and selective extractants can be designed to remove the target metals from solution. The University’s Metal Recovery Group, led by Professor Jason Love, has extensive expertise in the design of strong and selective metal-complexing agents, complemented by computational chemistry (Dr Carole Morrison) which allows the structures and properties of the metal complexes to be probed in detail. A very successful recent collaboration between the company and the University also included the mining group Anglo American. Reagents were designed to recover base metals to meet the requirements of Anglo’s revolutionary ARFe process, which creates a saleable iron product. In existing processes, iron has to be precipitated as ‘red mud’, which is associated with major disposal costs and environmental issues. Although nickel (Ni) and cobalt (Co) typically make up less than 10 per cent of the metal content of laterite ores, together they represent over 80 per cent of the potential value. The project began with a PhD studentship for James Roebuck, which was jointly funded by Cytec and Anglo
10 | www.research-innovation.ed.ac.uk
American Research Laboratories (Pty) Ltd, under the supervision of Dr Philip Bailey, alongside Max Pelser, Research Scientist at Anglo American, and Adam Fischmann, Research Scientist at Cytec. In the early stages of discussions with Anglo American, it was proposed that SX could be used for the ‘value recovery’ step in the bottom loop of the general flowsheet. Subsequently, it was realised that SX could also be incorporated into the top loop. The extraction process requires high selectivity for Co and Ni over iron and good stability of reagents under the process conditions. Suitable reagents will recover Ni and Co sequentially or they could be co-extracted, followed by subsequent separation. Resource extraction is predicted to increase by 75 per cent over the next 25 years, and the uncertain access to sources of certain metals makes the development of new processes in extractive metallurgy a very high priority, especially metal recycling from discarded products and from process wastes. Unlike pyrometallurgical procedures, hydrometallurgy can lead to excellent materials and energy balances when solvent extraction is used to achieve the separation and concentration of targeted metals because reagents are recycled. According to Professor Love: “Our strong relationship
OUR COLLABORATION WITH CYTEC LED US TO DEVELOP COMPUTATIONAL MODELS TO UNDERSTAND THE MODES OF ACTION OF REAGENTS USED IN EXTRACTIVE METALLURGY
with Cytec means that Edinburgh PhD students receive training as interns at Cytec’s Stamford Labs in the US, ensuring that they understand the key requirements for hydrometallurgical extraction and recycling. This makes them very attractive recruits for industrial and government research labs. Six graduates in the last five years have been hired in such institutions. Also, one postdoc is Head of Research at a metal company in the US and one holds a chair in New Zealand, allowing him to continue work on metal extraction. This unique relationship also allows several of our undergraduate students to be hosted by Cytec for their Industrial Year Abroad, and many of these go on to take up PhD positions in related areas.” Dr Michael Moser, Cytec Industries’ Research
Manager, said: “The collaboration with the University of Edinburgh’s School of Chemistry has been in place for nearly twenty years. The roots of this collaboration go even further back to the time when Peter Tasker once directed an industrial Research Group which was to become Cytec’s Metal Extraction Products R&D group. The recent work has led to the discovery of a new family of metal extractants for the recovery of base metals from laterites.” Professor Tasker notes that “The collaboration with both Anglo and Cytec on developing reagents for the ARFe project represents an excellent example of the ‘synergistic’ benefits of having an end-user define for a supplier the detailed technical requirements for new reagents.” He added, “Other industrial partners have also provided support for four major UK research council proof-of-concept projects at Edinburgh to develop new science to underpin the development of novel products and processes in extractive metallurgy.” Dr Carole Morrison comments “Our collaboration with Cytec led us to develop computational models to understand the modes of action of reagents used in extractive metallurgy, which our researchers could then test using equipment and expertise in Cytec’s labs. This is a fantastic opportunity to apply core science techniques to problems with industrial relevance.”
ABOVE: The Edinburgh team (left to right): Professor Jason Love, Emeritus Professor Peter Tasker and Dr Carole Morrison
Find out more about industry engagement at the University of Edinburgh:
email@example.com Infinite | 11
> G E T I N V O LV E D If your firm could benefit from the outstanding prototyping facilities showcased here, please get in touch. bit.ly/edinburgh-fablab
12 | www.research-innovation.ed.ac.uk
NEW CENTRE SUPPORTS START-UPS AND ENABLES ENTREPRENEURS BY OFFERING PREMIUM PROTOT YPING SKILLS AND FACILITIES, INCLUDING 3D PRINTING, AT EXCELLENT VALUE
he University of Edinburgh has established FabLab+, a new centre which offers a wide range of advanced rapid prototyping equipment and consultancy solutions for Edinburgh’s rapidly developing tech start-up community. FabLab+ aims to facilitate the development of new products and tangible prototypes by early-stage companies who make more than software. FabLab+ is a modern digital FABrication LABoratory that provides a focal point for combining the University’s world-class academic expertise with state-of-the-art equipment to enable companies to translate innovative ideas into commercially viable solutions. The ‘FabLab’ concept isn’t new – the first one was established at MIT in 2001 and there are now over 425 FabLabs around the world. The University of Edinburgh, however, has taken the concept of a FabLab and extended it to meet the needs of hightechnology focused entrepreneurs and start-up companies, in addition to Edinburgh’s burgeoning
academic research and development community. FabLab+ is constantly improving its capabilities and was selected to attend Scotland CAN DO SCALE 2015 – Scotland’s premier entrepreneurship training programme – run by The MIT Sloan School of Management and Harvard Business School. FabLab+ spans the development process from concept modelling, simulation and design through to the rapid manufacture and validation of high-quality low-volume prototypes. Companies can access academic expertise combined with a wide range of equipment, materials, and tools – all contained within one building – to create prototypes, then test and validate their designs in shorter time-frames and at much reduced costs, before scaling up for manufacturing. Dr Javid Khan, Managing Director of Holoxica Ltd, a local technology company that specialises in holographic 3D visualisation, has previously worked with the FabLab+ team. He said: “FabLab+ allows us to turn around industrial grade work faster, with better quality, at a fraction of the cost of other commercial facilities.” FabLab+ houses a comprehensive list of state-of-
LEFT: Costa Talalaev and Dr Adam Stokes demonstrate the FabLab+ 3D laser scanning arm Infinite | 13
the-art prototyping equipment, including: 3D printing, a range of CNC milling solutions, laser cutting, a 3D laser scanning arm, professional-quality electronic PCB fabrication and fully equipped chemical lab. However, it’s the team’s academic and industrial expertise, coupled with their knowledge of CAD and CAM design packages, circuit design and PCB manufacturing that enables them to tackle even the toughest problem solving challenges head on. In fact, when the FabLab+ team found that the 3D printer they had wouldn’t work for solving a problem that they were working on, involving fabrication using soft-materials, they built a new machine themselves from scratch using the lab’s equipment, at a fraction of the cost of a commercial solution! As a demonstration of their capability, the team have also developed their own ‘fully recyclable plastic electric motor’, using their advanced rapid prototyping equipment. The motor can be disassembled at its end of life and all of the thermoplastic components can be recycled into a new motor, again by 3D printing. The manufactured prototype has a range of applications including fans, automotive and industrial
INNOVATION AND ENTREPRENEURSHIP CHALLENGE
Are you an entrepreneur who has a world-changing idea but you lack the skills or equipment to make a prototype? Or, do you have a tough problem which requires an innovative solution? Throughout 2015/2016, FabLab+ will be opening a competition to win a fully funded Innovation Week in the facility to develop solutions, and to turn your ideas into reality. Keep in touch at bit.ly/edinburgh-fablab
14 | www.research-innovation.ed.ac.uk
WE LOVE A CHALLENGE AND WE HAVE THE ABILITY TO MANUFACTURE ALMOST ANYTHING – THE ONLY LIMIT IS THE IMAGINATION
applications. It can be easily scaled depending on the requirements and the open-source design means it can be modified, fabricated, and recycled by any FabLab anywhere in the world. Costa Talalaev, Technical and Business Development Manager of FabLab+, said: “Our electric motor and generator project showcases one aspect of how the FabLab+ can generate impact around the world. This device was created based on the principles of utility, simplicity and sustainability, and designed by highly trained engineers in Edinburgh. We love a challenge and we have the ability to manufacture almost anything - the only limit is the imagination!” The FabLab+ team also offer an ‘Innovation Week’, which gives companies five days to develop their ideas at the facility. A multi-disciplinary academic team works together with the company over the space of a week to help them accelerate the time taken to develop new ideas and products, starting with discussing and understanding the issue and resulting in a number of solution options and prototypes. Dr Adam Stokes, Director of FabLab+, said: “The FabLab concept allows users to make almost anything. The University of Edinburgh FabLab+ couples that capability with the University’s academic and commercial expertise to facilitate companies who aim to make more than software. We are enabling entrepreneurs from inside and outwith the University environment to collaborate and make an impact by turning their ideas into prototypes. ”
ABOVE: As well as the cutting-edge tech available at FabLab+, including 3D printing, the team have unrivalled expertise to offer
ABOVE: Costa Talalaev and Dr Adam Stokes with Dr Javid Khan, Managing Director of Holoxica Ltd
C A SE S TUDY
DEVELOPING AN ADVANCED SUSPENSION TRACKING SYSTEM
co-create the system with the potential for growth and utilised the principles of design for manufacturability. As a result, the system can easily be applied to many other transport applications, leading to improvements in energy efficiency and performance of any suspension system. Alan Mason, Director at SussMyBike Ltd and keen mountain biker, said: “Working with FabLab+, I received invaluable support in my start-up adventure. I’ve managed to build a prototype for a fraction of cost and very quickly. The support by specialists in the FabLab+ team also helped improve the final concept of the device beyond what was planned originally. It was a real collaborative effort all round!” www.sussmybike.com
LEFT: FabLab+ helped SussMyBike develop a prototype suspension monitoring system for mountain bikes
SussMyBike Ltd is developing an advanced suspension-monitoring system that provides feedback via a smartphone to allow mountain bikers to optimise their bike’s suspension. With funding through the SFC Innovation Voucher Scheme, Fablab+ worked with the SussMyBike team to design and manufacture accurate sensor components and an embedded system which is capable of tracking suspension movement on the bike at speeds of up to 70km per hour. This system opens the way to advanced performance analysis of various kinds of suspension used by Enduro mountain bike racers, and offers the capability of suspension optimisation to suit a particular track or rider. FabLab+ worked with the team to
Find out how the FabLab+ can help your business
Industry. Engagement@ ed.ac.uk Infinite | 15
> G E T I N V O LV E D Consultancy has been shown to be an effective way to start fruitful partnerships with universities like Edinburgh bit.ly/ERI-consultancy
Effect 16 | www.research-innovation.ed.ac.uk
ne of the primary roles of the consultancy team at Edinburgh Research and Innovation (ERI), the commercialisation arm of the University of Edinburgh, is to help create the conditions that allow relationships between business and the University to flourish. A recent impact report compiled by ERI showed that a consultancy arrangement between academics and industry is often the first vital step in an industry engagement process that can bring unforeseen and far-reaching benefits for both sides. Aileen Appleyard, who leads ERI’s consultancy team, said: “Our specialists will work with an academic to build a proposal, take it to contract and manage the financial side of things. In essence, they make it easy for the academic to do the thing that they do best – focus on helping the company.” She added that relationships often develop around common areas of interest. “Companies are interested in developments in particular fields and connecting with academics who can help them in that space. The academic is interested in furthering their research and the work that they are doing. This is a key component in enabling both the company and the University to create a mutually beneficial agreement.” Almost 400 University of Edinburgh academics responded to the survey for the impact report, having undertaken a consultancy project within the past four years. The survey revealed some interesting results, including that more than 50 per cent of projects led to a tangible outcome, from policy changes to new software, products and licenced drugs. The majority of academics (over 60 per cent) also reported having undertaken more than one consultancy project in the past four years, with more than 14 per cent having undertaken more than 10. Furthermore, 55 per cent of consultancy projects have led to further engagement with companies, including new consultancy, sponsored research projects, studentships, licence agreements and clinical trials.
of consultancy projects have led to further engagement with companies
One example of the latter is the case of Dr Alistair Williams of the School of Pathology at the University and his work with Geneva-based pharmaceutical company, PregLem S.A. The initial contact came when Dr Williams, along with now retired colleague Professor David Baird, presented his research on the effect of a family of drugs called progesterone receptor modulators (PRMs) on the lining of the womb (the endometrium) at an international conference in 2006. Changes caused by the drugs were thought to be pre-cancerous but the Edinburgh academics recognised they were, in fact, benign. Their findings prompted contact by Ernest Loumaye, Chief Executive of PregLem, which had the licence for benign gynaecological use of the drug. Subsequently, a consultancy arrangement was put in place and, in 2008, Dr Williams was asked to be a pathologist for clinical trials of UPA (Ulipristal Acetate) in the treatment of uterine fibroids (growths of the uterus which can appear during a woman’s childbearing years). Dr Williams explained: “The trials were large, involving around 300 patients each time. And they were successful in several senses. First, the drugs were very effective in shrinking fibroids, which was the indication they were being considered for. They also rapidly reduced menstrual bleeding in women with fibroids. In fact, they proved to be superior to any other medical treatment available for fibroids.” The series of four trials was completed at the beginning of 2014. As a result of their success, UPA, the first PRM in the class
“If it wasn’t for the strong pathology and assessment of endometrial changes, we wouldn’t have been able to answer EMA concerns”
for treatment of fibroids, received European Medicines Agency license (marketing authorisation) in February 2012. In Europe, there is a potential market for this drug of over 23 million women. Similar trials, required for FDA approval of UPA in North America, are about to start in the US, and, once again, Dr Williams has been asked to act as pathologist. Throughout the European trials a strong relationship was essential. Pablo Arriagada, Head of Scientific Affairs at PregLem, said: “Personally, I have been in contact with Dr Williams since 2014 and the relationship is very easy because he is approachable and open to collaboration. He was always willing to help because he understood that we were interested in developing the pathology to support the patient. “If it wasn’t for the strong pathology and assessment of endometrial changes, we wouldn’t have been able to answer EMA concerns and wouldn’t have a product on the market.” Alistair Williams was equally impressed by PregLem’s approach. “They were very inclusive and very good at listening to what we wanted to do. The company didn’t have its own agenda – everyone was very open.” The successful trials have not only led to joint publications in highprofile journals, but Dr Williams’ work has also helped a senior clinical academic colleague secure funding for a clinical trial of UPA for a different problem – heavy menstrual bleeding. This £1.5 million Edinburgh-based multi-centre trial, funded through the National Institute of Health Research’s Efficacy and Mechanism Evaluation programme, has begun recruiting patients. Similarly, Dr Williams’ experience around UPA has led to his involvement with the Population Council to develop a new method of contraception that slowly releases UPA into the bloodstream. Given the Population Council’s global reach this could, if successful, have an impact on women worldwide. From the initial conference presentation by Dr Williams in 2006 to a new licensed therapeutic for PregLem, new research opportunities for the University resulting in a new indication for which clinical trials are now underway, this collaboration has certainly had a snowball effect of dramatic proportions.
WE CAN HELP The range of Edinburgh’s consultancy services available is extensive: • Advice and opinion • Experimental/ prototype design & development • Testing & analysis • Assessment of existing processes • Event speaker • Strategic planning • Testing of new/emerging technologies • Scientific advisory board • Customised training • Commercial drug trial design and evaluation • Expert witness • Programme management • Capacity building for emerging economies
If you would like to find out how to engage with the University of Edinburgh on a consultancy project, visit:
Industry. Engagement@ ed.ac.uk Infinite | 17
>INSIGHT Our academics develop and improve countless products consumed by millions. Could you benefit from our expertise? bit.ly/working-with-us
Supermar ENHANCING YOUR SHOPPING BASKET THROUGH UNIVERSITY RESEARCH AND EXPERTISE
You may not realise it but everyday household items that end up in your shopping basket are continually improved through technology innovations developed at universities like Edinburgh, or as a result of industry accessing a universityâ€™s academic expertise to improve existing products or support the development of new lines. BEEF
Vaccine system to protect cattle against a range of diseases to improve health and enhance productivity.
Screening technology for salmon industry to improve breeding processes, leading to better health and quality of farmed salmon.
DESSERTS & SAUCES Improvements to food ingredients for use in desserts, including natural food dyes and sauces.
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Environmentally sustainable method for manufacturing biodegradable plastics for use in drinks bottles, food packaging, etc.
Food-grade protein used in ice cream production resulting in a healthier product (lower saturated fat and sugar content) and improved taste/ texture.
rket sweep PERSONAL CARE PRODUCTS
Natural protein ingredient as a foaming agent, creating a more luxurious, longer-lasting shaving foam, shower gel, hair mousse and shampoo products.
Chemical-free ingredient for coating/adhesion of hair dye, resulting in longer-lasting dye effect, longer time between treatments and less damage to hair.
Natural ingredient that improved preservation/ protection of natural extracts (fragrances or active ingredients) in cosmetics.
Plant-derived enzymes for use in washing detergents to enhance stain repellence, improve dye fastness or add fragrances to textiles.
Laboratory testing on wheat and gluten-free dog treats to ensure that the finished manufactured product is robust enough for high-volume production.
HERBAL TOOTHPASTE Develop and testing toothpaste incorporating a variety of herbs that heal trauma and infections in the mouth.
RESEARCH & CONSULTANCY Infinite | 19
>ADVICE If you would like to discover more about working with the University of Edinburgh then check out the ERI website. bit.ly/working-with-us
impact A wide-ranging review by Professor Dame Ann Dowling on behalf of the UK Government highlighted that businesses are not fully capitalising on the wealth of expertise they can access by engaging with academic institutions. Here, a number of senior figures within industry who have experienced working with Edinburgh discuss the benefits the collaboration brought 20 | www.research-innovation.ed.ac.uk
We consulted with a range of companies who have worked with the University of Edinburgh to learn from their experiences and get their advice on how to get the most out of collaborating with an academic institution.
ARTEMIS INTELLIGENT POWER LTD HYDRAULIC TECHNOLOGIES PROFESSOR WIN RAMPEN, CHAIRMAN
Our company developed out of work being carried out at the University of Edinburgh more than 21 years ago. I now combine my roles as Chairman of Artemis Intelligent Power with a Chair in Energy Storage at the School of Engineering – a role that probably came about as a result of Artemis’s success. We have done a lot of work with the University’s Engineering department, and we are currently partners in an Innovate UK Catalyst programme on energy storage. ERI (Edinburgh Research and Innovation, the University of Edinburgh’s commercialisation arm) has helped with the grant application and the Intellectual Property (IP) agreement, which was fundamental to the programme. Business and academia have different drivers and capabilities. If you can harness their individual strengths and create synergy between the two different organisations, you can create huge potential. In this case I have my University hat on, working on grid-scale energy storage. Before that, at Artemis, I was involved in making large hydraulic machines that could have a new role in that storage. The two have a natural level of synergy, as parts of the same project. But we could never have done the ‘blue skies’ end of this project at Artemis, because it’s nowhere near commercialisation. That’s often the case. There is a role for both, and the rules of engagement for both parties are different, therefore collaboration is often the best way to proceed.
hen Professor Dame Ann Dowling was asked by the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills to consider how to better support relationships between businesses and university researchers in the UK, her report delivered a range of observations. Professor Dowling’s Review of Business-University Research Collaborations, released in July, highlighted that “strategic business-university research collaborations provide a myriad of benefits to their participants”. She noted that, for academics, the benefits include the opportunity to address challenging research questions with real-world applications, see their research have tangible impacts and gain access to new skills, data or equipment. Companies can find the opportunity to improve business performance through developing new techniques or technologies, de-risk investment in research, and extend the capabilities and expertise available to the firm. Yet Professor Dowling also emphasised that the UK is not reaping the full potential provided by the opportunity to connect innovative businesses — from both the UK and overseas — with the excellence in the UK’s academic research base.
CYTEC INDUSTRIES, INC. CHEMICALS AND MATERIALS TECHNOLOGY MICHAEL MOSER, RESEARCH MANAGER
University collaborations rarely have a significant input to project development and acceleration if there is not a mutual engagement of the parties participating. The engagement level of Edinburgh’s staff is extremely high, leaving it to the companies to counter this contribution to a similar level to impact project execution. Our collaboration with Edinburgh’s highly qualified and highly equipped researchers flourishes from the dedication the collaborators put into the project.
ACTIVE MOTIF, INC. RESEARCH KITS, ASSAYS AND BIOCOMPUTING SYSTEMS JÖRG PLÜMPE, CORPORATE & BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT
Part of our business model is based on licensing novel technologies from academic partners. We rely heavily not only on the innovation of academic research groups, but also on the ‘technology transfer’ departments. We have worked with ERI since June 2006, when we signed a licence for one technology in one of our core fields of business. We appreciated that ERI had a great understanding of the business and the scientific environment we are working in. When discussing the terms of the agreement, and during an adaptation of the contract to latest market developments, we recognised that ERI is a fair partner that balances the interest of the university and the commercial aspects in a fair way. The whole process of negotiation and execution of the contract was very professional and finished in a narrow time frame. In addition, we » Infinite | 21
experienced that our contact person has been very responsive to all kind of requests from our side. We see the relationship with ERI as very positive for us and we would definitely enter into another agreement if the technology matched our product portfolio and market requirements.
THE MENTHOLATUM COMPANY LTD PAIN RELIEF FOR MUSCLE AND JOINT CARE COLIN BROWN, DIRECTOR OF RESEARCH & QUALITY DEVELOPMENT
Mentholatum and the University of Edinburgh work together on opportunistic projects and strategic longterm collaborations. By utilising the expertise of the University’s scientific teams, the company has been able to extend its own knowledge by tapping into a pool of talent that would otherwise be hidden from it. To this end, Mentholatum has embarked upon feefor-service rheology testing at the Edinburgh Complex Fluid Partnership that has generated data for each of its topical medicines. Additionally, by funding PhD studentships in pioneering medical imaging techniques at the Clinical Research Imaging Centre, Mentholatum has been given access to scientists and technology that has the potential to convert scientific endeavour into genuine commercial benefits. Objectively measured, evidence-based outcomes provide the company with a greater understanding of its existing portfolio of products. Obtaining data about the physical attributes and physiological performance of its topical medicines informs current marketing strategies and future product developments. Association with centres of excellence and institutions of international renown, such as those at the University of Edinburgh, adds to Mentholatum’s credibility as a modern, research-driven organisation and provides the opportunity to share in the publication of papers in peer reviewed scientific journals.
SIMEDICS LTD HEALTHCARE SERVICES MATTHEW DRIVER, MANAGING DIRECTOR
Simedics approached the University of Edinburgh in 2014 with a view to licensing the IP to a dermatology training application that was the outcome of an extensive multi-discipline research project. Prior to this project, we hadn’t previously collaborated with a University in any capacity, and we initially envisaged that it would be a time-consuming and potentially expensive process. However, from the early discussions to the granting of the final licence, the process was relatively straightforward and negotiations were managed professionally and expediently. The benefit to us as a healthcare services business was that we have been able to quickly acquire researchbased IP from which we have been able to develop a new technology product, much more quickly than we could have done through in-house development. We simply wouldn’t have had the resources internally to spend on R&D of this nature. We also fully expect the academic provenance to support our market claims and encourage future sales. The business development and licensing managers at the University of Edinburgh were extremely supportive throughout the process and I would fully recommend any company interested in licensing IP or collaborating with the University to approach them first with any requirements. 22 | www.research-innovation.ed.ac.uk
We see the relationship with ERI as very positive for us and we would definitely enter into another agreement if the technology matched our product portfolio There have been some minor difficulties in fashioning the acquired IP into a market ready product, and, at the request of the original research team, we are trying to incorporate features into the product – that will feed into future research – which has extended our overall development time. But, overall we have been very happy with the complete process and will definitely be looking to work with universities again in the future.
SUNAMP LTD RENEWABLE ENERGY AND HEAT STORAGE ANDREW BISSELL, CEO
Sunamp has worked closely with Professor Colin Pulham and his team from the University of Edinburgh’s School of Chemistry to develop Sunamp’s innovative heat storage solutions. The strength of this partnership has been vital to Sunamp’s innovative approach to the heat storage challenge. I knew that the science should work but to make the technology work it would require an academic expert in the field or associated field, and so finding Professor Pulham was pivotal. Sunamp had very limited resources at this point and by collaborating with Professor Pulham, this extended our team skills considerably. Professor Pulham is extremely good at understanding a problem from the perspective of the company and then applying his own intellect, that of his students, the wider resources of the University and its academic networks to solving the problem. Professor Pulham and his ERI colleagues have been pragmatic and creative in developing the commercial relationship in such a way that it optimises the benefits for all parties.
MARTEC ENGINEERING GROUP LTD METAL FABRICATION MARTIN MCHUGH, DIRECTOR
Martec first did a Knowledge Transfer Partnership (KTP) through ERI about 12 years ago, to help improve the design of our security doors for social housing. The KTP proved to be successful enough that the KTP Associate we brought in under the partnership became a full-time employee after the two-year programme came to a conclusion. The need for a new KTP came up again when we started looking at the necessity of developing new products to manage the changing specification in construction requirements for our doors and windows. This time we are engaging in a three-year KTP, and because it’s less usual to get a partnership over a threeyear period, ERI has been instrumental in helping us to arrange it. This helps us focus on the long-term vision for our business, by having a design engineer come into the fold at Martec and allows us to concentrate on creating the next generation of products to expand into new markets.
Contact ERI to find out more about industry engagement at the University of Edinburgh:
Industry. Engagement@ ed.ac.uk
Long live partnerships TRUST, RESPECT AND MUTUAL INTEREST BUILD SUCCESSFUL COMMERCIAL COLLABORATIONS
ll successful long-term relationships are based on several important factors – trust, respect and mutual interest are among the most important. This is as true of the partnership between a university and its commercial partners as it is of any other. The links between academia and business are long-standing. They exist because they bring advantages to both sides. As well as gaining a valuable insight into the commercial world, universities can benefit through the impactful outcome of their work. Meanwhile,
companies gain access to stateof-the-art facilities, wide-ranging expertise and other resources that are rarely available in-house. The University of Edinburgh has always enjoyed strong links with local, national and international businesses and that experience has provided an insight into what makes a successful relationship. Among other things, it’s important to recognise the different environments in which both sides operate. It may be obvious to say that the business and academic worlds are not the same. Yet both parties need to be aware of this from the start and enter into collaborations with their eyes open.
Similarly, although the line is not always easy to draw, each side must concentrate on its own strengths: the university focusing on hypothesis-driven research, while the commercial partner concentrates on converting the findings into impactful outputs. Regular communication is essential, as is a clear, common goal and a commitment to the project that has been embarked on. As the case studies set out below demonstrate, success ultimately depends on each partner’s ability to complement, understand and support the other.
Remo Pedreschi, Professor of Architectural Technology, and his team at the University of
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>INSIGHT If you would like to discover more about working with the University of Edinburgh then check out the ERI website. bit.ly/working-with-us
Edinburgh’s College of Art have enjoyed a long and fruitful partnership with Glasgow-based Martec Engineering Group Ltd, stretching back more than 10 years. It has led, among other achievements, to the launch of successful product lines, the securing of valuable funding and significant advances in research. The contact was initiated when Remo and his team were exploring the possible application in the construction sector of a technique known as mechanical clinching. “Scottish Enterprise provided funding for a proof-of-concept project and suggested that Martec – one of their clients at the time – come and see what we were doing,” he said. “What struck me from the start was company director Martin McHugh’s interest in new ideas.” In time it transpired that Martin was also happy to support research and development. Martec is a metal fabricator, creating bespoke architectural staircases, balustrades and other pieces to order, as well as highly specialised stainless steel items for large retailers. The company also produced secure entry systems to upgrade social housing projects for various local authorities in Scotland. A decision was made to focus on this system, its design and production. Funding for a two-year project was subsequently approved under the Knowledge Transfer Partnership (KTP) programme. Eventually Martec launched the new door system, and went on to develop different versions. As a result it has become their core business, growing from around 30 per cent of their turnover to 85 per cent.
The team, including Professor Peter Boyle, received the Gauss Award in 2012 for the most outstanding paper in the field of scalable supercomputing. They also secured four joint US patents within the field of highperformance memory systems and supercomputer design
At the close of that project the relationship between the company and the University was maintained. Among other things, Martin McHugh visited the University to give talks to staff and students on industry-academic collaborations from a company’s perspective. More recently, discussions began about developing a followon to the previous project. This time around there would be a much broader scope, with the aim of discovering the best area for Martec to focus on within the whole field of security in buildings. “Once again, we have been successful in securing funding through the Knowledge Transfer Partnership and this time it is a three-year project, rather than a two-year,” said Remo. “We won’t be limited to social housing. Instead, we’ll ask if there is a market in schools or private residential apartments, and explore the requirements in those areas. It’s interesting and very useful for us at the University to be looking at it strategically, as well as at the opportunities available with new fabrication and design technologies.” Martin McHugh set out why he was keen to work with the University again. “For this project it was imperative we brought someone in who had some architectural knowledge and experience, and was keen to help us develop new products. We wanted to work with Remo and his team again, we have such a good relationship. “The University has been instrumental in getting this over the line. We have secured a three-year KTP deal. Remo and his team helped us justify our application and that was crucial.”
Into The Breach
The new KTP project will not be the only exercise the two sides will work on. Remo and his team are pursuing a development that came out of their work
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on mechanical clinching. It involves a sustainable construction system, a hybrid timber and steel component used in building structures. They had received initial funding to develop this and, with Martec as the industry partner, they have been awarded an Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) Impact Acceleration Award from Edinburgh Research and Innovation (ERI). “We’ve also set up a project for our Masters students,” said Remo. “Martec has set them the task of finding a way to create a door that has as much glass as possible but remains secure.” Analysing the success of the partnership, he emphasised the importance of mutual respect and understanding, and praised Martin’s readiness to embrace new concepts. “I don’t have to sell an idea to Martin. When I raise it his response is inevitably ‘OK, let’s help you.’ He has always been ready to invest in research, and has even made Martec’s large laser available to our students. “From my point of view it has been interesting to see and understand the dynamics of a company like Martec, how it’s organised and what issues it faces. It seems to me that they’ve made interesting decisions on where they want to focus. Often universities will do a little testing and development in highly specific areas, whereas what interests me is how people decide what they want to do and how they go through that process.” He believes the relationship will continue beyond the projects that are now under way. Indeed, there have already been discussions on a number of other ideas. Remo also praised the company’s commitment. Martec employs over 60 people and he believes there are few companies of that scale in a traditional industry who would establish such an in-depth partnership with the University. “However, I think the success we have enjoyed over the years shows just how worthwhile it can be,” he said. On Martin’s part, he said the next three years is crucial for the business in terms of market share and developing new products. He concluded: “The projects we have cooperated on, and our partnership with the University of Edinburgh, are never focused on the short term – they are inextricably linked with the long-term vision for our business.”
FAR LEFT: Professor Remo Pedreschi (right) and Martin McHugh of Martec (left) have worked together with great success LEFT: Professor Peter Boyle and his team at Edinburgh University helped IBM create the fastest and most efficient chips in the world
A long-term collaboration on the development of highperformance computer (HPC) chips between IBM and particle physics theory researchers in Edinburgh’s School of Physics and Astronomy helped to create the fastest, most efficient chips in the world. Edinburgh’s input was led by Professor Peter Boyle. He explained: “The roots of the tie-up began with two specialists at Columbia University, Professor Norman Christ and Dr Alan Gara, who created the powerful QCDSP (Quantum Chromodynamics on Digital Signal Processors) computer which won the Gordon Bell Prize in 1996.” At the same time the team at Edinburgh was pursuing cutting-edge research and algorithm development. Alan Gara, who had since moved on to IBM Thomas J. Watson Research Center, was aware of the work being done at Edinburgh, and a collaboration began that covered two phases over a 12-year period.
In 2000, the University undertook a four-year project to develop a QCDOC (Quantum Chromodynamics on a Chip) high performance computer chip with Columbia University and IBM and installed a 10 teraflop per second 14,336 node system in Edinburgh. Edinburgh researchers contributed to the co-design of the hardware. Although the research aim was to optimise the QCD research codes being run by the collaborators, the insight gained directly spawned the more general purpose BlueGene/L project within IBM and led to the world-leading HPC system. With the success of the first collaboration boosting the company’s product line, in 2007 IBM built on this relationship by inviting the University to join the design team for the BlueGene/Q chip. “Given our history of working together they ﬁgured that, rather than go off and do independent projects, it would make much more sense if we cooperated once more,” said Peter Boyle. This time around, Professor Boyle led the design of the level-1 memory pre-fetch engine. “Essentially, this is the main interface between the processor core and the rest of the system – its job is to shunt memory traffic to and from the core and to watch the patterns of what’s happening and guess what’s needed next.” As a trusted team member, Peter was given access to IBM’s most valuable and closely-guarded systems, a rare privilege for an academic. Peter revealed. “I don’t think I have heard of anything like that in the past.”
Given our history of working together they ﬁgured that, rather than go off and do independent projects, it would make much more sense if we cooperated once more Gauss Award
Peter believes that he was able to offer a different perspective – he provides an overview that looks at things from the lowest level to the highest. “My tests are real application tests and I focus on getting the best performance of the application. I know that is something Alan Gara valued. It’s the idea of co-design and vertical integration; by designing hardware and software in tandem, the final outcome is an integrated unit where the different elements work together.” The work carried out resulted in four joint US patents with IBM on high-performance memory system and supercomputer design. The team, including Professor Boyle, received the Gauss Award in 2012 for the most outstanding paper in the field of scalable supercomputing. BlueGene/Q has been both the fastest (Top 500) and most energy-efficient (Green500) system in the world, and has run QCD codes at a record breaking 7.2 petaflop per second. “It’s a workhorse for science programmes around the world,” added Peter. Since then, the group have secured Science and Technology Facilities Council (STFC) and EPSRC Impact Acceleration funding from ERI to explore whether this approach might be useful in future industry collaborations.
Take the first step to starting your company’s long-term partnership with the University of Edinburgh, contact ERI:
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>INSIGHT These are just some of the many aspiring entrepreneurs supported by the University of Edinburgh. Find out more on page 6
Academics and student entrepreneurs from the University of Edinburgh share their words of wisdom about getting their clever innovations that tap into our senses off the ground (Tip: all were given a helpful push with SMART: SCOTLAND funding)
“Surround yourself with experts you trust – You can’t do it all yourself”
“Follow your instinct, build a team that you respect and go for it!”
Abesh Thakur, Two Big Ears Ltd
Orfeas Boteas, Krotos Ltd
Two Big Ears designs immersive and interactive audio applications and tools, focusing on mobile and emerging technologies. The technology makes it possible to hear a sound from any point in space over any headphones in real-time and has been used in Virtual Reality (VR) projects, such as Bjork’s 2015 retrospective exhibition in New York and her new music video, as well as in Marvel’s Avengers VR experience. www.twobigears.com
Krotos’ unique vocal software processor/ sound design tool, called ‘Dehumaniser’, produces studio-quality sounds of monsters and other imaginary creatures in real time. Dehumaniser is currently achieving great success and is being used by Hollywood studios and AAA game companies around the world, and has been used in feature films, games and television series, such as Avengers: Age of Ultron, Sleepy Hollow and Far Cry 4. www.dehumaniser.com
“Never stop learning. Every day gives you a chance to grow your knowledge. Stay alert for those lessons”
“prioritise where and how to deploy YOUR resources & FILL THE TEAM with people who are better than you at what they do”
Andrew Manches, PlayTalkLearn Ltd
Danny Meaney, Kajeka Ltd
PlayTalkLearn has undertaken research into early learning and new technologies, and developed intelligent blocks that use colour to bring mathematical patterns to life. The product provides an engaging way for children aged two to six to learn mathematics. www.playtalklearn.co.uk
Kajeka supplies big-data solutions to analysts and enterprises. Its groundbreaking analysis tools allow users to reveal hidden relationships in complex data. The software makes it easy to see connections and understand patterns within big data. www.kajeka.com
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“Don’t lose sight of how you can change lives. It helps keep you going in tough times” Lysimachos Zografos, Parkure Ltd Parkure’s mission is to stop Parkinson’s disease. The company has a living system and Parkinson’s specific assay that can be used to screen drugs that stop the degeneration process of the disease. The assay is ideal for screening novel compounds as well as drug repurposing. www.parkure.co.uk
“plan effectively and communicate clearly; THAT WILL ENSURE everyone is heading in the right direction” Carlos Labra, Particle Analytics Ltd Particle Analytics software offers a user-friendly graphical interface for the preparation of Discrete Element Method (DEM) modelling and advanced postprocessing techniques for the analysis of simulation results. The analysis goes far beyond existing DEM software in allowing users to interrogate particle data. www.particle-analytics.com
Get in touch with Edinburgh Research and Innovation: bit.ly/ERIentrepreneurs
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> G E T I N V O LV E D Learn about the industry engagement support that ERI’s Commercial Relations Team can offer companies. bit.ly/ERI-engagement
LOAN STAR secondments DELIVER RESULTS
For innovative companies, the opportunity to second an expert from one of the UK’s world-class universities is one that should not be missed. Imagine the top-tier expertise that they would bring to your organisation, in addition to the strategic relationship that can be established from longer-term collaboration with the University of Edinburgh. Borrow one of our stars to boost your business
he helpful Commercial Relations team at Edinburgh Research and Innovation (ERI), the University’s commercialisation arm, is the first point of call for any company looking to access the University’s world-class research expertise. The team will work with your company to develop an understanding both of your needs and where University expertise can provide a real advantage to your business. The team will find the most appropriate worldleading researchers available at the University and match their expertise and experience to the needs of your company. There are many different ways of working with our researchers; having an academic expert seconded into your company is a particularly useful one. So why is an academic secondment so useful? The key advantage is that our world-leading experts will be directly involved in supporting your company to innovate, develop new products and processes, address research and technology challenges and, importantly, developing a longerterm productive relationship. The industry-academic partnership that is established often leads to further innovation and initiatives and can help companies access large funded innovation schemes in the UK or Europe, such as those offered by Innovate UK or the Horizon 2020 programme. Often, where companies have already worked with the University on a small research or
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consultancy project, an industrial secondment is a natural next step. This can take the form of a shortterm project of up to three months, or a longer-term project of up to a year delivered on a part-time basis. Funding support towards the cost of an academic secondment may be available through industrial secondment funding schemes. ERI’s Commercial Relations team will also provide support in finding the most suitable funding schemes. According to Ian Sharp, ERI’s Commercial Relations Manager: “Academic/industry collaboration is of critical importance in ensuring that UK industry retains a national competitive advantage. Many of our industry partners have benefited significantly through working closely with the University. In particular, academic secondments have proved to be an effective mechanism for optimising the benefits of collaborative projects.” Here are a few examples of how organisations have taken advantage of the expertise available at the University to enhance their product development, share industry best practice, and access fresh insight and strategic direction:
Dr James Hopgood, from the University’s Institute of Digital Communications in the School of Engineering, is undertaking a 12-month industrial secondment with Agilent Technologies UK Ltd to spend one day per week at the company to apply signalprocessing expertise in a life science application. The secondment started in September 2014, with funding through the Engineering and
Physical Sciences Research Council’s (EPSRC) Impact Acceleration initiative, and has undertaken an initial investigation and feasibility study of several signal processing frameworks for improving the detection and estimation of the peaks observed in automated electrophoresis systems. Electrophoresis is a fundamental and ubiquitous technique from the separation sciences for separating individual macromolecules in biological samples, such as DNA, RNA and proteins. There is significant potential for simultaneously filtering the cassette and background noise while also estimating the peak positions, amplitudes, and peak-width from either single or multiple snapshots. Utilising Dr Hopgood’s experience in advanced signal processing algorithms, it should therefore be possible to significantly improve the sensitivity of detection, and resolution of separation, of the biomolecules in electrophoresis systems. The collaboration builds on James’s work in model-based Bayesian signal processing techniques, which he previously applied to audio signal processing in adverse acoustic environments. The results so far have shown much promise, and the work with the company will continue for at least one more year, funded through a recent award from the Royal Academy of Engineering Industrial Secondment Scheme. Dr Ken MacNamara, R&D Director, Microfluidics Business at Agilent Technologies, said: “This highly successful collaboration with James and the University of Edinburgh has provided an exciting and unique opportunity to explore
the potential use of state-of-the-art signal processing techniques in our next-generation products. The collaboration has already resulted in prototype algorithms implemented by our software team, and has been terrific for knowledge exchange between academia and our industry.”
Professor Markus Mueller, from the University’s Institute for Energy Systems, has worked with the wind turbine company, Airborne Energy Ltd, on various collaborative projects.
© Nick Callaghan Photography
SHARING BEST PRACTICE
Dr Rory Hadden, from the University’s BRE Centre for Fire Safety Engineering, spent a three-month secondment working with the Glasgowbased International Fire Investigators and Consultancy Ltd (IFIC) in 2014 to gain a better understanding of the practical issues faced by fire investigators. With funding through EPSRC Impact Acceleration initiative, Dr Hadden worked alongside IFIC employees to support growth of the business into the new area of providing Fire Investigation training to practitioners. In doing so, he liaised with IFIC’s practicing fire investigators to review case studies to obtain a better understanding of the practical aspects of fire investigation – initial scene investigations, information gathering, legal proceedings and, ultimately, court appearances. The secondment led to the development of core aspects of the new taught course in Fire Investigation and Failure Analysis available to Undergraduate and Masters students within the School of Engineering at the University. Professor James F Lygate, Chairman & Principal Investigator at International Fire Investigators and Consultancy, said: “Engagement with academia is core to the work IFIC does. Investigating fires requires application of the latest fire science and engaging with the academics in the world-leading BRE Centre for Fire Safety Engineering allows us to maintain a competitive edge in delivering this to our clients. Dr Hadden’s expertise in assisting us with this project has proved extremely valuable and we look forward to continuing this close relationship in future.”
The company were keen to have Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) modelling to simulate the design loads on their vertical axis wind turbine. There was lots of CFD modelling on design loads published on horizontal axis wind turbines, but not for vertical axis. Professor Mueller is supervising PhD student Nisaar Ahmed, who is currently completing his thesis on CFD modelling of airflow interactions across electrical generators for varying Wells turbine designs in an oscillating water column environment. Therefore, there was a natural fit in Nisaar’s CFD experience being applied to the company’s 10kW wind turbine. The initial modelling work through an EPSRC Impact Acceleration-funded secondment for five months has gone well, and the company have been impressed with the results generated so far. There was sufficient interest to extend the work further, resulting in additional Impact funding up to the end of September to complete the scoping study. Juan Carlos Soto, Technical Director at Airborne Energy, said: “Currently, Airborne Energy is supporting the PhD of Emmanouil Falagkaris, who is developing an open-source CFD software for vertical-axis wind turbines, specially customised for Airborne’s needs of predicting
the performance of its turbine in turbulent winds, typically found in urban locations.”
Professor Jason Crain, the University’s Professor of Applied Physics and Visiting Professor at IBM, was seconded from the University to the role of Director of Research on the UK’s National Physical Laboratory (NPL) Executive in May 2015. This joint appointment arose from an initial five-year secondment as Head of Physical Sciences, during which time extensive links and joint research programmes were established between the University of Edinburgh and NPL, culminating in the 2015 announcement of the University of Edinburgh as a Framework Partner with the National Laboratory. In this senior management role on the NPL Executive, Professor Crain will be responsible for NPL’s research strategy, science quality, Strategic Research Programme and interactions with Government and NPL’s new International Science and Technology Advisory Council (STAC). Professor Crain will maintain his academic post at the University of Edinburgh on a part-time basis during the period of his secondment.
ABOVE: (Clockwise from top right) Professor Jason Crain, Dr Rory Hadden, Professor Markus Mueller with Juan Pablo Echenique and Nisaar Ahmed, Dr James Hopgood
Find out more about industrial secondments at the University of Edinburgh:
firstname.lastname@example.org Infinite | 29
global reach While Edinburgh has always been ‘international’, it is clear the University is now more globally effective than ever. Here, Catriona McCarthy, Deputy Director of the University’s International Office, discusses the work to sustain and drive Edinburgh’s agenda of internationalisation
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he University invests a great deal in the development of international collaborations, partnerships and global relationships; primarily with other universities around the world but increasingly with businesses and, indeed, governments. The principles of engagement are not dissimilar. In addition to our studentcentred activity, it is the role of the International Office to identify and assess international opportunities and work with colleagues to bring these to fruition. It is a hugely varied remit and, in this context, our Global Offices play a significant role. Located in Beijing, Mumbai, New York and the Chilean capital, Santiago, these offices sit within some of the world’s most vibrant cities. They work on behalf of the University to create relationships, extend networks and build international profile. They are uniquely positioned to understand local contexts, capitalise on opportunities and position the University as a partner of choice within their respective regions. The most successful University partnerships are those where our interactions have been targeted but deliberately varied, and where we have invested in a full suite of engagement via joint research activity, academic and student exchange, staff development, sporting and cultural exchange and community engagement. These interactions encourage deep understanding and trust, and inherently, an increased capacity to work together to address challenges, push boundaries, develop ideas and deliver international opportunities for our students. We also work to stimulate and support new forms of partnership, and the University’s Centre for Brain Development and Repair, based at the Institute for Stem Cell Biology and Regenerative Medicine (inStem) in Bangalore, is a great example of how this works in practice, studying autism disorders and translating scientific discoveries rapidly to the clinic. The Centre is a large-scale India-UK research collaboration
LEFT: Catriona McCarthy is Deputy Director of the University’s International Office. In this role, Catriona supports and directs the University’s work in relation to international partnerships, mobility, student recruitment and student support, in addition to having a specific interest in the establishment and direction of the University’s Global Office Network
LEFT: The spectacular opening of the New York City Office was an opportunity to promote the benefits of working together to North American partners
between the University of Edinburgh, inStem, and the National Centre for Biological Sciences (NCBS) Bangalore, with funding from India’s Department of Biotechnology. The Centre was created after two years of collaborative work between Edinburgh academics and their Indian counterparts and has been a hugely successful venture. In the US, the North American Office has been able to work with our many successful alumni in the Northern California area to build networks, ultimately gathering 20 leading IT and venture capital executives for an introduction to ‘Li-Fi’, the revolutionary lightbased communications technology developed by Professor Harald Haas at the University. Further activities towards building international partnerships are planned in 2016, with a particular focus on Informatics and Biotechnology
commercialisation opportunities. Central to our work is the development of mutually beneficial relationships and, whether this is with universities, international agencies, business and industry or with our own internationally active alumni, our objective is to ensure parity of interest and to support the best means of engagement in each instance. This can only be achieved through really understanding the opportunities and positioning the University to respond. The result? Global effectiveness, I suppose. Effectiveness which is achieved through building sustainable and mutually beneficial partnerships, with a carefully considered network of international collaborators, and leveraging each of these opportunities to sustain and drive the University’s broader internationalisation agenda.
Find out more about international partnerships and our global offices at:
bit.ly/Ed-Intl Infinite | 31
>INSIGHT Read the words of wisdom that our entrepreneurs have learned at Edinburgh in the â€˜Smart Thinkingâ€™ feature on page 26
Board benefits INNOVATIVE APPROACH IN MENTORING EARLY STAGE START-UPS
Young start-up businesses set up by first-time entrepreneurs often have significant growing pains that prevent them from scaling up, and keeping focus on the strategic direction of the company. This combination can have disastrous short-term effects on their ability to grow and ultimately fulfil their potential 32 | www.research-innovation.ed.ac.uk
he stage where a young start-up is most vulnerable is when a company has received grant funding but is ‘pre seed investment’, which means it does not yet have a management board available to provide the necessary guidance. To address this problem, Edinburgh Research and Innovation has developed the ‘virtual’ board mentoring programme. This initiative gives the University of Edinburgh’s start-up entrepreneurs access to ‘virtual’ board meetings, involving a panel of experienced entrepreneurs and professionals to help keep inexperienced entrepreneurs focused on the big picture to quickly and sustainably grow their young start-up companies. The virtual board not only gives these entrepreneurs access to the type of high-calibre individuals they should expect to sit on their boards in the future, but allows them to learn how to build relationships with those future board members.
THE VIRTUAL BOARD
Six virtual board mentors with extensive experience in all aspects of starting a technology-led business were recruited to form the virtual board in the initial sixmonth pilot of the programme: LES GAW Les is Chief Executive of a university spin-out company, with strong business planning, strategy development and commercial management experience in a variety of sectors. He has also successfully led the growth of a technology start-up, from pre-revenue to global sales valuing the business at £3.4 million. DR RICHARD LAMING Richard is an experienced entrepreneur with a passion for technology. He was the founder and CTO/CEO of multiple successful technology companies spanning optoelectronics, MEMS, electronics and acoustics. KENNY FRASER Kenny is a board-level adviser for transformational change in the telecoms, media and technology industries, with indepth skills in applying digital and mobile technologies for future operational needs. Kenny was, until recently, an equity partner in PwC. DR JULIE NIXON Julie specialises in intellectual property, commercial contracts and corporate law. Given her background in molecular biology and genetics, she has a particular interest in life science start-up and spinout companies – and facilitated MBM Commercial’s corporate partnership with BioCity Scotland. DAVID MOWAT David has a private equity and venture capital background and currently has advisory and investment roles in a number of high-growth start-ups, including University of Edinburgh spin-out pureLiFi Ltd. David held Investment Director roles at Caird Capital LLP, BOSIF and Botts & Company and is a founder partner in Circularity Capital LLP.
DIANA EASLEY Diana is a senior-level insight professional with more than 15 years’ experience in digital businesses, including Skype, Microsoft, eBay and Yahoo. She also holds an advisory board position at Global Treasure Apps.
LEFT: Virtual board (left to right): Richard Laming, Diana Easley, Les Gaw, Julie Nixon and Kenny Fraser
Six RSE Enterprise Fellows from the University, who have been working full-time on their businesses and incubated on the University campus by Edinburgh Research and Innovation, joined the project: Kalitasha Ltd (Liita-Iyaloo Naukushu) was set up to tackle the feminine hygiene issues facing women in developing countries. Their first product is a reusable menstrual hygiene device that will provide a new and sustainable solution, replacing expensive or ineffective alternatives and allowing women to be empowered to work and attend education. Krotos Ltd (Orfeas Boteas) is a sound design company that improves the process of designing sound effects for audio professionals. Their primary product, ‘Dehumaniser’, transforms voice into creature sounds in real time, and has already been used in television, feature films and video games, most recently as the voice of Ultron in the Marvel Avenger’s: Age of Ultron movie. MediCen Devise Ltd (Kanika Bansal) is creating medical devices to tackle specific healthcare issue for patients and staff in hospitals. Their first product is a class IIa catheter attachment that prevents infections by keeping the wound area sterilised at all times. PlayTalkLearn Ltd (Andrew Manches) is an early learning innovation company that is using digital technology to encourage children to play, communicate, and be creative. Their latest product is a set of intelligent blocks that use colour to bring mathematics patterns to life for pre and early school children (twosix years old) at home or school. Sansible Ltd (Jack Ng) is developing technology in ‘smart textiles’ that would enable digital devices, e.g. smart phones, watches, etc. to become wearable technologies. The company is combining nanotechnology with energy harvesting expertise to develop systems that generate power for wearable technology from kinetic movement within smart materials. Shot Scope Technologies Ltd (David Hunter) is the next generation of golf-performance tracking technology. As a golfer plays, the smart technology wristband tracks activity and performance data, collecting scoring and statistical information. After the first six months of the virtual board pilot project, David Hunter has received his first round of seed investment and ‘graduated’ from the virtual board to the real thing. He said: “The virtual board has been a useful learning experience prior to raising investment. The individuals involved with the board meetings are experts in their field. In a key phase, when the business was recruiting and seeking investment, their guidance made a significant impact. However, I don’t think I will fully understand how valuable it has been until I am involved with board meetings in the future.”
Find out more about Edinburgh Research and Innovation’s company formation activities:
Infinite | 33
C A SE S TUDY
DAVID HUNTER, SHOT SCOPE TECHNOLOGIES LTD
STARTING A COMPANY AT THE UNIVERSITY How has the University’s enterprise programme helped you? The team at LAUNCH.ed were amazing from the start and supported the business at every stage of growth. In the very early days, providing pitching training and identifying sources of funding, then training to understand business, recruitment, and how to raise investment. Shot Scope also received help from a number of start-up support networks, which made a huge difference when starting the business. I would say the key thing about the University Enterprise team is their desire and willingness to support your idea, along with their enthusiasm and work ethic. They provide an amazing resource that all students should look into! I couldn’t believe the amount of time and effort advisors were willing to put in to help you grow a business. Without these networks in Scotland, and particularly Edinburgh, starting a business would have been significantly harder! What advice would you give budding entrepreneurs? Test the market before starting to build your solution. Ensure you’re building a product or service that the market needs or wants. For University students, I would say there is no better time to start a company and Scotland is providing amazing support. You will have University knowledge that could be converted into amazing commercial opportunities. Go for it!
34 | www.research-innovation.ed.ac.uk
David Hunter, founder of Shot Scope Technologies Ltd.
© Malcolm Cochrane Photography
Access for students at the University of Edinburgh to a strong enterprise support programme, from advisers, mentors and a wider enterprise network, is a distinctive offering in Scotland. The story behind David Hunter, the founder of Shot Scope Technologies Ltd, demonstrates the impact this support has on developing promising and scalable companies. Having started his career in electronics engineering, completing an MSc in System Level Integration at the University of Edinburgh in 2008, David returned to the University in August 2012 to study for a one-year Professional Graduate Diploma in Education (PGDE) Secondary Education and Teaching qualification in Design and Technology. At the 2012 StartUp Summit in Edinburgh, David met Paul Devlin, Enterprise Development Manager at LAUNCH.ed, the University’s award-winning student enterprise education programme. Their conversation inspired David, a keen golfer, to hone his entrepreneurial skills while studying at the University. David entered (and won) his first business competition, the LAUNCH.ed Business Ideas Competition. He then went on to finish as a runner-up in the Scottish Institute for Enterprise New Ventures Competition. With business mentoring from the LAUNCH.ed team, the accolades just kept pouring in. David won a £1,000 cash prize in the Entrepreneurship Club pitching competition, was a finalist in the LAUNCH.ed Innovation Cup 2013, and finished in the top 10 of the Converge Challenge before winning a paid summer ‘enternship’ from LAUNCH.ed and Santander to further develop his business ideas. In 2014, David focused his attention on a new business idea for the golfing industry called ‘Shot Scope’ – a smart technology wristband (patent pending) that lets golfers automatically collect performance data without interrupting their game. Just wear, play and track your play! David’s first year with Shot Scope brought numerous successes; winner of the Innovate UK Digital Innovation Award for Sport (£25K), runner-up in the LAUNCH.ed Innovation Cup, finalist in the Converge Challenge and runner-up in the ‘Best New UK Wearable Product’ category by Innovate UK.
David was then awarded an Enterprise Fellowship from the Royal Society of Edinburgh, which provided the funding to enable him to focus his attention on developing both the product and the business, while incubated by the University at the Edinburgh Technology Transfer Centre. A Scottish Enterprise SMART: Scotland Award (£87k) to develop the Shot Scope wristband provided an excellent start to 2015 for David and the company, which was soon to take on its first employees. There was also further recognition – and, crucially, funding – at the Sports Innovation Challenge Awards (£5k) and Scottish EDGE 2015 (£50k). Shot Scope now has a management, commercial and engineering team that combines backgrounds in golf, electronics design, management and finance to help take the company forward, with trials of the Shot Scope wristband scheduled to take place later in 2015. A recent £415,000 seed investment from Old College Capital, the University’s venture capital arm, and other venture partners has enabled the company to grow the team to eight employees and work on developing the commercial product with a view to launching it in early 2016. The future looks bright for David and Shot Scope. He said: “The company has ambitious plans, both in the UK and internationally. We plan to launch Shot Scope in the UK and USA at exactly the same time. The USA is an exciting prospect that provides the team with a number of challenges. It is the biggest target and market opportunity for Shot Scope.”
Find out more about Shot Scope Technologies at: www.shotscope.com
ALAN TURING INSTITUTE
Leading UK universities join forces to create a centre for data science research and applications By Kevin Collins, Assistant Principal Industry Engagement, Industry Funding and Big Data, The University of Edinburgh
he Alan Turing Institute is the UK’s national institute for data science, created in honour of the war-time hero and father of Computer Science. The Institute is a joint venture between the Universities of Cambridge, Edinburgh, Oxford, Warwick, University College London (UCL) and the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC). As Data Science becomes increasingly pervasive across industry and commerce, the Institute will attract the best data scientists and mathematicians from the UK and across the globe to break new boundaries in how we use big data in a fast moving, competitive global knowledge economy. Creating industry impact and addressing skills gaps have been identified as key priorities for the Institute. Since the development of the Institute was announced by Chancellor George Osborne in March 2014, rapid progress has been made and a number of key milestones have already been achieved. The Institute is now fully constituted and has begun operations. It will be headquartered at the British Library in London with significant additional activity undertaken across the UK by the founding universities. The leadership of the Institute has been appointed, including City veteran Howard Covington as Chairman and Andrew Blake, former Director of Microsoft Research UK, as Director. The Alan Turing Institute has marked its first few days of operations with the confirmation of £10 million of research funding from Lloyd’s Register Foundation, a research partnership with GCHQ, a collaboration with Cray Inc. and EPSRC, and its first research activities. The latter collaboration leverages the ARCHER national supercomputing service operating by the Edinburgh Parallel Computing Centre (EPCC) at Edinburgh. The breadth of industry and commercial interest in the Institute has been high, which is very encouraging, and discussions are ongoing with a number of companies who are expected to join Lloyd’s Register Foundation as strategic partners in due course. As part of the Institute’s role to engage UK companies, and the physical and social sciences communities, a series of Big Data summits will be held across the UK this autumn. Three of the summits will be held in Edinburgh: Media, Credit Risk and Sensors. Further seminars covering a diverse range of topics including Health, Customer Facing Industries, Finance, Big Data for SMEs, Manufacturing, Privacy & Security, and Government & Policy will be held at other universities. These summits are aimed at encouraging discussion of the challenges encountered in dealing with big data and identifying high-impact research areas for the Institute. The initial milestones signal excellent progress towards the Alan Turing Institute having a significant
The vision of bringing together the mathematical and computer scientists from the country’s top universities to develop the new discipline of data science, through an independent institute with strategic links to commerce and industry, is very compelling Andrew Blake, Director of the Alan Turing Institute early impact on the national imperative to make the UK a global leader in data science and rise to the challenges to deliver on the potential for Data Science and Big Data in the UK.
ABOVE: Andrew Blake, newly appointed Director of the Alan Turing Institute Copyright © Alan Turing Institute LEFT: The ARCHER supercomputer at the University of Edinburgh
For more information, see the Alan Turing Institute website at:
www.turing. ac.uk Infinite | 35
Impact in numbers 2010-2015
m 4 1 £ Royalty rated
£1.3bn In research awards
e gene incom
Lice nce agre em ent s
Increased turn for licensee co over mpanies *
4 8 1 New companies formed
2,488 Industry partn ers
hips around the wo rld
417 since 1967
my 0 8 £alue of induisptsr
36 | www.research-innovation.ed.ac.uk
£ Inve 52 by a stme 8 cti nt m and ve sp raised star in-ou t-up ts s
mer 5 v rno uts 7 u t ted spin-o s a £Es5 m ti tive rt-up c a in a and st
*The BiGGAR Economic Impact report calculated that licensee companies will be making at least £12million in increased turnover for every £1million in royalty income the University receives.
Edinburgh Research and Innovation Limited is a wholly owned subsidiary company of the University of Edinburgh. Registered in Scotland No. SC148048. Registered Office at Old College, South Bridge, Edinburgh EH8 9YL The University of Edinburgh is a charitable body, registered in Scotland, with registration number SC005336
Published on Oct 20, 2015
The Infinite Magazine is Edinburgh Research and Innovation’s annual review, highlighting some of the exciting industry engagement, innovatio...