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Edinburgh Innovations: Making ideas work for a better world

In this guest blog post, Anna Cuthbert, Marketing Executive in Edinburgh Innovations (EI), highlights the variety of support, training and resources available from EI, the University of Edinburgh’s commercialisation service.

Edinburgh Innovations (EI) is the University of Edinburgh’s commercialisation service. We connect academic expertise with real-world challenges to drive innovation and impact through collaboration. We have outstanding credibility among funding agencies and industry partners to deliver a powerful pipeline of translational and industry funding and we help our researchers form strategic collaborations with commercial, public sector and third sector partners, all of which brings benefit to research groups and schools. Our leading enterprise service works with staff to turn innovations into spinout opportunities and to connect them with funding and investors. With the help of EI, the University’s spinout and staff-launched startups have an enviable record of success and longevity.

In 2021-22, we engaged with 900 academic staff working on innovation activity, helped students and staff form 116 startup and spinout companies, entered into 45 licencing deals, filed 84 patent applications, attracted £107m investment to UoE associated companies and delivered £72.4m to the University in industrial and translational awards (almost 25% of University research income).

Take your research to the next level

Our business development colleagues are embedded in University colleges, schools and institutes as your first point of contact to help you commercialise your research and work with industry. They facilitate a multi-disciplinary account team for each school or research institute, will help you explore options, provide practical help at every stage and introduce you to EI’s range of professional expertise:

  • Consultancy managers at EI support researchers who wish to become consultants to industry and other paying clients, this is often the first step in a relationship that develops into a lasting collaboration between an industry partner and the University.
  • EI’s enterprise team help researchers take their ideas from concept to real-world impact, and ensure the commercial potential of these ideas, research and inventions can be fully realised. The team’s work includes the validation, protection, development and commercialisation of inventions and intellectual property across the University. A key role is supporting entrepreneurial staff by facilitating the creation of startup and spinout companies.

Keen to get started?

If you’re interested in taking your innovation journey forward but don’t know where to start, get involved in the Engage online learning programme. This comprehensive programme consolidates training and events offered by EI to give you the tools and confidence to grasp commercial opportunities and support translation of your research. Engage is a practical programme, focused on the “how to” of external engagement and its associated skills. It is designed for research staff at any level who are new to external engagement, who aspire to engage in the future, or who wish to enhance their skills and engagement. Seven modules contain a set of resources and tools that should always be useful to you as your career progresses.

Come along for breakfast and kickstart your day

New for 2023 is our Unlock Innovation ecosystem event where we invite you to kickstart your day and discover the benefits of innovation, the support available and meet others on their journey from innovation to impact.

At this community event, you will hear from University senior leaders and experienced innovators and have the opportunity to find out more about the support available as you embark on or move through your innovation journey. The event is open to all University staff and will be of interest to those keen to translate research into real world solutions at any stage in their innovation journey.

Keep an eye on our event page to find out when this will be taking place

Be inspired to innovate

Finally, find inspiration from our Extraordinary People campaign which celebrates the excellence, ambition and positive impacts extraordinary people at this university have made on individuals, communities and across the globe. If you know an extraordinary person, email your suggestions and tell us why they are an Edinburgh Innovator, or could it be you?

Wherever you are on your innovation journey, Edinburgh Innovations looks forward to hearing from you and seeing you at one of our events.

Making ideas work for a better world



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