The Royal Society of Edinburgh (RSE), Scotland’s National Academy, has this week announced that a new cohort of intrepid academic entrepreneurs has been awarded prestigious Enterprise Fellowships.
Six innovators, each with a unique business proposition, will now benefit from an equity-free support package worth up to £100,000, to aid them in the commercialisation of their work. The package includes a year’s salary, tailored business training and mentoring, business support funding and access to RSE’s network of business contacts, all of which will be delivered virtually for the foreseeable future.
The sought-after Enterprise Fellowship will help this year’s cohort of ambitious entrepreneurs introduce and develop innovative products, services, and technology in the health, nuclear, manufacturing and transport industries.
In the health industry, Ashton Barnett-Vanes of Javelin Health plans to develop his early stage medical device start up in the intravascular cannula securement market.
Also benefiting from the support package is Timothy Eyes of the Manchester BioFactory which has developed technology to accelerate the discovery of enzymes to deliver best-in-class products and processes; and Richard Gray of Lomond Nuclear Instruments, to develop and manufacture radiation detector technologies for the UK civil nuclear industry, which will provide a significant enhancement on current propositions in terms of cost, size and power consumption.
Carole Tucker of Cardiff Filter Technology will produce multi-layer metal-mesh optical filters for the next generation of the aerospace sector and other markets such as security scanning and radio frequency communications; and Marine Valton of BIO-F, is aiming to use natural algae to tackle the lack of sustainable and efficient fertiliser options in farming.
Finally, Hamish Geddes of Lenz Ltd. is developing traction technology to improve the efficiency of trains by minimising delays caused by bad weather and leaves on the line.
Dr Rebekah Widdowfield, Chief Executive of RSE, commented: “We are thrilled to announce a brand-new cohort of RSE Enterprise Fellows, particularly at a time when funding is scarce, yet innovation is so important. Innovation has been at the heart of RSE since its inception and we are proud to support these talented entrepreneurs as they pioneer life-altering services and products that have the potential to transform and shape the world around us.
“The challenges we have all faced in the last year have further highlighted the vital role science and technology plays in a modern society, and schemes like the Enterprise Fellowship programme are vital to ensure continued innovation and progress. We are continually amazed by the talent and ambition of those awarded an Enterprise Fellowship and look forward to watching our new cohort develop their ideas into successful businesses as many others before them have done.”
A further six fellows announced earlier this year are already benefitting from RSE’s guidance, support, and training. Simon Bennie of Dynamerse; Faisal Ghani of SolarisKit; Jack Kennefick of Tagomics; Steven Owens of Huli; Alexander McVey of ŌGI Bio; and Sunil Sharma of XGenix are already halfway through their years’ Enterprise Fellowship which began in April.
Enterprise Fellowships are generously funded by The Royal Society of Edinburgh, the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council, the Science and Technology Facilities Council, and the Industrial Biotechnology Innovation Centre, and delivered by RSE.
A report completed in 2019, which aimed to measure the success of the RSE Enterprise Fellowship Scheme, found that it has provided a significant boost to the Scottish, UK and global economies.
The scheme has added almost £170 million to annual global GVA, including £77 million in Scotland. It has led to the creation of more than 3,000 jobs, nearly half of which are in Scotland and over 200 businesses. For every £1 investment, the Fellowship programme is estimated to have generated almost £10 for the UK economy and £6 for the Scottish economy.
The study also found that businesses created by Enterprise Fellows are more sustainable than the average, with over 81% of businesses created still operating beyond five years. This compares positively with average survival rates for start-ups and spin-outs, where around 45% survive to their fifth year.