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Associate feature: Collaborative innovation is more important than ever

Associate feature: Collaborative innovation is more important than ever

None of us can escape the current economic reality. Each day we are subjected to increasingly disastrous news – GDP figures, local lockdowns, cancelled Christmas – it feels like there is no end in sight.

But amid all this uncertainty and anxiety, there is hope.

As the University of Edinburgh’s commercialisation service, Edinburgh Innovations works with academic researchers with businesses, governments and other bodies to make ideas a reality.

Before the pandemic hit, we were riding high. In January 2019 we had just secured the biggest industry investment in the University’s history – a £20 million commitment by Legal & General that established the Advanced Care Research Centre to revolutionise care in later life.

Then Covid hit and like everyone else we had to adapt, fast.

We implemented new procedures so that University staff could begin working with partner organisations to fast-track new products and services, while contractual arrangements were conducted in parallel.

From increasing production of anti-viral products to developing rapid testing technology and apps to help people with finances and mental wellbeing, collaborations with all kinds of commercial bodies were up and running at an astonishing pace. At the time of writing there are exactly 100 Covid-19- related research projects on Edinburgh Innovations’ books.

At the same time, alongside this crucial Covid-related work, the pandemic has done nothing to slow the appetite for innovation elsewhere among University staff, students and our commercial partners.

It is truly astounding that despite their own upheaval, our staff have still worked tirelessly to launch 88 new companies, organise spinouts and startups totalling a record £32.6 million in investment and secured £55.4 million in translational and industry awards to fuel collaborative innovation.

Innovation is an essential element of our economy and it has enormous potential, as the Logan Review suggested earlier this year – at Edinburgh Innovations we are rising to that challenge.

This piece was sponsored by Edinburgh Innovations. 

Dr George Baxter is the Chief Executive Officer of Edinburgh Innovations.

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