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University of Edinburgh Incubator Reveals First Projects

Michael Behr

,

Edinburgh University

The new incubator will take early-stage data-driven ventures and provide support to help develop them into full businesses.

The first 27 data-driven projects have been chosen to join the Data-Driven Entrepreneurship Venture Builder Incubator from the University of Edinburgh.

The three-month long programme will help take research from postgraduate students, post-doctoral researchers and academic staff and turn them into sustainable businesses.

Included in the first cohort are a diverse range of projects, including healthcare, climate change, animal care, finances, and robotics. While most of the projects are based on PhD research, others come from masters students, post-doctoral researchers and staff.

In addition, the incubator is the first at Edinburgh University to include students from Heriot-Watt University.

Head of Commercialisation at Heriot-Watt University Paul Devlin said: “We are delighted to have some of our most promising entrepreneurial students participate in the inaugural Venture Builder Incubator and have an opportunity to collaborate with students from each of the Data-Driven Innovation Hubs.”

The cohort will benefit from tailored content and support, mentoring and conferences to help develop their ideas and early-stage projects.

Through the Data Driven Innovation (DDI) programme of the Edinburgh and South East Scotland City Region Deal, each of the 27 initiatives will also receive a £2,000 grant from the Scottish Funding Council or Heriot-Watt.

One of the projects involved in the cohort is eMoodie, which was founded by PhD Clinical Psychology student Claire Ann Banga. Her digital platform gives people tools and interventions to manage their mental health.

Banga said: “Our team is very excited to be part of the incubator. We’re all looking forward to meeting like-minded individuals and hope that we can collaborate to help both our own and other projects move forward to help address current societal challenges.”

Other projects in the first cohort include Danu Robotics, AI-powered, vision-guided robotics to automate waste sorting; Nature Sky Solutions, an unmanned aerial vehicle system for studying the environment; and SmpliCare, a digital platform that helps families proactively support ageing loved ones to maintain independence at home.


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The DDE Venture Builder Incubator is Edinburgh University’s first programme delivered in partnership with edventure, a pan-European university venture builder and accelerator. It was launched in September 2020 by three Edinburgh students, Zara Zaman, Ragnor Comerford and Fynn Comerford.

Edinburgh Innovations, the university’s commercialisation service, will manage the incubator, which will also be delivered by the Bayes Centre on behalf of the university’s five Data-Driven Innovation Hubs. It is delivered in partnership with Edinburgh-based strategic design consultancy Nile, as well as edventure.

The incubator forms part of the ambitious Data-Driven Entrepreneurship Beacon Programme at the University to support post-Covid recovery.

Dr John Lonsdale, Head of Enterprise Services at Edinburgh Innovations, said: “We have been delighted at the response we have had to this innovative programme. The University of Edinburgh is recognised worldwide for the quality of its research and this programme will make an important contribution to unlocking the benefits of that research for communities and the economy. We will be supporting these entrepreneurial researchers from idea to business launch.”

Jim Ashe, Director of Innovation at the Bayes Centre, said: “The PhD Incubator complements the Post-Covid AI Accelerator and the University investor readiness programme, EIE (Engage Invest Exploit).

“The cohort will benefit from our community of over 400 internationally recognised scientists, leading industry experts, entrepreneurs and investors.”

Michael Behr

Senior Staff Writer

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