Edinburgh Innovations has won high-profile recognition at the Scottish Knowledge Exchange Awards 2021: Dr Andrea Taylor, Head of Business Development for medicine and veterinary medicine, took the Heroes Award, and a collaboration between the Roslin Institute and industry partner Cobb-Vantress, supported by Dr Alice Barrier, won the Powerful Partnership Award.
Dr Taylor has overseen a transformation in the commercialisation of medical research at the University of Edinburgh’s College of Medicine and Veterinary Medicine over the past three years.
There have been five new therapeutics spinout companies from the College based on University research over the past 18 months, aiming to tackle some of medicine’s biggest challenges and launched with substantial funding by prestigious investment companies.
And funding awards for research collaborations between the University and industrial partners have reached new highs over each of the past three years, and have continued to grow over the first eight months of the current year.
Culture of innovation
The one-team approach between the College and EI that Dr Taylor has championed has led to a greater culture of innovation, with early career researchers supported through new programmes of training and development, significant increase in industry outreach and a broadening of the relationships developed.
“It’s an honour to accept this award, which reflects the dedication of our excellent team at Edinburgh Innovations and the entrepreneurial talents of the University’s leading researchers.”
– Dr Andrea Taylor, Head of Business Development, College of Medicine and Veterinary Medicine.
The Powerful Partnership Award recognises a successful seven-year partnership between the Roslin Institute and poultry breeding company Cobb-Vantress, supported by EI Business Development Manager Dr Alice Barrier. The partnership is focused on ensuring a sustainable global poultry industry in terms of animal welfare, disease resistance, food security and preserving biodiversity.
The partnership’s outputs include patented technologies, new insights into the chicken genome, production of genome-edited surrogate birds that can lay eggs of rare breeds, and finding gene markers relevant to diseases such as avian flu.
“The partnership between the Roslin Institute and Cobb-Vantress has been invaluable to both partners in developing and translating cutting edge research to ultimately enhance lives of animals and humans.”
– Dr Alice Barrier, Business Development Manager.
Professor Bruce Whitelaw, Interim Director, the Roslin Institute, said: “Bringing together Roslin’s world-class scientific research with one of the world’s leading businesses in poultry genetics has enabled significant insights to support health, wellbeing and diversity of animals in one of the most important livestock sectors.”
Winners of the Scottish Knowledge Exchange Awards, run by Interface, were announced at an online ceremony. There were eight award categories, and as well as EI’s two winners, two additional finalists were EI clients.
EI’s Dr Axel Thomson has supported a partnership between Aqualution Systems, an SME based in the Scottish Borders, and Dr Faiz Iqbal and Dr Adam Stokes from the University’s School of Engineering, which has led to a fivefold increase in production of life-saving disinfectant and was a finalist in the Covid-19 Collaborative Response Award.
And Siân Ringrose has supported a collaboration between the Roslin Institute, the University of Stirling, Hendrix Genetics, and the Centre for Environment, Fisheries and Aquaculture Science, which was shortlisted in the Multiparty Collaboration category.
The collaboration has pinpointed elements of the salmon genome that have been used to breed salmon with resistance to Infectious Pancreatic Necrosis (IPN), previously a major economic and animal welfare issue for salmon farming. The success of breeding for IPN resistance has helped spark widespread uptake of genome technologies to tackle other diseases, and is being applied to sea lice.
“Congratulations to Andrea and Alice on these awards and to all our finalists and their collaboration teams.
“The awards recognise sector-leading work that enables innovation informed by research, bringing benefits to the University, our partner organisations and wider society.”
– Dr George Baxter, CEO, Edinburgh Innovations.
Image: the eight winners of the Scottish Knowledge Exchange Awards 2021, including Dr Andrea Taylor, top right, and the poultry collaboration, bottom left.