Our leadership team

Leadership team

Dr George Baxter

Chief Executive Officer
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Dr Andrea Taylor

Head of Strategic Partnerships
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Eric Adair
Eric Adair

Head of Finance and Operations
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Amy Rafferty

Head of Communications and Marketing
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Dr John Lonsdale

Head of Enterprise
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Aileen Appleyard

Head of College of Arts, Humanities and Social Science Account Team
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Dr Susan Bodie

Head of Business Development, College of Medicine and Veterinary Medicine
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Dr John Jeffrey

Head of Business Development, College of Science and Engineering
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Dr George Baxter – Chief Executive Officer

After completing a BSc and a PhD in Organic Chemistry at Glasgow University, Dr George Baxter then 15 years at ICI, mostly in sales, marketing and business management and then AstraZeneca, running a number of international business units.

George then joined the North West Development Agency (NWDA) in 2003 as Director of Science and Innovation. Over the next eight years, NWDA led a number of major economic development initiatives including Daresbury Science and Innovation Campus, the formation of the N8 Group of Universities and the Innovation Strategy for the North West of England.

In 2010, George rejoined academia at Salford University as Professor of Innovation and Enterprise and subsequently Director of Research and Enterprise.

George moved to the University of Nottingham in 2015 to lead their Directorate of Business Engagement, merged this with the Research Support Office and led the joint operation before moving to the University of Edinburgh as the Chief Executive Officer of Edinburgh Innovations, in 2016.

George has led the EI team to great success and has created a confident, proactive and collaborative culture within the company. He has extended collaborative relationships across the University, established global partnerships and has helped secure major industrial partnerships.

A reflection of EI’s success over the past five years is the current position of the University at 5th in the HEBCIS league table up from 15th, and number 1 in Russell Group for graduate startups.

George is an ambassador for the University and for EI. He has been involved in founding TenU, an international initiative that will increase the social and economic value of research. The association, which brings together ten leading research-intensive universities in the UK, US, and Europe, will improve collaboration between technology transfer offices (Oxford, Cambridge, UCL, Imperial, Manchester, Edinburgh, MIT, Stanford, Columbia, Leuven).

“In many large universities, the traditional tech transfer and business engagement activities are separated in different organisations. By combining these in such a large university as Edinburgh we are able to work with external partners across a wide range of activities, finding the most appropriate academics for them to work with and supporting that in the most productive way, whether that is contract research, a licence, a spinout company, consultancy or some hybrid of these.”

Dr Andrea Taylor – Head of Strategic Partnerships

Following a PhD in genetics at the University of Edinburgh and several post-doc roles in cancer research, Andrea worked in drug discovery within the pharmaceuticals sector (Smith Kline Beecham now GSK) and biotech (Oxford Glycosciences, latterly UCB).

Andrea then took on senior consultancy positions with companies in Oxford and Cambridge (Pharma Ventures and Cambridge Consultants) conducting valuations and providing deal-making advice, market forecasting and due diligence to a wide range of biotechs, global industry players and venture capital investors.

She then spent six years with Scottish Enterprise and Scottish Development International working to support the growth of companies in the Scottish healthcare sector and attracting life science companies to locate in Scotland.

As Head of Inward Investment at Edinburgh BioQuarter, Andrea was involved in securing several inward investors including GSK to locate at the site. Andrea joined Edinburgh Innovations in 2017.

Eric Adair

Eric Adair – Head of Finance and Operations

Eric is a Chartered Accountant with over 20 years experience in financial strategy and accounting leadership. After a degree in Technology and Business Studies at Strathclyde University, Eric trained with KPMG in Glasgow, then spent two years in Kenya working with an accounting firm that focused on providing accounting support to charities and SMEs of which a personal highlight was successfully guiding a refugee charity in South Sudan through a financial crisis.

Returning to Scotland, he joined Continental Tyres at their manufacturing plant in Newbridge, Edinburgh before moving to the further education sector as the Finance Director of Edinburgh's Telford College. Eric led the delivery of the College's new campus, from vision to staff and student migration. In 2006 he joined The EDI Group, the property development arm of Edinburgh Council. Initially Finance Director then Executive Director responsible for all the development activities, including the regeneration of the Craigmillar area of Edinburgh.

“Due to our expertise, size and breadth of activities, Edinburgh Innovations offers unrivalled service to external partners who want to work alongside the world-leading staff and research activities that the University of Edinburgh carries out.

Amy Rafferty – Head of Communications and Marketing

Amy Rafferty has over twenty years of experience in communications and marketing. Amy has been Head of Communications and Marketing at EI since October 2020 where she thrives on collaborative and dynamic energy.

Amy started her career as Head of Research for the Scottish Conservatives, going on to be Director of Politics and Media at the Scottish Countryside Alliance. Amy moved to Weber Shandwick Scotland in 2004 where, as an Associate Director, she specialised in public affairs. In 2010 Amy honed her digital marketing skills as Head of Communications for the satirical website the Daily Mash. Amy rejoined Ruth Davidson’s Scottish Conservatives in 2017, becoming Head of PR.

“To me, innovation means limitless possibility. As a society, we are facing some big challenges, but being surrounded by the most intelligent people on the planet gives me confidence. We have an opportunity to be part of the solution and we’re taking it. Solving problems, improving lives; innovation is how we affect positive change.”

Dr John Lonsdale – Head of Enterprise

Head of Enterprise Services, leads a number of key functions at Edinburgh Innovations, including intellectual property management and commercialisation, staff startups and spinouts, student enterprise and the investment team.

John is also Chair of Old College Capital GP and a Director of Edinburgh Technology Fund.

John has a degree in Engineering and Industrial Management, an MBA and Doctorate of Business Administration (DBA). John’s doctoral research was on academic entrepreneurship and how universities can create ecosystems that encourage research translation and impact, bringing benefits for academics, students, universities and wider communities.

John’s career began in sales, marketing and commercial management in the energy sector (Rolls-Royce and National Nuclear Lab) before moving to the Higher Education sector in 2007, where he was Director of Innovation and Enterprise at UCLan, before joining Edinburgh Innovations in 2018.

“EI fulfils a key role in getting research innovations from the lab to end-use. We help researchers to find the funding, market experience and business the support they need, supporting at every stage as their innovation negotiates both technical and commercial challenges.

"At times we act as advisor, coach and mentor to our staff and student clients, translating the needs of industry sectors and investors and helping build technologies, teams and businesses.

"We facilitate the connection of the exceptional knowledge and talent of the University of Edinburgh staff and students to partners worldwide.”

Aileen Appleyard – Head of College of Arts, Humanities and Social Science Account Team

After completing an MA at the University of Glasgow, Aileen Appleyard spent the first 10 years of her career focused on policy and economic development.

During this time she completed an MBA at the University of Strathclyde. This was followed by a period in financial services and management consultancy. As a Consultant and Change Programme Manager Aileen was successful in shaping and implementing business growth plans in professional services, financial services and education sectors.

Aileen has successfully directed and delivered strategic change initiatives cross-divisionally and across multiple regions.

Aileen joined Edinburgh Innovations in 2015 to lead the transformation of the Consultancy operation. In July 2020, Aileen took on the role of Head of College of Arts, Humanities and Social Science Account Team.

“Innovation is about what happens when people get together to discuss ideas and share opinions. It is about thinking differently about how we do things, looking for new approaches and breaking new ground. It is about applying academic knowledge to solve business problems and to support product, process and policy development for university and societal benefit.“

Dr Susan Bodie – Head of Business Development for College of Medicine and Veterinary Medicine

Susan joined the University as a Business Development Executive in 2013, supporting the College of Medicine and Veterinary Medicine. She moved to Edinburgh Innovations in 2019 and became Business Development Manager before being appointed as Head of Business Development for CMVM in summer 2021.

With an honours degree in Pharmacology and PhD in physiology and cell signalling, Susan’s background is in drug development. As a new graduate, Susan started her career as Study Director at Charles River Laboratories (then Inveresk) where she worked with all major pharma, biotech and chemical companies to support drug development, specifically the studies required to prove the safety of new chemical entities in both preclinical and clinical studies.

"The potential of patient and societal benefit through transformative research at the University is a huge motivator in this role. The opportunities for translation and industrial interest at the College of Medicine and Veterinary Medicine and the impact this can have is significant. We are seeing rapid change in our lives with Covid, together with the possibility of digital innovation makes this a very exciting time to be involved in the translation of research."

Dr John Jeffrey – Head of Business Development for College of Science and Engineering

After completing a BSc in Chemistry at the University of Edinburgh, a PhD in Chemistry at the University of Cambridge, a Royal Society Fellowship at Auckland University in New Zealand, and then an EPSRC Research Fellowship at the University of Oxford, Dr John Jeffrey spent 12 years in downstream R&D with Esso at its main European research centre at Milton Hill, running international projects including diesel fuel field trials in Finland, gasoline exhaust gas emissions linked to fuel and hardware design, and finally heavy-duty diesel fuel lubricants design, testing and approvals.

In 2000, he moved to Edinburgh to initially work at Heriot-Watt University as a Business Development Executive, working closely with Scottish Enterprise and its Proof of Concept programme, before moving to the University of Edinburgh in Oct 2002, as a Business Development Executive in the College of Science & Engineering, looking after the Schools of Engineering, GeoSciences and Physics & Astronomy.

He subsequently focused on the School of Engineering and became Business Development Manager in 2017, before being promoted to Head of Business for the College of Science & Engineering in April 2019.

"Innovation is about new ideas and approaches to societal problems and industry challenges. We bring that about through an open and encouraging environment, allowing academics and students to develop and grow early-stage ideas into meaningful outcomes.

"Edinburgh Innovations helps to develop these ideas with the academic and student inventors through providing support at the right time and finding opportunities to take the development of the invention to the next stage.”