Staff Services Student Enterprise

Edinburgh triumphs at Scottish Knowledge Exchange Awards 2024

All the SKEA 2024 winners
15 Mar 2024

The University of Edinburgh won three of eight Scottish Knowledge Awards last night, including the coveted Knowledge Exchange Heroes Award.

The Wellcome iTPA team, part of Edinburgh Innovations, were crowned Knowledge Exchange Heroes for their work supporting early career researchers to commercialise.

Wellcome iTPA team L-R Jeff Wright, Andrew McBride, Max Reiter, Lysimachos Zografos, Amelia Hodgson, Joe Murphy

The team of six, led by Dr Lysimachos Zografos, has built a community of over 1300 researchers and supported 180 innovative health and wellbeing projects. The team gave out £1.8m in funding and returned a further £12.2m – a 600 per cent return on investment.

Dr Zografos said: “We are so pleased to have won – we have a great, dedicated team here at EI and a fertile environment to work in: of diverse and brilliant early career researchers and a growing culture of innovation and entrepreneurship at the University of Edinburgh. Well done to all of our ECRs and those across the ecosystem who support them.”

Niki Christopoulou and Ioannis Stasinopoulos of Prozymi Biolabs

Winner of Innovation of the Year was student startup Prozymi Biolabs, founded by biomedical science PhD Dr Ioannis Stasinopoulos. Prozymi Biolabs is using novel gluten-degrading enzymes to improve the texture and flavour of gluten-free bread.

Dr Maria Martinez Castillero

And Maria Martinez Castillero, Genetics and Breeding Programme Manager of student startup BetaBugs, won the Innovator of the Future award. Founded by Thomas Farrugia out of the Roslin Institute, BetaBugs breeds black soldier flies as an alternative, sustainable protein source that can be used in aquaculture, pork, and poultry feed.

Dr Susan Bodie, Edinburgh Innovations’ Head of Business Development (BD) for the College of Medicine and Veterinary Medicine, which includes iTPA, said:

The iTPA team has been punching well above its weight and the Heroes award is well deserved! They have really harnessed and enabled early career researchers to take their research out into the world.
And EI is proud to continue supporting Prozymi Biolabs and BetaBugs, who are fantastic, sustainable innovators. These awards are testament to the strong innovation pipeline we are building here at Edinburgh. ”

The awards, organised by knowledge exchange organisation Interface, celebrate innovative people and partnerships in the world of business-academic collaborations.

Innovation Minister Richard Lochhead said:

These awards highlight valuable collaborations in Scotland which are developing cutting-edge innovations to make a real difference to people’s lives.
The Scottish Government is committed to supporting information exchange between businesses and academia. An example is our Inward Investment Catalyst Fund, which since its launch in 2021, has supported 25 businesses outside of Scotland to collaborate on projects with Scottish academic institutions, with an ambition of attracting inward investment. ”